April 25 is Liberation Day from Nazi-Fascism in Italy. Mussolini, supported by the German army, was clinging to power in the north of the peninsula. A popular uprising, supported by the guerrillas (partisans) coming down from the mountains, caused the Germans to retreat. El Duce escaped, but a few days later he was captured and shot near the Swiss border. There are no public activities this year, although the population will continue to celebrate. In last year’s parades (tens of thousands of people usually gather in the country’s squares) people held very significant posters: “Today as yesterday, anti-fascists”, “The Resistance is not over. Raise your head and fight for life,” “Fight the fear. Destroy fascism.”
On Friday afternoon we went ahead: Cubans and Italians, gathered in the hospital courtyard, sang in chorus the song that today is an anti-fascist hymn, “Bella Ciao” (Adios Bella). The chorus, which gives it its title, is widely known throughout the world. Let me repeat it, so that the lyrics can be understood: “One morning / I woke up / and found the invader. / Oh! Partisan, / take me with you / because I feel like dying. / And if I die / as a partisan. / You must bury me. / Bury me there / in the mountain. / Under the shade of a beautiful flower / And people / as they pass by will say what a beautiful flower!”.
But confinement, on a day of victory, can be explosive among university students. Our doctors and nurses receive and exchange greetings every day from the windows and hallways of the campus, where our building is also located.
Today was the paroxysm. Anti-fascist songs, youthful cheering and applause followed one another. Suddenly, some student put the Cuban national anthem on speaker and everyone was silent, while we sang it. It was as if they were embracing us from afar. They say that the coronavirus will change the world, that it will make it better. I don’t think so. We’ll have to change it ourselves. But there’s enough energy, enough strength accumulated to do it.