Aldo Moro writes farewell letter to his wife…
“Dear Norina, they have told me that they are going to kill me in a little while. I kiss you for the last time”. So wrote Aldo Moro, who, thirty seven years ago today (May 9th 1978) was found shot dead in the back of a car on Via Caetani in the centre of Rome. As his wife and three children sat waiting anxiously for news of the kidnapped former Italian Prime Minister, their daughter, Anna picked up the letter following a tip-off. It was the news they had dreaded since his kidnap by the Red Brigade fifty three days earlier following a bloody shoot-out near his home.
It was a remarkable stand-off by both the Red Brigade and the Italian government who stood fast in the face of demands by the terrorists and letters (it is alleged) written by Moro calling for the government to negotiate. The incumbent government was a coalition between the Christian Democrats and the Italian Communist Party and it was Moro, the president of the Democrats who had helped secure a stable government in March of that year. He had been a formidable politician throughout the 1960s and 70s serving five terms as Prime Minister and being the first to include Socialists in cabinet in 1963.
In the middle of this was a radical communist movement led by Renato Curcio, the Red Brigade, formed in 1970 quickly won notoriety for bombings, kidnappings, bank robberies and assassinations in a bid to create a communist revolution. Far to the left of the national Communist Party, the Red Brigade’s kidnapping of Moro created a clear split between the two ruling parties. The Democrats were accused of giving in to the Communist Party’s refusal to negotiate with the terrorists and despite hundreds of arrests and frantic searches to find Moro, the Red Brigade declared he had been sentenced to death by a ‘people’s court’.
This fell on apparent death ears and despite his wife’s telephone plea to the Italian President he was executed and his body was left halfway between the headquarters of the Christian Democrats and the Communist Party. It was said that Moro had written that the government ‘could have done something if it had wanted to’ and thereby requested that no Italian politicians where to attend his funeral.
On the dawn of a newly elected UK government and all of the ramifications espoused on social media of a majority conservative government, it is worth remembering where, on the whole, society and European politics has progressed to since the dark days of the 1970s. For no matter how strong the feelings are on immigration, wealth distribution and the banking sector the gun, thank god, has been replaced by the keyboard. The UK has seen a remarkable change in the political landscape with a number of big name politicians losing their seat and whilst they must now come to terms with the harsh realities of the ballot box none will be remembered for a demise like Aldo Moro’s.