[VIDEO] Interview with Augusto Masetti from 1964

[VIDEO] Interview with Augusto Masetti from 1964

A short televised interview with an elderly Italian Anarchist famous for his anti-militarist actions in 1911 when Italy was in the process of invading Libya.


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Transcription and translation into English were done by user Jordanj of r/Translator

Interviewer: Good morning, Mr. Masetti.

Masetti: Good morning.

I: Sorry to bother you.

M: No need.

I: Would you mind coming here a moment, on the balcony?

M: Sure.

I: Here under the light, so we can see you well.

M: But remember I don't want [money].

Me, I'm available for the [king].*

I: What happened at the Salvini barracks in Bologna? Can you tell us?

M: We were 300 soldiers, lined up in three rows, and 8 officers were on the stage, among which was the superior officer, the lieutenant colonel Stroppa, who was making the speech, where he said we all have family, girlfriends, and you know friends, but right this moment we only have our nation to defend... and at that moment, I put my [rifle] on the shoulders of the [second] - I was in the middle, in the middle row - and then I shot once. I was going to recharge, so they jumped on me... officers, and so on.

I: And the lieutenant colonel was only wounded...

M: Wounded, yes, till the shoulder, here. And the bullet deflected, and wounded an unlucky fellow of a soldier right under there.

I: Now, I'd like to ask you, Mr. Masetti. Yours was a an act of folly, but were you indeed crazy, like they were saying?

M:... there's 36 hours I have no recollection of. From the evening of the 29th till the 31 of the morning. Something I've always said and I'll have to always say, because it is so.

I: But, do you feel guilt for that act or not?

M: No, no! How can I feel guilty? Can you feel guilty for something you don't know about (/remember doing)? They were saying that to me In Reggio Emilia too, those professors. "Well, you must feel sorry for [???]." "Me? Why should I feel sorry?" "So you're proud of it?" "No to that too! I can't be proud of something I don't know I did!". And that's how things were, you know.

I: Were you aware that all over Italy, pro Masetti committees were being established?

M: ... Not right away, no, I didn't know right away. I learned it some days after, when the professor... Sacossi and Pedrassani, they were saying "There's a lot of support for you out there". And I said "I know nothing about it, [if there is,???] I know nothing, no one was bringing me anything. They only came the evening, some... middle-class people, you know, outside, to say hello from the window... and then they'd sing a song they made up themselves...

I: How did the song go?

M: Ah, they said "At the cell number 9 the soldier Masetti is being locked up", but then I don't remember anything else of all that stuff.

* I don't fully understand this but Masetti was making a pun the words he uses for King and money sound very similar. "Ma ricordatevi che non voglio [rei]! Ci sono per [il re] io."

Interviewer: Buongiorno Signor Masetti.

Masetti: Buongiorno.

I: Scusi se la disturbiamo.

M: No.

I: Le dispiacerebbe venire qua un attimo, sul balcone?

M: Si.

I: Venga al sole, si faccia vedere.

M: Ma ricordatevi che non voglio [rei]!

Ci sono per [il re] io.

I: Come andarono le cose alla caserma Salvini di Bologna? Me lo vuole raccontare?

M: Eravamo in 300 soldati, sfilati in tre fila, e 8 ufficiali erano sul palco, il quale l'ufficiale superiore, che era il sergente colonello Stroppa, fece la morale, dove disse che tutti abbiamo la famiglia, abbiamo la fidanzata, abbiamo insomma gli amici, ma in questo momento qua non abbiamo altro che la patria da difendere... e io, in quel momento li', misi il fucile sulle spalle del secondo - ero in mezzo io, nella fila di mezzo - e poi sparai un colpo. Quando ritornai a caricare, allora mi saltarono addosso con... ufficiali, e cosi' via.

I: E il tenente colonnello rimase soltanto ferito...

M: Ferito, si, fino alla spalla qui. E la palla divio', e andette a ferire un disgraziato di un soldato che era li sotto.

I: Ora io vorrei chiederle, signor Masetti. Il suo fu un gesto folle, ma lei era pazzo come si disse, o no?

M: ...io ho 36 ore che non ricordo niente! Dalla sera del 29 fino al 31 della mattina. Cosa che ho sempre detto e che dovro' sempre dire, perche' e' cosi'.

I: Ma lei e' pentito di quel gesto o no?

M: No, no! Posso mica esser pentito? Come fate a esser pentito di una cosa che non sapete? A me lo dicevano anche a Reggio Emilia, i professori la'. "Beh ti dispiacera' pure della [comesono]..." "Io? Cosa vuole che mi dispiace?" "Allora hai piacere?" "Ma neanche! Non posso mica aver piacere di una cosa che non so di aver fatto". E cosi' andavano le cose, insomma.

I: Lei sapeva che in tutta Italia si stavano costituendo dei comitati pro Masetti?

M: ... Subito no, subito non lo seppi. Lo seppi qualche giorno dopo, quando il professore... Sacossi e Pedrassani, mi dicevano "c'e' un gran movimento per te fori". E io dissi "Non so niente", [gh'era la ren se gava] non sapevo niente, nessuno mi portava niente. venivano solo alla sera, dei... borghesi insomma, dal di fori, a salutarmi dalla finestra... E poi cantavano una canzone, che avevano inventato loro...

I: Come faceva questa canzone?

M: Ah, dicevano, "alla cella del numero 9 sta rinchiuso il soldato Masetti", ma io poi non mi ricordo piu' niente di quella roba li'.

Posted By

Reddebrek
Apr 13 2021 17:27

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Reddebrek
Apr 13 2021 17:34

I discovered this video on Stuart Christie's massive film archive but it had no other information other than Augusto Masetti 1964, my Italian is poor so apart from references to soldiers and shootings I couldn't understand what it was about. Searching I found out that Masetti was an Anarchist who became famous for refusing to go to war and shooting an officer in 1911 which I guessed was what the interview was about.

I also found several uploads on other video sites mostly with no information but one had this to say

"Intervista del 1964 ad Augusto Masetti, l'anarchico che nel 1910 aveva sparato al suo colonnello inneggiando all'anarchia e contro la guerra di Libia. Durante i giorni della 'Settimana Rossa' del 1914 fu preso come simbolo della lotta antimilitarista.
(Questo video - come gli altri sul tema settimana rossa - è stato recuperato da un'unica cassetta vhs (prima Betamax) lasciata da Sergio Zavoli alla biblioteca di Alfonsine, e mai usata dalla RAI. La cassetta era ormai abbandonata in biblioteca da 40 anni e a rischio smagnetizzazione. Su sollecitazione di Luciano Lucci fu riversata da Betamax a VHS, e poi il Lucci stesso ne fece una versione digitalizzata e messa su youtube.)

1964 interview with Augusto Masetti, the anarchist who in 1910 had shot his colonel in praise of anarchy and against the war in Libya. During the days of the 'Red Week' of 1914 it was taken as a symbol of the anti-militarist struggle.
(This video - like the others on the red week theme - was recovered from a single vhs cassette (first Betamax) left by Sergio Zavoli at the Alfonsine library, and never used by RAI. The cassette had now been abandoned in the library for 40 years. and at risk of demagnetization. At the request of Luciano Lucci it was transferred from Betamax to VHS, and then Lucci himself made a digitized version of it and put on youtube.)"

And linked to a website which has other clips, http://alfonsinemonamour.racine.ra.it/alfonsine/Alfonsine/video.htm

anyway I turned to reddit and they provided the above transcription and translation, I gave the english a pass for spelling and some other errors.

This wasn't what I was expecting to read but I think its still interesting.