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Home arrow Why Neo-Bourbons

Why Neo-Bourbons

 

WHY WE ARE NEO-BOURBONS

On the cold afternoon of December 27, 1894, in the town of Arco, province of Trento, Francesco II of Bourbon, the last king of the Two Sicilies, died.The Bourbon dynasty no longer governed Southern Italy after a reign of 126 years.One hundred years after the death of King Francesco, nobody remembers the Bourbons anymore except as a negative symbol of the past.Never has history been so maliciously falsified as it has been with this king and with this dynasty.126 years of prestige and of glory, of art and culture, of theatres and factories, of laws and achievements, of public works and archeological excavations, of order, of security, of riches, and of generosity have all been cancelled from our collective memory.

The Piedmontese, with the self-interested complicity of the English and the French, invaded the peaceful Kingdom of the Two Sicilies which extended from Latium to Sicily over all of Southern Italy. Francesco II, at 24 years age, found himself fighting an unexpected and undesired war against his "Italian brothers".Notwithstanding the betrayal and corruption of many in high places, the Neapolitan army fought valiantly alongside its king and its heroic queen, Maria Sofia, who has barely nineteen. It surrendered after 93 days of siege in the fortress of Gaeta, at dawn on February 14. 1861.Thousands of heroic citizens of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies died on the battlefield. In the same way, thousands of men, women, and children were shot in the campaign against Southern Italy - they were called "bandits" or "brigands", but they were, in fact, the last soldiers and defenders of a history, a tradition, and a culture that would die with them forever.

But how were they before this fatal unification of Italy?Certainly everything was not perfect, but it is worth noting that Naples was the capital of a kingdom born seven centuries earlier. Together with London, Paris and Vienna, Naples was an essential point of reference with regards to both political and cultural affairs in Italy and in Europe. Then, suddenly, it became a unimportant province of a farway and enemy kingdom.It is a fact that Southern Italian reserves held twice the amount of gold and silver than all the other Italian states combined.

It is a fact that Piedmont carried away 80 million ducats cash from our banks (more than $ 1,000,000,000). It is a fact that we had more than 5000 factories (among the great nations in the world).It is a fact that the streets of our beautiful cities were full of tourists that came from every part of the world.It is a fact that the Piedmontese made us pay more than twice the level of taxes we paid before unification.Only after unification, due to widespread hunger, more than five million emigrants left their families and homes and would never again see their native land.In the streets of our cities, we no longer saw tourists.Our factories, sooner or later, were are closed and still today we buy, eat, drink, wear, and use only produtcs that come from Nothern Italy.One cannot say today that Southern Italians live well; the average income of a Nothern Italian is twice that of a Southerner; the ten poorest cities in Italy are all in the South. With unemployment, poor services, government crisis, and the collapse of a flawed system, a rosy future for our children is highly unlikely.Still, from the elementary school texts to those used by college students, we hear a tale much different than the truth. In 140 years, they have made us ashamed of being Southerners. They have said that our dialects were "vulgar", that our traditions were uncivilized, that being a "Southerner" or a "Bourbon" meant to be backward, nostalgic, ignorant, or uncivil.We have begun, as Tacitus wrote two thousand years ago, to "admire their way of life, of dress or of speech, forgetting our own and thinking that their's was civilization when it was only a ploy to dominate us."

Until 1860, the citizens of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies were respected and esteemed in all the world beacuse they were citizens of an ancient and prestigious kingdom - the kingdom of the Normans, the Swabians, the Anjous, and the Aragons.We are respected and esteemed because  we were subjects of a king that belonged to the Bourbon dynasty - an ancient dynasty but one capable of governing with wisdom and love. Upon  all of this is the unbearable weight of the destruction of our historical consciousness, of our culture, of our traditions,and of our identity - the pain of the destruction of our white flags with gold fleurs-de-lis, our national anthem, and of all the symbols that were respected by the ancient and glorious Neapolitan nation. The Bourbons showed all the pride and dignity of being Southerners until the very end, when, on the earthworks of Gaeta, they behaved as heroes and fought night and day beneath the violent and incessant bombardment of the Piedmontese invaders. They wanted to defend, right until the end, 126 years of glorious and splendid history - 126 years of Bourbon civilization.

Francesco II left Naples amidst tears and embraces to avoid a massacre of his people - a people he knew so well, whose language was his own. Many people got rich with the unification of Italy, but not the Bourbons. Francesco II - little Francesco or "Franceschiello" as he was affectionately called - left his kingdom with taking with him one dime of his own money. The Italian government never gave back that which belonged to his family, and even today has never done so. Francesco II never returned to Naples. He died at age 58 in a hotel room in Arco di Trento comforted only by his great faith in God and by a profoundly Christian sense of acceptance, but without ever forgetting, even in the last days of his life, the country of his father and of his grandfather - his own native land. Only since 1984 does he lie next to his wife and his tiny daughter Maria Cristina in the Bourbon chapel of the Church of Santa Chiara and few are those who remember him - he who was a symbol of a "risorgimento" that could have been different; a symbol guilty only of having been on our side, among the defeated.

Why then be a Bourbon today? Because the time has finally come to understand who we were and who we can be. The time has come to begin to uncover our lost roots and to give to our children the roots they never knew - to give to them. at least, a sense of pride in being Southern Italian. To be a Bourbon means to have understood history. To be a Neo-Bourbon means to have understood history with the desire and drive to construct a new history on the base of the old for all the people of Southern Italy. Certainly the Bourbon period was not the "Golden Age" and one cannot say we would have entered into a "Golden Age" if the Bourbons had continued to reign, but no one can deny that, during that cold winter of 144 years ago, the people of Southern Italy ceased to be a People. 144 years ago, Southern Italy ceased to be a nation. The historical memory and consciousness, whether it be Greek or Latin, Norman or Swabian,  Anjou or Aragonese, began to be extinguished on the battlements of Gaeta.

Some may call us "nostalgic", but how can one not be when one walks through the streets of our run-down and degraded cities or passes before our ancient buildings, churches, and monuments, now lost or forgotten? Yes, we are nostalgic and proud of being such, only  that our looking back serves a purpose. Now, more than ever, it is necessary to understand what are the real causes of our current problems in Southern Italy and how we can find the road toward a better future. The system and the ideology that have governed our politics and our culture for more than a century have demonstrated that they are based on a deliberate lie. Southern politicians and intellectuals over the last century, closed off in isolation from the world around them, soiled the memory of the House of Bourbon of the Two Sicilies, but also demonstrated their incapability of representing or loving their own South.

Honesty, dignity, loyalty, courage, religious faith, wisdom, respect for history, love of art, affection for the land and the people of the Two Sicilies - these were the fundamental characteristics of all the Bourbon kings of Naples. Fortified by these examples and by these symbols, by new ideas and new values, we can and must liberate ourselves from the systems and ideologies that are already collapsing into ruins and are which are responsible for having destroyed the past and the present of an entire people and of putting their future in jeopardy.

Let us reconstruct our historical memory - reconstruct our pride in being Southern Italian - and being to walk together on the long road towards the salvation of our ancient nation and of our ancient dignity.

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