Gallarate, pacifist action to contest 100 years of the Air Force

In Gallarate, in the province of Varese, nonviolent activists displayed banners that read “There is nothing to celebrate.” Such banners read, “100 years of bombing and slaughter,” “No to war propaganda,” and “No to the militarization of schools.” In fact, the military fanfare and 100th-anniversary celebrations were attended by seven school groups.

We reproduce the video made by PeaceLink with material received from Elio Pagani. The images document this peaceful and nonviolent action that contested the meaning of the ceremony. The video also mentions a black page in the military history of the Italian Air Force, when one hundred and twenty fighters and bombers between March 3 and 4, 1936 poured 636 quintals of explosives, mustard and incendiary bombs into Ethiopia; the deadly gas caused between 3,000 and 5,000 casualties, and not only among the military. In fact, the gas also affected the civilian population who were victims of fascist colonial aggression.

The final part of the video gives a nod to the operations “kept hidden from the Italians” [and] revealed by General Giuseppe Bernardis; 1900 raids and 456 bombings by the Italian Air Force in Libya in 2011.


This afternoon, May 24,[2023], in Gallarate, a group of anti-militarists protest the celebration of 100 years of the Italian Air Force. Police quickly yank the banners from the hands of those who dared to display them and drag one of the activists away.

The incriminated banners read: “No to war propaganda.”
“No to the militarization of schools”

“Italian Air Force.
100 years of bombing, destruction, and slaughter. Just nothing to celebrate!!!”

“Two thousand years of humanistic culture only to be reduced to selling diabolical military armaments and infamous logic of death. ‘Ye were not made to live like brutes, but to follow virtue and knowledge’.”


Who knows if the students of the 7 schools in the province of Varese involved in the celebration of 100 years of the Air Force have been told about the events that shaped the birth and development of our Air Force.
Just a few examples:

These range from the first and still rudimentary bomb drops during the campaign to conquer Libya and during World War I, to bombing against soldiers and civilians in Ethiopia, to bombing Spanish cities during the Civil War, to the destruction of European cities in World War II.”

Air warfare made its appearance in Libya in the course of the Italian-Turkish conflict.
The first action was conducted on November 1, 1911: Lieutenant Giulio Gavotti, flying over Ain Zara and the Tagiura oasis, launched a total of four explosive devices. The Italian bombardment in the Italo-Turkish War, in Libya, was the first aerial bombardment in history.

The incident was widely echoed and numerous international bodies called for a ban on aerial bombing.

In the course of that war, the first experiments in receiving radio transmissions in the air were also made, the first photographic reconnaissance and topographical surveys were carried out from an airplane, the first-night bombardment was carried out, and aerocooperation with advancing ground troops was experimented with.

Italians bombed, among others, the cities of Trieste and Pola (August 1917).”

In December 1935 the Italian air force began bombing Ethiopian territory with conventional munitions and mustard bombs. Despite the denunciation pronounced on June 30, 1936, by Emperor Haile Selassie in Geneva, the Assembly of the League of Nations, which had imposed economic sanctions on Italy on November 18, 1935, did not condemn it for using toxic gas.

The aerial use of the chemical weapon, long denied by the Italian commands, made it clear that, in the event of war, every European capital could be hit.”

The aerial bombardments of Barcelona were a series of raids carried out during the Spanish Civil War by the Italian Legionary Air Force with support from the German Condor Legion on March 16, 17 and 18, 1938.”

” WORLD WAR II 1939-1945.
Dozens of Italian military planes of the Royal Fascist Air Force were involved in World War II.

A main involvement was the war in the southern Mediterranean, parallel to the German blitzkrieg in northern Europe. Malta, for example, was subjected to heavy and continuous bombardment by the Regia Aeronautica.

Italian bombings also [happenned] on Gibraltar and against the British or Anglo-American fleet off Algeria with the use of torpedoes, etc..”

This was in the early days of our Air Force, infamous operations.

Added to this, more recently, were the bombings and airstrikes in Iraq, over the Former Yugoslavia, Libi[a] and Afghanistan….

This was and is our glorious Air Force whose 100th anniversary is being celebrated.

We call on teachers, principals, and school leaders to address these issues and to defect from war propaganda.

[We call] for a school laboratory of peace outside of the military and outside of the culture of war from schools and universities.

Antimilitaristi varesini contro la militarizzazione delle scuole Assemblea popolare di Busto Arsizio
(Antimilitarists from Varese against the militarization of schools Busto Arsizio People’s Assembly)

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