Indro Montanelli

Italian journalist

Indro Montanelli (22 April 190922 July 2001) was an Italian journalist and historian. Generally considered one of the greatest Italian journalists of the 20th century, he was among the 50 World Press Freedom Heroes of the past 50 years named by the International Press Institute in 2000.

Fascism rewarded jackasses in uniform. Democracy gives priviliges to those in sports' gear. In Italy, political regimes come to pass. Jackasses remain. Triumphant.


1950s - 1990sEdit

  • Men do not know how to appreciate or measure luck except that of others. Their own never.
    • History of the Greeks, Rizzoli 1959.
  • Italian husbands, in order to buy their wives a fur coat, spend more than all their European collegues.
    • Controcorrente, 1974-1986.
  • Politicians do nothing but ask of us, during every expiration of a legal statute, "a gesture of trust." But here trust is not enough; what's needed is an act of faith.
    • Controcorrente, 1974-1986.
  • Parties had eventually put the wrong man in the wrong place. De Mita was not without merits. However, he completely lacked any relating to government. This was obvious while he served as Minister, and was not accomplishing more than a little: and that little bit, usually, would have been better not having been accomplished.
    • L'Italia del Novecento, p. 536.
  • The nice thing about political pundits is that, when they answer a question, one no longer understands what they were asked.
    • Controcorrente, 1974 – 1986.
  • Fascism rewarded jackasses in uniform. Democracy gives privileges to those in sports' gear. In Italy, political regimes come to pass. Jackasses remain. Triumphant.
    • Controcorrente, 1974 – 1986.
  • The more I deepen the topic of regions (I'm in Milan for this reason), the more I am dismayed by having to write about it. It doesn't take much to understand that what these Lombard regionalists are pursuing, knowingly or unknowingly, is a Cisalpine secessionist plan. And, once they've had the instrument, they'll manage to realize it. There's a reason why Bassetti already no longer speaks of a "Lombardy region", but of a "Padania region", of which the rest of Italy would be but an appendix. If they'll succeed (and they will succeed), farewell Risorgimento! It wasn't but a fiction, agreed, and in practice it has failed. But with what will we replace it?
    • Diari 1957-78, ed. Rizzoli, 26 September 1972.
  • Cynics are all moralists, and merciless too.
    • L'Italia giacobina e carbonara, Rizzoli, Milano 1972, p. 144.
  • A real writer [...] doesn't look up to any other writer but himself.
    • I protagonisti, Rizzoli, 1976, p. 207.
  • [...] the love of power excludes all others.
    • I protagonisti, Rizzoli, 1976, p. 265.
  • Also we Italians have something to Elvis Presley: to offer one of the rare occasions when we prefer to be Italian rather than American.
    • il Giornale nuovo, 20 August 1977, p. 1.
  • Certainly, for a newspaper director, to have within arm's reach a Travaglio, about whom every starring actor, supporting cast and extra of Italian political life he is ready upon cold request to provide an inquiry brief refined in the most minute details is a nice comfort. But also a bit unsettling. The day I asked him if in that archive, into which no one is allowed to stick their nose, there were a brief with my name on it, Marco changed the subject.
    • Preface to Il Pollaio delle Libertà by Marco Travaglio, Vallecchi, 1995.
  • Which ever one of you will want to become a journalist, let him remember to choose his own master: the reader.
    • From a lecture of journalism at the University of Turin, 12 May 1997; cited in La Stampa, 14 April, 2009.
  • [Gladio] had been founded in almost all the Countries that belonged to the Nato, and for Nato's wish, aware that its European partners would not have been able to withstand the attack of a much power armed as the Soviet union: they would have to wait for the rescue, the intervention of America. It's demonstrated by the fact that when this plan was revealed, no other country found nothing to say. Only we Italians – the usual idiots and fools novelists – made it the subject of scandal and pretext of «Crime fictions» that still find credit, as this letter shows. I also feel shocked, and bit offended. But just because no one has called me for adherence to Gladio: I would have given it with enthusiasm.
  • In Italy there is a fringe of imbeciles who believe they can resurrect communism. Bury the corpse of Marxism is not easy, because for many people it means to deny the entire existence. Of course Bertinotti is not of these: he knows nothing about Marxism, he doesn't care anything, he is a little clown, an Italian populist who stirs in the streets tides of poor devils and speaks again of the working masses, who sees only him.
    • Corriere della Sera, 19 December 1997.

2000s - 2010sEdit

  • The American death penalty exists and it withstands in America because it was a basic and constitutive element of its birth and development. Of the famous 102 «Wandering Fathers» that for first they disembarked from the «Mayflower» in that Continent not to ransack the wealths as they made Spaniards and Portuguese in Mexico and in America of the South, but to build you a new and free society, around the two bystanders they were leftovers of jail that ran away the Justice and the jails of Europe, and a bystander they were men that liberty looked for, and above all that religious. The first ones had in pocket the gun, the seconds the Bible, but in his/her Calvinist version that of the retaliation, based on the conception of a God executioner that demands the death of whom without correct motive it gives it.
    • Corriere della Sera, 9 July 2000.
  • This world materialist, hedonist and exhibitionist it doesn't even thrill me; and, considering that he reads me, you/he/she should know him/it. But I would want to know the system that you have in mind, and don't have the courage or the ability to propose. A Franciscan world? Beautiful: but looked around you, and tell me if you see a saio. A revised and correct communism? It would make the end of the other, even if he/she won't succeed in repeating its disasters. Believe me G.: the only acceptable social and economic system today, in West, it is that based on the market: a checked capitalism and moderate, to intend us. It is desirable that it may also correct: and not this always happens, it is true. The trouble is that the capitalism is served as the capitalists - and those, must admit, they are often difficult to be digested. You don't try to confuse me the ideas, therefore. You won't succeed us. I probably have three times his/her years, and I have seen where they conduct these generic pulls against "the multinationals": sooner or later, someone will depose the bar and he/she will take the gun. I forgot: I sign my opinions, she throws the stone and it hides the hand. All brave ones so, you boys of Seattle?
    • Corriere della Sera, 9 June 2001.
  • This isn't the Right, this is the billy-club. Italians don't know how to go Right without ending up in the billy-club.
    • 17 March 2001; cited in Montanelli e il Cavaliere by Marco Travaglio, Garzanti.
  • I do not want to suffer, I do not have a christian concept of suffering. They tell us that suffering elevates the spirit; no suffering is something that hurts and that's all, it elevates nothing. And therefore I fear suffering. Because with regards to death, I, who in everything believe to be moderate, am absolutely radical. If we have a right to life, we have also a right to death. It rests on us, and it must be regognized the right to choose the when and the how of our own death.
  • I have never dreamt of contesting the Church her right to remain faithful to herself, meaning to the commandments that come from Doctrine... but that she expects to impose these commandments upon me who do not have the good fortune of being a believer, trying to pour them into civil law in a way that they become obligatory even to us non-believers, is it right? To me it doesn't seem so.
  • Depression is a democratic sickness: it afflicts everyone.
    • cited in TV Ippocrate, Rai News, 13 giugno 2010.
  • [A certain Italian judge] declared in an interview that at night he has no need of sleeping pills since, with regards to the Law, his conscience is at peace. We believe him without further ado. But if he asked himself the same question with regards to Justice, I ask myself if his sleep would be equally untroubled. And we are after all aware that he'll never ask himself this question, and on the contrary it would seem to him totally odd. Because, for an Italian judge, the Law and Justice have nothing to do with each other.
    • Il testimone, p. 386.
  • No, Travaglio kills no one. With a knife. He uses a weapon much more refined and unendictable in court: the archive.
    • cited in Marco Travaglio, Montanelli e il Cavaliere: storia di un grande e di un piccolo uomo.
  • I know many crooks and they never preach, but I don't know anyone who preaches that isn't a crook also.
    •, 7 may, 2008.
  • Let not the usual abstract arguments be brought to me, like the sacredness of life: no one contests the right of everyone to arrange their own life, I don't see why their own death has to be contested.
  • The only advice that I'm in the mood to give - and that I give regularly - to young people is this: fight for what you believe in. You will lose, just like I have lost, all the battles. But only one you may win. The one that you engage every morning, in front of the mirror.
    • Soltanto un giornalista, Rizzoli, 2002.
  • Democracy is always, by nature and constitution, the triumph of mediocrity.
    • Oggi, 11 October 2000.
  • [Addressed to Berlusconi who wanted to impose himself on the editorial style of "Il Giornale"] In the art of entrepeneurship, you are certainly a genius, and I an asshole. But in the art of argument the genius is me, and you the asshole.
    • cited in Marco Travaglio, Montanelli e il Cavaliere: storia di un grande e di un piccolo uomo.
  • It isn't necessary to be socialists in order to love Pertini. Whatever he says or does, smells of cleanliness, of loyalty and of sincerity.
    • Storia d'Italia, volume l'Italia degli anni di fango.
  • Pertini has interpreted as their best the worst about Italians.
    • cited in Franco Fontanini, Piccola antologia del pensiero breve, Liguori Editore, 2007, p. 12.
  • This isn't a romanticized biography. It's a biography period. If here and there it resembles a romantic novel, the credit is only Garibaldi's, not his potrayers.
    • from the preface to Indro Montanelli e Marco Nozza, Garibaldi, BUR.
  • I fly to Luxembourg on Berlusconi's usual twin engine, who accompanies us, glad to exhibit himself and exhibit his status in an international ceremony. The gold medal (but is it really gold?) is given to me by Gaston Thorn, head of the Luxembourg government. Berlusconi fills his notebook with addresses: of all the V.I.P.'s that he has met. He's a true climber that takes advantage of everything and throws nothing away.

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