Italians and the Dodecanese Islands

The article discussing the Italians as being “good” colonizers has connections to what we have read in past articles but also to what we have discussed in class. In a previous blog post, I wrote about how the Italians saw themselves as being better (and more knowledgeable) about colonialization than other countries with colonies. While reading this, I could think of a few examples of how this opinion was not entirely true. It was interesting to read this new article by Doumanis because it shared a different perspective on the Italians as colonizers.

My first thought was to question why the Dodecanese was studied so intensely within this research and not another colony like Ethiopia or Libya but my question was answered while reading when it mentioned that the Dodecanese was more renovated than other colonies. In fact, this idea of renovation is where much of the praise for the Italians came from. Roads and other types of infrastructure were needed terribly so that the people who lived there could live better and healthier lives. It is easy to see why so many would praise the Italians because they provided them with more jobs and better places to live.

Another interesting point was the comparisons between the British and Germans and the Italians. It would be interesting to see other accounts of comparing these nations and how they match up with the ones found amongst the Dodecanesians. A point that I found to be extremely interesting was the concept that the Italians were fine with connecting with the colonized socially unlike other nations which was one of the main comparisons between nations. It is also important to note that the citizens who encountered Italians who were not so nice upheld their original view of Italians by saying that this one Italian was “un-Italian.”

Of course, this happiness came to an end when the Fascist regime came into power and the good economic conditions began to deteriorate thus causing the relations between the colonized and the Italians to diminish as well. Overall, this account of Italian colonialism is intriguing and connects to other ideas we have discussed in class. Further research and reading may show that the Italians were “better” at colonizing than the other nations just as they thought they were.