The Italian Almanac

Colombian pop star Juanes

Italian News - September 3

A summer music hit has sparked a war of words between Italian left-wingers and neo-fascists who claim the Colombian pop song, La Camisa Negra (The Black Shirt), as their anthem. The record, whose singer says it is simply a love song, has topped the charts this summer in Germany, Italy, Austria and Switzerland.

The black shirt - "camicia nera" in Italian - was part of the fascists' uniform under dictator Benito Mussolini, and is still a symbol for Italy's extreme right. Italian left-wing website Indymedia urged readers to "boycott the fascist song, queen of the summer, Camisa Negra", prompting a stream of online comments ranging from the amused to the irate.

The song title was also picked up by Secolo d'Italia, the newspaper published by the National Alliance, a party rooted in Italy's fascist past. Secolo d'Italia gave front page space to a column imagining beachgoers singing along to Camisa Negra, leaving out the "g" so it would sound more like "black shirt" in Italian. Media have reported that extreme rightist partygoers raise one arm in the fascist salute when the song is played in night clubs.

The singer could not be reached for comment.