Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi And Mussolini: A Case For Communicating The Defeat Of An Enemy

Today, my Two Cents of Marketing are about communicating the defeat of an enemy. As you have heard, on Sunday President Trump announced that ISIS founder and leader, a ruthless murderer, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was successfully taken out as the result of a raid conducted by United States Special Forces.

“He died like a dog, he died like a coward,” the president said, adding, “The world is now a much safer place.”

These comments were enough to start a war on Twitter world. However, what President Trump did was not new neither crazy. If we take a trip in the time machine, we will see why victories such as this one, were show publicly and messaged similarly.

First, these practices have been going on from biblical times (See some wars in 1st and 2 Kings). Still, I will refer to a much recent piece of history. Let’s remember Mussolini. Known by the nickname “Il Duce” (“the Leader”), the Italian dictator who created the Fascist Party in 1919 and eventually held all the power in Italy as the country’s prime minister from 1922 until 1943.

Fast forward. According to Vintage Everyday , at the end of WWII, Mussolini wasn’t killed by the Allies, but instead by fellow Italians. He and his mistress, Petacchi, were shot on April 28, 1945. Next day, their bodies and the other executed Fascists were loaded into a van and moved south to Milan. At 3:00 am, the corpses were dumped on the ground in the old Piazzale Loreto.  After being kicked and spat upon, the bodies were hung upside down from the roof of an Esso gas station. The bodies were then stoned from below by civilians. This was done both to discourage any Fascists from continuing the fight, and as an act of revenge for the hanging of many partisans in the same place by Axis authorities. 

Benito “Mussolini’s gang hanging by their feet at a filling station in Milan” after being executed. Milan, Italy. 29 April 1945.

President Trump remarks pursuit a similar thing: to discourage terrorism insurgents. It will be effective? Time will tell.

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