The Sock Revolution
A court in Italy has recently ruled that Mediaset, the media empire owned by the Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, will have to pay 750 million Euros to compensate a rival over bribery. This stuff surprises almost no one in Italy, where many people seem to consider bribery as a normal practice. However, as is also normal practice in Italy nowadays, the ruling has been rejected with disdain by the individual accused. Let us not forget that the Berlusconi has recently defined himself the best leader Italy has had in the last 150 years (i.e. since Italy was unified).
This is the Italian Prime Minister:
A few days after the verdict, on a news programme on Canale 5, one of three TV channels of Mediaset (see above), a short video was presented, as part of a discussion about the ruling on Berlusconi. The presenter, at a certain point, stops the discussion and, speaking to the camera, says: “But now, let’s go and see who is the man who has condemned Berlusconi”.
A short video follows, in which Raimondo Mesiano, the magistrate who issued the verdict against the Prime Minister, is showed walking in the street and going to the barber. The images on the screen are accompanied by the pleasant voice of a young woman, who highlights the ‘weird behaviour’ of ‘the man’ (she uses the label ‘man’ to distinguish it from ‘judge’, since the movie shows Mesiano off-duty). The video can be found here, together with a more detailed discussion of its content.
The ‘weirdest’ thing about Mesiano appears at the end of the video: ‘the man’ is sitting on a bench, smoking a cigarette, and the young lady’s voice points out, “look carefully: he is wearing turquoise blue socks.” Such an eccentric individual is the man who was allowed to decide on Berlusconi’s bribe accusation. A debate follows after the video, with the conclusion that such a strange individual should not be trusted. Rather, he should apologise and, unpredictably, Berlusconi’s condemnation to pay 750million Euros should immediately be withdrawn.
Now, it can certainly be a coincidence that Canale 5 is owned by Berlusconi, and that one of its TV programmes is trying to discredit a judge (the first, to my memory) who has condemned him for bribery. We can also overlook the fact that the video has been made by spying on Mesiano (‘the man’, hence the citizen, hence a citizen with citizenship rights), following him as he goes to the barber and zooming in from a car to see what he is doing. In some countries this may sound slightly scary, but that’s a different story.
Nevertheless, a suprising effect of this event has been that the opposition party, PD (Partito Democratico), which has not been performing at its best recently, suddenly has been moved to react. “That’s too much!” – the opposition leader, Dario Franceschini, blasted today.
This is Dario Franceschini:
He showed his support to Mesiano against this (he says) illegitimate attack by uttering, ‘I am wearing turquoise socks too! Down with the King!’. Apparently, magistrates in Italy are organising a “sock protest” for tomorrow (Monday), against Canale 5 and its choice to follow judge Mesiano.
They’re all gonna wear turquoise socks. Now Berlusconi’s days are numbered.