Archive for the ‘celebrations’ Category
People who vote for Berlusconi are often the target of curiosity and/or negative comments. How can they, the comments go, keep voting for such a dodgy character? Are they missing something? Have they been brainwashed into loving him regardless of the truth?
No one can answer these questions, unfortunately. But certainly, these voters are not stupid. Certainly, they are not prone to misunderstanding what’s happening around them. Certainly, they double check facts before letting go of their emotions.
Except, today they did not understand that Berlusconi was actually being condemned, at last, for fraud. So, “Silvio’s army”, as they named themselves, celebrated his acquittal, and chanted “Silvio, Silvio!” in the streets of Rome until, finally, they realised that they hadn’t got what was going on. Oops.
The President of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, has welcomed the Italian team back to Italy after the final match of the European Championship of football 2012. Highlighting how bad things looked like before the EuroCup started, for Italy, he pointed out what an excellent performance the 4-0 defeat against Spain represented. Well, something like that.
Let’s face it though: a 4-0 defeat is not good ground for celebrations. Unless you are a stats geek: it is in fact the largest winning margin in a Euro tournament final, so it makes for a change in the records. Spain has certainly the best team at the moment, but Italian players clearly underperformed: they looked tired, unfit, and they basically stopped playing after 60 minutes.
Prandelli, Italy’s coach, admitted he was wrong in calling for the worn-out players, leaving the fresher ones on the bench, but he had a great explanation for why he did that: “I could have been more courageous, and change some of the team players. But that would have been disrespectful for those who had taken us to the final.”
Take Thiago Motta, who replaced Montolivo at the 11th minute of the second half. After 6 minutes, his harmstring cracked, and he had to leave the pitch, leaving Italy with 10 players only: after that, the match turned into carnage.
Now: Motta could have rightly complained for not being respected by Prandelli, had the latter judged him unfit to play in the final. And Prandelli owed it to Motta to give him 6 minutes in the Euro final, although the match was then lost. It’s pure logic, people, and if you don’t see it, that’s why you will never coach a football team.
The Italian Prime Minister, Mario Monti, aka “the sober” (google “Mario Monti sober” and you’ll see why), also praised Italy’s performance.
He showed the country’s support for the team, by flying to Kiev to be present at the stadium for the final, sitting next to Ukraine’s Prime Minister Yanukovich, and other nice fella Lukashenko -and pondering “human rights, what human rights“?
The Italianist has made it into the national press – here’s my article on Berlusconi’s resignation, which appears on today’s SMH.
Today is the 30th anniversary of the bombings at Bologna train station, one of the bloodiest (probably the bloodiest) terrorist attacks Italy suffered during the so-called anni di piombo (“years of lead”), in the 70s and early 80s. Eighty-five people died as a result of the explosion. Nowadays, the lancets of the station clock are still indicating 10.25 am, the time the bomb went off.
Each year, on the 2nd of August, relatives of the victims, along with common citizens, meet in front of the station, to commemorate the event and to ask for the truth about those responsible for the death of all those innocents. As of today, two neo-fascists have been condemned as material executors of the attack, but nothing has been said as to whom they acted for. The inquiry into the responsibilities of the Bologna bombings has led to State’s representatives and the so called “strategy of tension”, yet very little effort has been made to date, to find the instigators.
Today’s celebration is the first in which no member of the Government is present. Ministers used to take part in the 2nd of August commemoration, as a sign of the State’s support for the victims’ plea for justice. However, and particularly in the last few years, Ministers present at the ceremony have been also object of contestation from some groups of citizens, in relation to the trentennial delay in ascertaining the truth behind the bombing.
This year, then, no one from the Government is attending the ceremony. The reason for this is explained by Ignazio La Russa, Italy’s Minister of Defence. This is La Russa:
Ignazio explained yesterday: “In the past years, you always booed the Ministers who came to the ceremony. Thus, it’s not worth it for the Government to send its representatives”. His view was echoed by Manes Bernardini, from the Northern League: “This year, Bologna will pay for the contestations of the previous years”. Other members of the Government agreed with these statements.
So, here is today’s lesson about democracy in Italy. The Government is there to be praised. If citizens contest the Ministers, if they made them accountable for their (in)action, then the Government will simply avoid showing up. Or, if it is the citizens who showed up to ask question, the Government will kick them out
(The Minister of Defence, La Russa, grabs a freelance journalist, Rocco Carlomagno, who was annoyingly contesting the PM Berlusconi during a press conference, and throws him out of the room).
The flame of democracy and freedom still burns in Italy. Against those who stay sceptical of Italy’s democratic level, today the Italian Minister Roberto Calderoli has poured fuel over the fire of liberty, a testimony of how well the Italian Government is doing.
This is Roberto Calderoli (on the left):
Calderoli plays a fundamental role in the Italian Government: he is the Minister for Legislative Simplification. His job consists in looking at the legal system and removing the ‘useless’ laws. A key function. What would happen without him? How many useless laws would Italians have to deal with, otherwise? Thank God there is Calderoli. I’m surprised no other country recognises a similar figure in their administrative body.
Clearly, not everyone can be Minister of Simplification. Calderoli has been the winner of a harsh selection, thanks to those qualities that make him stand out in the political scene. One can imagine him spending his days over the legal code, looking for the clogs in the mechanism that make the machine run less smoothly.
Today, his value was finally duly celebrated, through a solemn rite which, however, did not take place in the Parliament but in a fire station. The ceremony consisted in the Minister burning a bunch of cardboard boxes, symbolising the 375.000 laws that allegedly the Minister has carefully and relentlessly removed from the Italian legal code. This the Minister getting ready for the service:
The attentive reader will notice that he is wielding a flame-thrower and an axe. He’s so attached to his work that he takes his tools with him always, even on official ceremonies. The boxes say “375.000 Useless Laws”. Can anyhting be more postmodern?
In pure ministerial fashion, Calderoli set the useless boxes on fire. Witness allege that Jim Morrison’s voice was heard coming from the flames:
The fire dissolved the burdens of the Italian Legal System. People clapped hands. The Gods were probably pleased.
(Pictures from Affaritaliani.it)
The Minister waved his thumb, reassuring the country about the safety of our legal system.
Thanks to this purifying fire, then: a fire that finally sweeps away all the little nuisances of our everyday life, about which we should stop worrying.