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Things That Happen in Italy

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Amidst the Ruins

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Today, a building in the ancient area of the Pompeii Village, in Southern Italy collapsed. Pompeii has escaped the eruptions of the Vesuvium, it has managed to survive bombs during WWII (accidentally dropped by the Americans). However, it could not resist after years and years of water infiltration into its buildings, due to general carelessness and lack of proper maintenance works. More on this can be found here and here.

I find it symbolic that the building in question used to be the House of the Gladiators. That was the place where gladiators would train and prepare to fight. What happens when such place ‘collapses’? Is that a message that there might be no reason, or no hope, to fight any more?

Luckily, the Italian Minister of Culture, Sandro Bondi, who is in charge of the care of Italy’s heritage, has immediately stood up to comment: “If it was my fault, I would resign!” This is Bondi, in an image that captures his relentless effort to assist the Prime Minister in Parliament:

In addition to his achievements as Minister of Culture, Bondi is well-known for reprimanding Quentin Tarantino, a snobbish movie director, when he had commented on the quality of Italian cinema in a not very friendly way.

Unofficial sources have suggested that the Government is already planning an emergency strategy to deal with this very serious incident that, according to the same sources, is believed to be part of a large plan of the Mafia. As this post is going into (world)press, a meeting is taking place at the Prime Minister’s residence in Palazzo Grazioli, in Rome, where the leader is working hard, with some colleagues, to solve the country’s problems. There are consistent rumours that Berlusconi is about to appoint one of his best men to direct a rescue plan, which allegedly is going to be called “Operation Bunga-Bunga”.


Written by TheItalianist

07/11/2010 at 22:26

Discounted White Deaths

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A worker from Albania died while at work in a building site in Northern Italy. He fell off one of the scaffoldings. In dealing with the compensation claims for the victim’s family, who lives still in Albania, a judge yesterday ruled that they should be given 1/10 of what is normally paid to the family of victims who are Italians.

That is correct: a judge ruled that the company that hired the Albanian, and that was responsible for his death due to scarce health and safety regulations, will have to compensate the victim’s family, but will have to pay less than what they would pay if the worker had been Italian. The reasoning behind this decision is that the worker was from an “economically depressed” country, and the compensation claim of the family should be adjusted to the economic reality of Albania. So, for example, if in Italy you need 1000 euro per month to survive, and in Albania 100 euro could be enough, then an Albanian should receive 1/10 of the compensation owed to an Italian.

We are talking about compensation for death. We are talking about people  who work as much as the Italians do. We are talking of people who are exposed to dangerous working conditions because their bosses do not want to waste their money in safety regulations. Now, a judge says that the parents of a worker at work should be paid less so to avoid the risk of “unjustified enrichment”. That’s true, look what these immigrants invent in order to steal our money: they come here and work 14 hours per day, then at some point they jump off the scaffolding so to extort money from their bosses. Damn you, immigrants!

Luckily, justice is in place to defend the country. A judge has finally established that there is no need, for building companies, to raise their safety standard by investing money in safety measures. Quite the contrary, they should simply hire more immigrants: they are much much cheaper to refund. And the boss’ one, I’m sure the judge would say, is a justified enrichment.

It follows, then, that if then worker, who dies in Italy, was from the Emirates, or from Monaco, or from the Vatican, then his/her family should be paid 10 times more to reflect the economic reality of the country of origin. So, maybe some priests are rejoicing at this legal ruling..

For more on “white deaths“, a typical Italian phenomenon, see here.


Written by TheItalianist

25/10/2010 at 19:25

Welcome into the world..

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Sadly, this really happened last week.

Written by TheItalianist

30/08/2010 at 15:26

No worries, you’re just a pedophile

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The Vatican is always in the first row in the fight against the evil. We see it everyday, with the never-ending effort of its ministers and leaders to spread the word of the Lord and defend it against the vices lurking in contemporary society. The media are also employed to make sure that the good words reach the delicate ears of the faithful. Not accidentally is the Vatican in the heart of Italy, a country where its missionary aims do find a very fertile soil.

Like all the heroes fighting for justice, however, the Vatican too has had too face obstacles and criticisms in the face of recent scandals. One of those who strenuously rejected the allegations against the Church is bishop Giacomo Babini.

This is Don Giacomo:

In April 2010, he stood up to defend the Pope against the various accusations moved against him. Recognizing the gravity of the alleged scandal, Don Giacomo decided to speak up and to warn the public that a scary plot was in action to undermine the Vatican’s image. Giacomo’s shocking revelation about the plot can be found here.

Not only is Giacomo a bishop, he is also an emeritus bishop. When one is an emeritus bishop, whatever that means, it must also mean that he has to do more than a normal bishop. So Giacomo felt compelled to say more about the scandals in which the Vatican seems to be involved, particularly in connection to pedophilia, a long lasting element of the Vatican’s missionary practice. Don Giacomo has been interviewed a few days ago on a catholic blog (I do not mention the blog itself, but you can find a report about that interview on this more hit-deserving website). On that occasion, he was asked to explain his thoughts on the concept of homosexual priests.

Here is Giacomo’s telling answer (my catholic translation): “I already said, many times, that I consider homosexuality a real perversion against nature. Now, if these things [namely, being homosexual] are committed in such an obscene way by priests, then it would be the case that, as it once used to be done, we should send these priests to life jail. (…) Homosexuality in a priest, if translated into a depraved practice, is even worse than pedophilia. (…) As a priest, I would be more sympathetic with a paedophile who repents, and suffers for his condition, than with these vicious beings. I tell you more, if I had met a paedophile priest, I would not have denounced him, I would have tried to redeem him. A father, such as a bishop is for the priests, does not denounce his sons who do wrong and repent. However, with the vicious ones we must be intransigent.” Catholically added emphasis.

Sorry kids, we need to redeem these guys. Now shut up and go back into that dark corner, until we come and get you again.” They must have removed this last bit from the interview..

A comment on the Vatican, from a world-wide famous, and recently deceased, Professor of the London School of Economics, can be found here.

Written by TheItalianist

07/08/2010 at 12:29

The Ideal Visit

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In September this year, the Pope Benedict XVI will pay an official visit to UK. Everyone is waiting for this event with trepidation: both intellectuals and normal citizens discuss what should be done to give Ratzinger the best welcome. The Vatican itself does not hide its excitement about the visit.

Unfortunately, today things got a bit shaky. Courtesy of the Sunday Telegraph, it transpired that the UK Home Office may not be taking this visit too seriously. The issue hinges around a memo written after a brainstorming over the Ideal Pope’s visit. The whole story is here.

Surprisingly, this accident is receiving much more attention in UK than in Italy. The Italian websites mention this accident just in passing. This is partly justified by the fact that today, 25th April, is an important date in Italy: it is the anniversary of the defeat of Fascism in 1945. The media attention has therefore focused on the celebrations taking place around the Belpaese. Among these, there has been a speech on TV by the Italian Prime Minister.

Now that elections are gone and that the TV can go back to talk politics, Berlusconi appeared on TV to tell citizens about the value of freedom, democracy, and…. the necessity to change the Italian Constitution. His argument highlighted the obvious strong connection between freedom, democracy, and himself becoming more and more powerful.

Thus,  little room is left, on Italian websites, to the Pope accident. The few articles I have found loosely refer to an incompetent with-collar in the Home Office, who has been ‘removed’ already. It  also seems to me that words have often been translated in a vaguely instrumental way (“silly” became “idiot”, “far-fetched” became “hard-core”, etc.). All they seem to do is to highlight that something very stupid, thus not worth discussing, happened somewehere in England..

Catholics may well feel upset by this memo: how can the British ask the Pope to do something against child abuse? And what’s this crazy thing, blessing gay couples! Gay people have no rights; in fact, they are a threat to society. Nonetheless, I think Catholics would have an interest in having the issue discussed on the Italian media. Actually, they may even ask the Pope to change plans and cancel the visit to UK. This would throw many academics and common people into dismal, true: yet, respect is respect.

Instead, the Italian media have remained quite silent on the Pope memo. No one wants to talk about it. Let’s forget it all happened, and let’s focus on freedom and democracy.

(Posters appeared today in the streets of Rome, celebrating Mussolini: “An idea vanishes, when no one is able to defend it anymore” . The phrase was meant to criticise the celebrations for the 25th of April)

Written by TheItalianist

25/04/2010 at 19:37

I’m Unemployed – Get Me Out of Here!

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A group of workers, for long at risk of being made redundant, have decided to occupy the building of a dismissed jail in Sardinia, on the Asinara Island, to draw public attention to their situation. For the last 4 months, workers at Vylnis, a chemical industry in Porto Torres, have been receiving redundancy payments. Agreements are still sought to sell Vylnis to (potential) international buyers. Yet, talks towards a deal are still a long way from being concluded. The workers, in the meantime, have been left with never-ending uncertainties about their future, and an overall salary of 800 euros over the last 3 months.

Thus, in a desperate attempt to bring public attention over their dramatic situation, 15 workers have spent the last 2 weeks ‘in exile’ on the Asinara Island, occupying the site of the dismissed prison that used to host mafia bosses.

“On TV L’Isola dei Famosi  (the Italian version of I’m a celebrity Get my Out of Here) is starting just now. Here, on the Asinara Island, we are starting L’Isola dei Cassintegrati (‘The Isle of the Redundant Workers‘), and we won’t leave until we’ll hear something about our future” – said one of the workers.

It is hard to get attention from the media, especially over such a long time as this case seems to require. These workers must also have been aware that, the now that L’Isola dei Famosi has started, the media will not be concerned with anything but which one, of the booby sluts taking part in the reality showm, will start crying because she does not like eating her own poo.  It is true, reality shows are made to absorb people’s minds as much as possible and to divert them from reality. So the workers on the Asinara Island are going to offer us the first real reality show. The message is clear: while, on TV, famous people go to exotic places, out there in the real world, the redundant workers go to prison islands:

A group on Facebook supports the workers’ case:  “Unfortunately, the only real reality show”

Written by TheItalianist

10/03/2010 at 17:10

The Evil is in the Web

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An Italian judge has condemned three Google (ex)executives for violation of privacy laws. The case refers to the publication, in 2006, of a video showing four teenagers bullying a disabled fellow in a school in Turin. Details of the story can be found here.

The judge found the Google Three guilty of not removing the video immediately after it had been signalled. Google replied they actually did block it a few hours after being contacted by police. It is surprising that the judge chose to punish Google for ‘privacy’ violation, given that it is not a media like a TV channel, for example. The actual perpetrators of crime (the teenagers) have received 10-months community service punishment, and rightly so (they probably deserved more). But why punish Google? What’s its fault?? And why do these things happen in Italy for the first time?

Some suggestions can be found here, and some more here . One way to locate  this episode in a broader context is here.

Written by TheItalianist

25/02/2010 at 22:35