Posts Tagged ‘Sick Man of Europe’

The unrest is finally evident in the Sick Man of Europe. Italian people do have enough. They have enough of Burlesconi, enough of corrupted politics, enough of cultural economic and débacle. They could have seen it coming for quite a few years now, but hey, better late than never. Apparently I am responsible for this delay. It appears that my generation is and has been too well off to take to the streets in protest. You see, the Italian bourgeoisie has been quite extended after the economic boom of the 60’s and, as far back in time as that era may seem, its effects appear to have carried Italy and Italians up to the recent global crisis and, in spite of the first consistent cracks of countless historical, local family businesses that are spreading like an epidemic and for the first time impoverishing the upper-middle class, through it. We live in houses that belong to our family of origin or that our parents bought for us. We can still pay our bills and in case we pass a really rough patch, we can always resort to selling something – some of that patrimony that has been accumulated by generations hungrier than ours, who have lived times filled with opportunity but also with ingenuity. Some of that same stuff our dreams have been made of, but that seems now to be hindering those same dreams. We are too comfortable, the situation isn’t bad enough, why would we risk this status quo, for something possibly worse? And where would we get after the streets, anyway? So, it’s our fault. Granted. But while we are educating ourselves, traveling around the world, making the best of the chances our parents have worked towards for our benefit, italian politics have built a rampart around themselves and we are now completely incapable of denting it. It may be our fault too if the people who have been in charge of choosing, when it still was possible, put their faith – and worse, their country – in the hands of histrionic characters without any credibility, but with ample, well placed, greedily loyal cohorts. We were and are some of those people: too much and not enough at once. But can it be our fault also that the opposition to this myopic trend was sparse and confused? Can we be blamed if the people who were already all in their bureaucratic seats and were supposed to mind the Italian Republic, its Institutions and its People, were completely un prepared for this atypical democratic storm? Berlusconi has never had the absolute majority of Italians on his side, this we must remember, only the relative majority that sufficed him to seize power and hold it hostage. A somnolent, or ignorant, or gullible relative minority of Italians has chosen to give a go to the Big Brother’s version of the nation, both in the literary and mediatic sense – which in our country just so happen to correspond. So, while the show went on, the actors became its producers, the extras were kept as much at bay as possible and the public just watched, torn between incredulity (it must come to end end soon, it would simply be risible if it weren’t dramatic), hope (something must be done in this bureaucratic country, let’s just work and give it a try), cynical boredom (politics are the problem of this country, not its solution). When cracks started to appear on Italy’s perfectly made up face, more people have realised that a country cannot hold up just on foundation, card-board and spotlights. Our fatalism has come to an abrupt end. The Berlusconian revolution has failed, not itself yet, but the Nation. In fact, there has been no revolution at all. Our politics are just as grey and corrupted as ever, the cast evermore oligarchic, the system convoluted and self-reverent. But we still don’t have enough of this, we are keeping Berlusconi in power: how is that possible? This is the question that the great magazines of the world keep asking. May I ask them a question: how do we put an end to this? Could they suggest us a way? Because, honestly, we are at a loss. One of the great democratic applications of Berlusconi’s rule is that the Parties decide which candidates they bring at elections, in what are called armoured lists: the people cannot choose the names of their candidates in any way (the PD – Democratic Party of the left -still holds primaries, but their transparency is all but crystal clear), the party that gets the relative majority wins a disproportionate premium of seats – in order to be able to keep governing in the country of transformists, supposedly – so that the self appointed elite that scores 1/3 of the votes can pretend to be almighty and makes any opposition obsolete. This in a country that skizofrenically goes on governing itself as if it had political bi-polarism (but it’s more the mental disorder that comes to mind, rather than the governmental policy), when in reality is populated by a myriad of parties, to be classified in three groups: right, center and left – Ladies and Gentlemen, Italy has 3 poles, like 13 months or 8-days weeks, the things they make us believe. How do we vote out of this? The opposition still hasn’t united around a common path, let alone a leader, let alone a program. The impression is that even if in the lines of the politicians there seems to be someone who actually has the ideas, the capabilities and the following to work and get things done, they won’t be the ones heading the  above mentioned armoured lists, or they will run against one another. If they are going to come together and are able to sneak in through the cracks of this impermeable system, they should shape up and get at it soon. Yesterday, preferably. And in the meanwhile? Well, you know, our democracy (if such is still to be called) has three governmental organs (no, Papi’s isn’t one of them :-P): the Legilative one (the chambers, Parliament and Senate), the Executive one (the President of the Republic, ex-communist Giorgio Napolitano, as incredible as it may seem) and the Juridical one. They are supposed to be independent from each other and to watch over one another. Well, apparently one of these organs has something to object to the Prime Minister’s legal conduct, it has for a while, but to no avail. It has started a new inquiry into Berlusconi’s ways (concussion, favouring a minor’s prostitution, as you will no doubt be aware of, all minor felonies pertaining to his private life that no one should care about or interfere in – and to hell with the law, ethics and credibility, bunch of envious moralists!). But we are by now used to hold trials in the media rather than in tribunals (how surprising), by which practice we render the Juridical power void. Surely Berlusconi will come out of this mess yet again, maybe not gloriously, but probably not as ruinously as one would suppose looking from the outside in. I have another question: when does a democracy stop being such? When poverty is at 60% or when the people cannot participate in power, in the shared weath and responsibility any longer? Be it for corruption, bureaucratic conundrums, sheer incapacity or a combination of all the above factors and many more, how do we get out of this? As I said I believe that amongst some administrators of the opposition and, strangely enough, the majority (all be it in more exceptional cases, due to their generally knelt attitude) that have something positive to say and do to move this heavy country forward. I see hope only in these new or little heard voices (at a national level) uniting for a radical change of this res publica, public patrimony, that includes the healthiest, more energetic, more pragmatic, more motivated slice of the nation. Italians are better than the people who represent them today. They just haven’t been effective enough and we are today at the brink of a situation that goes way beyond the possibilities of an election round. We may have to wait longer for a wide opposition (both of its parts, center and left, with all their numerous declinations) to come temporarily together to change the “porcellum” electoral law (as one of its supporters called it) and then dissolve into their differences – so that through this first round our politics may cleanse themselves and try to get to the next step and actually govern the crumbling nation of Italy, if there’ll be enough time left to salvage the scraps. We have entrepreneurs, Mayors, scientists, citizens who can make the difference and transform the many failures of of our Nation in as many opportunities of change and progress – we can pay back and show that investing in us hasn’t been such a bas idea after all. I cannot believe that those heading us are still meddled in their sticky businesses and letting such a plentiful and inspiring country starve itself to civil death.

If you are out there, please spread the word.

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