Talkin’ about Mafia

February 8, 2008

“my dad, my family, my country! I don’t give a fuck! I wanna write: Mafia is a pile of Shit! I wanna shout that my father is an asslicker! We must rebel against this shit! Before it’s too late, before we get used to their faces, before we won’t realize any more!” (Peppino Impastato)

Sicilian blood runs in my veins…

My dad was born and grown up in Paternò, a small Sicilian town, as the first son of a eight children family… he then moved to Potenza when he met my mom…

They say a lot of things about Sicilian people: most of these are true… Sicilians are passionate and generous, a population and a Country affected by a cultural and social disease called Mafia, deeply rooted in their own history…

In fact Mafia does not come from nothing: it’s a Sicily creature, and it comes out of its history made of subalternity, separateness, subjection… and Mafia is, most of all, a way of thinking, a cultural and mental attitude…

I usually don’t love movies on Mafia, but I really did love I Cento Passi (100 Steps), an extraordinary movie which gives the spectator a truth: the Mafia not as an external power which dominates and oppresses Sicily but as a monstrous creature de-generated from the very deep part of Sicily; Mafia as a private dimension, a tradition, a mental way… and for this, among all the Anti Mafia heroes, I have loved most of all Peppino Impastato for his being remained anonymous for years until the movie came out, for his having been “only” a Mafia victim, not celebrated, but later become a real symbol for many…


A disease called corruption

February 6, 2008

Among the most important newspaper titles today is the statement made by the Italian National Auditing Authority (Corte dei Conti) which talks about Italy as a Country in which the public system is deeply affected by corruption.

As a matter of fact, this is a situation which every Italian citizen knows very well.

In Italy corruption takes several forms: bribing is just one kind.

As an example, every Italian knows well how hard is to win a public competition without having what is here called “raccomandazione” that means a politician acting to advantage you. This is probably the most widespread form of corruption in Italian society today: political parties have hands practically everywhere. A real occupation of society: there are few spaces and contexts in Italy in which politicians still don’t “have the last word”, this meaning for a common citizen to ask for their rights as if they were privileges.


Permanent Crisis

February 4, 2008

It may be very probable that the ongoing attempts of Italian Senate Speaker Franco Marini of forming a new government to change the voting system will fail in short. This means we will soon vote, probably in spring.

A famous Italian opinonist, Ilvo Diamanti, writes today on La Repubblica about Italy situation defining the country as a “Transitory Republic”, meaning that Italy has been a nation in a permanent crisis for 15 years at least. Rubbish, Corruption, Mafia, Work Insecurity: Italy is a country always struggling to stabilize socially, economically and politically.

The big risk is that the protest attitude becomes a national habit which could finally lead to the birth of a destructive criticism based-culture; in a few words what we call: qualunquismo, meaning an attitude of indifference or lack of trust in politics.

As a matter of fact, this has already became a widespread way of thinking in Italy, mostly in the last years. We are talking about a crisis of democratic participation that has affected Italy in the last years and that shows up in a dramatic social fragmentation, a diffused lack of civic sense, a mistrusting in politicians and politics and the almost total absence of young persons in political parties.

Thus, what observers fear most is the crisis to become a permanent status.


The Last Shame

January 30, 2008

How can we comment on the final verdict which has absolved Silvio Berlusconi of false accounting charges in the SME trial? Simply as another Italian shame.

As a matter of fact, Berlusconi was absolved thanks to the fact that false account is not considered as a crime anymore according to a bill approved in 2001 by a government headed by the same Berlusconi that the Economist described as “the fruits of office” and a “a bill that would shame even the voters of a banana republic”. This is a very concrete example of the real reason for Berlusconi “entering the field” and of what conflict of interest is and how it works.

I spent some time yesterday reading and watching videos about the P2 Masonic Lodge. This was a secret association with aims of subverting the existing system which seems to have had a consistent influence on many events in Italian modern history, sometimes defined as a “state within the state”. The lodge came to light in 1981 when some investigators found out a secret list of more than 950 members, including politician, generals, journalists, bankers, businessmen and secret services functionaries, and a document called “Plan for Democratic Rebirth” whose goals were, among other things, to submit the Judicial Power to the Executive Power, to consolidate an alternative media power, to rewrite the Italian Constitution and to divide Trade Unions.

And guess what: Mr Silvio Berlusconi was in that list! And today, many authoritative opinion leaders assert that most of that Plan has been implemented right through the political action of Silvio Berlusconi.

In 1982 a law prohibited the existence of PD and other secret associations having political aims. But the shadow of P2 still comes back sometimes.


and the winner is…

January 29, 2008

Here I am after one week in bed with flu while everything in my country seems to be crashing down: Prodi government finally fell Thursday and the shaming images of Senator Barbato trying to spit and verbal insulting his colleague Cusumano really gave the world the impression of what Italy is today: a country facing a deep and dramatic crisis and no one able to solve it. Bruce Sterling wrote: What collapses faster than an Italian Government? That’s actually how it is: in Italy govs are always so instable and this is so hard to be understood by those who don’t know Italy history.

If I should explain this I would start by saying that my country is still in a difficult period after 2 important historical crisis: the collapse of the Soviet Union which also started the road to the conclusion of the experience of the Italian Communist Party (PCI) which was the most important in Europe (after that the Left hasn’t yet succeeded in finding a new political identity); and Mani Pulite (Clean Hands) a nationwide judicial investigation into political corruption started in the early 90s and that finally led to the demise of the so-called First Republic.

After those events a new and more stable system hasn’t formed yet and Italy is still struggling with the same and even got worse problems. Berlusconism sure hasn’t helped; in fact, it has fed political hatred spreading the concept that adversaries are to be treated as enemies. Beside this, cultural messages diffused by his media have increased feelings of antipolitic and vulgarity everywhere, making Italy a deeply divided country. Mr. Berlusconi is the only winner, of course, yet today. For instance, go check whether its patrimony has increased or not since he “entered the field” and see.


Knowledge needs neither fathers nor priests

January 15, 2008

“A Free Church in a Free State” was what Camillo Cavour (Piedmontese statesman who brought about the unification of Italy) considered to be the most suitable relationship between religion and politics and what it looks as an unifinished path yet today.

In this country, the Pope’s interference in political and civic issues is an habit. Not always limitlessly tolerated.

In these days a group of scholars, lecturers and students, at La Sapienza University in Rome, the biggest in Europe, is protesting against a planned visit by the Pope Joseph Ratzinger. They are actually asking the visit to be cancelled as they object to his position on the 1633 trial to Galileo. Actually, in 1990 Ratzinger still being a Cardinal, had commented on the 17th-Century Galileo trial saying it was “reasonable and just”. (Galileo had argued that the Earth revolved around the Sun).

In Italy the Church opinion still leads and influences many persons and the greatest part of politicians. I believe the problem is not what one personally thinks and acts in its private life, as far as this regards its beliefs. The question is what is the sense of honouring the Pope (a State and Religious Leader) in a context such as the inauguration of the Academic Year of a lay institution.


Learnin’ the Berlusconism

January 14, 2008

One of the most widely discussed issues in Italy in these days is the Electoral Reform, considered by all political parties as a real urgency in order to make the Country more governable. The most authoritative interlocutors are still Walter Veltroni, leader of the Democratic Party, which is the first centre-left political party in Italy, and Silvio Berlusconi, former Prime Minister, heading the biggest centre-right party.

Yesterday Berlusconi declared: “I will not sign reform agreement if the Gentiloni Draft on TV becomes a Law”, talking about the draft law approved by the Italian cabinet in October 2007, aimed at increasing competition in a television market dominated by Mediaset, the broadcaster owned by Berlusconi, and the state-owned RAI channels. In a few words, that would also mean: finally regulating the conflict of interest in Italy.

The question is if in a democracy, such as ours should be, the owner of 3 out of 6 of the most important TV channels, together with many important magazines and newspapers, can become a Prime Minister, as well.

Berlusconi says: “It would be an act of banditry, and this country would no longer be a democracy if politicians came to power with the intention of punishing their adversary through his companies and private property”. This is the Berlusconism: a general interest which becomes private and vice versa, a political leader to whom everything should be allowed because of his being the Man who only can save the Fatherland.