It’s not too often that a country’s citizens get riled enough to organise days dedicated to getting rid of a current prime minister, especially one who claims to be the best and most popular prime minister his country has ever had.
Well, this is Italy, and despite Silvio Berlusconi’s claims that he is the super-panacea for all of Italy’s ills, others have decided that Italy really would be better off without someone who, amongst other things, seems to be in perpetual legal trouble. Berlusconi also leans towards making comfy laws for himself. This does not create a great impression either.
And now we have a mafia turncoat who is claiming that he was told by someone else that Berlusconi made a pact with the mafia ages ago. Although the claim is hearsay – its veracity cannot be ascertained – Gaspare Spatuzza, the ex-mafia hit man behind the claim, is one of a number of mafia turncoats who have said that Berlusconi has close connections to Italy’s most notorious organised criminals. Whether one pays much heed to the claims of a killer is another question entirely – but Spatuzza has been called as a witness.
Il Fatto Quotidiano, Italy’s newest, and, arguably, most independent newspaper, thinks that the claims of the mafia turncoat regarding Italy’s prime minister are important enough to warrant a front page headline.
All the accusations and antics do not really shed any positive light on Italy’s public image.
Just to add to Italy’s troubles, today is No Berlusconi Day in Italy. Here is an image of the front cover page of Il Fatto Quotidiano.
I went to the No B Day rally in Milan, and have added an update.
Il Fatto Quotidiano – No Berlusconi Day
Not the kind of thing you would expect to see, seeing as Berlusconi claims he is Italy’s most loved prime minister, now is it?
UPDATE 06:00 pm – 5 December 2009
After The No Berlusconi Day Rally in Milan
Out of interest I asked via Twitter whether there was an No BDay rally in Milan. I was told that there was, and that it was in Piazza Fontana in central Milan. Off I went. I did tweet about the event via Twitter while I was there, but not everyone uses Twitter, and some probably don’t even know what it is.
Anyway, down in Rome, the anti-Berlusconi day rally attracted between 350,ooo to 500,000 people – well, that’s what the organisers are saying. Official estimates will probably be less – and they are: 90,000 is the official estimate – see this La Repubblica article in Italian – but bear in mind that the Italian La Repubblica newspaper is not Berlusconi friendly -at all.
Let’s assume that the true number of those who attended down in Rome was somewhere between the organisers and official estimates – still not an an inconsiderable turnout, especially for a few weeks before Christmas. And the whole thing was organised via the Facebook and the web.
Stop reading, start speaking
Stop translating in your head and start speaking Italian for real with the only audio course that prompt you to speak.
Now, how many people attended the Milan no Berlusconi event? Well, I’d say that around 2,000, possibly, maybe less, were there (I am no expert at estimating crowd sizes though! Corrections welcome.). Not too many, and believe me, the streets of Milan were heaving today. This is partly because it is a holiday weekend here in Milan, and also because there is the Oh Bej Oh Bej fair on, and, of course, Christmas is nearly here too.
What Was said at the Rally In Milan?
All the usual. Nothing I have not heard before, many, many times. Things along the lines that Italy has declined morally. Corruption is rife – even up here in northern, relatively mafia free, Italy.
Guess who is blamed for it all? Yes, Silvio Berlusconi is where the blame is being firmly laid.
One point which was made was that Berlusconi sets a terrible example for many gullible and impressionable – read young – Italians. This is true, and pretty obvious really.
Yes, it was interesting to have been at the No B Day thing in Milan, but at the end of the day, it seems as though many Italians just want to get on with their lives as best they can and hope their county does not implode.
It is possible that some Italians have no idea what is going on – Italian newspapers, with some notable exceptions, play things down, as does the television here. There are the political chat shows. Let’s face it though, who, after a hard day at work, really wants to sit down to watch a bunch of people telling them that Italy is not working, when they have heard the same words for decades, but regardless, nothing ever really changes for the better? Yes, that’s right, nobody really.
— end of update.
Berlusconi To Go Before Christmas?
Will Italy’s tanned media magnate stroke prime minister go before Christmas? Who knows – after all he has already survived a series of crises. Maybe there is a Noble Prize for the ‘Most Resilient Prime Minister’? – After having been to the Milan rally, I’d say Berlusconi can keep going for a good few years yet.
Do Italians want Berlusconi to go?
Some do, and some don’t. And some don’t care what happens.
The impression I get; remember that I live in Italy; is that more would like Berlusconi out than would like him in. As I say though, this is my impression.
Alternatives to Berlusconi? None.
There is also another minor problem. The alternatives are no more than Italy’s usual bunch of rinse and repeat politicians, people who take part in lots of chat shows, write book memoirs thought their ‘careers’, and enjoy the company of transsexuals – possibly paying for such company with tax payers’ money.
No wonder I read in the Italian press this week that many of Italy’s young want to leave Italy. Actually, this is something I hear quite a lot from students at the business school where I work – some really do feel that there is no hope for them in Italy. This also explains why so many Italians are keen to learn decent English.
Upon hearing the reports in about Italy’s youth wanting to escape, Italian president Gorgio Napolitano was worriedso much that he appealed for them to not go.
Those who had already left stated that they would return – once all the dinosaurs had gone. In amongst the ‘dinosaurs’ are about 99% of Italy politicians. And no, I do not think 99% is much of an exaggeration, alas.
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