The ministers of the new Italian government were sworn by the re-elected, new/old, physically ancient president of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano. Half a mile away, a despairing 49 year old who had lost both his wife and his job shot two policemen in front of a government building. The assailant wore a tie and a nice dark suit. He ran out of bullets before he could shoot himself with his black-market handgun.
So he fled the scene of his mayhem, but he was immediately caught by the police. Naturally, in this country where political tension and terror are always a living presence, everyone feared for the worst — especially the interior minister, whose face showed visible concern as he attended the swearing-in ceremony.
It’s been a complicated path to the formation of this latest Italian government, even by Italian standards. After years of partisan stagnation, the Internet movement of the histrionic comedian Beppe Grillo had emerged as a new force and a possible power broker in Parliament. But the Movimento 5 Stelle, as Grillo’s insurgent party is known, refused to play by the conventional rules of Italian patronage.
28 Apr 2013 Leave a Comment
27 Nov 2012 2 Comments
Why are women first to pay for every crisis? In every society, capitalist, socialist, or transition? It’s because the bodies of women are expendable.
I always noticed how women over eighty in Turin looked incredibly well, beautiful and loved and taken care of: desirable, because old and valuable. I connected this to Italy’s long-established and sophisticated health care system. Italian hospitals were famous for methods which preserved the dignity of the patients, in tumor cures, especially breast cancer: the invisible mastectomy ( quadrantectomy, Istituto Europeo Oncologico) was invented in Milan. Rather than simply intervening in crisis, they were good at illness prevention and attentive follow-ups.
The economic crisis and financial harassment of Italy has reached this safe haven of health and dignity. In Turin, one of the best clinics for cure and prevention of breast cancer is about to be closed. The patients are on the streets, their appointments cannot be scheduled, they are paying for their urgent operations because their doctors cannot hep them. The doctors are on the streets too.
Public health care in Italy was guaranteed as one of the basic human rights: without class race of gender discrimination. We are all equal in front of death.
The Valdesian hospital was founded by Italy’s Protestant minority; it was about spirituality and charity rather than the global health market. However, the church passed the hospital to the state some years ago. They naturally assumed that it was in good hands, but as this tiny church is to the state, the state is to the market. Although “Italy is not a brothel,” as they said during the Berlusconi scandals, the flesh of women is negotiable by other means.
Protests, sit-ins and negotiations have failed to save the hospital. So last weekend, Turinese women decided to take action. They organized a public booth to photograph their breasts anonymously. They plan to release an affresco of hundreds of their depersonalized female bodies, as a warning. They are merely doing publicly what the hospital did less visibly.
Next step is the big demo planned for December first, to be followed by a sit-in for December 7th. On that day, the police are scheduled to shut physically the hospital. It was a place of solace where women felt like respected human beings, and the attack on it has made them into Amazons with a cause.
15 Nov 2012 3 Comments
When I myself was a protesting student, I remember vividly remembered the cold warning in the text by Pier Paolo Pasolini. He reminded us youngsters that the police we faced in the streets were also someone’s children, that not all young people were fortunate enough to be in colleges rather than wearing uniforms, and that we should join all together against the general oppressor, the system, capitalism, the corporations, name it…
That was then, and this is now, and while the students and policemen still have the same interests, they are still on the opposite sides of the barricade. Austerity has driven Italy to its knees. Day by day the future of Italy’s young people is vaporizing, and now the streets are flooded by torrential rains, to boot. Italian cities rocked by earthquakes might as well settle for witchcraft, rather than find responsible and competent government officials who can rescue the nation’s casualties.
A Facebook comment from my Italian friend:
Is it possible that all these years every time there is a demonstration we have to expect the same song: attention to the provocateurs + protestors cruelly beaten by the police + poor policemen beaten by provocateurs = Am I missing something: Democracy!
In Torino, a 15-year old high school student posted on her Facebook a photo of two girls kissing in front of the heavily armed police. With these words: this is how we should face the forces of order!
She told me: those horrible Black Bloc destroy our attempts to do something peacefully, and we are not protesting only because there is no money left in our schools, but also as Europeans who understand that austerity program kills the students in rich as well as in poor countries.
Yesterday during the “No Austerity day in Europe”, proclaimed by students and trade unions in major towns in Italy, the protests turned to riot and turmoil. In Torino, three policemen were injured, one badly. The number of students/citizens injured in Torino is not yet known. Chantings and peaceful legal manifestations degenerated into beatings and insults.
In Rome, along with a general strike of transportation, the Tiber flooded, paralyzing the nation’s capital. Even on its best days Rome can barely move.
The targets of protesters were banks, public administration offices, and even the twelve-starred European flag, a flag so deliberately dull that it rarely attracts a passionate attention. The center of protests are the countries in crisis, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy…but even the well off northern countries are crippled by the Austerity, which is rapidly become a crisis much worse than the Crisis it was supposed to fix. Choked by Austerity, Europe is sliding into Recession again, and there’s no sign that this approach will ever restore prosperity.
The word Austerity, that calm and bureaucratic term, is enough to cause panic in the streets of Europe now. National majorities know that it’s a weapon against their own interests. Where is the “Austerity” for the one percent of the population dominating the economy? They don’t apply any example of severe austerity to their own habits and aspirations. Secured in private jets, or within their high tech mentally-gated communities, they wonder why the streets grow slick with blood, sweat and tears.
This is something new in the world. It’s rather like the alienation and anomie of the Industrial Age, but it’s a new cybernetic detachment — the atomized individuals of the Network Society, super-connected to screens, but failing to live and breathe together as a civilization. The Smart City shows its dark side as a gridwork of surveillance, as the peaceable consumers of the 1990s become a rabble to be kettled up!
United Europe just won the Nobel Prize for Peace. Where’s the peace and Union from Austerity?
29 May 2012 Leave a Comment
Today again i thought it was all in my head: i was in the local hospital doing blood tests and i thought i was swooning because of the sight of blood, lack of coffee…but then i got instant messages, tweets, emails etc…my IPHONE applications went wild, beeping and blinking…
Earthqaukes again in Modena and whereabouts 5.8 Richter scale the first…
Tremors were felt s far as Torino , doors were banging, glass clinking…the pregnant women in the clinic touching their bellies in fear
This is the storify account of the tragedy still going on: up to now 13 dead and buildings still collapsing
translation of the tweets
#terremoto The cupola of the Church of Santa Barbara in Mantova has collapsed
#terremoto Don’t use the cellphones except for emergencies, the cell coverage is collapsing
#terremoto Ten probably dead. In Carpi a part of Duomo has collapsed and the parish priest is dead crushed by the ruins
There is an idea circling and i am adhering to it. Cancel the parade of June 2 and use all that (big?) money for the reconstruction #terremoto
TIM provider has opened it ‘s wifi coverage in Emilia Romagna. Spread it if you can #terremoto
In Modena blood type O positive is needed#terremoto
today at school so scary #terremoto
hey you cannot see these things in TV, they are worried that #terremoto is felt in Milano
Many calls for blood needs in hashtag #terremoto from Italian tweeps. Looks like there are many people wounded.
#terremoto, remove the password requirement in order to facilitate the communication after the cell phone blackout
# for those who forgot. At Ostiglia, 30km from the epicenter #terremoto, a nuclear power plant was planned
#terremoto professionals: engineers, architects needed, contact the police number 0535/611039, 800/19797
12 Apr 2012 Leave a Comment
Hunting for New Esthetic
In Englsih,en frnacais
What a strange country, my American friend keeps saying after years of experience here: I can understand the Serbians, I can understand almost anybody in the world now, but not Italians. Why do Italians say things everyone knows they don’t mean? Why do Italians tolerate things they all claim to despise?
It’ s not easy to be Italian, because you just have to know why certain things happen, over and over again throughout history, although nobody wants them or plans them. But also, very importantly: nobody stops them. One of them is corruption.
Many years ago, when I was a girl living in Italy with my parents, my father worked for the Yugoslav import export firm with a prominent site in Milano Italy. One important expense to run his firm, an expense rather hard to demonstrate to his Yugoslav accountants, was the bribes he paid to high ranked officials in the Italian police and government.
For Italians this activity was merely a public secret. More