Incredible hours we are living these days in Europe, in Italy: the G8 meeting in an earthquake site in L’Aquila, violent hailstorms paralyzing traffic in Milan, a Michael Jackson memorial in front of the Gothic church Il Duomo. Nothing seems too weird, as if different worlds have accumulated in these moments of economic, cultural and climatic collapse.
With the big slogan designed on the ground: YES WE CAMP, the G8 meeting in L’Aquila had started: judged by the Guardian and New York Times as rather dubious, since it was organized by the Italian prime minister Silvio Berlsusconi. Lately, Berlusconi has been covering the front pages of international press because of his lascivious partying with call girls and underage girls. All of a sudden, he is hosting this rather politically unpopular G8 meeting of the world superpowers. Nowadays the aging G8 promoted to be the G14, Including ambitious candidates for a globalized world such as Brazil, India, Mexico.
Before the meeting started several alterglobal protesters were “preemptively arrested.” Mostly they were student veterans of the recent riots of Torino. Then in Rome and Milan again students have taken to the streets to show their wave of discontent with a global crisis that denies them education funding and makes them lifelong debtors for insolvent banks.
The non governmental organizations, too, wonder if their pressing issues will even be addressed, much less solved: economic crisis, climate change or help for Africa.
But Barack Obama has given a different tone. Since Obama took the trouble to meet the president of Italy, Giorgio Napoletano, a legend of Italian antifascism and decency, the Italian traditional need to be one with US has been appeased.
The First Ladies of the G8 have arrived and have been eating pasta or work-shopping. Even Obama’s kids got their Italian gelato.
Day two: among the G8 to 14, the atmosphere is relaxed, even too much: it tips into the clownesque. Relentless Italian paparazzi and other TV s are documenting the leaders laughing too loud, clapping each other on the shoulders, especially Berlusconi, who endlessly gropes and backslaps without grace or a sense of decency.
While the mainstream is trumpeting all day about some G8 big deal, the earth in L’Aquila is still trembling. and the protesters from the destroyed city proper are getting ready for the big rally for the last day.
The disaster women from L’Aquila named themselves the Last Ladies. They marched through the center of the city, claiming that all these three months they have been trying to restore to normal life through small but significant deeds — since they cannot do much more, from their tents, dispersed and powerless.
Speaking of tents, the Libyan president Qadaffi opened his own tent in L’Aquila, where he camped with his suite, sullenly and demonstratively. A couple of weeks ago, his official visit to Italy where he ludicrously praised democracy and women’s emancipation within Libya, raised protests all over Italy which lasted until he left.
No big political news on G8 : the major deal on global warming didn’t go through. However, more help for reconstruction of the destroyed city is being promised. Why is it that both good or bad news ring the same bell of official impotence?
George Clooney came with a broad smile on his tanned face: I heard the movie star has a private home somewhere near Genoa, Italy. As a Hollywood star, as an American, Clooney has it all for the main-media here: when he promises he will make a movie on L’Aquila, using italian actors too, things get wild. Why do Hollywood actors have more credibility these days than true activists, those who really make things change on the ground, sometimes even paying with their lives?
The G8 meeting is considered a success by those who attended it. Obama and the Pope met in Rome and talked about bioethics, abortion and homosexuality. Not a ground where anybody can get along with the conservative Catholic church.
The alterglobal demo in L’Aquila proper lasted three hours: it wasn’t violent, it was significant and sober. New times have come: times when different values and politics face each other with blank stares and subdued antagonism. The rich will not save the world alone, they are not creative, they just have what is left of the means. The poor must find some way to survival in this global transition to nowhere. No earthquake can kill creativity.