May 7, 2008

Why Italian Left is unfit to lead Italy

In today’s Il Foglio newspaper, Alfonso Berardinelli, one of Italy's leading literary critics and a contributor to Sole 24 Ore and Corriere della Sera, explains (see English translation here) why, in order to understand the new Italy that is being ushered in after the overwhelming victory of the Centre-Right coalition in the recent Italian elections, and even more so the conquest of the city of Rome, a brief meditation needs to be made on the nature of the “fundamental values of modernity.”

But his argument isn’t merely theoretical: the specific target of his criticism is a Left, whose political leaders—despite many of them being perfectly decent human beings—frequently appear to be “too good for the electorate”, thus snobbish, presumptuous or hypocritical,” whereas political values are only credible “when they are physically interpreted by someone who obviously seems to represent the social strata with which those values are identified.” To tell the truth, this subject was previously and masterfully developed by Ernesto Galli della Loggia in a column published on May 3 in the Corriere della Sera, whose title was “The rebellion of the masses.” Unfortunately no English version has been provided by the Milanese daily newspaper (here is the original Italian text, just in case).

Furthermore, Berardinelli says that

More than a victory of the Right, this was a defeat for the Left, which is unable to understand the physical nature of the city’s problems. Although I consider myself on the Left, I didn’t vote; I couldn’t have voted for Alemanno, but then neither could I vote for Rutelli. But here in Rome the electorate didn’t believe that Rutelli would sort out the city’s problems, whereas they were prepared to give Alemanno the benefit of the doubt.


This is, anyway, an article-interview packed with thoughts and observations, which is difficult to summarize in a few sentences. That’s why a thorough reading is highly recommended.



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Birmania, disastro annunciato

Birmania, per gli operatori di "Save the Children" il 40% delle vittime sono bambini. Il ciclone, si dice e si scrive, non poteva essere evitato, d'accordo. Ma che dire dell'impreparazione? Semplicemente che ha avuto un ruolo determinante nel disastro (27.000 morti, 41.000 dispersi e più di un milione di senza tetto). Sul Corriere di oggi. Nella blogosfera si segnala il post di Enzo, di due giorni fa ma attualissimo (anche sul Foglio online).



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'My Conversion from Islam to Christianity'


The Corriere della Sera newspaper (English edition) publishes today some excerpts from Magdi Cristiano Allam’s new book Grazie Gesù. La mia conversione dall'islam al cattolicesimo (Thank You Jesus. My Conversion from Islam to Christianity), Mondadori, which will be available in Italian in bookshops on May 9. Allam is a prominent Egyptian-born Italian journalist who distinguished himself for his articles on the relations between Western culture and the Islamic world. His harsh criticism of Islam and his support to Israel—he is also the author of a book titled Viva Israele (Long Live Israel)—made him a possible target of fundamentalist Islamic terrorists. That’s why Italian authorities have arranged for him a permanent police escort. He received baptism during the Vatican's 2008 Easter vigil service presided over by Pope Benedict XVI. (Allam will present his book at the Turin Book Fair on Sunday, May 11, in the Sala dei 500 at 3.30 pm.)



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Non per sottovalutare i Massimi Sistemi ...

“Noi dobbiamo cercare di coalizzare, partendo dal livello locale, tutte le forze che si oppongono alla destra,” ha detto Massimo D’Alema, intervistato da Lucia Annunziata. E Christian Rocca ci ha fatto su, a ragione, un commento feroce. Ma io non me la sento di sparare su Max, e non certo perché ritenga che qualche buona ragione politica (nel senso nobile del termine) possa pur avercela. No, semplicemente lui cerca di sopravvivere politicamente, e lo spazio che gli si offre—magari non proprio su un piatto d’argento—è appunto questo, per quanto miserello, a mio modesto parere.

Comunque, sopravvivere, per un politico di professione, è il primo comandamento, come sanno quasi tutti coloro ai quali, certamente, il buon Tennessee Williams non stava pensando quando scrisse questa cosa qui: “The only thing worse than a liar is a liar that's also a hypocrite!”

Ho detto “per un politico di professione,” non parlo di «statisti», che in Italia, come si sa, sono una variazione sul tema piuttosto unica che rara. Per questo lascerei perdere. Malinconica conclusione? Direi di sì. Ma tant’è.



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