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The Berlusconi drama
by Thanos Kalamidas
2009-05-07 09:14:03
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“And she stormed into her lawyer’s office, demanding a divorce, but because she wanted revenge before filing for divorce, she put an advert in all the main newspapers, where she said in capitals: I hate you!”

Of course I’m joking, but reading about the latest drama in the Berlusconi family –and by family I mean something wider than mother and kids – I felt that I was reading one of these popular celebrity gossip blogs. However Berlusconi is the Italian Prime Minister and his drama becomes headlines in all the mainstream media!

Berlusconi is a clown in politics, populist and with only one agenda: his self-centred life. But do the Italians deserve that? If we believe that people deserve their ruler, then Italians are in really deep trouble. But what most of us forget, is that when one of the major players in the European Union is in trouble, then the entire EU is in trouble, since a lot of things like foreign and defence policy are somehow common.

On the same time, Berlusconi is perhaps the best example of something seriously wrong with the political life in Europe, and apparently nobody gives a damn. Nobody cares, because if they did, people like Berlusconi would have no chance to be in power today. Remember, Berlusconi is the best example of all things politicians by definition should avoid.

He is a man with an agenda; a man who can manipulate the law while he owns huge companies – including media with great interests in the financial and political life of the country. He is a man who has avoided accusations for a series of crimes, because he has the power to change the laws. A man who has said unbelievable things, occasionally sounding cute, but most of the time he seriously crosses the lines.

Some of the things he said in the last few days, when he visited the victims of the earthquake in L’Aquila: he suggested the victims should feel like they live in a campsite with free food. A few days earlier, he told them to do their furniture shopping in a known retail shop because it is …cheaper.

The latest is his fight with his wife and him finding out that she’s filing for a divorce from the newspapers. But even this had its own drama with a political side.

Mr. Berlusconi likes to have around him – in the government, in the party, in the parliament, probably in his office – beautiful women. Obviously his temperament doesn’t remind him that he is a public figure, high profile and a role model, so he’s flirting. He is flirting constantly, and so openly that he made his wife angry; angry enough to express her feelings in the media, accusing him of choosing trash candidates, their only criteria being looks, not intelligence. This would have seemed funny, if he hadn’t done it before; if it hadn’t proved a marketing trick to attract the attention of the people before serious elections to win votes.

It isn’t the parties that elect the Prime Minister, nor is it the parties’ members. It is a quiet minority that is watching everything on television, every night sitting comfortably on their sofa, eating take away food. Obviously these people cannot see the implications of their decisions. What they see is a man who represents them in everything they would like to be, but cannot.

If you take away the glamour, the money and the power, Berlusconi looks more like a poor civil servant than a tycoon, and that’s exactly his power. He is one of us who made it. Nobody asks how he made it and this is in a society where corruption is acceptable – and please don’t take this as prejudice towards Italians. I think the most corrupted politicians over the last fifty years will prove to be George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and their gang. So Berlusconi fulfils the profile, plus he can be funny too.

Perhaps we are going through a new era. The era of all great personas – Mitterrand, Thatcher, Papandreou and Palme – is obviously over. That was the period of prime ministers’ managers – obviously now we are going through a period of Prime Minister clowns, with Berlusconi and Sarkozy leading the circus!

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Thanos2009-05-07 09:32:44
According to a latest survey in Italy, Berlusconi's popularity after the 'drama' reaches 72%!!!

Emanuel Paparella2009-05-07 10:44:28
If that is the case, then as the proverbial saying goes, people deserve the leaders they choose for themselves, at least such is the case in a democracy; and to a certain extent it vindicates Plato's reservations about democracy proceeding from a mindless and ignorant base interested in bread and circus rather than the common good; after all Socrates was killed "democratically" in democratic Athens. What did Cavour say? Now that we have made Italy let's make the Italians. Pari passu, now that we have made the EU, let's make the Europeans!

Emanuel Paparella2009-05-07 11:00:25
P.S. There is an adjective missing from today's headlines and it is "buffa," which in Opera is the equivalent of comedy (or opera buffa) as distinguished from tragedy. It has the same root etymology as "buffone." Serious Italian see Berlusconi as the clown of Europe. Indeed, every circus has its clowns as Fellini well teaches us in his movies but let not forget that every circus show has its spectators and supporters too and without them there would be no circus either.

Thanos2009-05-07 11:37:40
Semantics but in Greek 'buffos' is somebody ...stupid, the idiot!!!

In Berlusconi's case I wouldn't be surprised if it is all a marketing trick, he has done it before.

Marco Rossini2009-05-09 20:31:42
Don't take surveys for granted. Most of the times politicians (in Italy, I don't know elsewhere) state that "according to recent surveys" there's something on their side. Berlusconi of course is the king of this kind of statements, but he's not alone. Unfortunately he was "democratically" elected (talking about TV monopoly would take us too far), and it's something we must cope with

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