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Berlusconi: Italy is a "shitty country"
by Newropeans-Magazine
2011-09-30 07:14:14
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He's survived sex scandals, corruption investigations and insurrections – but can Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi survive in his post even after insulting the country he rules? Considering the shocking vulgarities he has been caught using while referring to Italy in a secret recording, this may be too much for even the Teflon Prime Minister to fend off.

The recording, made in July but released this week, catches Berlusconi saying he wished he could leave Italy – saying it is a "shitty country" that "sickened" him. The recording was made by Italian police, who were investigating allegations that Berlusconi was paying a man to corroborate his story that he was unaware the women supplied to him for his infamous "bunga bunga parties" were prostitutes.

The transcript of the recorded conversation came to light after police arrested a wealthy Rome businessman and his wife in a raid at dawn on Thursday, charging them with blackmailing Berlusconi. They allegedly demanded payment from Berlusconi in order to keep quiet about arranging the prostitutes for him. Berlusconi has admitted paying them but says he wasn't blackmailed and did it voluntarily.

In order for the prosecution to go forward the transcripts of the recorded calls had to be made public. In one of them, Berlusconi goes on a tirade while talking to the Rome businessman.

"They can say about me that I screw. It's the only thing they can say about me. Is that clear? They can put listening devices where they like. They can tap my telephone calls. I don't give a fuck. I … In a few months, I'm getting out to mind my own fucking business, from somewhere else, and so I'm leaving this shitty country which sickens me."

Berlusconi's poll numbers are already dismally low, and in any normal country it's hard to see how a leader could survive after insulting his country in this way. But this isn't a normal country, this is Italy. Italians are not a very patriotic bunch, and the sad truth is I suspect a great deal of Italians would agree with Berlusconi's sentiments (most of the Italians I know certainly do). Add to this the fact that Italy has no viable alternative to Berlusconi at the moment and I would predict he's still not going anywhere (despite his apparent desire to leave).

As I've written before, Berlusconi is like asbestos in the walls of Italy – toxic to the country, but if you remove him the whole structure will need to be renovated – and the building could collapse. It's an extremely strange situation.



Dave Keating

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Emanuel Paparella2011-09-30 11:16:03
Indeed, in a democracy people get the government they deserve. I suppose Berlusconi is projecting his disappointment that the Italians have had it with him, finally; somewhat like Hitler when at the end of it all said that the Germans did not deserve somebody like him and ought to perish if they could not appreciate what they had. Which is to say, “shitty” is in the eye of the beholder.
There is an intriguing comment though in the above piece by Mr. Keating: Italians are not a patriotic bunch. Ah, Machiavelli certainly thought so but you see, unlike Machiavelli, Dante’s vision was not that of a patriotic rabid nationalism leading eventually to two devastating world wars and the near collapse of Western Civilization, but to a Italy which would never adapt to the straight jacket of nationalism since she had universal experiences such as The Roman Empire, the Renaissance, the Catholic Universal Church. And therein lies the tragedy. Italy, within the EU could have been the country which could have supplied the missing vision of a genuine union based on cultural values; a union this which now seems to be coming apart at the seems. Instead she may play the role of the final straw that breaks the camel’s back; the asbestos that brings down the whole building built on sand, of a union based on mere economic considerations, to use the author’s own metaphor. Which is to say, the microcosm usually reflect the macrocosm or the whole as Hegel has well taught us. Hegel must be turning in his grave and so might Dante.

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