venerdì 12 novembre 2010

The Last Day of Pompei

As many of you will probably have already heard, earlier this week the House of the Gladiator in Pompei collapsed, after standing for nearly 2.000 years.
If we were to take an omen, like the Romans used to do, that would be a symbolic collapse foreseeing the general collapse of a country with no direction, with no identity, with no sense of culture.
`Culture, what is this?' is probably what some of our ministers would ask -if they do not go with Goebbles'aphorism `when I hear about culture, I take my gun.'.
In a bittersweet comedy, The Barbaric Invasions, exposed the theory of the `cicle of intelligence': a country reaches its maximum in a certain time, when it is at its cultural best, then it inevitably declines and it will take countless centuries to raise up again.
This is where Italy is, right at the bottom of this circle.
Our governants -and those who still support them- are so blind that they cannot even take care of one of the most important archeological sites in the world, already under the protection of Unesco, one of the biggest attractions in Italy (2.5 million tourists each year). They do not care, they spent all the money destined to it for research on marketing (how can you sell something which is collapsing?) and on programming on a visit of Mr Berlusconi -who, by the way, never came to Pompei.
And, joke of all jokes, who was in charge of the site?
Our Minister of Culture, Bondi and the omnipresent Bertolaso (yes, the one who was laughing about another collapse, that of L'Aquila, after last year's earthquake) for Civil Protection.
Right, because we are so cultivated in this country that we do not ask to our brilliant archeologists (and we have many) or Arts-historician to help the conservation of Pompey. No, we ask to the emergency-taskforce.
Pompei survived the ashes and the stones of the Vesuvio protected by the ashes itself, will it survive the dirt, the free-growing vegetation, the wild dogs and the weather?

Furthermore is there any hope for a country who does not value one of the most important sites of the Western world?

Please, don't ask me, I am not a fortune-teller.

mercoledì 3 novembre 2010

Ridi, pagliaccio, ridi: The movie that is not a movie

Let's imagine that I will tell you about a new movie, a tragicomic one.

A movie about an old Prime Minister, who mistakes democracy for his own reign.

A movie about an old man that still wants to be a macho.

A man without morals.

This man is called Mr B.

A man who loves escorts, who acts rudely, who has no sense of shame, who organise parties with statal money and who has already been in trouble because of his escorts.

Nothing new, do you say?

And then her, the new victim of Mr B.'s attention. She is a minor, a young immigrant from Marocco, who has been invited to one of those exclusive parties, who has received money for that.

If it is not pedophily, it is still something ethically wrong.

When the new favourite is caught by the police and charged with the accusation of robbery, Mr B phones up the head of the police in Milan to convince him to release her.

Abuse of power.

Then he claims to justify his worries, that she was the nephew of president Mubarak.

A lie to justify the abuse of power.

Then again when the public officer argued that he wanted the girl to remain with the police or go to a protected institution, again mr B. imposed that the girl go away with Nicole Minetti (another young friend of Mr B.).

Abuse of power.

If this was a comedy, then some good man -perhaps policeman, perhaps journalist- would have denounced this behaviour and there would be enough of accuses to force Mr B. to resign from Prime Minister.

Unfortunately this is not a movie nor a comedy.

This is the reality of Italy.

Do you say that in any EU country a Prime Minister would resign because of such a scandal?

So maybe we are in Europe no more.

Because this is what happened that Mr Berlusconi -he himself must be convinced to be a great comic actor- is proud of what he has done and say that `he is just a kind man that loves to help people.. And despite all, is better to chase after girls than being gay.'

Ridi pagliaccio, ridi…

but every woman and every man of some intelligence in Italy is crying.

martedì 2 novembre 2010


Pier Paolo Pasolini (poet, journalist, philosopher, linguist, novelist, playwright, filmmaker, actor, painter and political figure) was killed exactly 35 years ago in Ostia, near Rome. We do regret not to have with us his soft and tender voice, spreading truth and light among the absurdities of this society. Here is one of the articles he wrote, about a year before his death, on the relations between power and politicians, and on the aim of any intellectual who says NO to such a perverted system.
"Memoriam quoque ipsam cum voce perdidissemus, si tam in nostra potestate esset oblivisci quam tacere"

I know.
I know the names of those responsible for what is called a "coup" (which is actually a series of "coup" formed in protection of the power-system).
I know the names of those responsible for the massacre in Milan on December 12, 1969.
I know the names of those responsible for massacres of Brescia and Bologna in the first months of 1974.
I know the names of the "summit" that has operated: therefore, both of the old fascist designers of "coups", and the neo-fascist perpetrators of the first massacres; and finally, the "unknown" material authors of the recent massacres.
I know the names that have managed the two different, indeed opposite phases of the tension: a first anti-communist phase (Milan 1969) and a second antifascist one (Brescia and Bologna 1974).
I know the names of the group of powerful figures who, with the help of the CIA (and the second order of the greek colonels of the mafia), have first created (besides failing miserably) an anti-communist crusade, in order to reverse the '68; and later, again with the help and inspiration of the CIA, have recovered an anti-fascist virginity, to reverse the disaster of the "referendum".
I know the names of those who, from a Mass and the other, have given the provisions and ensured security to army Generals (to keep standing in reserve the organization of a potential coup), young neo-fascists, neo-Nazis (to do create anti-communist tension), and last common criminals, until now, and perhaps forever, without a name (for an anti-fascist tension to come). I know the names of serious and important persons behind the comic characters like the Forestry General who worked, rather an operetta, in Città Ducale as the Italian forests burned, or the gray and purely organizational character as General Miceli.
I know the names of theserious and important people behind the tragic children, who have chosen suicide fascist atrocities, and common criminals which are made available, be it in Sicily or not, as killers and assassins.
I know all these names and know all the facts (killings and attacks on institutions) that you are guilty.
I know. But I have no evidence. I have not even clues.
I know it because I am an intellectual, a writer who trie to be informed about everything that happens, to know everything that is written about it, to imagine all that you do not know or is silent; coordinating events even far away, I brings together disorganized and fragmented pieces of an entire coherent policy framework restoring the logic where there seems to be arbitrariness, madness and mystery.
This is all part of my job and of the instinct of my job. I think it's unlikely that my "draft novel" is wrong, that does not have that bearing on reality, and that its references to real people and facts are inaccurate. I also believe that many other intellectuals and writers know what I know as an intellectual and novelist. Because the reconstruction of the truth about what happened in Italy after the '68 is not that difficult.
This truth - I feel with absolute precision - is behind a large amount of journalistic and political actions, also: that is not fancy or fiction as it's, for its nature, mine. Last example: it is clear that the truth was urgent, with all its names, behind the editorial of the "Corriere della Sera”, November 1, 1974.
Perhaps the journalists and politicians also have evidence, or at least clues.
Now the problem is this: journalists and politicians, although perhaps they do have evidence and clues, tell no names.
To whom then will compete to tell these names? Evidently to the one who not only has the necessary courage, but, together, is not affected by the power in practice, and, moreover, has not, by definition, nothing to lose: that is an intellectual.
An intellectual, therefore, could well tell those names publicly, but has no evidence or clues.
The power and the world which, though not relating to the power, has practical relations with power, excluded the free intellectuals - just for the way it's done – from the ability to have evidence and clues.
It could be argued that I, for example, as an intellectual and a story teller, could go into that explicitly political world ( of and around the power), to compromise with it, and then have the right to participate, with some high probabilities, in evidence and clues.
But to this objection I'd reply that this is not possible, because it is the reluctance to enter such a political world who identifies itself with my potential intellectual courage to tell the truth: that is to tell names.
The intellectual courage of truth and the political practice are two irreconcilable things in Italy.
The intellectual - profoundly and viscerally despised by the whole Italian bourgeoisie - will refer a falsely high and noble warrant -actually servile- to discuss moral and ideological problems.
If he receives this mandate is considered a traitor to his role: it is yelled aloud (as if this was just what to be expected) the "treason of the clerics", an alibi and a reward for politicians and for the servants of the power.
But there isn't only power: there is also opposition to the power. In Italy, this opposition is so large and strong enough to be a power in itself: I am referring of course to the italian communist party.
It is certain that at this time the presence of a large opposition party as the italian communist party is the salvation of Italy and its poor democratic institutions.
The Italian Communist Party is a clean Country in a dirty Country, a fair Country in a dishonest Country, a smart Country in a idiot Country, a literate Country in an ignorant Country, a humanistic Country in a consumerism Country. In recent years between the italian communist party - understood in a truly uniting sense as a compact “ensemble” of leaders, voters and grounding - and the rest of Italy, has opened up a barter for which the talian communist party has become indeed a “separate Country”, an island. It is precisely for this reason that it may now have close relationships like never before with real, corrupt, inept, degraded power: but these are diplomatic relations, almost like between a country and another. In reality the two morals are incommensurable, seen in their concreteness, in their entirety. It is possible, precisely on this basis, to prospect that "compromise", realistic, which perhaps would save Italy from complete collapse: a "compromise" that in reality would be an "alliance" between two neighboring states, or between two states trapped one in the other.
But all the positive things I said about the italian communist party are also the relatively negative side.
The division of the country in two countries - one sank up to their necks in the degradation and degeneration, the other intact and not compromised - can not be a reason for peace and constructiveness.
In addition, designed so as I outlined here - objectively I think - that is as a country in the country, the opposition is identified with another power: which is nonetheless always power.
As a result of that opposition politicians can not fail to behave themselves as men of power.
In this case, in which by now we are so dramatically concerned, they also have referred, to the intellectual, terms of reference established by them. And if the intellectual doesn't accomplish this - purely moral and ideological - term he's therefore, with the greatest satisfaction of all, a traitor.
Now, why even the opposition politicians, if they have - as they probably have - at least evidence or clues, tell not the names of the real, i.e. political, responsibles of the comic coups and frightening massacres in recent years? It's simple: they do not tell them insofar they distinguish - contrary to what an intellectual would do - political truth from political practice. And then, of course, they bring no evidence nor clues to the indipendent intellectuals: given the objective facts they do not even dare to, as otherwise usual.
The intellectual must continue to adhere to what is set as his duty, to iterate its encrypted form of intervention.
I know very well that is not the case - at this particular moment in Italian history - to publicly make a motion of no confidence against the entire political class. It is not diplomatic, it is not appropriate. But these are categories of politics, not of political truth, which – to the extent of his possibilities - the impotent intellectual is required to serve.
Well, just because I can not give the names of those responsible for the attempted coup and massacres (and not instead of it) I can not pronounce my weak and ideal accusation against the entire Italian political class.
And I do so because I believe in politics, I believe in the "formal" principles of democracy, in Parliament and in parties I believe . And of course through my particular viewpoint that is a communist one.
I am ready to retract my vote of no confidence (or rather I do not expect other than that) when a politician - not by chance, that is not because the time has come, but rather to create the possibility of that moment - will decide to name leaders of coups and massacres, which evidently he knows, like me, and have evidence, or at least clues for.
Probably - if the american power will allow - perhaps deciding "diplomatically" to give another democracy what american democracy has been given about Nixon - these names will be known sooner or later. But, to say it, it will take men who'll have shared with them the power: lower charged men against the most responsible ones (and it is not clear, as in the american case, which is better). This would ultimately be the real coup.