The longer I stay in Italy, the more I’m astound by the mechanisms that drive this country. And the more I realize how perverse it is. a few weeks ago I really thought, why do the people of Italy tolerate this? How can they stand their country being the mock of the world, having a quasi-democracy, where corruption is the modus regulandis?
And then last week there was a big demonstration in Rome. One that tried to be a-political, apparently a unique event in Italy, since most manifestations are initiated out of self-interest; Organized by Parties who want to gain power in elections by striking against the current power. Labor unions who also want more power for their own union. But this demonstration tried to be one that did not have hidden agenda’s, it was one inspired by uprisings all over the world, of people who have had enough, and want to unite under this flag. Not under a flag of being a liberal, or a socialist, or a syndicalist. No, people who want an honest policy that cares about people instead of profit. It wasn’t just a copy of the “Occupy Wall Street” in the US, or the “indignados” in Spain, it was about specific Italian problems. Italy seems more and more to me a country that prefers beauty and charm over expertise (look at the current minister of equal opportunities, look at the people that comment on the news; they’re all bombshell women or orange tanned toothpastesmile men with peanut brains but “charisma”) A country where the prime minister would have been impeached for a long time ago if he hadn’t bribed parliamentarians to vote for him in the numerous votes of confidence. Where those in power can bend the laws to make themselves within ‘legal’ barriers again. A country where some would say the minds of people also urgently needs to change, in order to make this behavior unacceptable, instead of turning a blind eye to it.
Let’s not call this demonstration a revolution, but just a shout-out from the people that they want things to change. And in order for this demonstration to have had any effect, they needed to be many. And they were; 200.000 people came to show their dissatisfaction. Something that scared those currently in power. But less than 300 came to show their dissatisfaction in a violent way. A group also known as “black bloc”.
Ever since; it’s all that’s been talked about. Not the reason for the manifestation. Not the mass of apolitical and peaceful demonstrators. Just 300 rioters.
Reason enough for those in power to denounce the entire demonstration as violent. To claim the current youth is out of control. And moreover, to hush all the reasons for the manifestation, and cover them with the actions of this small group.
It is striking how, even a full week after one afternoon of violence, all the mediachannels are STILL talking about it. Not about the manifestation (of course) but the black bloc. And they are not even discussing possible reasons why these rioters, who are mostly young people with no future, might have chose the path of destruction, like many discussions surfaced in Britain after their youth went out of control. It’s mostly discussed how disgusting their actions are, and how they could be punished. All of Rome was flooded 2 days ago, but instead of talking about the bad drainage system, they are still talking about these rioters that 200.000 people didn’t invite either.
It is rumoured the rioters could have even been stopped earlier… Apparently the higher authorities were aware they would be present and the police did not get the order to stop them in advance, nor did they get the order to bring out the big guns and arrest all of them at once. These are rumors that I’ve heard a couple of times now, but have not been discussed in the media. Whether it is true or not, letting the black blockers do their thing did destroy the entire manifestation, and seems like a clever tactic for those in power, so it might be too coincidental that an entire police force did not stop a small group of rioters in a restricted area.
Yesterday we were visiting a friends family and ate there. The TV was on all the time we were eating, and the only thing they were talking about was the riots. Up to the point where you even forgot there was a manifestation, and you might think there was ONLY a riot going on last week. We had been there so we knew there had also been a peaceful manifestation, but the people we were having dinner with weren’t there. And after one week of news reports of burning police cars, they believed only this had happened. They were even shocked that we had been there, because they thought we had been rioting too. If you have only one source of information, you will either take on the same opinion after a while, or you will look for alternatives of sources, something that is made difficult by the monopoly Berlusconi has on the media.
One friend made it clear with a good metaphore; it’s like the people of Italy are blind, and Berlusconi is their guidedog. If one source controls the media, it’s difficult to see what other information is out there.
Not all people of Italy are obviously blind, proven by the massive turnout last week. But it is astonishing how fast their shout-out was smothered and covered up. and it is possible that many will not rise up again soon out of disappointment and the idea that whatever they will do, nothing is going to change.