Archive for October, 2009
By now you’ve all heard about Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Boy, was that a surprise! Not that the man didn’t deserve it. Just wasn’t expecting it, is all. Am looking forward to seeing what the folks at SNL are going to make of the whole thing.
But I had an even bigger surprise a couple weeks ago. While on my way to work, listening to the fantabulous Luca Bottura on Radio Capital, I had the shock of my (relatively) young life. Bottura announced that (gasp, horror!) there was an official committee to promote the nomination of Silvio Berlusconi for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. And it was no joke! There’s an official site and everything, in Italian and Itanglish, where you can find out how to make donations to “back Silvio Berlusconi’s candidady (huh?!? Is that like becoming his sugar daddy??? Eww, no grazie!). You can also find out why Silvio is on a par with Jimmy Carter, Muhammad Yunus and Al Gore. Truly thrilling science fiction.
But it gets more awesome. There’s even an official song/anthem, called La Pace Può (Peace Can). Are you ready for it, kids?? (warning: children, expectant mothers and diabetics are advised against watching this masterpiece)
Now be honest, did you throw up in your mouth just a little?
For those of you who don’t know Italian and couldn’t grasp the pure poetry of Loriana Lana’s lyrics, here’s an approximate translation of the first verse. Barf bags ready?
I will repeat
these words endlessly.
And the wind will be the one to spread it
and the world shall listen.
see for yourself
Abruzzo wakes up in disbelief.
Snow and sun
and your hand is here.
There is a President
that will accompany us.
He put his hand where?!? Now, how can our Silvio win the Nobel Peace Prize with lyrics like that? At least Obama had Michael Franti. Berluska clearly needs our help. Let’s come up with something better so that the great man at least has a fighting chance. Am very much looking forward to your suggestions (anche in Italiano se volete)!
I’m just watching Michele Santoro‘s program Anno Zero. It’s a miracle that the show is still on, considering the “freedom of the press” we’re enjoying in Italy at the moment. Santoro’s guest, journalist Carl Bernstein, is not impressed. And no one else in Italy, or anywhere else, should be either. I’m sure many of you have heard about Berlusconi’s recent scandals and how he’s trying to muzzle the press in Italy and around the world through lawsuits. I’m not going to get into the details but you can read more about it here, here and here (among other sources).
On 3 October, there will be a demonstration in Rome in defense of freedom of the press in Italy. I cannot be there in person but my contribution is to urge all of you to read the following appeal published in the newspaper La Repubblica and to show your support by signing the online petition.
Appeal by three Jurists
The libel action against “Repubblica” is the last in a long list of attacks against this daily which can only be seen as attempts at silencing the free press, at benumbing public opinion, at removing us from the international information scene and ultimately at making our Country the exception to the rule of Democracy.
The questions addressed to our Prime Minister are real questions that have prompted people’s interest not only in Italy but also in the media across the world. If they are considered to be “rhetorical” questions that suggest answers that displease the person to whom they are addressed, then there is only one and very easy way of responding: the reaction should certainly not be that of silencing the people who ask those questions.
The response instead is that of intimidating those who exercise the right and duty of “seeking, receiving and imparting information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”, as stated in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights approved by the Assembly of Nations when memory was still very much alive of the way information degenerated into propaganda under the illiberal and antidemocratic regimes of the 20th century.
What is astonishing and worrying is that not only are these initiatives not unanimously stigmatized, but they are not even reported by the media, and that furthermore there are jurists who are even willing to give them legal form, utterly dismissing the harm this will cause to the very seriousness and credibility of the Law.
People all around the world (450,000 to date) have expressed their support of the appeal, including Doris Lessing, Sting, Bernard-Henry Levy and Roberto Benigni. To sign the petition, click on this link and scroll to the bottom of the page.