Sunday, March 05, 2006

Round we go again... US meddling in Italian democracy

Football and religion in pink and aubergine
Football and religion in pink and aubergine
Originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Italy is a great country, for so many reasons.

Jamie Oliver recently published a book about the country's food and the culture of food in Italy, containing some delicious recipes. Oddly enough, on the second page or so, there is a picture of this very wall in the market area of Palermo. It was obviously taken after my photo because most of the football team poster (Palermo had just been promoted to the Serie 'A') had disappeared by the time he got there. What was quite extraordinary was that they were selling aubergines right under the posters, the colours providing a perfect match, but the photo of this did not come out so well.

Well, Sicily was the scene of one of the first major misadventures of the meddling Americans in Italian political affairs. Liberating the island from the fascist forces, the Americans used the mafia orgnaisations (which had been kept very quiet by Mussolini) to keep 'their' order while they moved on up the peninsula. With dreadful consequences, such as the re-establishment of the mafia in control in Sicily, in New York and now the world's financial markets. While they also exercised an undemocratic hold over the governemnt in Rome, notably through Andreotti. This while the Americans worked from another angle to keep Italy out of the hands of the (dreaded) Communists.

However, with Andreotti gone, it was not long before Berlusconi would arrive on the scene, with goodness-knows what connections with the mafia and other forms of organised crime. The mafia would help give Berlusconi ALL 61 Sicilian seats in Parliament in 2001.

Last year, Sicily, like the rest of Italy turned against Berlusconi and his ultra-nationalistic, federalistic, neo-fascist friends and delivered major electoral defeats in the regional and city elections. Maybe the help of the mafia would not be enough to save this rabble.

The parliamentary elections are being held in April and Berlusconi is using all the control he has of most of the media and advertising space to get re-elected. Maybe this too is not even enough.

So... as a last resort, January's Bad Democracy winner, Bush, invites November's winner, Berlusconi to come to address a joint meeting of Congress, in what has been clled by Correire della Sera a 'mega-electoral gift', by giving the man the chance to present himself as a respected world leader instead of the world's laughing stock. Those Americans make such a noise about freedom and democracy and seem to be hellbent on undermining it wherever they think it might serve their uses.


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