POLITICS and CHAMPAGNE (Update on political situation in Italy)

On the 24th of January 2008, after an agonising 618 days, Italian PM Romano Prodi’s government was beaten at the Senate, after his last effort to seek confirmation by his own party as the leader of the country. It was chaos. As soon as Senator Marini (chief of the Senate) pronounced the last “no” to a possible continuation of a left wing party as the head of Italy, the opposition started to dance on the chairs, shouting at the “losers”, drinking champagne, showing newspapers in which the fall of Prodi was already predicted. Now, two days later, experts are already talking about new elections in February, about a neutral interim government to face the situation before the last decision of the President of the Republic, Mr. Napolitano, while Mr. Berlusconi is already thinking about his own propaganda for the government he will probably be in charge of, sooner or later. Watching the news, on my laptop, my eyes glued to the screen, I realize that I will never feel represented by them. By anyone of them. How could anyone identify himself with a bunch of arrogant so-called politicians who are supposed to support our wishes, for our own safety, our own lives? I do not know.

My baptism into politics happened a long time ago, when my father used to come home late from work and we waited for him watching the news. I remember many things from this time. I remember when I first heard of a war coming soon between the US and Iraq, and I thought about the soldiers in the American military base close to our house, I thought that they would all come back tanned, with sand in their hair, since all I knew about Iraq was a desert and two fertile rivers. I remember when we were travelling to the base and I saw some soldiers with their military uniforms painting the road signs that pointed to the base black. “Why did they do that?”. My father told me that they did not want Iraqis to know where they were, in case they attacked. We laughed.

And then came that day, in which in the TV screen noisy tanks made room for a majestic room in which on golden chairs people in suits and ties were sitting and discussing about our future. I asked my mum: “Why our future? Who are they to do that?” “They have been chosen to do that” “Well, I didn’t choose them!” “You’ll do it, in ten years or so.” This did not make me feel any better. I did not agree with some of their decisions. I came to hate some upper class men with sweaty cheeks and their petty speeches with archaic words I did not know. When I first started arguing with my parents about some decision taken by the Chamber of Deputies; when I first realized that with my friends politics had replaced football in our chats; when I shouted for the first time: “I hate this government!”, I knew I was into politics, and that nobody could ever drag me out of my thoughts. “The human being…” my grandfather said once at the seaside, when the sun was too hot to walk along the shore and we would stay under the beach umbrella playing cards with him, “…is a political animal. This is what the Greeks thought thousands of years ago. Aristotle was one of them.” I did not know who this Aristotle was, and I feared he was no-one more than the other big-headed and arrogant men I saw that day in the golden room. But the idea of a “political animal” surprised me. I thought again of the room, with its chandeliers coming down from the ceiling, with the red velvet carpet, and I thought of politicians as animals: members of different parties became beasts of the zoo. There were giraffes holding speeches, and rhinos debating about solutions to war, vultures plotting against the Prime Minister, a lion too ill and old to govern. I told my grandfather my dream, and he told me that what I thought was not really far from the truth. I asked myself why, but I did not come to an answer.

Two days ago, I saw my dream becoming truth. Nothing had changed from what I dreamt as a kid, the same majestic room was still there, with its chandeliers and carpets, and even the animals were there: hyenas shouting from the chairs, monkeys dancing on the tables, llamas spitting on other creatures, and I saw the old lion holding his final speech with sadness on his face. I was not surprised to see that my dream had become reality. But I thought of my mission, of the same mission which made me and my fellow students part of the same movement, of how responsible we all are to make a change in the world through all possible efforts. I will follow my mission. Even now, I still have the impression that my hopes will not disappear. Maybe I’m only a boy, and I will never understand. But at least, I know I won’t be alone on my path.

Leonardo Goi (Italy, AC07-09)

 – United World College Sudent Magazine –

4 thoughts on “POLITICS and CHAMPAGNE (Update on political situation in Italy)

  1. well, Leonardo, the description you give of our political class (monkeys and stuf) is quite accurate. despite the sadness and the helplessness the italian politicians have given me for years, i was quite pleased to read one of your articles. too bad we haven’t seen each other for so long, isn’t it?
    bye bye Leo, have fun! (and write me an email!)

  2. I could not have described Italian politicians any better.

    But I still wonder what is there to do for us: should we not vote to declare our (I don’t want to be part of it) or rather go for the least bad option? Not vote at all, or let Mr. Berlusconi get to power again, to see Italian politics become the joke it has been for those long 5 years? The other option is not good enough, but… do we really have a choice?

    …waiting to see what is going to happen next in the Italian arena…

    good article🙂

  3. Pazzesco quante cose (o persone) si trovino in Internet senza effettivamente cercarle… Comunque complimenti – se non avessi letto il tuo nome a fondo pagina non avrei mai pensato che l’articolo fosse stato scritto da un italiano.

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