Monday, 30 September 2013

Collecting Signatures in Support of a Bizarre Idea

The idea that Silvio Berlusconi might make a suitable president of Italy after the present one, Giorgio Napolitano, retires. Signatures being gathered, in Red Bologna, of all places. 7 September 2013.
Preparing the table for the collection of signatures from passers by. A somewhat thuggish-looking man in purple shirt and grey gilet; a frowning man in dark glasses and dark-grey sports shirt with white fringe on the collar and cuffs; and a bespectacled youth with loo-brush hair and wearing two-tone trainers. And whose is that expensive BMW? In the pedestrian-only area.
A few people come by to offer their name and address such as the blond woman with red-framed glasses. The youth duly logs her details.
I stood watching this near to a man who was sitting on the street flagstones begging, with his dog on a string. Some people stopped to give him a few coins, and sometimes offer his dog a biscuit or a piece of chocolate. The begging man looked puzzled by what it was I was so interested in. Looked at me quizzically.
I was not going to get into explaining to the begging man that from a foreigner’s perspective, the idea of a man who is recently convicted of tax fraud and who is notorious for putting his own needs above those of his nation, while loudly protesting his innocence and his devotion to his beloved country above all else, gaining support for mediating matters of state objectively – as Giorgio Napolitano has consistently and impressively shown his ability to do in a very statesmanlike manner; indeed the very concept of Silvio Berlusconi acting in a statesmanlike way – just seems so absurd that it challenges belief that anyone would even consider lending their support.
But in Italy there are people prepared to do that, clearly. People who believe that Berlusconi will work to uphold the moral fibre of the nation and will behave in a fair and balanced manner. The blond woman with red-rimmed glasses for example.