Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Burberry and Berlusconi

I’ve just got back from five days in Milan as a visit to my Grandma was long overdue. We had a great time, exploring the bars of the trendy Brera area, watching AC Milan snatch a 3-0 win in the last 15 minutes at the superb San Siro and sniggering at the old women tottering along with pooches and dead racoons on their backs. When I was little I loved Italy and everything about it but as I’m becoming older, I’m becoming more cynical about what I believed was once a perfect country – it would seem the rose tinted specs are clearing. This is the country that claims to be the fashion capital of the world – what I see now is a bunch of clones dressed in black wearing sunglasses in all weathers clutching matching Louis Vuitton bags. The chav phenomena clearly hasn’t reached Italy yet either as Burberry still have a booming business.


Milanese baby chavs can shop here

With the Italian elections looming you can’t turn a corner without seeing an election poster with Berlusconi’s orange face grinning back at you. The right coalition government are trying to grab every opportunity to stay in power with last minute appeals declaring ‘no to homosexual marriages, no to immigrants’ and ‘what kind of life would it be if the left got in?’ A much better one I would say.

This is the country that has given us some of the best food and wine in the world, reliable cheap transport and a good education system. Yet ignorance still prevails. I was shocked to hear my 20 year old cousin declare that all the Albanians should be sent back to their own country as it’s not her problem. Fair enough, the crime rate in Milan has escalated since the immigrants started coming but even if they do rape, steal and generally cause trouble - as is the common view -surely it’s not as simple as just sending them back. It’s scary hearing a young person with such blinkered racist views. What ever happened to charity? This is the home of the head of the Catholic church after all. It seems obvious to me that the problem is rife because the immigrants aren’t offered enough jobs and help. If you visit Italy you’ll admire the warmth and hospitality of the people, their sense of humour and good spirit - with this in mind, it surprises me to hear such bigoted opinions. Don’t get me wrong, I still love this country despite all its faults but I can’t understand why Italians can’t think for themselves. Surely its obvious that the right wing government is inciting hatred and racism and if something isn’t done soon I dread to think what will happen. Is Italy moving back towards a fascist state?

16 comments:

Aidan said...

A new generation of Burberry bambinos, great... :|
Glad you enjoyed your trip - and the football...
Did there seem much sign of the Tessa Jowell/Berlusconi story making much of a fuss out there, as it has been doing over here? Looks like Silvio certainly is getting desperate in the last days of campaigning - even if he loses, though, he seems to be one of those 'comeback kids' with the unerring ability to use the system and sliver back onto his feet again shortly...

Wuching said...

nice place u have here! lets bring out the champagne to celebrate! :)

a.c.t said...

There was some stuff about it in the papers but it didn't make as much of a fuss as it did here - Berlusconi, of course would have seen to that. He put his foot in it again yesterday when he was asked by an interviewer what he could do to help people who don't earn enough. "Try to earn more by getting on with things" came the reply from Italy's richest man.

Thanks Wuchung, glad you like it. Cava will do, I'm not fussy ;-)

Travel Italy said...

ACT- Italy, as every country that has human beings, has always been racist. Before the immigration, which has brought the percentage of immigrants to 18% of the total population have simply substituted the North-South hate.

Unfortunately, people need to talk down someone else to feel better themselves. If we, as a race, were to believe that our problems are due to our own actions and not because someone else is the cause then we would most likely have a very high suicide rate.

I have travelled in many countries, over 50, and in each area have found some type of racism.

Welcome back.

a.c.t said...

Thanks Travel. There's no doubt that there is some sort of racism in every country, but in Italy it seems extreme. In the UK the help that immigrants receive from the government is unbelievable (sometimes they recieve more benefits than UK citicizens which does anger some people). I teach refugees and used to teach asylum seekers so I've seen the benefits. I just believe that the problem in Italy is worse because Italians seem to be easily led. The governmet should embrace the problem and try and find a solution instead of inciting hatred.

wrinkled weasel said...

I don't know about Italy, but I know a bit about how we deal with race issues in the UK. Often, yob-ism is ascribed wrongly to a particular ethnic group. Yobbism transcends nationality and is about a certain type - usually males in the 16-25 age group, regardless of skin colour.

On the other hand .... it is no coincidence that the high levels of gun crime in Nottingham originate from the afro-carribean and asian communities. It's a fact you have to take on board. The police there have ignored it for years because they are terrified of being accused of racism. Accordingly the problem has spiralled out of control.

Travel Italy said...

ACT - "(sometimes they recieve more benefits than UK citicizens which does anger some people)" is exactly the problem. This type of perception increments the feeling of animosity toward the immigrants.

You should also take into consideration that Italy is the first landing point for immigration into Europe. Once there they would then attempt to get their papers in order to move on to other countries.

The discontent is then fueled by politicians whom are interested in getting elected, touching emotional triggers in people who are already struggling to survive.

I think you are giving Italy a bad rap, Italy has not had the "skin heads" who burned and killed immigrants in Germany nor has it had the racial violence like 2002 in England, nor the uprising that France just had.

a.c.t said...

I'm not giving Italy a bad rap, I'm giving the Italian government a bad rap. 'The discontent which is fueled by politicians whom are interested in getting elected, touching emotional triggers'- this is what worries me. There haven't been any major racial incidents as yet, but if the government continue to push the issue, there may be serious problems.

ginkers said...

Like the new look but please more about food and drink and less about politics!

a.c.t said...

I know I know.... it's not really my usual style but I couldn't help myself. Surely you have an opinion or two on Italian politics or is it just the grappa you're interested in ;-)

Maila said...

ACT: I agree totally with some of the comments above: you are giving Italy a bad rap. I don't personally support Berlusconi, but for the past 5 years, since he has been in power, there has been only one government as before they use to change every 5 minutes. Italians are also quite unhappy about being worse off after they changed from lira to euro. Most Italian people work very hard and Berlusconi represents someone who has, from nothing become a very rich man (and the Italians know that his dealings have not being entirely kosha). You are quite right in saying that immigrants should be given more help, but it takes time and they are also very difficult to track down as someone has already mentioned in a previous comment. Please give the Italians some credit.

Aidan said...

Pah, enough politics...!
You know what to do, Act, and what we really want... an honest assessment of just how easy it will be for runaway Serie A leaders, even Milan-swat-away-ers, Juve to dispose of their imminent English challengers, can't quite recall their name right now... ! ;)

a.c.t said...

Sorry akr but I really can't see it happening. After the tiresome 0-0 draw against Milan on Sunday, the old lady really did look she was in need of a walking stick. Come 28 march I certainly won't be chearing for them but I will be entertained by neanderthal Nedveds comical rolling around antics.

Kennedy said...

Hello Act. How are you my old friend?

I admire you for speaking you're mind. I myself have never been to Italy and know nothing of the politics. Still I find it fascinating and scary how easy large groups of people can be controlled using hate fear and ignorance.
It's good that you're still blogging, i thought you were jackin it in, K

Travel Italy said...

Cara ACT - I miss your posts!

a.c.t said...

Grazie, sei gentilissimo. I've been quite busy recently but I really should put some more time aside to write. Anyway, here's one travel, hope you like it.