Thursday, 3 May 2007

Terrorism? For the love of God...

The boundaries of what constitutes terrorism are daily being redefined in Italy. I've already spoken below about the way in which rough-and-ready political comment is considered a threat if the person to whom it's addressed wears a long black frock is an archbishop. Now, according to the media and politicians throughout the admittedly rather limited spectrum provided by parliament, the term is sufficiently ample to include remarks made by one of the presenters of the traditional Mayday concert, organised by the three main Italian unions in Piazza San Giovanni, Rome, each year.

Andrea Rivera said that he couldn't stand (non sopporto) a church that refused burial to Pier Giorgio Welby, a terminally ill patient whose right to die was recently affirmed with the assistance of a courageous anaesthetist, but that granted it without hesitation to Pinochet and Franco. He isn't the first to think this, as was clear from the warm reception of the crowd. He also remarked. 'The Pope says that he doesn't believe in evolutionism, I agree. Let's face it, the church has never evolved.' ("Il Papa ha detto che non crede nell'evoluzionismo. Sono d'accordo, infatti la chiesa non si è mai evoluta."

Now he's being accused by Ratzinger's house organ of insulting the pope and of playing to an 'easily excited' mob. For the Osservatore Romano these constitute terrorism. If it were only the Vatican rag saying this it wouldn't be so bad, but a bandwagon this tempting in a country that still declares itself 80% catholic (and that echoes with empty churches) is naturally filling up with the Tom, Dick and Harries of pre-election political leaders.

There's nothing more dispiriting than seeing this ragbag army of pluridivorced parasites and closet cases waving their compromised fists at the TV screen to defend a foreign state against the legitimate comments of their fellow citizens.

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