Archive for the Paradoxes Category

Italian war on terror

Posted in History, Paradoxes, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on Aug 17, 2008 by Cicero
Aldo Moro kidnaped

Aldo Moro kidnaped by terrorists

One of the most intriguing aspects of the Italian society is its ability to produce unbearable arrangements and to treat them as something normal.

Comparing the aftermaths of two similar events, one in US and other in Italy, one could easily see that the Italian rule of law is something quite particular…

Let’s go for the facts:

In 1981, John Hinkley Jr. shot twice Ronald Reagan, then the US president. Hinckley Jr. was prosecuted, but as declared legally insane, he did not go to the prison. Nevertheless, since then he is locked inside an psychiatric hospital, with no parole, no mercy.

In 1977, leftist terrorists kidnapped Aldo Moro, a former Italian prime minister, and then a top politician. After 55 days, Aldo Moro was killed with 10 rounds, while tied with ropes and covered with a blanket. The killer was Mario Moretti, who was later arrested and condemned to six life sentences. But after 15 years behind bars, he was paroled and freed in 1998. Now he works as an state employee, managing an IT lab at the Lombardy region.

Stating things even more clearly, Mario Moretti:

  • Cowardly killed a human being;
  • Attempted to destroy Italian democracy, targeting to transform Italy into a communist country;
  • Attacked the Italian state and the Italian people, not only a politician;
  • Was condemned to six life sentences;
  • Now works for the Italian government, receiving money from the same entity he tried to destroy.

At the same time, almost every city in Italy has a park, a street or a building called Aldo Moro. In Italy, it seems to be easier to honor Aldo Moro’s memory with a fancy inauguration than to make justice prevails. The arrangement is this: everybody feigns a normal life while the terrorist is rewarded.

Intriguing questions…

Posted in History, Paradoxes, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on Aug 02, 2008 by Cicero

Italy is famous for its ruins, castles and remains of societies which existed here centuries ago. Much more than that, Italy, besides Greece, is the birthplace of the Western civilization. Although today’s Italy is truly ridiculous, there is a fantastic heritage. So, what happened to this country?

Traveling throughout the past, one can find numerous Italians who shaped the world as we know it: Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Alessandro Volta, Dante Alighieri, Vivaldi, Verdi, Marco Polo, Columbus, Machiaveli… The list could continue, but the question remains: where are their partners in the modern Italy? Certainly Enrico Fermi, Toscanini, Gramsci, Fellini… But anyone would concede that Italy has lost its wisdom somewhere in the past.

More than that, what is the “greatest” Italian contribution to the world, recently? It is hard to admit, but that was the Fascism. Benito Mussolini created one of the three political beasts which hammered humanity during last century. Fascism, besides Nazism and Communism, was a plague which ruined so many lives and whose harmful affects remained during generations.

Nevertheless, prior to continue, I have to pay a tribute to the numerous Italians who strongly resisted to the Fascism, some of them even paying the highest price, their own lives. But their tremendous efforts could not change History: Fascism was an Italian invention, unfortunately.

And the most scaring aspect of Fascism in Italy is that the monster is still alive. I mean, from one side, Italy is not ashamed of Fascism as it should be (just compare to current Germany’s attitude towards Nazism). And from other side, there are Italian politicians who are openly fascists while the Italian people pretend they are not. Umberto Bossi, Roberto Maroni and Lega Nord, for instance, what are their beliefs?

  • Segregation, based on race: gypsies registered and classified (like Jewish people under Nazis)
  • There is always a scapegoat for Italian failures: immigrants (again a Nazi behaviour)
  • Recollection of some ancient symbol in order to grab some credibility: chivalric symbols (Mussolini used fasces)
Umberto Bossi and a dearest friend

Umberto Bossi and a dearest friend

While I see Italian past, and wonder about Italy’s future, I simply can not stop asking. How much time Italy will have to suffer? Where are the modern partisans who will fight these new fascists?

Italian police: more flavors, further inefficiency

Posted in Paradoxes, Politics, Stupidity with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on Jun 23, 2008 by Cicero

Some time ago I’ve posted some comments about Italian police. Quite frankly, I was surprised with so much interest. So, I decided to further explore this subject. And, as I expected, I found even more funny stuff. I mean, Italy is an unlimited source of stupidity.

After my research, the conclusion was: Italian police organization is so arcane, that it does not operate properly. Not even by accident.

Like I posted before, there are five (!) national police branches in Italy. But each police force is under the authority of a different minister. And as Italy has a weak parliamentary system, each minister can be from a different party or group. One does not need to be brilliant to conclude that coordination among the Italian police forces is remarkably complex, maybe impossible.

Currently, there are:

  • Polizia di Stato, under the Ministero dell’Interno.
  • Carabinieri, under the Ministero della Difesa.
  • Guardia di Finanza is under the Ministero dell’Economia e delle Finanze.
  • Polizia Penitenziaria, under the Ministro della Giustizia.
  • Corpo Forestale dello Stato is under the Ministero dell’Ambiente e della Tutela del Territorio e del Mare.

The Ministero dell’Interno is under the fascist party Lega Nord Padania, all the others under the party Il Popolo della Libertà.

This structure is the best expression of Italy’s savoir-faire: nothing makes sense, neither works properly. Five overlapping and non-coordinated police forces, all with military organization, to deal with civilian duties.

To make things even worse, each police force is further divided into specialized divisions, generating more overlaps and more confusion. For instance, within the Polizia di Stato, among other divisions, there are:

  • Polizia Stradale: patrols the highway system;
  • Polizia Ferroviaria: patrols the railroad system;
  • Polizia Postale: assures the letters and telegrams behave well!

The overlaps are so huge and the waste of resources is so obvious that only in Italy such arrangement could exist. Just to illustrate, the Guardia di Finanza has a naval branch (!), which obviously overlaps with Italian Coast Guard.

Here there are the sailors (!) from Guardia di Finanza:

Naval branch from Guardia di Finanza

And here their ships:

Fastboats from Guarda di Finanza

By the way, here, a fashion police force needs to have boats (in the order, Polizia di Stato, Carabinieri, Guardia di Finanza and Polizia Penitenziaria):

Boat from Polizia di StatoBoat from Carabinieri
Boat from Guarda di FinanzaBoat from Polizia Penitenziaria

Everyone who understands a bit about organization management, recognizes that having similar structures dealing with similar problems, it is a waste of resources. More than that, those similar structures tend to compete with each other, instead of to collaborate. Without an unified command and control, Italian police forces will never work in a coordinated way.

With so many specialized police branches, I wonder why there is no police branch dedicated to fight Mafia.

Embracing the reality: Italy needs immigration

Posted in Economics, Immigration, Paradoxes, Politics with tags , , , , , , , on Jun 21, 2008 by Cicero

Let’s face it. Italy is an old country, not only considering its history, but also considering its current population. Comparing Italy’s population to that of one of the BRICs (Brazil), it is evident that both countries are in different phases, considering population distribution.

Italy - population pyramid

Brazil - population pyramid

DTM (Demographic Transition) is a model used to explain how a population behaves during the time. This model has five stages in which a country population can be placed. The Stage Five has countries whose populations are reproducing below their replacement levels. Clearly speaking, countries unable to produce enough children to replace their parents, in the future.

Italy is in Stage Five. Without a significant immigration effort, the Italian population will soon begin to fall, with obvious geopolitical and economical consequences.

Italy will soon be unable to produce wealth for its next generations. Without a smart immigration policy Italy will be unable to cope with future changes, to innovate.

Italy will continue shrink in power, wealth and intelligence.

Genuine Italian pizza? Maybe not

Posted in Daily Life, Paradoxes with tags , , , , , , , , , on Jun 16, 2008 by Cicero

Anyone concedes, when one talks about food, Italy has an edge. I mean, there are Italian restaurants almost anywhere in the world and Italian food became part of daily diet in many countries. Pasta and pizza bring Italy into mind instantaneously. One can argue that pasta was in fact invented by Chinese, but pizza is a real Italian champion and the pizzas here are very good indeed.

But as usual, in Italy there is always a glitch, even when pizza is the subject. I mean, in a great portion of Italian pizzerias, the pizzaiolo is from a foreign country, mostly from Egypt! Yes… That’s true… Egyptian pizzaioli are the real working horses behind Italian pizzas. And the Italians blame immigrants…

In its way towards the misery, Italy is even losing its cooking heritage.

Cigars and cartoons in Italy

Posted in Daily Life, Paradoxes, Stupidity, TV with tags , , , , , , , , on Jun 07, 2008 by Cicero

If you have children, you a concerned person. I mean, you are concerned with your child happiness, health, school, friends and many more. One of my top concerns is what my daughter sees when she watches TV. I do my best to avoid her contact with violence, pornography, racism and drug usage. That’s a real challenge, in any country in the world. But here in Italy, as always, things are harder…

Just another day, my daughter was watching TV, in particular, a cartoon called Marcelino Pane e Vino, at RAI Gulp, a state controlled TV channel, dedicated to children. Suddenly, my daughter asked: “daddy, why is everybody smoking?” Of course I came to check the TV, and she was right: in a room, every cartoon character was smoking a cigar! Of course I tried to minimize the fact, saying to my daughter that those were only bad people (in fact they were the vilans). But from time to time, my daughter remember those guys smoking, like as asking for an logical explanation for such nonsense.

But if you ask any Italian, they say here is a First World country. Here one can buy cigarettes only at special places. Here, there is also a fine if one smokes nearby a child. Here, each cigarette pack is full of warnings about how deadly is to smoke. But here, in Italy, your child can also see cartoon characters smoking on a children TV channel.

That’s a true story, and it shows how stupidity is disseminated in Italy. My three years daughter is more capable to evaluate cartoon quality than RAI executives.

Italian police: choose your flavor

Posted in Daily Life, Paradoxes with tags , , , , , , , , , , on Jun 07, 2008 by Cicero

To a foreigner it is hard to understand how police works in Italy. There are five branches of national police, all of them uniformed and armed. Sometimes it seems we live under martial law, such a number of uniformed people on the streets.

Here you can find:

  • Polizia di Stato: federal police, mostly uniformed and always armed.
  • Carabinieri: military police, in uniform and with guns,directly involved into civil policing duties.
  • Guardia di Finanza: customs police, uniformed and armed, normally involved into white collar crimes. Imagine people from IRS with guns. You got it!
  • Polizia Penitenziaria: police used at the prisons (!!!)
  • Corpo Forestale dello Stato: national forest police (!!!)

Besides those national organizations, there are Polizia Provinciale (state police, somehow), Polizia Regionale (another kind of state police) and Polizia Locale (city police).

Each of those organization has its particular uniform and colors. And each police officer is allowed to ask for your ID anytime he wants to. So, there is always an oppressive atmosphere in Italy, strengthened after the recent elections, when Lega Nord, a fascist party, won most part of the power in Italy.

So, in Italy, if you are a foreigner, you are a potential target to an offensive treatment. If you are not from EU, it is even worse. If you are black, be prepared to be treated without any respect. Seems like a fascist or racist country? Maybe sounds funny. But living here you can feel the fascism rebirth.

Just for curiosity sake, the image below show how a Carabinieri uniform is similar to a SS Nazi uniform. It is amazing how the cap is almost identical. Fascist Italy again?

Carabinieri uniform versus SS one