Fifty shades of gerontocracy

2046931-seduta_comuneThe Italian Parliament has just started to vote for the successor of Giorgio Napolitano, a president that represented an anomaly since he was re-elected for two more years to allow Italy to undergo a period of structural reforms in a time of high political uncertainty.

It is hard, once again, to explain to my foreign colleagues and friends the political dynamics of the Bel Paese. PM Matteo Renzi, seen abroad as talkative innovator, met multiple times former PM Silvio Berlusconi, ousted from the Senate for tax fraud and banned from political activity for two years.

Yet again, Berlusconi represents the nucleus of the Italian center-right and Renzi is trying to find an agreement with his predecessor to elect a bipartisan figure on top of the Italian political hierarchy.

The profile traced by both Renzi’s and Berlusconi’s parties is of a “person that has to be a politician and not a technocrat, with international recognition and a great knowledge of Italian institution” but it seems both the Prime Minister and the media mogul haven’t agreed on a name yet that would satisfy the center-right and center-left.

Today the Parliament will be called for the selection of the new President in the first round of voting and Mr. Renzi is said to back constitutional court judge Sergio Mattarella.

Mattarella is a well-respected politician whose highest point in his career was to resign 35 years ago because of his hostility to a law that later on facilitated Berlusconi’s media empire.

Is Mattarella the change Renzi is looking for? The best profile the process can produce?

A laughter that will bury us all

charliehebdotoonlamourcover.0.0Yesterday I went to Trafalgar square with a couple of good friends for the vigil held for the Charlie Hebdo carnage. A massacre that indeed came as a punch in the stomach for a variety of reasons: its brutality, the assassins’ meticulous precision and, of course, the nihilist attack to the founding idea of our democracies – freedom of expression.

But the Charlie Hebdo attack highlights more than ever how these masked gunmen, and many other fools with them, cannot take a laugh.

They take life so seriously that they are completely unable to see the nonsense of life, the laughable political and religious rhetoric, the petty arguments of daily threats that supposedly put in danger our cultures, our beliefs, our community with the result of creating enemies, imaginary or real, that we have to fight, annihilate, exterminate.

And satire, like Charlie Hebdo, Private Eye or Il Male, sheds a light on this whirlwind of nonsense to take us back to reality and see things as they are: a funny charade of lies, a decadent pantomime of scared people trying to prevail on each other through falsifications and deceits.

As scary as the Paris shooting is, yesterday I wanted to laugh. I didn’t want to be gloomy, scared or sad, forced in an unfruitful paranoia. I think if there’s a lesson we’ve learned from Stephan Charbonnier, Cabu, Tignous and Wolinski that would be to respond to this madmen with one thing and one thing only. A fat laugh.

Because, in the end, a laughter will bury us all.