Feeling a bit sick, I am. The head of Italy’s Civil Protection service, Guido Bertolaso, was interviewed on the Italian RAI 24 news channel this evening.
Effectively Bertolaso stated that had Italy’s politicians actually bothered to insist on the enforcement of anti-earthquake building measures, then much of the loss of life and damage which occurred in the Abruzzo quake, and an earlier earthquake in which a school collapsed on its pupils, could have been prevented.
Trouble is, according to Bertolaso, there is just no political mileage in prevention, which is why Italy’s politicians did not worry about this issue. There was also an anonymous letter in the Epolis free newspaper in Milan laying the blame for the death and destruction firmly at the door of Italy’s dysfunctional institutions. What a country.
And now censorship is entering the crazy Italian political equation.
Satirical Cartoonist Vauro Senesi Censored
As many have noted, Gaffeman, otherwise known as Silvio Berlusconi, has been using the Abruzzo tragedy to score as many political points as he can.
This did not escape the notice of naughty Italian satirical cartoonist, Vauro Senesi, who has been banned from Italy’s RAI television channel after he displayed a number of cartoons on the political talk show Annozero which caricatured Berlusconi and his behaviour after the disaster. Senesi cartoons also made indirect references as to how the tragedy could have been avoided.
These cartoons have created a huge, and unnecessary, stir amongst Italy’s politicians, even if one of the Italian Values party members did have the guts to agree with the points Senesi made.
And Italy’s politicians are fighting over the holding of mixed Italian and European elections over one or more days. Comments to the effect that keeping election days to a minimum would save hundreds of millions which could go towards the Abruzzo relief effort, not to mention those affected by the international economic crisis, seem to be going unheeded.
Meanwhile Italy’s level of public debt soars to new heights. If it weren’t so sad, it would be good material for a farce.
Mafia Worries, Again
Worries concerning mafia infiltration into the Abruzzo reconstruction works are already surfacing, and if this does indeed occur, then many of the new buildings are unlikely to meet anti-earthquake building regulations. You know what will happen the next time an earthquake hits this region, as it will. L’Aquila is surrounded by a seismic hot spot.
The areas shown in red are those with the highest levels of seismic activity in Italy, then the orange areas, followed by the yellow ones.
In Italy, alas, it seems cure is much better than prevention, especially when there are political points to be scored, and plenty of money is to be made.
Yes, I’m feeling pretty sick. And sorry for the population of this country. I thought republics were supposed to be run by the people for the people.
Map of Seismic Activity in Italy: Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia – site in Italian and English.
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