When I recently read a study examining the extent to which Turkey is currently in compliance with the Kopenhagen criteria, allegedly necessary for membership in the EU, the conclusion was that the country is not a liberal democracy yet, but it has made significant progress. Some people there, however, seem to think that the rule of law is not actually as important as European politicians seem to emphasize, given recent developments in the European core. And while not naming any country, it is rather obvious what they have in mind.
Tonight I watched yet another shocking documentary on arte.tv. They devote this entire evening to discuss what Italy’s prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s political intentions are beyond deforming the country’s legal system so he can’t actually be jailed for doing what he did to become what he became. The name of the documentary is rightly ambigous: “Berlusconi’s Italy”. Suddenly it seems that many would prefer his government to be only about subordinating the public interest to (often his own) personal/corporate interests.
According to the documentary, songs praising the military successes of fascist black-shirts and the Duce are again being performed live on Berlusconi-controlled television channels – and it was no documentary. I did not recognise the channel logo, so don’t know if it happened on public or private tv. But that distinction seems to lose relevance in the Italian case anyway, as Mr Berlusconi owns most private tv stations and politically controls the public ones now, too). A live performance of something like the “Horst Wessel Lied” (a fascist hymn) on national German tv would clearly cause a national crisis up here. But in Berlusconia, there seem to be less and less screens available to those critical of the Prime Minister and his government.
Let’s hope that Berlusconi’s second reign will turn out to be only one of those many unhappy episodes of post WW2 Italian political life. Let’s hope he won’t be able to damage the country for good. Let’s hope I won’t have to ask my Italian friends one day if they are ok with me starting to actually propagate the use of “Bella Berlusconia”…