domenica 14 novembre 2010


I've just been to the cinema to see Draquila and, as with most things concerning Italy, the experience left me with an irrepressible urge to blog.

The film is a documentary which tells the story of Berlusconi's involvement in the aftermath of the earthquake in L'Aquila in April 2009. It's central claim is that, as well as using the tragedy as a useful way of distracting the public from the more dubious aspects of his personal and political life, Berlusconi also exploited the situation to further the construction industry interests of himself and his cronies. According to the film, instead of efforts being directed towards restoring the centre, letting people back into their homes and saving the numerous architectural and artistic treasures of the town, the earthquake was used as an excuse for massive building projects which included both hotels along the coast of Abruzzo which were used as temporary accommodation and hundreds and hundreds of new apartment blocks which will eventually have to be "given back" in the pristine state in which they were provided. The authorities did everything in their power to convince, cajole or force people to move into these apartments instead of back into their own homes.The documentary also shows how Berlusconi manipulates the public into believing that he is a hero and a miracle-worker who has nothing but their best interests at heart.

The L'Aquila earthquake happened when I was living in Italy and but, 19 months later and living in a foreign country, I find myself shocked by my lack of reaction to the disaster at the time. But at the time, I suppose what I saw was what the Berlusconi government wanted me to see - that something terrible had happened but that everything was being taken care of. Given that I used to avoid Berlusconi TV like the plague and take everything I read his newspapers with a pinch of salt large enough to give the entire population a heart attack, that's a scary thought.

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