Saturday, 28 July 2007

Save Mr Hassanpour and Mr Botimar

(Photo: Mr Adnan Hassanpour) Tuesday, July 17th, the Sanandaj’s Tribunal of Revolution in Iranian Kurdistan sentenced to death two Kurdish journalists and human rights activists: Mr Adnan Hassanpour and Mr Hiva Abdolvahed Botimar will then be hanged.
Mr Adnan Hassanpour works for the weekly magazine Asu and was accused of attempting State’s security because he wrote articles about public demonstrations which took place in Iranian Kurdistan during 2006.
Mr Hiva Abdolvahed Botimar, freelance journalist, was accused of being in touch with two democratic organizations which are instead supposed to be ‘subversive’: the
Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran, which is member of Socialist International, and Komalah, which has often been received as a guest by international and European institutions.
In Italy,
Information Safety and Freedom, as well as Reporters Sans Frontières abroad, received and supported the international appeal to save Mr Adnan and Mr Hiva. Articolo 21, Nessuno tocchi Caino and Fnsi supported this appeal too. But Italian newspapers and broadcasts didn’t take care of it: as far as I’m concerned, La Stampa and RaiNews 24 are the exception to the rule.
Mr Giuseppe Giulietti, Articolo 21 spokesman, reports: “La sostanziale censura imposta dai media italiani alla vicenda dei due giornalisti curdo-iraniani contrasta […] con l’iniziativa assunta dal Governo per ottenere la moratoria universale sulla Pena di Morte. […] Un disinteresse che induce l’atroce sospetto che questi due condannati a morte, essendo iraniani, curdi, laici e addirittura socialisti, non rientrino nello schema dominante dello scontro di civiltà risultando alla fine scomodi per tutti” [The substantial censorship by Italian media about this story, involving two Kurdish-Iranian journalists, is in conflict with the Italian Government commitment to get the universal moratorium on Death Penalty. […] This lack of interest produces a very bad doubt: being Iranian, Kurdish, lay and even socialist, those two death-sentenced persons escape the dominant Clash of Civilizations scheme: they are then inconvenient for everyone.]
At present, nobody knows where Mr Adnan and Mr Hiva are secluded. “My son has only one fault: he is fiercely Kurdish and he can’t stand injustice” said Mrs Ayesheh Zamani, Adnan’s mother. “Free men cannot and must not accept that, during XXI century, intellectuals and journalists are hanged because they talk about freedom and ask for democracy” said Mrs Hiro Botimar, Hiva’s wife.
After the two sentences, Kurdish journalists recently made a 72 hours hunger strike and stopped working. At present, in addition to Mr Hassanpour and Mr Botimar, those Kurdish journalists and activists are in jail too: Mr Ejlal Aghvami, reporter for Payam Kurdistan; Sadegh Kabudvand, director of the Human Rights Centre of Iranian Kurdistan; trade unions’ members Mahmoud Salehi and Loghman Mohri. Recently, 40 Iranian members of Majlis, the Iranian Parliament, wrote a letter to president
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reporting abuses against press freedom in Iran. According to Amnesty International, 177 persons have been executed in Iran during the first half of 2007.

Act now and join the international appeal (English / Italian) to save Mr Adnan Hassanpour and Mr Hiva Abdolvahed Botimar.

“Or ti piaccia gradir la sua venuta: / libertà va cercando, ch’è sì cara, / come sa chi per lei vita rifiuta” [Now be pleased to support his coming here. / He goes in search of freedom, which is so dear, / As he who gives his life for it would know.] (
Dante Alighieri, Purgatorio, I, 70-73, translation by James Finn Cotter).

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Waiting for Godot’s Pension

(Photo: Mine management, by mm-j) The scene of Italian politics is neither the Parliament nor the Government. Italian politics lives and dies in the media. Will the overhanging reform of pensions ever come to an end?
Friday, July 6th. Mr
Romano Prodi says that he will soon directly take care of the reform aiming to reduce the 'deep step' introduced by Mr Silvio Berlusconi’s government (corriere.it): at present, a worker who was born on December 31st, 1957, will retire in 2007; while a worker who was born on January 1st, 1958, will retire in 2010. The newspapers say that those are supposed to be the new terms for retiring: from 2008, workers would retire if they were 58; from 2010 or 2011, workers would retire if they were 59; from 2012 workers would retire if adding up age and working years they reached 96 (corriere.it).
Sunday, July 8th. Vice Prime Minister
Francesco Rutelli, Senator Lamberto Dini and Minister for Foreign Trade Ms Emma Bonino say that the increasing costs introduced by the reform should be paid putting off to 62 womens’ maximum retiring age. At present, the 'official' age of retirement is 65 for men and 60 for women (corriere.it).
Monday, July 9th. Tensions are growing up between the left trade union
CGIL, which seems ready to sign the agreement, and Rifondazione Comunista, which insists on obtaining better conditions for manual workers (repubblica.it).
Tuesday, July 10th. The European Union asks for rigour and explains that pensions budget can’t grow up again (
corriere.it).
Friday, July 13th. The growth of retiring age will not involve wearing out works. Then a big struggle is set up to tell apart works of this kind: while Rifondazione Comunista insists for miners, labourers and nurses, the
UIL trade union wants to include in this category many workers of the public sector, such as teachers (corriere.it).
Sunday, July 15th. According to Rifondazione Comunista, the accounts made by the Minister of Economy,
Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, are completely wrong: Mr Silvio Berlusconi’s pensions ‘deep step’ can be removed without any difficulties (repubblica.it).
Monday, July 16th. The Governor of Banca d’Italia, Mr
Mario Draghi, states that we can’t avoid the pensions reform and we must reduce public debt, otherwise young people will certainly grow poor (lastampa.it).
Tuesday, July 17th. The Minister for Foreign Trade, Ms Emma Bonino, write down a letter to the Prime Minister, Mr Romano Prodi: she’s ready to resign if the Radical Left issues will be accepted by the Government (
lastampa.it).
Meanwhile, Mr Romano Prodi seems to say that he can have his cake and eat it. Every party supporting the Government waits for Mr Prodi’s detailed reform proposal. Every party seems to want the Government to fall avoiding to assume on its own the responsibility of this fall.
In my opinion, Mr Silvio Berlusconi’s pensions ‘deep step’ has to be removed. We undoubtedly need more immigrant workers from abroad to enhance pensions funds. Miners, labourers, nurses and other worn out workers should retire at 57. But, without a shadow of a doubt, teachers and workers of the public sector are not worn out workers. Womens’ retiring age should soon grow up and reach men’s level, but only if we really decide to introduce new measures reducing sexual discrimination and increasing men’s contribution in running the household and bringing up children.
At any rate, every economic reform should be planned in silence and then announced to the press: what the Government says should always be reliable. Besides, no issue is worthwhile to make the Government to fall. Politics is the art of making ideas to fight each other and then reach a synthesis, not the chaos. MPs waiting for the fall of the Government are unable to see that the whole Italian political system is in for an irreversibile fall.
“VLADIMIR: (in anguish). Say anything at all! ESTRAGON: What do we do now? VLADIMIR: Wait for Godot. ESTRAGON: Ah! VLADIMIR: This is awful! ESTRAGON: Sing something. VLADIMIR: No no! (He reflects.) We could start all over again perhaps. ESTRAGON: That should be easy. VLADIMIR: It’s the start that’s difficult. ESTRAGON: You can start from anything. VLADIMIR: Yes, but you have to decide. ESTRAGON: True.” (
Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot, 1952, Act I).

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Getting Rid of the Intelligence Service

(Photo: Secret, by Thatgirl). Wednesday, July 4th, Italy's senior Council of Justice (Consiglio Superiore della Magistratura) stated that from summer 2001 until May 2006 the military intelligence agency (Servizio Informazioni Sicurezza Militare) spyed upon 203 judges from 12 European countries (lastampa.it and repubblica.it).
According to the Italian press, the intelligence activity held by Sismi’s then agent Pio Pompa was to enhance Mr Silvio Berlusconi’s government. Mr Pio Pompa meticoulously wrote down everything he hit up for Sismi’s head, General Nicolò Pollari (
repubblica.it).
Romano Prodi’s government publicly expressed his trust in judges enquiring over this case and in the new Sismi’s command (
repubblica.it). Mr Silvio Berlusconi explained that he didn’t know anything about this intelligence activity (lastampa.it), while Democratici di Sinistra’s secretary, Mr Piero Fassino, said that being the Prime Minister during those years, Silvio Berlusconi was objectivly responsible for any intelligence activity held at that time (lastampa.it).
While some MPs call for a public inquiry commission, others firlmly oppose it (
lastampa.it). Meanwhile, General Nicolò Pollari says he will count everything up if State secrecy is removed (lastampa.it).
Rather than protecting democracy, intelligence services and State secrecy look like preventing political change in Italy. Since democracy shouldn’t be scared of truth and transparency, what about getting rid of them both and learn much more over the last ten years?
“Diciamolo francamente: ogni regime, anche il più autoritario, sopravvive in una situazione d’equilibrio instabile, per cui ha bisogno di giustificare continuamente l’esistenza del proprio apparato repressivo, dunque di qualcosa da reprimere.” [Let’s put it plainly: any regime, even the most authoritarian, survives in a context of unstable balance. For this reason, it needs to justify continuously the existence of its repressive apparatus; the existence, indeed, of something to repress] (
Italo Calvino, Se una notte d’inverno un viaggiatore, 1979, Ch. X).

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Europe, the Kaczynski Bros. Hostage

(Photo: European Flag, by TPCOM). Saturday June 23rd, at the end of a dramatic and exhausting meeting, EU member states came to an agreement over a new political treaty (repubblica.it). European Union slows down, while the 'double majority' voting system has been put off till 2017 owing to Poland’s veto (repubblica.it).
Polish President
Lech Kaczynski came to Brussles with the provoking proposal of a 'square root' voting system (ft.com). His twin brother and Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski explained this request going back to the effects of Nazi’s Polish invasion and extermination during World War II (corriere.it).
Thus insulting the memory of Polish people itself, Mr Lech and Mr Jaroslaw Kaczynski made Poland an instrument of the eurosceptical european governments: Britain, the Czech Republic, the Nederlands and France.
18 European countries had given their approval to the
European Constitutional Treaty, but in Brussels they were unable to go ahead without Poland, in spite of German Prime Minister Ms Angela Merkel's initial warning (repubblica.it).
Italian Prime Minister Mr
Romano Prodi explained his disappointment after the summit (repubblica.it), but he was unable to oppose himself to this awfully bad treaty. Italian President Mr Giorgio Napolitano went further in disapproving this ugly compromise (repubblica.it). Mr Mario Monti, former European Commissioner for Competition, approved of Angela Merkel’s behaviour (corriere.it).
Meanwhile, the political crisis stands still: as
Barbara Spinelli explained (lastampa.it), we’re going back to the Nice Treaty of 2001. The Kaczynski brothers will steal Europe 16 years of history.
I think that Italy should stop pretending to act like a world power: Italy should gather Southern and Eastern European countries – such as Spain and Hungary – to enhance a ‘two-speed’ European Union. Since some countries are slowing down, we can indeed speed up between us: in foreign policy, in immigration rules, in public safety, in reforming agriculture and liberalizing the markets.
In Beppe Fenoglio's novel Il partigiano Johnny, a fascist NCO provokes the protagonist: “– Anche lei mi appare un ufficiale, nel grande solo vero senso del termine. Bene, ora voi possedete la città. Anzi, voglio andare oltre la città. Posso figurarmi che possediate tutta l’Italia. Bene: che farete, ragazzi, dell’Italia? – Une petite affaire toute serieuse, – disse Johnny, e Pierre assentì con la sua inimitabile earnestness. – Voglio dire, – insisté il maggiore, – ci sarà ancora un’Italia con voi? – Certamente. Per favore, non se ne preoccupi.” [– You too look to me like an NCO, according the only proper meaning of the word. Well, now you have got the town. On the contrary, I want to go further. I can imagine that you possess Italy. Well guys, what would you make of Italy? – A little thing, but an extremely serious one, – said Johnny, while Pierre nodded with his matchless earnestness. – I mean, – insisted the major, – there will be Italy any more with you? – Of course. And please, never mind.] (
Beppe Fenoglio, Il partigiano Johnny, 1968, Ch. XXI).