Stories and anecdotes on Berlusconi are countless; and they are said to be true or false depending on who’s telling them. The last one goes that he went to the wrong political rally during the local electoral campaign, last May. Two parties were being held in Segrate, near Milan, one for the center-right mayoral candidate, Thecla Fraschini, the other for the center-left candidate, Paolo Micheli. They were taking place at an eight-hundred-yard distance from each other. After the unexpected visit of the former Italian premier, Micheli, according the daily newspaper Il Sole 24 ore, posted the news on Facebook: «Around 11 p.m., Berlusconi arrived at the party. To the perplexed participants, he explained the he was Silvio and urged them to spend a mere hour of their time to go and vote for the candidate. “What’s his name?” he asked. “Paolo” was the answer from the bystanders. “Well, guys, don’t forget to cast your vote for Paolo!”
The former mayor of Segrate insists that it all was due to the confusion. “It’s not the President’s fault,” he said. “His driver brought him there.” Silvio has yet a different story. “I heard a band playing and I was curious, so I got out of the car. I didn’t speak to anybody. I satisfied my curiosity and left.”
Everyone knows Berlusconi likes music; everybody knows he likes parties. He was a singer and player himself, therefore no wonder he was curious. It’s possibly a matter of discovering new talents for his own parties; or maybe he was toying with the idea of making his talent available to the gathering. Anyway, you choose the version you like best. Yet, before making any decision, look at this picture portraying our former Presidente del Consiglio with his beloved poodle Dudu.
Cute, isn’t it? He and his dog. Can this man get mixed up with parties and candidates? The verdict is yours. What I can say is that Italian politics have far too much to do with music and parties and too little to do with real problems. And parties can be dangerous, especially when one eats and drinks too much. Look what happened to our current Premier, center-left, he says, but a true pupil of Berlusconi’s:
Unless our politicians mean to invite the hundreds of refugees arriving every day to our coasts to their extravagant fiestas. Before expelling them, of course. Philanthropy is multifaceted.
Anna Maria Cossiga was born in Sassari, Sardinia, and moved to Rome when she was 7. She has lived in NYC and London and currently teaches cultural anthropology in Rome.