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Berlusconi attacked at rally. PDF Print E-mail
Dec 13, 2009 at 11:52 PM

ImageItalian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi was punched in the mouth today at the close of a political rally in Milan by a 42 year old man with a history of mental problems. The police said the man, who was immediately arrested, may have hit Berlusconi with some sort of metal object. Berlusconi, who was bleeding copiously, was taken to hospital to be kept under observation for 24 hours. Two of the premier's teeth were reportedly damaged and a bone in his nose was said to be fractured.

Tartaglia restrained after the attack
The aggression by an electrician named Massimo Tartaglia came at the end of a rally called to begin formal membership enrolment in the party formed last March by the merger of Berlusconi's Forza Italia and Alleanza Nazionale, another right of center party, along with ten smaller political groups, a few of which have since withdrawn. It is the largest single  Italian political party and at the moment is the dominating force in the Italian parliament as well as in a majority of Italy's 20 regions.

During the half-hour speech that preceded the attack on him (oh body guards, where were you?), Berlusconi went through his usual shtick. Italy's leftists and center-leftists are for the most part die-hard Marxists who only want to take over power but have no concern for people. The country's courts are dominated by leftists who have no real standing as they are not popularly elected, whereas he is a "good boy" whose government is responsible for saving Naples from runaway garbage, for ending the crisis between Russia ad Georgia and - get this - for saving the world economy by having convinced the US government, after it had let Lehman Brothers fail, to instead step in and save the world's banks. It's bad enough to imagine that Berlusconi actually believes this. It's quite frightening to know that there are millions of Italians who believe all this nonsense.

The attack on Berlusconi has set off a new round of political quarrels with many of his supporters blaming the aggression on the left for  haveing created the current "climate of hatred". Antonio Di Pietro, the leader of the anti-Berlusconi party, IDV, poured more oil on the fire by saying that although he deplored the incident, that he believed it was a result of Berlusconi's having exasperated normal Italians. There is no doubt that many people here passionately detest Berlusconi, beleivehe is an evil criminal and see no good at all in the present government.

My own views are more nuanced. I believe he is doing Italy's image a lot of harm, I beleive he has worrisome Peronist tendencies, and I hope he will somehow soon be voted out office. And the sooner the better. Do I believe he has ties to the Mafia as some say? I could believe he might have had contacts at some point with people he may or may not have known were mafiosi. I absolutely do not believe, as one informer recently told a court, that Berlusconi might have had anything to do with a series of bombings in 1992 and 1993  which by the way was before he entered politics. And I think there are some good and decent people in his present government, one of whom, Roberto maroni, as Interior Minister, indirectly get the credit for all the recent arrest of wanted mobsters, Mafia, Camorra and N'dranghete.


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