Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Mi ricordo che quando andavo alle elementari, mi insegnavano che nella democrazia italiana c’era la suddivisione dei poteri: il potere esecutivo, esercitato dal governo, il potere legislativo, esercitato dal parlamento, e il potere giudiziario, esercitato dalla magistratura, e come, if fatto che nessuno avesse in mano più di uno di questi poteri, garantiva uno stato libero ed egalitario. Alle elementari, concetti che un bambino poteva capire.

Quando sono passato alle medie poi, mi insegnavano l’educazione civica. Mi ricordo che durante un anno di scuola, il libro di testo era la Costituzione della Repubblica Italiana. Le lezioni consistevano nel leggere un articolo per volta, e imparare cosa significava. Un’articolo alla volta, si faceva tutta la costituzione, incluse le disposizioni transitorie e finali, per capire il contesto in cui era stata scritta.

C’erano cose come la libertà di pensiero, la libertà di stampa, e la libertà di parola (art. 21), a garanzia della libertà di espressione.
C’erano cose come l’obbligatorietà dell’azione penale da parte del pubblico ministero, espresso in una semplice frase, a cui è dedicata un’articolo tutto suo (art. 112), a garanzia che tutti i reati vengano perseguiti, non solo quelli che fanno più comodo.
C’erano cose come l’uguaglianza dei cittadini (art. 3), a garanzia che nessuno la possa fare in barba alla legge.

Guardando a quello che succede in Italia di questi tempi, mi sembra di non poter che concludere che gli insegnanti che ho avuto io a scuola, siano stati l’eccezione piuttosto che la regola. Mi sembra che la maggior parte degli italiani, non abbia mai sentito parlare di cose come queste, e che quando ne sente parlare, non le capisca, e accetti passivamente le spiegazioni (o meglio i ritornelli) forniti da chi comanda. Mi sembra che chi comanda, la costituzione non l’abbia mai letta né capita, e che la consideri una rottura di scatole, che prima si riesce a far fuori, meglio è.

Quanto ci vorrà perché noi italiani ci svegliamo, e ci rimbocchiamo le maniche per riaffermare queste cose che erano considerate importanti da chi ha scritto quella costituzione, dopo aver subito anni di fascismo e di guerra? Dovremo forse ripetere gli errori del passato, per ritrovarne i rimedi?

Mia figlia ha la doppia cittadinanza, perché viviamo all’estero. Vorrei poterle insegnare l’orgoglio e non la vergogna di essere italiana. Vorrei che crescendo, non debba sentire le istituzioni italiane fatte oggetto di barzellette, come succede a me coi miei colleghi e amici.

Svegliamoci, non facciamoci rubare quel che ci resta del nostro paese!

Justice vs Mercy vs Revenge

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

The decision by the Scottish executive to release the man generally known as the “Lockerbie bomber” has been causing a lot of controversy, and is taking up a lot of time in the media, and in politics.

Maybe because I was not personally affected by it, but I am getting the impression it is a storm in a teacup. Do we really believe that the UK government has done a deal with Libya based on his release? It seems to me that’s just what the opposition parties insinuate, to further discredit the current government (as if it needed it!).
Sacrificing justice to commercial deals probably is something most people find immoral, and rightly so. But then why focus so much on the release of this one prisoner, and not on his whole trial? Doesn’t the fact that he was the only person convicted, for what seems very unlikely to have been a single man operation, smack already of injustice, and of backroom deals? There are still so many unanswered questions about the whole attack, that frankly being outraged about the convicted bomber being released, as opposed to not having all the actual bombers, planners, masterminders, etc. brought to court, sounds a bit like focusing on the radio not working in a car that is  being written off after an accident.

One could say that however having a convicted person, at least gives some sense of justice and closure to the victims, or their relatives. While I might well be accused of not being qualified to speak, as I did not suffer beacause of the incident, I still feel that, rather than a sense of justice, the fact of having somebody in jail for this crime, tends to satisfy the thirst for revenge, rather than the necessity of justice.

Let’s say however that all of the above is irrelevant. Let’s say that the convicted bomber and the actual bomber are the same person, and that no one else was responsible for it. It’s all on him. And his conviction actually means that justice is served. Can we not as a country, or as a group of countries (given that the US have very strong feelings about this whole affair,  given that most of the affected people belonged to that country), find the mercy and compassion towards this one man, to let him spend the last few months of his life at home (and let’s remember how hard we feel that our own fellow countrymen  should be allowed back home, when they are convicted abroad)? Have we become a nation of people who cannot  forgive, and have mercy, even towards those who have deeply hurt us? Are we able to differentiate between revenge and justice? And speaking at a country level, even if it was true that Libya was involved in the Lockerbie bombing, have we ever  acknowledged the hurt that we have caused to other countries (quite possibly including Libya) by economic exploitation, war, etc.? What makes us so sure that we have the moral high ground?

So if we are quite so lenient with ourselves, can we not find it to be compassionate towards somebody else? After all, somebody once did say that the same measure we apply to others, will also be applied to ourselves.
Maybe that is what really Mr MacAskill was thinking about when he decided to release Mr Megrahi.


Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Are governments going the right way about bailing out the economy? Let’s see. They are spending lots of money (lots so big that I am not entirely sure how many digits the total figure has got!), on banks and car manufacturers (mainly). The rationale being (as I understand it), that if the banking system fails, the whole economy fails, and that car manufacturers employ so many people (directly and indirectly), that the economy would badly suffer (not to talk about all the votes lost for the next round of elections) if the industry didn’t get help.
This way however many people feel cheated, as they see the banks being given lots of money after they have made a mess of it, often on our backs, and the car manufacturers get help even though they got stuck making cars people don’t want, and that are bad for the environment. And what about all those working in viable businesses, who have applied best practices over the years, but who don’t get any bail out help during this recession? I would say there might well be quite a few resentful people out there. Not good for votes. And those people who do not get bailed out, won’t be producing and therefore won’t be helping the economy either.

How about giving the money to the people directly, to spend on paying back their mortgages, and buying new cars? The money could be given in form of vouchers, so that people can’t spend it on holidays and booze (for example), but can only use it for mortgages and cars. This way, a good chunk of the loans gone bad because of falling house prices would be paid back (as well as the good loans, so that everybody can own their own home, and nobody feels cheated), and people could buy new cars. The details could be worked out to try and make it as fair as possible to everybody, but the idea being that the vast majority of people would end up owning their own home, and a new car. Banks would get rid of lots of outstanding loans, thus reducing the uncertainty about their exposure to bad loans, which is at the base of the credit crunch, which is at the base of the recession. Car manufacturers would still receive an injection of cash as people would be buying new cars, and the system could be skewed towards greener cars, so that manufacturers who have invested in green technologies are advantaged.
It seems to me that this would be good for the economy, and for votes.
The main argument I can see, against my solution, is that it would cost a lot more than current bail out schemes. But that is assuming that the current bailout figures are the final ones, and I am not convinced of that.

Why wouldn’t my scheme work any better than what governments are currently doing?