Monday, December 3, 2007

Word of the week: insabbiamento

Our word of the week is insabbiamento, meaning (figuratively) "to cover up." The verb form is insabbiare. The word obviously derives from the word "sabbia," sand. The figurative sense is based either on the meaning of "to cover with sand" (the sense of "obscured") or possibly "to silt up" or "be stranded" (not to go forward).

There are cover-ups in every country, but it is my strong impression that they are more common in Italy than elsewhere. The Italians refer to the misteri d'Italia, or Italian mysteries, which unfortunately are not Donna Leon books. They are disparate events throughout the post-war period which remain unexplained and where there is objectively a strong suspicion of major interference by occult powers, often governments (domestic and foreign, or domestic and foreign working together), rogue secret services, the Vatican, organized crime, or fringe political movements (most often far-right). The grandaddy of the misteri is the death of Enrico Mattei, who was a powerful figure at the head of ENI and as such at the crossroads of international petroleum and energy procurement. He died in a plane crash in 1962 which many do not consider accidental.

Here is a site on the misteri, which is not even exhaustive. See also my post on the word dietrologia.