Saturday, July 27, 2013

Italy, soccer, racism, Kyenge, Fascism...

"... A man tells me a joke that goes something like this: A contest searched for the best memory in Italy. Three finalists remained. The first said he knew every train schedule in the country, then proved it by rattling off the stops and times. The second said he memorized all the phone numbers, quoting the dozens of Roberto Mancinis in Napoli. All very impressive, the judges said. Then the third contestant blew away the competition, winning the prize. "I remember I was a fascist," he said."

This is from a really first-rate article I just read. From ESPN, of all places. Probably the first time in my life I've read a very long piece in a sports publication. It's by one Wright Thompson, and it goes into the current state of Italy as seen through the behavior of some far-Right, racist soccer fans. It is of striking timeliness. I read it because I was appalled and worried by the despicable actions shown by some Italians toward new minister (cabinet-level politician) Cecile Kyenge, a Congo-born ophthalmologist.

Thompson implicitly asks the question: is the strain of globalization and encroaching immigration going to revive Italian Fascism? He doesn't know; I don't, either. But the question is a very real one, and he presents it in a compelling, readable way.

Highly recommended if you want to know the social and political climate of Italy as it is now, and are concerned about its future.

(in the photo, AC Milan player Mario Balotelli)