A little man dies today in Rome at 94. He was something more than a common politician, he was (and is) a key to understand the recent history of my country and more than a bit of what’s happened in Europe and in the Middle East in the ’60 and the ’70.
You may find a good summary of his public history here, but even a good article is not enough to understand the weight of Mr. Andreotti. If you take a look at the italian pages of Facebook or if you read our newspapers you may feel a mix of emotions, something between relief and disbelief.
It looks like a collective exorcism, a rite of passing between different generations in our country. Mr. Andreotti was on the political scene for more than 60 years, something between a man of power and a state priest of unholiness.
When I think about this man this image pops up in my mind. Mr. Andreotti never killed a man or a woman but was involved or deeply informed about every goddamn italian major crime. We got Mafia, Camorra and N’drangheta, three organized crime cartels that span their influence worldwide. All of them are in a criminal partnership with the local and national government, give-and-take ploys that undermine the very essence of our nation.
Does Mr. Andreotti knows about them? Yes. Does he got any kind of advantages from them? Yes. Does he benefits from their crimes? Indirectly, yes.
From 1969 to 1985 we got a period of terrorism, we call these the “lead years” from the lead in the bullets. We got bomb in trains and railway stations, people killed in the streets, kidnappings, armed robberies… name a crime, we’ve had it more than once. What’s peculiar of our situation was the involvement of our secret services, of some of our worst statesman.
In those years Italy got a strange role. We always were in the NATO, right? We collaborate with our allies, we do whatever it takes to be a part in the fight, don’t we? It’s quite difficult for me to say a loud “yes”. We were involved with dictators like Mr. Gheddafi in Libya, with Mr. Arafat of PLO, we export weapons and ammo in a looong list of countries under UN ban (South Africa,Lebanon, Syria, the aforementioned Libya and so on).
Yes, you guessed it right. Mr. Andreotti knows about that.
Was he evil incarnate? A demon disguised as a little man? No on both counts. He was a man of power, a man with the self-appointed mission of being at the helm of my country. He wasn’t alone on the bad side. Plenty of people, from his minions to a variety of parasites, were at his side for decades.
His death is a symbol. He was nothing but an old man, curved by his illness and lost inside too many memories in his mind. A good metaphor of Italy.