(Guest-essay by Jasmina Tešanović, photos by protest participants.)
Italian people are at their best in a piazza. Yesterday, the international "No B day" was held all over the world, in public squares. The largest event happened in Rome in Piazza San Giovanni. For those few who don't understand, "No B" means No Berlusconi, the right-wing Italian prime minister who has been ruling Italy for the past two decades, undermining its brightest democratic traditions with his private and public scandals.
Only a couple of days ago, a protected mafia witness testified that Berlusconi was involved in mafia crimes. This latest allegation among many triggered many protestors to carry the banners: "no mafia in the state." However, the real hero of this manifestation was Berlusconi's ex wife, who a year or so ago denounced him as womanizer and a corruptor.
The organizers claim that they were one million participants in the Rome march, which ended in a big piazza where non politicians addressed the crowds. This country has too many parties without people and too many people without a party, said one of the participants.
"No Berlusconi" day was organized via internet, without political parties or partisan movements. The people on the streets were dressed in purple as a sign of protest, with many masks and disguises. The king of commedia dell arte, Dario Fo (with his partner Franca Rame), the Nobel prize winner for literature, spoke from the stage to the people: witty and poignant as usual. This author won the Nobel for his political improvised tragic comedies on the mafia state, which has a long bloody history in democratic Italy.
In the meantime Berlusconi, living in denial as usual, was on a fast track train between Milan and Turin, triumphantly opening the route that will join the two power centers in northern Italy.
Riot police were all over the streets in Torino because of the soccer derby between Milan and Turin team and the voyage of its problematic president.
In many other cities of the world, like Berlin or Sydney, people gathered to protest against Berlusconi. These days, as in the days of Borgia or Caligula, Italy generates news for its mafia and sex scandals, not from a squalid underclass but from the very top. The people have to stand up in the piazza risking their lives for democracy, so dear to their hearts and temper.
But yesterday, nobody dead, nobody hurt, just a great carnival of political alternative: a good start.
Previous essays by Jasmina Tešanović on BoingBoing:
• On Marina Abramovic, a "grandmother of performance art"
• The Murder of Natalya Estemirova.
• Less Than Human
• Earthquake in Italy
• 10 years after NATO bombings of Serbia
• Made in Catalunya / Lou and Laurie
• Dragan Dabic Defeats Radovan Karadzic
• Who was Dragan David Dabic?
• My neighbor Radovan Karadzic
• The Day After / Kosovo
• State of Emergency
• Christmas in Serbia
• Neonazism in Serbia
• Korea - South, not North.
• "I heard they are making a movie on her life."
• Serbia and the Flames
• Return to Srebenica
• Sagmeister in Belgrade
• What About the Russians?
• Milan Martic sentenced in Hague
• Mothers of Mass Graves
• Hope for Serbia
• Stelarc in Ritopek
• Sarajevo Mon Amour
• Killing Journalists
• Where Did Our History Go?
• Serbia Not Guilty of Genocide
• Carnival of Ruritania
• "Good Morning, Fascist Serbia!"
• Faking Bombings
• Dispatch from Amsterdam
• Where are your Americans now?
• Anna Politkovskaya Silenced
• Slaughter in the Monastery
• Mermaid's Trail
• A Burial in Srebenica
• Report from a concert by a Serbian war criminal
• To Hague, to Hague
• Preachers and Fascists, Out of My Panties
• Floods and Bombs
• Scorpions Trial, April 13
• The Muslim Women
• Belgrade: New Normality
• Serbia: An Underworld Journey
• Scorpions Trial, Day Three: March 15, 2006
• Scorpions Trial, Day Two: March 14, 2006
• Scorpions Trial, Day One: March 13, 2006
• The Long Goodbye
• Milosevic Arrives in Belgrade
• Slobodan Milosevic Died
• Milosevic Funeral