Belen, Berlusconi, and bunga-bunga

[Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (R) talks with members of the parliament during a debate in the upper house of Parliament in Rome September 14, 2011. REUTERS/Max Ross]

The foreign press is raving about Berlusconi's escort scandals and his unfortunate declaration that he is the prime minister in his spare time. Sometimes, between important orgies, he finds a spare moment to meet with the Pope, UN officials, financiers and so forth.

The founder of one of the major dailies in Italy, Eugenio Scalfari, wrote that it was impossible for the scandal to continue until the formal elections in 2013. Yet at this point the Italian population seems to be beyond embarrassment.

The "If not now, when" women' s movement has been protesting for more than six months now in mass public demonstrations. Even world pop stars like Madonna, normally not an icon of sexual rectitude, have expressed their contempt for the premier.

Analysts are dismally recording the spreading decadence and lack of democracy as Italian society sinks into ever-growing economic and moral crisis. It might be possible to serenely overlook all this, if not for the leaked wiretaps.

Berlusconi's leaked conversations with his friend/pimp Tarantini are all over front pages. Here the premier and his bunga-bunga henchman discuss the charms of the most famous showgirl in modern Italy, the Argentinian supermodel Belen Rodriguez (a former model-spokesgirl for Italian TIM wireless internet).

Berlusconi: How is Belen?
Tarantini: My God in heaven how beautiful she has become!
B: Ah…ah…
T: l've seen her in good shape.
B: Check her out in my name.
T: I know, I know, I have to catch her at her ease for a second…anyway tonight we are dining together again.
B: Great! Tell her that I always admired her as a beauty, but also as a woman.
T: But you never met her personally?
B: Who, Belen? Of course I did.
T: Ok, ok.
B: I met her and she spent one night with me, but we didn't have sex since she was the woman of my soccer player.

In another wiretapped conversation, Berlusconi boasts of bedding eight girls in one night, out of eleven paid escorts he had standing by. However, even Bluebeard has some standards: he turned down a liaison with one showgirl because of her vulgar manners.

In an hard-hitting YouTube interview, one of his hottest escorts explains the harem's code of honor from the women's point-of-view.

"If you are a dog, then stay at home! Beauty has its value and has to be paid. Whoever doesn't get this, and speaks about the 'role of women,' should not break the balls… Every woman should run to Berlusconi's bed…"

Italian politics has become the dysfunctional utopia of a delusional sultan. A sick dream-world where an aging premier brings young girls from his bed to the millions of the Italian TV audience, and back again. Whenever they bore him, he retires them and their relatives into the parliament or his government. This is Ottoman harem politics in a modern western guise.

The term bunga bunga, borrowed from Ghadaffi, has become the trademark for Italian gender relations. It's claimed that every Italian man shares Berlusconi's sexual fever-dream, but even if that's true, only Berlusconi actually does it.

The judges in Italy, on the premier's case ever since he was caught consorting with an underage Moroccan illegal immigrant, are relentlessly trying to criminalize his behavior. Berlusconi behaves as if he is a victim of communist persecution, avoiding all legal instances by using his legal and de facto power. He delays and denies.

Some politicians are speaking of a possible referendum to depose Berlusconi, some for asking President Napolitano to intervene with all his legal might… Some from Berlusconi's party speak of purging the party from the inside. Yet others speculate about somehow creating an emergency national government. But nothing stops the drift toward the abyss. It is hard to build a functional state with the same crew that deliberately destroyed it.

Today he appeared in court of Milan escorted by numerous police, this time however his supporters were not around. He refused to speak to the judges, but addressed the journalists outside:
I am doing fine, while your faces are really ugly!

Jasmina Tesanovic: blog, twitter.