(King Richard II, act 2, sc. 1)
Less than 1000 miles West-South-West of Ukraine and Crimea lies the island of Sicily. Where there is no desire for a referendum to join Russia or any other nation. Hence there is no need for the State Department’s display of staggering hypocrisy or for masking with arrogance the insipidity of truth. Neither it is necessary to “fuck the Europeans” as suggested verbatim by Victoria Nuland, assistant secretary of State, during her conversation with the US Ambassador in Kiev. (For a recording of the intercepted telephone call refer to the article on this site, http://yourdailyshakespeare.com/shakespeare-ukraine-and-the-smoking-gun/equalities )
If anything, in still relatively recent history, Sicily wanted to secede from Italy and become the 50th state of the Union. Shortly after WWII the Cosa Nostra launched a pretty popular party with that very objective. The party logo featured a green line that looped around the island, crossed into the Atlantic through the strait of Gibraltar, and finally embraced the home of the brave, land of the free.
Today I can think of no country that is more a US protectorate than Italy. In fact, no European political establishment is quicker in conjecturing the desires of America, more active in supplying her wants, more dexterous in intercepting objectionable deviations, more flexible to her humors, more submissive to her requests.
Most recently a “professor” of a local “prestigious” university, has even proposed that Italian be banned from teaching and that all courses be held in English. Politicians who have but a Dartagnanesque knowledge of the language repeat English buzz-words and monikers with the self-satisfaction and self-assurance of an expert.
Not that the Italian language is poor in number of words and choice of meanings. Its 30-volume dictionary is larger than the Oxford Dictionary of the English Language.
For example, the word “labor” that in Italian has a wealth of synonyms is now referred to as “job”. As I am writing this article, a just-approved government decree eliminates the last remnants of workers’ rights. It is officially and Orwellianly called “job act”.
It was not always so. Until the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the political establishment always kept a shrewd eye on the limits within which dishonesty is the best policy. Those limits, they were reluctant to exceed. There was a diffused fear that the populace may at some point opt for “anything but this”. They could become too restive and it wasn’t certain that the police or the army would shoot their own people.
But in the 1990s everything changed. Symbolic of the “violet” revolution (for the genesis of the “color” revolutions see http://yourdailyshakespeare.com/colored-revolutions-a-shakespearean-interpretation/equalities) is the rise of Berlusconi, multiply indicted, multiply tried and recently sentenced to 7 years in prison for sexual abuse of a minor, encouragement and protection of prostitution and massive tax fraud. Not that the charges were made up – there are actual photos, videos, voice-recordings, thousands of pages of testimony on Berlusconi’s parties, worthy of Svetonius’ “Life of the 12 Caesars.” And yet Berlusconi remains free and as popular as ever, thanks to the conniving media. His defense is that the judges were “communists”. He has not spent one day in jail and is currently attempting to be elected to the European parliament.
Another proof of massive US domination is the range of military installations. According to a documented source (1), there are currently 186 military offices and bases in Italy. And their number since 1990 has increased.
But there is a reason. Whereas earlier on there were only reds under the bed, now there are Serbians, Libyans, Arabs, Muslims, Afghans, Pashtunis, Waziristanis, Pakistanis, Iranians, Syrians, Venezuelans, Nicaraguans, Ecuadorians, Palestinians, Somalians, Yemenis, Sudanese and Goat Herders from the Sahara. Which must make the underside of the bed very crowded and the upperside trembling with fear and craving for security.
Nor is all this security free of charge. Italy pays to America half a billion $ a year for the military assistance. A pittance for the Pentagon, but no small weight on the Italian budget. Especially in a country where the “crisis-that-has-already-ended” has dealt a death blow to many in the middle class. Last year alone 150 small entrepreneurs and/or shop owners have committed suicide for having lost their company, or their shop or their job. A host of industries with historic names and excellent products and traditions have disappeared, keep disappearing or are being bought and liquidated by sundry multi-national establishments.
But let’s return to Sicily and more specifically to the little town of Niscemi, smack in the middle of the island. The name is of Arabic origin and it refers to the ‘elm’ tree. In fact, for about 400 years (700-1100 AD) Sicily was Muslim and part of a North-African Caliphate.
This is the land of the true Godfathers and of the orange groves and of the orange-scented air. When the fruits are in season and the perfume spreads around like a cloud, it is difficult not to feel an identity with the mood of the town.
But right here, close to Niscemi, the Pentagon has one of its 186 military installations, namely a station with a cluster of powerful radars and massive antennas. The ever-increasing need for security has made it mandatory to replace the existing with more powerful antennas and to increase their number.
These are huge dishes that could focus a beam on the moon and return a good reading. And, besides being powerful, they are orientated not right up, but towards the horizon. Which means that the inhabitants of the town are directly and continuously exposed to the radiation. This has not pleased them. For one thing, the radiation specifications in the US are more liberal than in Europe. And, more importantly, there is voluminous research pointing to the danger and damage of continuous exposure to powerful electro-magnetic fields such as those emitted by radars.
The fight of the Niscemian Davids against the Pentagonian Goliath has been waged by the local schools, led by their physics teacher, Prof. Enzo Traina. Who, armed with documented scientific evidence on the harms of constant radiation, has led the students in constant demonstrations against the expansion of the site. They actually would like it closed for good.
In the instance, the State Department could not realistically put sharp-shooters on top of buildings and fire into the crowd, as they did in Kiev. They opted for another solution and to the teachers and students of Niscemi they made an offer they could not refuse. (2)
Rather than starting a new NGO (Non Government Organization), they launched a YLP (Youth Leadership Program). Through the program Niscemi students have been invited to an all-inclusive, all-paid trip to Hawaii, for the purpose of verifying on-site, “the actual benefits deriving from a similar radar installation” (sic).
Of the 95 teachers in Niscemi to whom the invitation was extended, so far only (2) have accepted.
And the students?
One student said, “According to me, it is not right that we participate to the “free trip” offered to us by the Americans. It is as if we declared to be stupid and ignorant. They presume we have no conscience or knowledge and that a free trip would be enough to make us change our mind. We cannot accept this. It is the same as if we accepted to go to Africa with the excuse of helping needy children but with the purpose of stealing their oil and devastating their land. We are not so naive. Only three per each class have accepted the invitation.”
I wonder how many of the Ukrainian “professors” “journalists” and intelligentsia invited to the US through similar programs, (5 billion $ were invested by the US to destabilize Ukraine), had the courage of the Sicilian students who said “no”.
On the other hand, one of the students who accepted said, “Why not take advantage of this offer… because otherwise… when will it happen again that I will be offered a trip to Hawaii, for 20 days, all expenses paid?”
The underlying message is, “Even if I go, it does not mean that I will cross to the other side.” Personally, I am not so sure. Faced between the choice of “money now” and “better health later”, what would be the choice of most? After all, “Things that move sooner catch the eye than what not stirs” (3). Better health is stationary or at best elusive, whereas in the instance, money “moves”, physically.
(3) Troilus and Cressida
In the play. York advises Gaunt to go easy with King Richard who has come to visit.