When there is an immediate crisis, like right after 9/11 or after the attack on magistrate Paolo Borsellino in Sicily, a government can choose to send the army out onto the streets and give them some police powers. I remember black-clad special forces guarding ‘points of interest’ in Holland in 2001 – truly a very rare occasion. It’s a move meant to improve security and I’m all for that – given that the country is in a state of immediate crisis.
Italy is not experiencing a security crisis of any kind – or rather, any kind other than a media-induced panic due to no more than a handful of incidents with mainly Eastern European immigrants. Not bad for a country of fifty-eight million. But, in an apparent bid to add to the fears the media and anti-immigration parties have been whipping up, the new Berlusconi government has decided to send the armed forces into the cities and give them some police powers. If you weren’t fully convinced that there is an acute crisis, we’ll fill your streets with infantry to change your mind.
If there’s a crisis, it’s because the country is thoroughly corrupted and it’s civil servants are terminally lazy. Why don’t Roma nomads set up illegal camps in Holland? Because they know they wouldn’t last a day and a half. And so they come here. Why are the streets of Rome full of people illegally selling (mostly stolen and/or fake) goods? Because the police, the financial police, and the carabinieri leave them alone. They walk or drive by as if there’s noone there. Of course I can’t say that someone’s filling someone else’s pockets with crisp Euro bills in order to be left alone, but it sure as hell looks that way. And don’t get me started on the biggest and most enduring crisis this country is going through – that of the mafia. There will be soldiers in mafia capital Naples for sure, but not in Gioia Tauro or in San Luca, to name just two smaller towns with an enormous mafia problem. Hell no, let’s not seriously fight the mafia. That’s too close for comfort, isn’t it, Silvio?
There’s your crisis and it has nothing to do with immigrants, nor will it be solved by the army. Now tell me how I am supposed to feel safer with 2500 heavily armed boys on the streets, with no training whatsoever for doing police work. Our regular Polizia is already a liability sometimes.