Thursday, June 09, 2011

Palermo: It’s now or never

“Se Non Ora, Quando?”

I was young, but there were younger. And now they like to think they run things in Palermo and Sicily. And sure, they should know better in places like Padova and Modena. Italians should be running a fairly smooth country by now. But that doesn’t seem to be the case. Italy is stuck. A generation of endless childhood, contrived by a previous generation of folks who ran things expecting entitlements. Like retirement money and health care and sex with multiple partners, 20-30- 40 years younger. Italy is mired. How, when the country is in a mess like it is, can things still happen and people still take the month of August off?

I didn’t mean this to be a rant, but the past 40 years have just been wiped from the chalkboard. History has been erased. There is no experience worth relating, no advice worth taking. How could it be, when the leaders use the country as their personal concupiscent supermarket? Italy is enmeshed in web of their own making.

So much for the naïve view I first had. I actually thought all Italians were honest and friendly. As I live longer, not only do I find a different reality, there is a class structure that is very much still in place.

“We are the rulers. You are the servants. We rule, you serve. We have the power and the wealth. You get some bread and a liter of wine. Be happy with what we dole out to you. It’s more than your grandparents and their grandparents ever got.” Oh yeah, anyone who says the revolution of the Middle East cannot make it to the shores of Italy, well, they just don’t know how close Sicily is to Africa. It’s on a small boat right now. It’s coming. Closer.

“No, it will never start in Sicily,” the Italian to my left declares. “They are too conservative, they lean too far right.” “Like Salvatore Giuliano?” I quip back.

Was he on to something? Southern Italy has been very conservative for generations. But now the boats are streaming from Africa, like they did from Cuba and Cambodia and it will change Italy.

I walk down the Via Maqueda, slurping on a gelato, looking for a short sleeve shirt, trying to find the address the young lady gave me on the steps of the Opera house. It’s 1971, I’m looking to indulge my youthful needs.

40 years later the leader of Italy is still trying to satiate his youthful needs. And with it all of Italy is looking for those twinklings of pleasure, those moments now which one will never have to pay back in a month a year, a generation. But down the street the accordion is playing the piper’s tune. Someone will have to pay.

If it could only wait until after the summer is over and our vacation at the seaside is finished, no? Se Non Ora, Quando?

to be continued...


Brian Reyes said...

I'm really enjoying this series Alfonso. I was reading this and, although the context is different, it reminded me places I'm more familiar with. Spain, for instance. There's a disconnect between the masses and the powers that be, but there's a rumbling at ground level and it's getting louder all the time, isn't it? Barcelona a fortnight ago.
Anyway, I love your writing, and damn your pics are good too!
Greetings from Gib.

Anonymous said...

Ok, but what triggered this know?

Fabio (Vinos Ambiz) said...

Ditto Spain!
This country is also being run by corrupt and theiving politicians who no longer (if they ever did) look after the interests of ordinary citizens!

Marco Mangiatutto said...

Bingo! Not what the Italians want to hear in their reverie, but...
On a clear day, one can see Cap Bon in Tunisia from Erice, c. 90 miles about the same distance from Miami to Cuba.

Alfonso Cevola said...

Thanks Brian - I went for laham-majoon today...

Anon: That's all you've got to say?

Fabio: Maybe Spain is more likely the epicenter for the entry into Europe

Marco - Buy that ticket and git over there!

Do Bianchi said...

tell me when will you be mine? quando quando quando...

Dude, these photos and these posts are so amazing... you really should think about collecting these in a book so that we can enjoy them cartaceously!

great post... great series...

Real Time Analytics