The Europe of Fractals between East and West: the #Moldova case

Dacia, the ancient domain of the Roman Empire conquered by Traiano, is called Romania because it was conquered by the Romans (Romagna, in Italy, has the same name because it was under the rule of the Roman Pope). Romans were not so original in giving names. They only gave Greek gods they copied new names. The Greek were much more educated the Romans at those times indeed. A slice of eastern Romania is still talking neo-Latin and was known as Bessarabia. This slice of land was part of the Soviet Union by the name of Moldova. Before that, more or less the same part of turf was part of the big Romania. Another slice of Moldova (so: a slice of slice of Romania) is still over there and until few times ago was a known affair only by few people: Transnistria.

The name recall the geographically close Transylvania (the heart of Romania, the mythical place of Count Vlad) and whatever might be sinister or ambiguous like whatever is fickle (trans– , like transsexuals for instance. The Rocky Horror Picture Show played with this). As a result, whatever is so far in the Eastern Europe sounds to Western people as weird and filthy. I strongly believe this is very exaggerated.

This Transnistrian fractal of European land toward the East is nothing but the will and necessity by the Putin’s Russia to rule the turf like in a pre World War era. Any place with some Russian minority becomes magically a casus belli, as Mr. Putin last year was able to mention Kosovo as a land with Russian oppressed people. In this case Russia is a rational player because Transnistria means to get a hook in a place. As a matter of fact Putin is aiming at connecting Russia and Crimea to Transnistria passing from Odessa, making Ukraine a deadlock country like Belarus.

Consequences and implication are clear: like in Georgia and Ukraine, Moldova must not enter the European Union and especially the Nato alliance. This dispute is challenging but even very dangerous. Is this spoiling more the Russians of the European countries? Which the role of the American big stick?

Despite the big issue of Ukraine, which I already touched, Moldova passed through the Vilnius agreements and other steps with no attention. Usually Italian people refer to Moldova as the place where beautiful blond girls come from. Is only that? I think Moldova is more important than that, though it is a 3.5 million people country with a very fragile economy based on export toward Russia. Let’s see something more

If we believe, as I strongly believe, that vexillology has not only an aesthetic meaning, but even an anthropological, political and economic meaning, the coat of arm of Georgia is more “European” of other European countries, despite its geography. Even history doesn’t deal totally with Europe. The Moldovian coat of arm, for instance, has an eagle (with an Orthodox cross), but especially a cow. The flag, moreover, is actually the Romanian one with this cow in the middle. As far as I know, only African and some other not developed countries have a not noble animal as a national symbol. Felines for instance are pretty common, and how can you laugh at one of them? Moldova is maybe nothing but an agricultural place, a pretty poor one. Transnistria is considered the industrialized part of Soviet Moldova. If I had to guide myself according to flags, I’d say that the not recognized Transnistria is by far more original and beautiful (but mine is a matter of taste for 80s’ vintage). If it were not for the démodé hammer and sickle, of course.

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Recently, a couple of months ago, Moldova had elections and people didn’t have to choose between left and right. Rather, they chose between East and West. Few days ago Moldova created an Establishment which was approved by the Parliament. It is a confirmation of a path toward European Union. My impression is that neither the Romanian people I know are very involved in the destiny of their twin Bessarabian people.

Since, for instance, the current European Union Foreign Minister (or whatever it is), looks to be in a low profile mode, I wonder what kind of Europe is this: a “Normandy-mode” one? A fractured one. A not-very-unified one, even though in possible expansion toward a power (Russia) that considers itself a rival of EU. This all hardly is without problems.

However, definitely, Chisinau is a place that I’d like to visit sooner or later, hopefully as a member of our loved European Union. After all, I strongly believe the right choice for Moldova is to join the Union.

#Isis. Not Inshallah but neither whatever but Insha Allah

Oriana Fallaci did not enjoy widespread appreciation, at least in Italy. Despite the lucky destiny about the stereotypes of people of Florence like me have, she was not seen as an example in politics. Her points of view about war and Islam were somehow unpopular, especially after the 9/11 affair. Symmetrically, Tiziano Terzani, another Florentine, was much more popular. If you wanna be popular in Italy you must be for peace in any circumstance and stay on weaker people’s side. The Palestinian for instance (who are considered usually so). If you really want to be popular in Italy, you must be lefty. Tiziano Terzani was so, even though at the end of his life maybe was too lefty for Italian public opinion too (he used to be critic against the US foreign politics after 9/11). On the opposite pole Oriana Fallaci was labeled in Florence as a fascist. Few used to say “art least she is very good in writing”. She as well at the end of her days become more radical, but on the opposite pole, describing Islam as a threat and giving poor probabilities of integration in western societies.

Fallaci went to Lebanon in the 80s like she went in other places during real war time. She had the same taste by Terzani about letting the truth with a personal touch. She described in Inshallah (published in 1990) the complex network of alliances in that wonderful (before war) and treacherous, filthy and sickly (during war) place. The novel she wrote is outstanding. The depiction of Italian soldiers reveal a deep knowledge of her culture. Some limits in the knowledge of other sides are intellectually honest. The description of women could never have been written by a man.

Inshallah means more or less “let it be”, “as God wants”. There is some fatalism in it. Well, my point today is that we can’t support none of the two opposite public opinion voices.

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One, more American (especially Republican), is to do whatever is needed to defeat Isis. This point of view is necessary, but the ends it aim at won’t be met if a strategy is to make war at all costs. The invented crisis in Arab Springs and, earlier, the invented 2nd Iraqi war are clear example that Isis is somehow a byproduct of Western world. Like communist terrorism in Italy in the 70s, we ought to look inside us to understand why we have our young people among the so called “foreign fighters”, and later we should even think about the best solution from the strategic point of view.

The other, more Italian, is that we shouldn’t mix with wars, and that anything goes. This is very wrong as Italian fled yesterday Tripoli’s Embassy. Italian diplomats were last to leave as the Italians were the last to leave Beirut in the novel. As Lebanon is more than the “new Crimea” (this is how Prime Minister Spadolini labeled Lebanon in early 80s, when Italy got for the first time after WWII to have a relevant role in International military affairs), Libya cannot left as it is. Libya has oil, Libya is a former colony. What is more, Libya is too lose to us. Pacifism cannot work so long, especially in this strange Italian-Catholic version: to help people and rescue them; to don’t fight traffickers of actual slaves (maybe because some of them will work as quasi-slaves in agriculture in the South of Italy). Definitely this model is not sustainable.

Both approaches are wrong, we must do something, but we cannot do anything.

#Gotham vs. #Gomorra and the creations of ethic  

If we assume that cultures are created and transmitted by fairy tales we should also admit that nowadays those tales are often movies and tv series, and not only books. Gotham and Gomorra to this regards sound to me like twins that explain America (USA) and Italy, protestant and catholic cultures, or spirits, even though the latter is strictly based on hard facts and the first is pure fiction.

Gotham is an unexpected tell-tale to me. Frankly, I’ve never understood why a hero should be a bat, instead of a lion, a puma, a cougar or any other rapid and cool animal (preferably a catlike, of course). Batman movies, and even a forgettable tv series broadcasted in Italy when I was a child, are countless, and I scarcely got the cool in it. Too dark, too flat, too plotless. This prequel makes a sense of all and tells me why it is liked so much by American people. Batman is the protestant hero, as anyone in Gomorra may be a catholic hero or anti-hero, as in Catholicism we are all sinners. Two different versions of good and evil.

Let me explain how I decline this old sociological clash in a half serious matter. Gotham is the scene of the primordial America: a not-nation without cities, made of farmers and pilgrims full of hope and religion laden grudge. Whatever is urban, which in Italian is synonymous of civil and polite, in Gotham (like in many other narrations, let’s cite only Devil’s Advocate) is vice. The assumption in “what was before Batman”, is corruption, but even goodwill to defeat it. Villains – that etimologically means from the countryside, poor and rude, and therefore bad people – are not vicious people. Not only. In the prequel Gotham is infested by pre-villains who pursue evil in order to correct Gotham from evil. The Balloon man or the woman who uses hypnosis act in the name of de-infestation from politics and capitalists (evil in their minds). Both are worthy of some comparison with Dante’s depiction and representation of sins and their eventual punishments. (Yep, the tale is pretty good.) So why this use of evil is evil, if it is to defeat evil? My answer is that American culture and society are based on money, Calvinistic capitalism: if you are at the top of the hill, you may be labeled as filthy by the others as a matter of envy, but you must never destroy or overturn it. Actually, this would be even very socialist! Let’s turn to how characters were before Batman begun.

Penguin for instance. Penguin is son to a weird mother and he is fatherless. He is seriously lame and has everything to be a perfect underdog, since he got a dark or punk style (can’t say exactly). Nonetheless he is one of the most terrible villain. Why, and how? He develops hate and angriness from being considered a cripple and uses the underestimation people have upon him to destroy each of them, any time. He is a subtle and magnificent strategist whose main move was to swear loyalty to the main boss. Penguin is himself through deceiving, through committing evil and trying to have an upgrade. Career redeems him; career is his sin.

Cat(-woman) is a young orphan. How can she be guilty if the first theft she does is some milk for a cat and only later food for her? As Penguin she doesn’t begin as a villain. She develops this on the basis of her social conditions. As far as I can see, Cat tries only to defend herself, until her frustration toward the bat-boy is greater than her. None would deny these villains became so due to their doom. On the contrary, if this would be an excuse in a catholic context, in a protestant mode this is the explanation and confirmation of their predestination. They are villain as a by-product predestination, but they are the rot of society.

Dr. Edward Nigma is another underdog, nerd version. He is a good guy, but none takes care about his professionalism and cleverness. He may solve hard problems, he may be very useful to the cause of his job to anyone, but people dislike him. As his love for a colleague cannot find a proper dating and he is continuously belittled, he starts to become a villain. He finds his identity from riddling, to try to appear cool to riddle. His main ridiculous nerdy behavior turns to be his main vicious patterns. In order to be fatally noticed he will use riddles. If being good is nerd, being gimmickly bad will convey popularity. The moment of free will, when people realize to be able to become villain, is the moment of realizing a plot of vendetta.

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[Upper class bat-boy in this peculiar Bildunsroman: he gets legitimation by discovering that vendatta is worth if you are to adjust a wrongdoing (and you must adjust things)]

I might continue, but I guess this is the point: in Gotham people who are in lower social and human conditions try to release themselves. On the other side they find the system, embodied by the wealthiest, who oppose them. In Gotham reality is a struggle between who got a position (mostly in a dishonest way) and who try to rob it. For instance the green gas commissioned by the rich class to make the perfect soldier is delivered to them to make them understand and taste the evil they made. But in Gotham, even only to show that richness and power were got through evil is in se a greater evil. In Gomorra evil another story. Evil is told, described, and anyone may aspire naturally to be part of the big mob as it is the only way to emerge from misery. Contrapositions are between negative heroes, and the few good are marginal characters.

Between the two, I enjoyed much much more Gotham. It is fiction, it is far. Gomorra is reality, is almost home, is a sort of perversion I sadly understand better. I can dream about New York (or any other American skyline with skyscrapers), I cannot dream about the negative heroes of suburbs of Napoli. And, what is more, I – personally – cannot call them neither negative heroes. They are not heroes at all, and they are … vile. Indeed they are nothing but brave-less.

Pagelle sull’elezione del #presidentedellarepubblica

L’elezione del Presidente della Repubblica è un’occasione nella quale la pagella non va tanto, o soltanto, a chi prende (o non prende) i voti, quanto a chi ci sta dietro e dimostra di saperli manovrare. Ecco delle pagelle semiserie.

PD: non classificabile, è necessario disambiguare. (segue Renzi, Civati e Bersani)

Renzi: 9. Capolavoro del capostipite della 3ª Repubblica, il futuro ventennio che iniziò l’anno scorso. Reni si solidifica tenendo intero il PD tutto. Le prime tre votazioni sono state una prova di forza che una DC o un PD con un altro segretario mai sarebbe riuscito a ottenere. La scelta torna su un cattolico democristiano, ma di quelli veramente difficili da criticare. La scelta di Matterella (fantasioso plurale di Mattarellum che tiene insieme la triade Bernardo-Piersanti-Sergio) lascerà a Renzi la scena tanto nazionale quanto soprattutto internazionale. Scampato il rischio di avere figure ingombranti come Amato, o indipendenti come Prodi. Al massimo Mattarella lo redarguirà con discrezione, cosa che male non fa.

Civati: 5. Mediocre nel comunicare la sua scelta di Prodi. Non so se capisce che dicendo che lui il nome l’ha fatto e che almeno vorrebbe sentirsi dire un “no” (senza neanche il perché, perché tanto poi ubbidisce pur dicendo che potrebbe andarsene dal PD) fa la figura del bischero. Sembra che il dottorato sul sistema politico nella Firenze del Rinascimento l’abbia fatta Renzi anziché lui. L’idea di prendere gli ex-Grillini per fortuna non viene menzionata perché altrimenti sarebbe andato sul comico da commedia.

Bersani: 6+. Un “colpetto al Nazareno” vale la sufficienza per un uomo a cui va tutta la mia simpatia umana. Dopo il travaglio e i malumori della sinistra PD ai tempi della riforma del lavoro, la “minoranza” (chi l’avrebbe mai detto che il correntone si sarebbe trasformato in correntina o spiffero?) rientra già prima di Natale. Quella parte del PD ottiene qualcosa, ma non poi più di tanto, e non ho capito nemmeno che cosa nello specifico, se non appunto una tregua nello sfondamento a destra di Renzi.

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M5S: 4. Perde i pezzi per strada come un aeroplano perde elementi chimici in quota (visibili come fosssero delle scie). Si schiera compostamente su Imposimato dopo aver lasciato intravedere Prodi nelle loro quirinarie. Strategia anche carina, ma ormai nessuno, manco Civati, li prende più di tanto in considerazione. Peccato per Prodi che meritava di meglio dal suo Paese. Comunque i M5S sono del tutto irrilevanti. Un corpo estraneo, in tutti i sensi, all’agone politico. Per far le cose fatte bene, visto che votano quello che votano nei blog e poco parlano con gli altri politici, tanto varrebbe che devolvessero il 100% degli stipendi e si tenessero soltanto i rimborsi spesa. Sarebbe più onesto, e probabilmente non lascerebbero affievoli la discussione interna al “partito”.

Ex-M5S “duri&puri”: 7. Lezione di stile dagli ex-pentastellati che rivotano Rodotà in nome di una idendità mai persa.

Ex-M5S “abiuranti”: 1 vale 1. Votano Mattarella in pochi, e quei pochi non è che facciano una grandissima figura di fronte al loro elettorato, vista la tempistica della maturazione del cambio di casacca.

UDC-SC-NCD: 4. Già è tanto se esistono. I loro voti sono stati del tutto irrilevanti. Irrilevante anche la fase delle consultazioni. Il capolavoro di Renzi è stato anche quello di poter dire che anche senza tanti di quei voti avrebbe imposto la sua scelta lo stesso. Non dimentichiamoci però che è stato Enrico Letta a farli friggere per un anno prendendosi schizzi bollenti in faccia. Ma la bravura politica di Renzi è giocare anche su queste amnesie dell’opinione pubblica e tenersi lontani da ogni meccanismo di grana mediatica (v. come non considera Marino).

SEL: 5. Esiste, ma si nota poco. La scelta femminile è lodevole, ma è stata una bandierina di un rosso molto sbiadita. Anziché il futuro, è il profondo novecento. Composti e seri, votano Mattarella, ma l’idea di un partito di sinistra al momento fa tenerezza. In fondo, l’antico dilemma amletico-morettiano del “mi si nota di più se ci sono o se non ci sono” rimane un teorema insoluto.

FI: 3. Sconfitta campale per Berlusconi che non sa per niente far pesare i suoi voti, si fa dividere al suo interno, non fa sentire nemmeno le lamentele. Peggio di lui fece solo il PD di Bersani 2 anni fa, dove però le forze e gli interessi per uccidere lo smacchiatore (i Renziani dell’ultima ora, Dalemiani eternamente insoddisfatti, antiprodiani a prescindere…) erano plurime e maggiori di quelle per uccidere lo smacchiando. La rassegnazione di Berlusconi, e il forte passivo contro Renzi in termini di intelligenza politica, si notano quando dice a Brunetta di chetarsi, per cercare una distensione che non c’è e non ci sarà. Lo zuccherino dell’accorciamento della pena è proprio la caramella di menta data al vecchietto per farlo stare zitto anche se in realtà non parla più lo stesso. Berlusconi ormai non esiste più politicamente, anche se il NCD è fallito, SC anche, e Casini arranca. Senza un regolamento di conti, il centro destra italiano andrà ancora peggio.

LN-FdI 4. Ok la bandiera, ma se veramente non trovi di meglio di Vittorio Feltri vuol dire che sei proprio messo male, e oltretutto la bandiera è anche in condivisione. Il dramma è che non sono voti “dispersi”, ma ci credono, si credono credibili, e per il 27 Gennaio hanno imparato a fare il tweet di rito sulla Shoah. Ritualismi senza spessore.

AVDU (Anonimi Voti Dispersi Unificati) 7: è necessario plaudire a chi ci regala un minimo di ilarità. Magalli, Banfi, Greggio, Razzi (il quale interpreta benissimo se stesso nel ringraziare per il pensiero), il babbo di Capitan Uncino, quello che fa le carte ai politici, perfino Verdini. Tutti momenti alti di chi sa rendere una cosa seria una barzelletta. L’umorismo nella vita è fondamentale. Grazie.