Italy, as so often before, is going soft. Romano Prodi, the Prime Minister, said last weekend that
"Hamas exists. It's a complex structure that we should help to evolve -- but this should be done with transparency," Prodi said at a conference in central Italy.
"One must push for dialogue so that it happens, and not shut anyone out of dialogue."
It should be said that Prodi heads a governing coalition whose life is on the knife edge and whose majority depends on some decidedly Leftist MPs. Every now and then he has to make noises to appease them. A favourite avenue of appeasement, because it consists mostly of gestures and does not affect Italians in the slightest, is the Middle East. He can strike the postures of the Moral High Ground and not have to do anything about it. He certainly doesn't have to suffer the consequences of his advice being followed.
An opposition Senator, Enrico Pianetta, reacted.
Helping Hamas to evolve is like helping the Red Brigades to evolve.
Exactly. We know how well that one went.
And speaking of the Red Brigades, newly active, if mostly arrested, there's a new book out in Italian about one of the founding mothers: Nom de guerre Mara - The life and death of Margherita Cagol, the first head of the Red Brigades. Here's a quote. The speaker the author, Stefania Podda, ex-Brigatista, now journaist for Liberazione.
Piú passano gli anni e piú ci rendiamo conto del caos che c'è in Italia, delle differenze di classe, delle ingiustizie infinite. Tutti i fanatismi sono terribili, ma arrivo a capire meglio quegli anni lontani, ormai dimenticati. Almeno allora c'era un ideale. Il resto è mafia, cocaina, potere assoluto.
[The more years pass, the more we realise what chaos there is in Italy, the class divisions, the infinite injustices. All fanaticism is terrible, but I'm getting to understand those distant years better. At least then there was an ideal. The rest is mafia, cocaine, absolute power.]
There you have it. That's the choice. One one side, mafia, cocaine and absolute power (what does that mean?); on the other, "idealism" [Killing one to educate a hundred, as the 'idealists' used to say]. It's the sort of choice kidnappers and terrorists give you. Injustices are infinite, power is absolute, and we must help Hamas (who want to kill rather more than one) to evolve.