Today Silvio Berlusconi finally agreed to step-down as Prime Minister of Italy under certain conditions. Il Cavaliere (The Knight in Italian and how he is known in Italy) has been one of the longest-serving ministers in Italian history. His political gaffes and notorious womanizing have made headline news for at least a decade. The damage and setbacks he has caused Italy will need to be assessed for years.
Arrivederci Silvio! It certainly is time for you to go. You’ve hurt your country enough. Italy has had enough of your hedonistic orgies while your country has low wages and negligible to no growth. Italy after Berlusconi is like the morning after a frat party–the leaders of one of the most culturally-rich countries and an important component of Europe completely drunk on grappa.
As one of the richest and most powerful men in Italy (Berlusconi’s net worth is estimated at $7.8 billion), he owns and controls most of the country’s media. During his tenure, he actually tried to end freedom of speech on the internet. Post the Knight, Italy is left in serious debt and chaos after years of sex scandals, alleged links to the mafia, fraud and the list goes on.
Having visited Italy in the late 90s for nearly a month, and then again in the 2000s a couple of times, I believe I could see the visible decline of the country. It seemed dirtier, abandoned buildings, a hopeless attitude among the youth and falling behind other parts of Europe. Monuments looked unclean, graffiti spayed almost everywhere and the warnings of crime more pronounced.
It wasn’t the Italy of just 10 years prior. Grazzie mile Il Cavaliere. You leave a legacy of moral corruption, debt and political dysfunction. As Europe’s third largest economy looks to China for help as an impoverished child, one can only wonder if the adolescent-minded Berlusconi feels any regret? Or is he off to another bunga, bunga party to continue treating women like the gelato of the week while the country implodes?
Jennifer Roche has a BA in the history of art from Chatham College with minors in philosophy and French. She has authored many publications for Catholic press as well as secular, and a storybook for adults and children on the Maltese Islands called Cat Tails from Malta.