mercoledì 9 gennaio 2008

Cultural oddities

Despite having lived in Italy for a few years now, I am nonetheless surprised by things I see or hear on an almost daily basis. Many of these ‘cultural oddities’ are just that - cultural oddities, which I realise I just have to accept as something that is different to the way in which I was brought up - like the way many Italians drive, or the lack of respect for a queue, or the fact that no one drinks cappuccino after 11am. On occasions, however these 'cultural oddities' become huge, smack-in-the-face / what the hell / I can't believe what I'm seeing issues, noteworthy enough to be written down. This is one such example.
Last night, I was watching the main evening news on Canale 5. They were talking about the refuse emergency in Naples. For those who aren’t familiar with the situation, Naples is currently buried under 200,000 tonnes of household waste, which has remained on the streets for weeks, following the mafia’s blocking of new landfill sites. These sites would effectively see them lose their grip on the area’s refuse collection and disposal – a move which has led to the government introducing emergency powers and the army being sent in . Another day, another political / environmental /social mess - on this occasion, literally. Anyway, the news item showed Gianfranco Fini - one of the leaders of one of Italy’s many opposition parties, Alleanza Nazionale – as he toured the area to assess the extent of the problem. The images were fairly brief – around 5 seconds – but what struck me was the fact that he was smoking a cigarette, and was shown flicking his ash on the top of the pile, as he picked his way through the chaos and spoke to concerned local residents. Is it just me, or is this weird? I can’t for the life of me imagine a British politician visiting an emergency, and not only smoking on the job, but being shown on the news adding to the problem! It may seem insignificant, but for me this is all part of a serious issue, whereby good examples are not set by those in authority - whether it be in flicking your fag ash on a mountain of rubbish piled up outside a primary school, or being accused of big-time tax evasion (no names mentioned Berlusconi) – it all makes a difference. The most worrying thing for me is that I often feel I am the only one who finds certain situations unacceptable, and end up being forced to helplessly write them off as ‘cultural oddities’, when realistically there’s nothing ‘cultural’ about them.

1 commento:

Delina ha detto...

That is wierd. He's lucky he/the rubbish didn't go up in flames. Though there's no saying it didn't go up in flames later.

Ps Naples isn't completely buried (yet) :)