Friday, June 1, 2012

Italian politics by a Roman taxi driver

Roman street art.
A few days ago i did a Rome-in-a-Day tour for a nice couple from northern Florida. Colosseum, Vatican, downtown highlights: bam bam bam. While in a cab between sites, the man of the couple asked me about the situation in Italian politics. i could certainly tell him what i thought, if he'd like, but instead i suggested we ask the cab driver what he thought and the client agreed.

So, acting as a translator i asked the driver what he thought of the current situation in Italian politics. And he showed his middle finger.

After asking him if he minded if i translate the conversation, i did so and they cracked up when i said he had shown his middle finger (they were in the back of the cab and couldn't see.) The driver got a kick out of that and offered to explain.

He said the current Prime Minister, Mario Monti, was putting Italy deeper into the European situation, and he didn't like that. He is too involved with Merkel, the driver said, referring to the Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany.

Plus, he said, Monti was not democratically elected. He made it clear he did not want to be misunderstood - he was glad Berlusconi gone. He said he had overheard me mentioning already in English that Berlusconi was famous for scandals and gaffs and was glad i knew to say that, because everyone was glad he is gone, he said

But it should have been done by the people of Italy, he said. He then expressed a view i've heard widely expressed here, though usually without so much rancor: the Italian parliament had been pressured by the international banks to put Monti in power to sure up the Italian economy, so it would not end up with the potentially divisive problems coming out of Greece.

But you know what the problem is with Monti?, the driver asked me. Goldman Sachs, he said.

i asked him what he meant and he said that it was clear the banks had created the global economic crises we are all going through, and now Italy has put the banks at the head of the government.

"That's a good point," said the American guy, when i'd translated all this.

"But, what about Greece?" he asked. "Will there by the violence and revolts in Italy like there was there?"

No, the driver said. Italy is not such a poor country as Greece is. They feel real poverty. In Italy, some people are annoyed, some are even fed up he said, but the people are still eating. Nobody makes rebellion while they are eating well, he said.

1 comment:

  1. This Italian driver (cretino) tried to run me over with his car:


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