Saturday, February 28, 2009

Stories and News No. 9: Obama the socialist?

The Stories:

"Mr. President, Distinguished delegates:
Of all the burning problems to be dealt with by this Assembly, one of special significance for us, and one whose solution we feel must be found first — so as to leave no doubt in the minds of anyone — is that of peaceful coexistence among states with different economic and social systems. Much progress has been made in the world in this field. But imperialism, particularly U.S. imperialism, has attempted to make the world believe that peaceful coexistence is the exclusive right of the earth's great powers. That peaceful coexistence cannot be limited to the powerful countries if we want to ensure world peace. Peaceful coexistence must be exercised among all states, regardless of size, regardless of the previous historical relations that linked them, and regardless of the problems that may arise among some of them at a given moment. At present, the type of peaceful coexistence to which we aspire is often violated.
We must also state that it is not only in relations among sovereign states that the concept of peaceful coexistence needs to be precisely defined.
We have maintained that peaceful coexistence among nations does not encompass coexistence between the exploiters and the exploited, between the oppressors and the oppressed.
Furthermore, the right to full independence from all forms of (colonial) oppression is a fundamental principle of this organization.
So, we ask withdrawal from the Guantánamo naval base and return of our territory occupied by the United States.
Forty-seven countries meeting at the Second Conference of Heads of State or Government of Non aligned Countries in Cairo unanimously agreed: "Noting with concern that foreign military bases are in practice a means of bringing pressure on nations and retarding their emancipation and development, based on their own ideological, political, economic and cultural ideas, the conference declares its unreserved support to the countries that are seeking to secure the elimination of foreign bases from their territory and calls upon all states maintaining troops and bases in other countries to remove them immediately. The conference considers that the maintenance at Guantánamo (Cuba) of a military base of the United States of America, in defiance of the will of the government and people of Cuba and in defiance of the provisions embodied in the declaration of the Belgrade conference, constitutes a violation of Cuba's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Noting that the Cuban Government expresses its readiness to settle its dispute over the base at Guantánamo with the United States of America on an equal footing, the conference urges the U.S. Government to open negotiations with the Cuban Government to evacuate their base."
The government of the United States has not responded to this request of the Cairo conference and is attempting to maintain indefinitely by force its occupation of a piece of our territory, from which it carries out acts of aggression such as those detailed earlier.
Those who kill their own children and discriminate daily against them because of the color of their skin; those who let the murderers of blacks remain free, protecting them, and furthermore punishing the black population because they demand their legitimate rights as free men — how can those who do this consider themselves guardians of freedom?"

Ernesto Che Guevara, December 11, 1964, 19th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York

Forty-five years later…

"My fellow citizens:
To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to the suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.
What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility - a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.
This is the source of our confidence - the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.
This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed - why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath."

Barack Obama, 20 January 2009, Inauguration speech

The News:

Reuters, February 2009: Obama said on Thursday the budget is a "first step" toward creating or saving millions of jobs and laying the foundations for growth, amid the worst economic recession in decades.
The spending plan also seeks to enact a bold agenda to upgrade schools, expand healthcare coverage next year, while cutting taxes paid by Americans on lower and middle incomes.
TAKING FROM THE RICH: The budget was attacked by Republicans in the U.S. Congress unhappy about its unprecedented spending increases, and its shift toward raising taxes on wealthier Americans in a bid to narrow the gaping deficit.
Wealthier professionals earning more than $250,000 dollars will have to pay higher taxes under the plan.

Reuters, February 2009: Obama's budget suggests that spending up front to get coverage for more of America's 46 million uninsured people will save cash if patients get preventive care and avoid expensive and chronic diseases. The budget also suggests that the Obama administration plans to negotiate with drug makers to lower drug prices, as the European Union and Canada now do. The Obama administration on Thursday vowed to end years of cost overruns and schedule delays in U.S. weapons programs, calling acquisition reform one of the Pentagon's highest priorities.

Reuters, January 2009: Obama ordered the closure of the detention complex, which houses about 250 terrorism suspects and others in a camp and maximum-security facilities at the Guantánamo U.S. naval base. Inmates have been held as long as seven years without charges. Accusations that prisoners have been abused to the point of torture have spurred wide condemnation of the United States.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Stories and News No.8: Linda the men addict

The Story:

"Silence, please…" the Reverend Glynn Wolfe said, standing in front of everyone.
"But Wolfy..." Tom Stutzman reacted, looking him with his single eye.
Stutzman and George Scott, seven years with Linda, were sitting in the first line.
"Hey! Don’t you remember I told you that you should not call me like that in public?"
"Yeah, but when we’re alone you like it, don’t you?"
"I do not know what you're talking about!" Wolfe shouted.
"Take a look to the Reverend..." Jo, one of the barmen sitting in the first row too, said to his buddies.
"Stop now!" Glynn cried out. "We’re not here to talk about me! I told you that the situation is serious, very serious. Did you not read the newspapers?"
"Eminence," Arthur answered, speaking also on behalf of the other plumbers seated in second row, "you tell us to hide and isolate ourselves from the world..."
"Eminence?! What Eminence?! How many times I have to say that I'm just a reverend?"
"Call him Wolfy..." Stutzman said.
"Tom…" Glynn said. "If you cannot shut up I close your last eye for ever..."
"Excuse me..."
The Reverend tried to go on: "So, as I see you don’t know anything. I'm sorry, but I have to give you bad news: she’s still hunting!"
A sudden frosty silence invaded the hall. A few moments later the small crowd began to murmur.
"Be calm, gentlemen," Wolfe said, "keep calm..."
"It’s easy to you!" Michael, one of the musicians seated in second row, shouted. "She believes you died..."
"Yes", Sam, another of the barmen, had the same opinion. "We’re the ones who are at risk, not you..."
"Guys, let him talk!" Andrew, sitting next to Lenny in the third row, exclaimed.
"You're lucky too..." Jack Gourley, three times married with Linda, said. "You became gay..."
"You’re lying!" Lenny replied. "He already was, me too!"
"Shut up everybody!" The Reverend screamed. "Fighting among ourselves is not the way to solve it!"
"Good, Wolfy", Stutzman approved, "I’m with you!"
Glynn watched him with murderous eyes.
"If I had the authority I would return you to jail..." he whispered. "Listen, we are here to help each other... We are in danger, don’t you see? Me too! If Linda were to know that I am still alive, according to the law I would still be her husband..."
At that time Scott, seated at the right side of Stutzman, raised his hand.
"George ... do you want to say something? Come, come here..."
The man, that although his age was still a handsome person, left the chair and came before the others.
"Dear men, beloved husbands, listen carefully to me, that I was the first to get married to Linda. We need to assist each other; we must show solidarity between us. Have you forgotten how things worked? During the wedding all the spotlights were on her, the bride. When she got pregnant, who stayed in the middle of the scene? She again was, in all her glory, Linda and her growing belly.
I don’t want to talk about when the first descendants came... Mom Linda here and mom Linda there. And what about us? We have always been the contour, like the salad. Yeah, we’re just the salad..."
Everyone applauded and praised the speaker, visibly excited.
In that instant, the unexpected happened.
The door on the bottom of the hall, enveloped in darkness, was opened, and someone came in.
Everyone was congealed and all turned towards the figure moving in the dark.
They heard slow but steady steps.
They perceived a thoughtless but enormous confidence.
And finally the light revealed the unpredicted guest.
"L-Linda ..." Reverend stuttered, the only one able to talk between the frightened husbands.
The woman advanced a step further and watched them one by one.
Then she smiled; with her mouth, her eyes, with the whole body; an extraordinary smile, as only a wife can design.
What followed was inevitable.
The barmen, the plumbers, the convict Tom, the musicians, Andrew and Lenny, Jack, George and Wolfy, all ran to meet Linda and tightened her in a warm embrace.
Nobody knew if it was a gesture of love or otherwise.

The News:

The Sun, Published: 24 Feb 2009 - By VIRGINIA WHEELER:
A GRANNY aged 68 has officially become the most married woman in history — tying the knot 23 TIMES.
Linda Wolfe — who first wed aged 16 — notched up the huge tally after becoming “addicted to the romance” of getting hitched.
The mum of seven’s longest marriage lasted seven years.
Her shortest was just 36 hours.
She has wed a convict, barmen, plumbers and musicians.
Two husbands turned out to be gay.
Linda is now listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most married woman.
And the serial bride — who has been single for ten years — said she was “on the lookout for number 24”.
She said yesterday: “It’s been years since I walked down the aisle. I miss it.”
Linda, who cannot even name her husbands in order, first wed “soulmate” George Scott in 1957. It lasted seven years.
The best lover was Jack Gourley. Linda, of Alexandria, Indiana, said: “I kept coming back to him. We wed three times.”
The strangest ceremony was at the Indiana Reformatory Prison to one-eyed lag Tom Stutzman.
Her last, to reverend Glynn Wolfe, was a publicity stunt — making him the world’s most married man with 29 brides.
He died a year later aged 88.
Linda, now in a retirement home, said she has never cheated on a hubby.
But she said: “Men ran after me. I’ve tried to figure it out and I can’t.”

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Stories and News no.7: Who will be the Italian Obama?

The Story:
Italy, everywhere, from north to south, Spring 2013.
It’s morning.
Yesterday night I read the elections results...
We did it!
We all did, everyone did, those who haven’t understood too.
After all, even in the past they hadn’t seen what they did, when they put a cross on that name on the ballot paper...
It’s the end!
Stop with the shame of seeing the most powerful man in my country saying bullshits around the world.
Stop with watching always the same name at the head of what matters in Italy.
Stop with the worst Italian myth during the last two decades: the important thing is to get on top; it doesn’t matter how...
And if all this were not enough, stop with his incredibly idiot jokes!
This morning, like Kevin Spacey four years ago, I can say out loud: “I am proud to call him my president!
Oh yes, because all those who voted him may say everything, except that they were proud.
In any case, in my life I have never known anyone saying looking straight in my eye with a minimum of serenity that he voted Berlusconi...

The News:
IRIS, National News Agency, 19/02/2009

A great moment at the Sanremo Festival with Kevin Spacey who sang and chatted with Paolo Bonolis, the host. “The public likes more obscure characters – the actor said - they're the ones that people remember more.” Bonolis has also sung John Lennon’s Imagine. Lennon is a person very dear to Spacey: “The spirit of John Lennon – he said - it is all over the world: a father, a husband, a crusader.” And then a reference to the last elections in the United States: “Something happened in the U.S.... And all those who loved John Lennon think that bringing Obama to the presidency of the USA is a great hope for the future... Lennon's ability to be real and think before speaking is the same in Obama... I am proud to call him my president.”

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Stories and News no.6: Despite the Vatican, I will have a future

The Story:

Pavia, Italy, 18 February 2039

Dear Dad,
I just want to say thank you...
I know that you were not there in my first birthday.
I know that you have not heard the first time I said a comprehensible word.
I also know that you were not with me the day I saw the sea and my eyes have been enlarged as facing a miracle.
You could not; it was not your blame.
Your absence has never been a question of love.
Every moment of my life, my presence in mom’s and my friends’ life are.
Thanks to your love I am here now, writing you.
Thanks to your love I can now watch my son, your wonderful nephew.
Thanks to your love, today I am proud to explain him that his father is your gift to his grandmother.
Yes, my mother, your wife, who found the greatest power to stop the victory of death on our happiness.
I am talking about the power of life.
My life…

Your son

The News:

La Repubblica Magazine, 18 February 2009: PAVIA, Italy - The first step was made: “Now we go forward. I want to see how they can stop us” Doctor Severino Antinori, an expert in artificial insemination, ensures. Antinori yesterday afternoon came as a cyclone to the Policlinico San Matteo in Pavia, after the hospital had given the okay to take the seminal fluid from a patient in a coma for brain cancer. “There is a woman who wants a child from her husband, an act of life and love. Who accused us of manipulating the nature does not know what he says…”
The protagonists are a young couple. A month ago the man enters into a coma provoked by a brain tumour. Hopes of saving him does not seem to exist. The wife rebels to fate: “I wish to have a child by him; to become parents was our dream.”
The Vatican says his first alt: “I think a child should always be an act of love, not a laboratory experiment - Rino Fisichella, praetor of the Pontifical Lateran University, said - A child should not arrive thanks to the hidden desire of a person. We have to respect nature."

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Stories and News no.5: Coward revenges

The Stories:
The 16th of February 2009 was a day of ordinary revenge, in Italy.
In Rome, a sticks armed and covered faces group of people came into a kebab shop, injuring four foreigners to avenge a rape committed in the area by some Romanians.*
In Catania, Sicily, in response to the abuse of two young girls, a crowd of women went on the streets hunting for all males above 40 to emasculate them on the public square. In Molfetta, near Bari, the city ladies heard the 34 years old rapist’s comment after his arrest and took a man, skinning him alive, crying: "We do it, ‘cause nobody will do!" In Afragola, Naples, responding to the abuse of some children, the men mad justice on their own: a mob kidnapped five mothers and forced them to be a whore for a whole night. In Messina, Sicily, paedophile violence provoked the revolt of hundred mothers who catch the first lecherous old man in the park to burn him alive. In Palermo, Sicily, again for revenge, as scapegoats for the violence done by one of their colleague, ten restaurant managers were raped with a rolling pin. In Venafro, Isernia, hard times for males were, forced to pay the consequences of abuse of their fellow citizen. A patrol of angry mothers rounded the streets looking for men, possibly alone.
And the series was much, much longer...

The News**:
“Il Tempo” Magazine, February 16, 2009: In Rome the revolt mounts. A sticks armed and covered faces group of people came into a kebab shop, injuring four foreigners to avenge a rape committed in the area by some Romanians.

“Leggo” Magazine, 16 February 2009: Catania, a 47 years Italian man who abused of two nieces for two years was arrested., MOLFETTA (BARI) 14 February 2009: "I do, before other people will do!” an Italian father said. He was arrested this morning. The man reduced his daughter in a state of total awe, threatening and beating her.

“Il Tempo” Magazine, 14 February 2009: Naples, an Italian woman sold her 8 and 10 years old daughters for five Euros. They were abused and tortured for two years.

“Secolo XIX – IL Sole 24 Ore” Magazine, 14 February 2009: Marcantonio Russo, an Italian man was arrested on charges of rape and inducing minors into prostitution.

“Eco di Sicilia”, Magazine 13 February 2009: Palermo, Giovanni Padellaro, an Italian restaurant manager, forced a 17 years boy to prostitute for 20 euros.

“Il Tempo” Magazine, 13 February 2009: A violent husband and father away from home: no longer be able to get closer to his wife and children. For them, the end of a nightmare arrived. The Italian man was obliged to keep away from his family.

“Violence: the blame is on strangers”, many Italian Newspapers say in these days.
However, ISTAT, the most important Italian Research Institute tells that in 2007 6 million and 743 thousand women have suffered physical or sexual violence during their lives. The author of physical violence is in most cases the partner or former partner, and also with regard to the rapes in 69.7% of cases the author is a partner. 674 thousand women have been subjected to repeated violence by partners and of these 61.4% had children who have witnessed the violence.
95% of violence against women is not reported and one third of women do not talk to anyone.
Above all, ISTAT said that only 10% of all rapes can be attributed to strangers, and if the mathematics is not an opinion, 90% is Italians’ affair.
In this country also revenge is unjust, partial, and deeply inconsistent.
Or perhaps it’s coward...

* This one it’s the only true story.
** Sadly, these are all real news…

Friday, February 13, 2009

Stories and News no. 4: African continent is an opportunity?!

The Story:
Once upon a time there was a continent called Africa, which, until the first half of the nineteenth century was an unknown and mysterious land.
The colonization of the continent was limited to coastal areas and deltas of large rivers. Starting from these areas, the colonialist nations had established a dense network of commercial settlements, in competition with each other for the exploitation of raw materials and the slave trade. The African land began to change thanks to the explorers that through geographical societies sent information concerning the inexhaustible resources contained in these virgin territories.
In that time the colonization of the great African continent began.
A unique opportunity for many countries but is not been and never will be for African people...

The News:
( - ROME, FEB 12 – “Italy made a lot of job in Africa, a continent that is an opportunity and not a problem”, Italian Foreign Minister Frattini said.
The head of the Ministry points out that the government has decided to devote a session to Africa in occasion of the G8 summit in July. This is Frattini’s replication to the First Lady of France, Carla Bruni, who said she was sorry for the delay in the payment of the Italian quota for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS.

Yes, you read that right: Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs says that Africa is an opportunity...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Stories and News no. 3: Obama and Berlusconi on the phone

The Story:
Once upon a time there were two powerful men.
One elected by people who voted for him and the other thanks to those who did not go to vote.
One became president thanks to Internet too.
The other will be defeated thanks to the Web.
One was the first African American to become U.S. president.
The other, when he read the news, called him “suntanned”...
One day they had a phone call:
"Hello, Obama? It’s me, Berlusconi... "
"Ah ... you ..."
"Well... Sorry for my words... I often open mouth and say bullshits..."
"Okay, excuses are accepted."
"I just wanted to be humorous..."
"I understand, but if after your election, someone had commented saying that you're a cap, with a ridicule wig and that you have a tense like a drum skin, what would you said?"

The News:
ROME (Reuters) - The U.S. President, Obama and the Italian president Silvio Berlusconi will speak today on a phone call about the next G8, G20 and the economic crisis (By a diplomatic source).
Today, “Il Sole 24 ore” Newspaper writes about a call at 3:45 p.m. (9:45 a.m. in Washington).

Monday, February 9, 2009

Stories and News no. 2: Traumatized children

The Story
Once upon a time an organization, Jewish Agency for Israel, created a Fund for children and youth.
“We once again stand at a seminal moment, a moment where we have the capacity to transform tragedy into opportunity”, this was one of their principles.
As they moved forward, they needed to recognize that close to one-third of Israel’s population was traumatized - forced to either move life underground or to seek temporary shelter elsewhere. As life returns to ‘normal’, hundreds of thousands of youngsters have had to transition from shell shock back to school. Without immediate and ongoing support, it’s hard to imagine how they would have successfully reintegrated into a normative school year framework.

The News
Reuters - Sun Feb 8, 2009 (By Nidal al-Mughrabi)
JABALYA CAMP, Gaza Strip - Five-year-old Mohammed al-Najjar lets his mind wander as he puts crayon to paper in an effort to depict an Israeli air strike inside a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip.
"This is the plane and those are two missiles it fired. They hit a house and the house was damaged but was fine. The fridge caught fire," he says in matter-of-fact detail, sitting at a table with other children in Gaza's Jabalya camp.
He draws a girl who has survived the attack and places her outside the house, but there is also a boy.
"Khaled was killed," he says.
The scene, which Mohammed drew at the urging of his teacher and a mental health counselor who visited his classroom, is imaginary. His home in Jabalya was not damaged, but others nearby were.
Health workers say many children, including those who did not lose family members or their homes, are suffering post-war trauma.
Around 1,300 Palestinians were killed in the Israeli operation, including more than 300 children, Palestinian medical officials said.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Stories and News no. 1: Jesus the illegal immigrant

Today I inaugurate a section that I hope I will have the perseverance to follow continuously.
This fresh space on my Blog will be called Stories and News, two words that have much in common, in my humble opinion.
Because we must never forget that when someone gives us some news, he tells a story that may be true as false, incorrect as honest, impartial as biased.
Sometimes, fortunately for us, the vice versa is true too...

Jesus the illegal immigrant

The Story

Approximately 2000 years ago a married couple, Joseph and Mary and their baby Jesus, because of the hate of Herod king were forced to escape to Egypt. In this foreign land the three were in fact illegal immigrants, homeless and without a residence permit.

The News (
Rome, February 5): The Italian parliament on Thursday approved a measure requiring doctors to report illegal immigrants, unleashing a barrage of criticism. The measure, which would lift confidentiality provisions for illegal immigrants that need hospital care, was contained in a crime bill passed by the Senate to the Chamber of Deputies.

And this is just the latest...

Although I am agnostic, I ask this question: if the old
Egypt was the today Italy, what Christianity would be tomorrow?