President Berlusconi's encounter with a Duomo statuette yesterday evening was quite violent. While at a Popolo della Libertà (his political party's) rally, a member of the public in Milan's Piazza Duomo threw the souvenir at him. It hit his face causing a gash on his lip, breaking some teeth and hurting his nose. For the Financial Times article and video, click here. He has been in the San Raffaele hospital in Milan for 24 hours already and his next doctor's check up will be announced at 10 a.m. tomorrow. At the moment he is mostly tired and shocked, according to reports.
This said, violence is horrible.
I can't believe this is organized terrorism, as some people are stating. The assailant, Massimo Tartaglia, has been taken to a hospital clinic inside of a Milan prison for psychological testing and interviewing. He supposedly has a history of being mentally imbalanced. Tartaglia has declared to authorities that he acted alone.
Honestly, I can believe that even a sane person would want to hit Mr. Berlusconi up-side the head with his idea of governing the country in many aspects. But that's not the point.
Needless to say, this has caused a political uproar in the country.
But it also sounds like a joke if you tell the story: What happens to the premier when he's signing autographs? He gets hit by a figurine.
Yes, in the US, the secret service would probably not let the president get so close to the public. But isn't it Berlusconi who loves to be in the middle of his adoring public as often as possible? He's not just a politician. He's a celebrity over here.
I would like to just say for the record that I know an Italian citizen who withstood violence of the kind several years ago. He was attacked by a man who ended up biting him in the face which bled just as much, if not more, and required 6 stitches to repair the damage done to his cheek. Unlike Mr. Berlusconi who has his man behind bars immediately, this person saw the police actually arrive on the scene over 1 hour after the attack and waited 5 years for the trial to come to court. This is how the justice system works for "normal" people. Will Italy's president wait as long? Of course not.
Meanwhile, under the recent law that was passed just weeks ago, all trials that don't get tried within 2 years will be absolved automatically. So this means this common man's case would never have gotten to court. The current Italian system is slow for many and mostly bureaucratic reasons but let's allow people to see their day in court, please.
I wonder how truly shaken up Berlusconi is today.