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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Giulio Andreotti faces Minos- The Tale of the Tail

Giulio Andreotti faces Minos- The Tale of the Tail

One of Italy's most powerful, loved, hated, enigmatic politicians, Giulio Andreotti, has died. Even though I follow Italian politics, medieval, Renaissance, and modern, pretty closely, the case of Andreotti is beyond my reckoning. Read the New York Times obit and just note the either/or rhetoric that they use to describe his incredible (in the sense of unbelievable to our sense of politics) political career.

What strikes me about Andreotti is how long he held power-- politically active from the 1940s until the 1990s and even beyond into the 21st century. He maintained power without scruples, making unfathomable deals with political enemies (as the leader of the Christian Democrats he unified with the Italian Communists), terrorists, foreign governments (CIA), the mafia, and many Popes. The only thing it seems that mattered to Giulio Andreotti was the Giulio Andreotti remain in power because, it seems, he knows what is best for Italy. 

The movie "Il Divo" is hard to understand for an American audience, it is such "Inside baseball" of the Italian post-war political scene, but I recommend it for any interested in seeing what a mess Italian politics were and why it is so hard for Italians to move ahead today OR to trust their politicians.

Much in the Italian press on his death has focused on the secrets that Andreotti will take to the grave. But, Minos, as God's judge in Inferno knows all. How many times will Minos' tail wrap itself around the infernal judge? Where does Andreotti go in Dante's Hell? Or, does he belong in Purgatorio? Can he be redeemed? I invite comments/suggestions from my Italian readers.

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