A European, Mediterranean, Southern destiny: the essay by Ernesto Galli della Loggia and Aldo Schiavone A prophecy for Italy, Mondadori, is out on Tuesday 30 November. Let’s anticipate a few pages
The project of this book born in another time and for another story: when the hypothesis that in a few months the world could be on the verge of a dramatic crisis due to a previously unknown virus belonged only to science fiction. We conceived then the idea of a trip to the South. And that is in the critical place par excellence of the entire Italian affair from unity onwards, where all our problems are summed up in the most bitter way. In particular, we wanted to account for a fact that attracted our attention more and more: the South was virtually breaking away from the rest of the Peninsula, it was becoming another country. This seemed to us not only an indisputable fact, but now accepted by everyone in a silence that we found every day more unbearable. In Southern Italy, the application of laws, the functioning of services, schools, health care, administration, taxation, the quality of civil coexistence and public life were different, more and more different – and for the worse, yes he understands – compared to those of the Center and the North. AND the very aspect of the state appeared to have changed in those contexts, as if it had changed its face and meaning.
(…) At least since the beginning of the new century – with the intensification of deindustrialization processes following the technological revolution, and even more so after the financial crisis of 2008 – Italy was already a country in decline, that he had not been able to intercept the wind of transformation in the right direction. This – to us as to many others for that matter – was very clear. It seemed to us that the country still had some time ahead. And, above all, that we were still far from the conditions that could have made a sudden leap in quality plausible, and that we should therefore always proceed along internal lines with respect to the past; and that any discourse on the South should fall within this perspective without tearing.
Ma the epidemic has opened a whole new page of our history. It has created an unpredictable discontinuity, which involves the entire country. All the more following the availability of European funds. And precisely for this reason it allows us today, almost obliges us to start another phase of our history, enjoying an unexpected freedom of action.
And then the problem no longer seemed to us to be that of the South alone, but presented itself directly before us as the question of the whole of Italy: of its future, of its possibility of continuing to occupy a place in the leading group of the nations of the world, of its ability to maintain a central role in the European construction. In this light, the Italian destiny, yes, continued to seem more linked than ever to that of the South, but in a certain sense in a way opposite to what we were previously led to believe. In fact, today it is no longer a question of finding ways to integrate the South into the rest of the Peninsula, albeit at a time of decline. It is a question of completely redoing the country, taking advantage of an unrepeatable opportunity.
Italy as a whole, its way of being country and state, that need to be rethought. We need a new form, intentions never put into play, new awareness of our qualities and possibilities. A renewed attitude also towards Europe.
To give life to this new history, the South is needed more than ever. The idea that an Italy that matters, that weighs economically and politically, able to make its voice heard outside its borders, could be an Italy that stops in Rome and time.news, and leaves the South to its fate, today more than ever it does not hold up. Instead, something else is needed: something that looks like a real rewrite of our pact of national unity, assuming the full integration of the country as an indispensable point for its survival.
(…) In this order of thoughts, it is the same geopolitical potential of the form of Italy expanse in the sea that bring us back to the South, placing us in front of an indisputable conclusion, as we will try to prove in this book: without the South, without its insular and peninsular part, that is, without the sea, Italy really does not count for anything.
In reality, despite the innumerable and very close ties that for at least a couple of millennia have continued to hold its parts together, even without turning our gaze to language and religious tradition, Italy exists. But you have to be convinced: it exists and has a weight, an audible voice, an identity, only if one, from the Alps to Sicily.
Only from such awareness can the new unitary pact to which facts call us arise. In the name of which to reconstitute a country capable of having a new life, of having its say, of being something, of holding up the competition with the other actors on the scene. Doing so means first of all rebuilding the state: this time, yes, taking care of adopt new rules and institutions. For which the results of at least four or five authoritative parliamentary committees are already on record, to show the way.
To rise again, Italy does not need half measures in the name of the usual downward compromises. It needs radicality, courageous choices, of a new animating and farsighted spirit. And above all of new women and men, aware of their task (…).
But let’s not be under any illusions. All this will one day begin to become reality only if the southerners want it. Only if they are convinced that changing things is ultimately up to them, not others. That, above all, it depends on them to use the right to vote not only to ask the country for the right things, but in a very special way to choose who to be governed by. If one thing in our trip seemed evident to us, in fact, it was the poor moral and cultural quality, and consequently administrative (things are certainly connected), which in the general shipwreck of all parties characterizes, with few exceptions, the political staff southern. The conditions of the South depend to a very important extent on the inadequacy of this class. And therefore, if the current regional mayors and presidents remain in their posts, if the parliamentarians who represent them in Rome today remain in their seats, the South will never be able to change, if not for the worse (…).
The balance that is obtained from the experience of the southern regional systems under the eyes of all: and a disastrous budget. An outcome far removed from the expectations of the past, when the regional completion of the autonomy structure was seen as a decisive step for the construction of the democratic fabric of the South. (…) However, this is only half the problem; the other half is that someone needs to take their place in order to send them home.
a crucial point. In all regions of the South one too often encounters an attitude of refusal of any public commitment precisely on the part of that cultured and capable civil society which, although it is gradually shrinking quantitatively, nevertheless could and still could oppose at least one obstacle to the undisturbed rise to power of those who have occupied and used it for years. He could still put up a resistance to the rise of the race of party men from non-existent parties, of traffichini without profession, of the maintainers of the dirtiest business, of the specialists in changing shirts at each electoral round. This sort of escape from politics by the best takes place more or less, as we well know, also in the rest of the country, but in the South it is more extensive than elsewhere, and certainly has more negative effects. Today even the one who was once the least educated and capable notabilato is generally kept away from the public sphere: for the care of his own interests he prefers to use this or that ruler, who, moreover, can’t wait to find someone to put himself on. Yes, sir.
One of the lesser known but most significant aspects of the drama of the South lies precisely in this: in his depletion of civil energies, in the feeling of distrust and abandonment that the best of its citizens live. In their hallway. And it is not just a question of an escape from institutional politics, of a desertion from the assemblies and from the governing bodies. What is more serious is that the men and women of the cultured and capable South have also stopped exercising a critical function towards their own society, towards its old and new vices, towards its very gray present. And at the same time they stopped thinking about any possible future of it. In a certain sadly paradoxical way, this is the outcome of the southern question (…).
it is necessary for a new air to begin to breathe. We don’t know if it’s true, as someone wrote, that the growth of Italy is decided in the South. What we know is that if Italy really wants to turn the page, if it wants to rethink itself and act as a country aware of its actual geopolitical potential, and therefore of its own interests, it must begin to look south; to begin to consider itself not only a Center-North, as it has done so far, but also a South: like the central country of the Euro-Mediterranean area. Which with the Trieste-Savona-Pantelleria-Taranto quadrilateral occupies the most strategically important space in this area. If a European Navy is ever established, where else can it be if not here, in fact, its main base of operations? We also know that only by starting to look south, only by recovering the maritime dimension of the Peninsula, it will finally be possible to put an end to the southern question, to the dramatic separateness of the South that we have been dragging along for a long time.
November 28, 2021 (change November 28, 2021 | 21:36)