Homophobia in Germany and Italy


This video from Italy says about itself:

Berlusconi: better to have a passion for beautiful girls than being gay

31 May 2013

“Meglio essere appassionati delle belle ragazze che gay” (“Better to have a passion for beautiful girls than being gay”) is one of the most famous wisecracks of the former prime minister of Italy, the media billionaire Silvio Berlusconi.

British daily The Guardian asked people from various countries: What’s it like being LGBT in your country? A reader from Germany shares her story:

Germany: Hostility below the surface

Penal code § 175, outlawing gay sex, was of course abolished decades ago, we have openly gay foreign ministers and other openly lesbian and gay politicians – and it’s been legal now to “marry” your partner by committing to a civil union (without some rights like the right to adoption as a couple etc.). But recent homophobic attacks against Baden-Württemberg’s proposed new school curriculum that includes the teaching of sexual diversity shows that there’s lots of resentment under the surface.

Of course, compared to having to fear for one’s personal safety on a daily basis, things in Germany are pretty good. But I find it nonetheless annoying to have people take for granted that I have a husband just because I’m a woman. And it’s not just annoying but sad that in smaller German towns, gays and lesbians are practically invisible and are too afraid to be recognized by neighbors or bosses to join a gay parade, if there is one in the first place. And I feel it is altogether tragic and shocking to hear, after having moved to a different town, that a young lesbian acquaintance of mine — one of those who did not join the parade — has committed suicide.

So, on the surface lots of rainbow colors, but it’s still pretty dark underneath.

A bit of better news from the USA: Same-sex couples flock to Arkansas after judge strikes down marriage ban.

And not so good news from the USA: Boycott launched against openly gay St Louis Rams player Michael Sam, by Christian lobbyist Jack Burkman.

Greek bishop condemns homosexuality as ‘perversion of human existence’: here.

Britain: MANY in the LGBT community fear a return to the “dark ages” on HIV awareness as the government’s austerity programme silences key programmes, activists were told yesterday: here.

Singapore bans library books that show gay couples. Politician Yaacob Ibrahim says government must abide by ‘community norms’: here.

Berlusconi-mafia connection arrest in Italy


This video, recorded in Italy, is called Ex-Berlusconi minister arrested in Mafia investigation.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Former Berlusconi minister arrested over mafia ally collusion

Friday 9th May 2014

A FORMER minister in Silvio Berlusconi’s right-wing government was arrested in a luxury Rome hotel today for allegedly helping a political ally convicted of mafia collusion to flee abroad.

Claudio Scajola is accused of helping Amedeo Matacena to flee to Dubai, evading a five-year jail sentence, said anti-mafia prosecutor Arturo de Felice.

Mr Matacena was declared a fugitive last summer. He was tried for ties with the Calabrian ’ndrangheta crime syndicate.

Mr Scajola resigned as industry minister in 2010 amid allegations that he paid far below market value for a luxury apartment overlooking the Colosseum in Rome.

He was later tried and acquitted of wrongdoing.

Mr Scajola is the second close Berlusconi aide to come under judicial scrutiny.

Marcello Dell’Utri has been declared a fugitive in Italy and detained in Lebanon, where he fled before a decision on an appeal against his conviction for mafia links.

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Berlusconi-mafia contact man arrested in Lebanon


This video from Italy says about itself:

Berlusconi calls “hero” the Mafia member Vittorio Mangano [English subtitles]

27 March 2009

Once upon a time, Berlusconi hired a man to work as broom at his villa: his name was Vittorio Mangano and, incidentally, he was also a Mafia member,who will be sentenced to imprisonment for murder and similar nice stuff.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Silvio Berlusconi associate to appear in Beirut court over Lebanon arrest

Marcello Dell’Utri, suspected of escaping justice, awaits ruling over appeal against sentence for colluding with Sicilian mafia

John Hooper in Rome

Sunday 13 April 2014 16.02 BST

Silvio Berlusconi‘s longstanding associate with whom he co-founded Italy‘s main rightwing party is expected to appear before a magistrate in Beirut on Monday at a hearing for a decision on the legality of his arrest.

Marcello Dell’Utri, who allegedly acted as a mediator between the Cosa Nostra and Berlusconiwas detained at a five-star hotel in the Lebanese capital at the end of last week. This has come before a final ruling by the Italian supreme court, due on Tuesday, on his appeal against a seven-year sentence for colluding with the Sicilian mafia. The 72-year-old senator’s lawyer said it was illogical to think his client was seeking to escape justice, since he had used his own name and credit card to book into the hotel.

Berlusconi was quoted on Sunday as having said it was he who had sent Dell’Utri to Lebanon. The daily La Repubblica said the former prime minister told a delegation from his Forza Italia (“Come on Italy”) party that he was responding to a request from Vladimir Putin. The Russian president had asked him to do what he could to help the leader of Lebanon’s Kataeb party, Amine Gemayel, to regain the presidency.

The warrant for Dell’Utri’s arrest cited a bugged discussion between the senator’s brother and a friend which the judges said showed there was a “serious and concrete danger” of Dell’Utri’s trying to establish himself abroad before the supreme court ruling. Some Italian newspapers on Sunday published extracts from the transcripts of the recordings.

Speaking on 8 November 2013, Alberto Dell’Utri, the senator’s twin, said: “Ten days ago, Marcello dined in Rome with … an important politician from the Lebanon who has been president and is putting himself up in the forthcoming elections and on 14 November he is planning to go to Beirut to see.”

However, the two men, whose conversation was taped as part of a separate investigation, also discussed the possibility of the senator might in future shuttle between Lebanon and west Africa on a diplomatic passport issued by the authorities in Guinea-Bissau as part of a scheme to exploit the country’s mineral riches. The transcripts indicated that Alberto Dell’Utri was proposing his brother should make a big donation to the country through an NGO set up by Berlusconi for building hospitals in Africa. Alberto Dell’Utri’s friend suggested a figure of €5m (£4.1m) might be appropriate.

“All that Marcello needs to do is go to Silvio and tell him: ‘Silvio, I’m going to Guinea-Bissau’: explain everything to him … ‘I’m founding a soccer school for the kids,’” Alberto Dell’Utri commented.

Marcello Dell’Utri – then the head of the advertising arm of Berlusconi’s vast business empire – created Forza Italia! from scratch in 1993, appointing his own executives to be its earliest officials. His conviction for collaboration with Cosa Nostra refers only to a period ending the previous year.

Lawyers expressed conflicting opinions on the difficulties of extraditing Dell’Utri from Lebanon if the supreme court upholds his conviction on Tuesday.

Super-rich septuagenarian Silvio Berlusconi will have to spend four hours a week serving the elderly to repay Italian society for tax fraud: here.

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Berlusconi praises dictator Mussolini


This video is called Berlusconi defends Mussolini’s alliance with Hitler.

By Marianne Arens:

Former Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi praises Mussolini

8 February 2013

Italy’s former prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, used the occasion of Holocaust Remembrance Day, January 27, to praise the fascist “Duce” Benito Mussolini. Mussolini had “done a great deal of good”, notwithstanding the racial laws that were “his worst mistake”, Berlusconi said.

Italian responsibility for the Shoah was “not comparable to that of Germany”, Berlusconi continued. It had been “difficult” for Mussolini, who acted under pressure from Hitler. Italians had merely tolerated Nazi racial policy and were “not really aware of it at the beginning”, he said.

Italy’s political leaders immediately sought to play down the significance of Berlusconi’s statements, describing the provocations of the 76-year-old multi-billionaire as a “minor offense”.

Mario Monti, the outgoing prime minister, remarked tersely that Berlusconi had used an “unfortunate phrase on the wrong day and in the wrong place”. Just prior to his comments, the Ansa news agency reported that Monti did not rule out collaboration with Berlusconi’s party, PdL (People of Freedom), following parliamentary elections on February 24, on condition that Berlusconi did not take up a leading post in the new administration.

The Christian Democrat Pierferdinando Casini (UDC) declared that Berlusconi had “spoken nonsense”. Politicians aligned with the country’s so-called “left” also made just brief comments on the incident and were quick to move on.

Pier Luigi Bersani, the leader of the Democrats and leading candidate for the post of prime minister, complained that Berlusconi had made the “Day of Remembrance” a “day of election campaign maneuver”. The regional president of Puglia, Nichi Vendola (Left, Ecology and Freedom, SEL), described Berlusconi as a “falsifier, who would be advised to keep silent”.

Berlusconi expressed his comments on fascism during the official inauguration ceremony of a Holocaust memorial on “Platform 21” of the Milan Central Station. The memorial has been erected around the hidden railway tunnel originally used by the fascists to conduct deportations.

From 1943 to 1945, thousands of Italian Jews were deported from this point to extermination camps such as Auschwitz-Birkenau and Bergen-Belsen, and the Italian camps of Bolzano and Fossoli. A total of around 8,600 Jews were deported from Italy to the death camps.

Contrary to Berlusconi’s remarks, anti-Semitism was not merely imposed on Italian fascism externally by Hitler and Nazi Germany—the persecution of the Jews was entirely in line with Italian fascism and Mussolini’s own racist ideology. Jews were socially isolated and dispossessed; they were banned from attending state schools in Italy, heading a business, carrying out an official function, and could not marry Italians.

In order to create a new “Roman Empire” around the Mediterranean Sea the Italian fascists occupied North Africa and parts of Yugoslavia, classifying Africans, Slavs and Jews as “subhuman” and discriminating against them. The defense of a “pure Italian race” was used, especially in Abyssinia and Libya, to justify massacres and genocide.

As historian Carlo Moos demonstrates, racial laws against the Jews were first introduced in Italy in 1938 in accordance with the racial policies of the Third Reich. At the same time they corresponded to “a long-existing, general-fascist racial concept” (Moos, Carlo: Late Italian Fascism and the Jews, 2008).

Berlusconi, who is facing a series of criminal charges for business and sex crimes, is deliberately turning towards the extreme right in his election campaign.

One of his candidates for the Senate is Mussolini’s granddaughter, Alessandra Mussolini. Berlusconi’s party, the PdL, has not only allied itself with its long-time former partner, the racist Northern League, but also with ultra-right-wing parties such as the neo-fascist La Destra, led by Francesco Storace. The ranks of La Destra include Giuliana De Medici, stepdaughter of the fascist leader and founder of the neo-fascist Movimento Sociale Italiano (MSI), Giorgio Almirante (1914-1988).

Berlusconi has continually relied on the fascists in the course of his political career. In 1994 he drew the MSI into government for the first time since the overthrow of the fascist dictatorship. The MSI at that time openly professed its adherence to Mussolini. The party later changed its name to National Alliance (NA) and joined Berlusconi’s supporters to form the PdL. Former MSI leader Gianfranco Fini is currently backing the electoral list headed by Mario Monti.

Following Berlusconi’s resignation in November 2011 as head of government, his PdL party fully backed the austerity measures of the Monti government for a year in parliament. Berlusconi is now trying to divert increasing social anger into right-wing channels. While all other parties, including alleged “leftist” organizations, advocate the continuation of Monti’s austerity measures and support for the European Union, Berlusconi is conducting a populist nationalist campaign, blaming the European Union and the German government for the social decline of Italy. …

In this context Berlusconi’s allegation that Mussolini had done “much good” assumes menacing dimensions. Mussolini smashed the organized labor movement, destroyed its social gains and democratic rights, and went on to conduct brutal colonial wars in Libya and Abyssinia. …

Across Europe bourgeois politicians are forming alliances with racist, ultra-nationalist and fascist parties. Such parties have been playing an important role for some time in political life in Hungary, Greece, France and Austria. Against a background of increasing social tensions they are needed by the ruling class as a battering ram against the working class.