The substance and the looks

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They are details of course, but very meaningful. Because we need to start from little things to be able to decipher the important issues which comes down on us a tornado and against which we have not yet the necessary tools. Or better, we are still trying to understand what precisely we are supposed to do. And not only in Rome and Paris, but almost everywhere on the old continent. The massacre that took place in the French capital has inaugurated a new chapter of the book dedicated to international relations. What matters, cohesion or sharing? It is necessary to interact or to act? Let us begin from details, therefore.

At the end of the speech of the president of the French Republic, François Hollande, held in front of the reunited Chambers, the members of parliament stood up and sung the national anthem, the Marseillaise with true feeling.  A tribute to French pride, better known as nationalism, or a call for unity in the country? More like De Gaulle or like Mitterrand? The second hypothesis is more likely than the first one. In Rome, shortly after, the members of parliament – beyond groups and political affiliations – reunited in Piazza Montecitorio. In the presence of the President, Laura Boldrini, and of the French Ambassador in Italy, Catherine Colonna, the representatives of the parliamentary groups and employees of the Chamber, listened to the Italian and French hymns performed by the Interforze Band, as a sign of closeness and participation in the pain of the French people. Besides the parliamentarians, also many citizens of Rome and from the French community have partaken in the event.

Two diametrically opposite ways, styles, and communicative languages. France, with the act of its parliament, sought to reiterate its pride and unity. Italy, with its parade in the square, relies once again on choreography and stage presence, putting substance in the background. As it has always done during the last few years, except for the period of terrorism when fear dictated the political line of the governments of national salvation. Yet, in view of the exceptional nature of the moment, it should be the exact opposite. The political battle, on the edge of physical contact, between the leaders of the Carroccio, Matteo Salvini, and the minister of the Interior, Angelino Alfano, is a metaphor of how politics in Italy continues to be unable to see beyond the end of its own nose.

Where there is a real Country that observes and listens, not sure yet whether to fear or trust. At the bottom, the logic that has always distinguished Italian people is that certain kind of things cannot touch us. As if we had a sort of safe-conduct through history. Perhaps this was the case in the past. But times are changing and along with them are changing the international scenarios which at present offer obscure and unstable frameworks. France, paradoxically, is paying the price of an integration that has never reached its final chapter, stopping on the doorsteps of the ramshackle houses on the capital’s outskirts, from which Paris terrorists and the attackers had come out.

A centuries-old and modern paradox that gets very close to historic nemesis, except for one detail. Those who have strengthened the hand of the assassins have done so with the help of economic extortion rather that with the aid of the Koran. And today France claims to be at war. A little bit with itself, admitting to have made a mistake at some point. Therefore it must win that battle against evil. In Italy we do not. In Italy we are still searching for the code to decrypt the phenomenon which till yesterday was considered merely electoral, but which has become social and military after the events in Paris. Perhaps this is the reason why, the French are singing the Marseillaise in Parliament, while in Italy we go out in the street. Or partake in talk shows, as some ministers have done bouncing for two days from one channel to another. Substance and appearance.

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