Burkinis: yes or no? This diatribe brought to my mind the years of “common decency” in my own country, that is Italy. Some of you might wonder what this is. In the 70’s and 80’s, in Italy began to appear billboards advertising audacious films, that is, films in which eroticism found expression in pictures of naked backsides. Female police first (in 1981), then the Flying Squad basically covered nudity with paper panties because it was considered to be obscene and at odds with “common decency”. Those years, one ought to remind, are the same when honor killing and shotgun wedding were finally abrogated (on 5 September 1981).
It took a lot to erase the infamy of “honor killing” and of the “shotgun wedding” in Italy. The Italian Parliament abrogated the “criminal weight of the cause of honor”, a tremendous, backward, and humiliating disposition, especially for the women who were its privileged victims. It was a “legislative residue” of the Rocco Code (which dated back to the twenties), in force since Fascism, and in stark contradiction with the New Family law and divorce, in force for some time in the Italian legislation.
Now, we are discussing burkinis: from the excessively nude to the excessively covered. The thing would put a smile on our face if there were no political implications to it and if the country of Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité (Liberty, Equality, Fraternity) – to cite the famous motto of the time of the French Revolution -, had not decided to impose heavy fines on the “excessively dressed” women on the beach.
Some people wants to apply them also in Italy and our Minister Alfano, more concerned about terrorism than by black mantles on our beaches, has wisely – as I see it – passed the buck. I believe that, after a summer with numerous spills on the beaches, airports and ports under rigorous surveillance, and with a shaky economy, which promises a further worsening of the already tragic situation we have been witnessing in the last few years, “burkinis” are the last thing on the Italians’ mind.