Monday, 26 January 2009

Berlusconi Really is an Idiot

“You are kidding Joe! He said what?”
“I know!” Joe was smiling in disbelief. “How can such a man be the Italian Prime Minister? It’s incredible! What an idiot!”

It was during an afternoon walk with my friend that he told me what Silvio Berlusconi had said yesterday. The comments had not been reported on the BBC news so I had missed them.

Following several brutal rapes in the Italian capital, Berlusconi put forward plans to deploy up to 30,000 troops on the street. But when criticised that these measures would be expensive and ineffective, he replied:

“We could not field a big enough force to avoid this risk [of rape]. We would need so many soldiers because our women are so beautiful.”

As Joe pointed out to me, the logic is we might as well condone bank robbery because it is the fault of the banks having all that money in one place. I just cannot believe the depth of ignorance displayed by this individual.

I’m not going to harp on about why Berlusconi’s comment is so damaging. You are a smart person, dear reader. I’m writing about it really as a follow-up to my earlier article The Shadow Within. In that I discussed the challenges of racism and sexism that we are still facing in the 21st. Century. Berlusconi’s stupidity has given me another opportunity to illustrate the point. There are a lot of human rights issues that seemed to have been won some time ago. That is obviously not the case.

Naturally Berlusconi is unrepentant. Apparently his comment was meant as a compliment to Italian womanhood. “People should have a sense of good humour," he said. We do Silvio; that is why your comments are so appalling.

If a British Prime Minister had said such a ridiculous and insensitive remark, I hope he would have had the decency to resign.

But of course, that thought wouldn’t even cross your sexist mind, would it Mr. Berlusconi.

Selected sources

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