by Rodrigo Marques Barbosa
Freud postulated in his works that all figures of authority in our lives are the representation of our own fathers transvested.
We can say that the leader of the nation where we live – being the president, the prime minister, the king, the dictator – is one of those figures of authority.
A not-well-resolved relationship with our parents and, by inference, with other individuals who exercise authority over us (including bosses and the police) can leave indelible trauma in our lives (citing Freud again).
Having said that, I wonder how Italians are dealing with their leader’s recent rhetorical abuse. Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has shown the world once again his arrogance during the G20 meeting, which brought together world leaders earlier this month in London.
There were several recent episodes in which Berlusconi broke the protocol, committed gaffes and disrespected the world by mocking on nations’ representatives. What do Italians have to say about their prime minister’s behavior? After all, by analogy to Freud’s theory, it is something like watching your own father being rude and mean to the entire neighborhood.
Even the queen of England, Elisabeth II lost her temper with Berlusconi. She jumped out of the chair when the Italian prime minister started yelling to greet (by far) the U.S. president, Barack Obama. “What is it? Why does he have to shout?”, she said, shrugging her shoulders.
The next day was not very different. Continuing with the agenda, the world leaders headed to Strasbourg, France. Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel, one of the hosts of the event, was welcoming the VIP guests on a red carpet. When Berlusconi arrived, he got off the car speaking on his mobile. He then ironically waved to Merkel, turned his backs to her and kept his phone conversation for more than 30 minutes. The meeting started without Italy’s representative. I wonder if Berlusconi suffered from maternal rejection and now is trying to compensate this lack by repeating the same pattern of his childhood.
Besides all issues we already have to face in our everyday’s lives, we still have to put up with the tyranny of the leader of one of the richest nations on Earth. And as I said, the issue is not about Berlusconi’s individual attitudes, but the collective representation of his acts. After all, it is like Italy was mocking on the rest of the world, isn’t it? Would that be the real desired manifestation of the Italian people?
My ultimate anger and the motivation to write this article was Berlusconi's express refusal of the aid offered by several countries to the victims of the earthquakes that have shaken Italy in the last two days.
Okay, I agree that if there is no need for help yet, then those who want to help must direct their efforts to the people who really need help. But what did bother me was Berlusconi’s rhetoric speech. Take a look at his recent statements:
"Italy is alone capable of dealing with the demands." (Would this be a remnant of his pre-infancy, when his mother neglected him with attention?)
"We are a proud people. Thank you, but we are self-sufficient." (Ditto)
Berlusconi said today that 30 million Euros will be directed to help the earthquake victims. But he said later that he will request several hundred million Euros to the European funds.
So will they need help or not? It beats me.