Saturday, 1 January 2011

An Angels' Hero Speaks

The President of Italy gave a heartening address to the nation yesterday.  In a complex speech of interrelated observations that moved between a consideration of what is democracy to the immediate involvement of all citizens in its practice -

"You, my listeners, are not simply spectators, for politics is you as well, you in your capacity to give it life and change with your demands and your actions springing from the way you live now, from the difficulties that press upon you"

that  asserted the importance of the nation state and of our cultural inheritance  -

"The celebration of the 150th anniversary [of the founding of the modern Italian state]... is not a rhetorical gesture.  As a nation we cannot think out  our future without  memory and awareness of the past.  It serves us, it helps us to walk again the way, for all its hardness and dispute, that took us to a united Nation State in 1861 and, equally to retrace the path we then followed though it takes us through blood-soaked tragedy  and dramatic change."   

that acknowledged the attempt to undermine  the European Union via the  attack upon the Euro and offered a sight of the Union as it must be -

"Europe must be able 'to  act as a real Union'.  Europe must be a Union of States and peoples, made rich  by its plurality and strong in its institutions, made ever more capable of acting together, of integrating decisively.  Only like this can we repel the attack on the Euro and an insidious financial crisis in the eurozone and can open new prospects for economic growth and employment in our continent, avoid the risk of its marginalisation or irrelevance in a global world that grows far  from us."

and calling on those of us who are established in life to recognise that we cannot leave the young with nothing and without means to establish their lives, the Head of State noted - 

"If the dream of continuing in growing well-being, at the pace and in the manner of the past can, for those of us in the west, no longer be pursued, this does not mean that we must give up on desire and hope for new and more worthwhile aims to achieve in a world shaped by globalisation".   

It is hard to do justice to the stripped-down elegance of the President's language and content borne by every word so, for those who like to hear beautiful Italian spoken beautifully, here he is in  original   (with a fine rendition of the Anthem and some lovely film of   the Quirinale).

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