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Sticks and stones can hurt Berlusconi

Silvio BerlusconiWounded premier kept for four days in the hospital. At a young age we’re taught to pretend that words cannot hurt us like sticks and stones. Later we accord to words more power even than paper, scissors, rock –those of us for whom violence is only a surreality.

Both delusions it seems to me come of a world inured by a void of physical hardship. I can’t help but believe that Silvio Berlusconi’s assailant got a message across to the Italian despot that none before had been able to connect, no matter their shouts, pleas or accusations.

Will Berlusconi rebound like Hitler or Stalin after the attempts on their lives? This wasn’t an assassination attempt, whether or not Massimo Tartaglia’s act was premeditated. And it wasn’t a conspiracy either. Massimo by his own hand cut the pompous autocrat down to a mortal stature.

I’m guessing Berlusconi is no stranger to fist fights, he probably pulls his errant subjects’ fingers off using the piers himself. But it’s probably been awhile since he’s been sucker punched. A sudden, uninvited violence like that is the closest example Berlusconi can experience of the institutional violence his regime and ours visit upon innocent people. From out of nowhere.

If Berlusconi and his fellow autocratic leaders beef up their security after this episode, so what? If it now becomes virtually impossible for a common man to get within arms length, or even shoe-throwing distance of a world leader, so what? What expectations do we have that there has ever been communication at that level? Massimo’s gesture, like al-Zaidi’s puts closure on the facade of our leadership. We must communicate among ourselves. Nothing comes of begging crumbs from people in power.

It fills me with inspiration, it really does, to look the wounded visage of Silvio Berlusconi’s, his untouchable countenance wiped clean away.

That said, my favorite scene from Jim Carrey’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas comes at the end, after he’s gotten the best of the despicable Whoville mayor. “No hard feeling?” the Grinch asks, leaning in close and extending his hand. But instead of shaking his hand, he points his finger into the mayor’s face and laughs: Hahahahahaha Hahahahahahaha Hahahahahahahaha Hahahahahahahah!

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