Italy is currently facing its darkest historical period, after the fascist era of the early 1900, with the current "national unity government” that includes different political parties such as Partito Democratico, 5-Star Movement, Matteo Salvini's Lega, Italia dei Valori, LeU, and even Berlusconi's Forza Italia, all huddled up for a piece of "power”. The government, which is led by the never-elected Mario Draghi (already known for being the man of the international financial lobbies closely connected to Brussels) has become a container for all these different parties that were previously on opposite side, with antipodean political positions. Who would have ever imagined for instance that the center/left-wing Partito Democratico or the extreme left LeU would have sat side to side with Berlusconi's party? However, power generates miracles.
In the last three months, Draghi's government has been issuing some of the most repressive and draconian decrees and laws against those citizens who are not willing to get vaccinated (Italy is currently using three different vaccines: mainly Pfizer, but additionally Moderna and Johnson), basically preventing from working, through the use of the infamous "green-pass”, all those who refuse to take the shot, preventing people from travelling on long-distance transportation, sitting inside bars and restaurants, going to the gym, university, and even prohibiting parents from bringing and picking up small children inside school structures. These measures were issued by Draghi only a few months after defining Turkish president Erdogan as a "dictator”, which says it all.
It is interesting to notice how the official position held by the Italian government is that "the vaccine is not mandatory”, and there would be an alternative, which is to take a quick Covid test, but its validity only lasts for 48 hours and its cost ranges from 15 to 30 euros.
This would imply that a person going to work would need to pay that amount of money every two days, and that would make it worthless going to work in the first place. As a consequence, the "alternative” is worthless, and Italian citizens are basically and indirectly forced to get vaccinated in order to survive.
Indeed, the measures taken by the Italian government violate the Italian Constitution, basic human rights, EU laws and International Treaties; however, with the excuse of an "exceptional health emergency” which has now been going on for almost two years, the government thinks that it can step over everything and anything. Plenty of lawyers have filed lawsuits against the Italian government, there is a very strong resistance conducted by millions of people, but justice is slow, and in the meantime people need to put up with this catastrophe.
The number of unvaccinated Italians ranges between 10 and 20 million, but the numbers are yet unclear, with the government constantly contradicting itself, first by saying that 80% of the people required to be vaccinated, then constantly increasing the number, to 90%, and who knows what they will say afterwards.
Does the vaccine protect people from getting the virus, passing it or even ending up at the hospital with severe symptoms? No. Would free or low-priced Covid tests actually provide more safety? Yes.
However, the government was clear, the "green-pass” is an instrument that has the objective of obliging people to get vaccinated. Therefore, the government's priority is obviously to give away as many vaccines as possible, not public health. A detail that should not go unnoticed is the fact that, in order to get vaccinated, Italians need to sign a consent form liberating government and health authorities from any responsibility in case of side-effects caused by the vaccine, including the lethal ones. After all, the vaccine is still in its experimenting phase and it will likely be so until 2023, so people cannot be forced to take it, at least in theory.
The Italian mainstream media has been constantly been contrasting information regarding side effects caused by the vaccines, a very high number of cases that include thrombosis, strokes, heart-attacks, myocarditis, just to cite a few. It is also not providing sufficient information related to how the vaccine is simply not working in Israel, where most of the population is vaccinated, but hospitals are full, and they are already talking about a third and fourth dose, in less than one year! Surreal but real.
Since July, Italy has seen an increase in street protests, following the example of their French "cousins”, against the forced-vaccination and the green pass. These demonstrators are constantly being stigmatized as "no-vax” (people against vaccines), while among them there are common people who are not necessarily against vaccines, but rather against being used as guinea pigs for the pharmaceutical industry. People who have been vaccinated, but are not willing to go ahead with this 3-4 and more dose-game. People who are not willing to see their constitutional and human rights violated by authoritarianism.
The Italian mainstream media has been trying to depict demonstrators as "violent”, even if that does not correspond to reality, and claim that the demonstrations were "sporadic” and involved very few people. Unfortunately for the mainstream media, in the era of the Internet and cell phones, their informational role has been heavily reduced, and the reality can be easily documented by anyone.
Videos posted on social networks and YouTube channels have clearly shown how protests in Milan, Turin, Genoa, Rome, Bologna, and other cities have drawn in thousands and thousands of people.
Health Minister Roberto Speranza and former PM Giuseppe Conte were also targets of peaceful but strong protests respectively in Pesaro and Desio. These actions did not find much space among the mainstream media.
Demonstrators also protested outside the headquarters of Berlusconi's Il Giornale, and Libero Quotidiano (now directed by former Il Giornale chief editor Paolo Sallusti).
Berlusconi's media has been particularly active in demonizing anti-green pass demonstrators, for instance, on September 10th TG5 evening news claimed that street demonstrations were a fiasco, while videos taken by people who were there, showed the exact opposite. TG5 also depicted demonstrators as "no-vax” while, as already exposed, the situation is far more complex.
On Sunday, August 29th, the evening edition of TG5 claimed that demonstrators in Rome's Piazza del Popolo attacked anti-riot police, while videos show the exact opposite, with demonstrators (many of whom women) standing with raised arms. TG5 was contacted with the request of providing images backing their claim, but no reply has arrived.
Berlusconi's media have also provided a stage for some extremely aggressive statements by various individuals; for instance, on August 31st, during Rete 4's "Stasera Italia” political broadcast, former parliament member under Berlusconi's Popolo delle Libertà, Giuliano Cazzola, invoked "Bava Beccaris”, a famous general of the late 1800, famous for his brutal repressions of protests, and wished for "firing against demonstrators”.
Doctor Matteo Bassetti, a constant guest on Berlusconi's media, claimed that "No vax are criminals” and "those against the vaccine are enemies of the State”. Fabrizio Pregliasco, through Stasera Italia's screens, claimed that "the vaccine will be mandatory for everyone” and even accused the non-vaccinated of "spreading the virus”.
On September 16th, Berlusconi family-run newspaper Il Giornale (in line with other Italian medias) reported the case of a rat found inside a food ration bound for a hospital, speculating that it could be an act perpetrated by the "no-vax”, but where is the evidence? After all, Italy's public health has never been notorious for its tidiness and it wouldn't be the first time that cats and rats are found inside hospital facilities.
The previous day, Italian journalist Mario Giordano, who runs the Rete 4 show "Fuori dal Coro”, was summoned by the Mediaset directive due to its critical positions on Covid vaccinations. Giordano never took no-vax positions, on the contrary, he claimed to be in favor of vaccines, but he also said that his job as a journalist is to provide different perspectives. Giordano went deep into the issue, giving voice to those who had strong side-effects after the vaccination and uncovered irregularities by Aifa, the Italian pharmaceutical agency. According to different Italian news, there was a very loud verbal confrontation between Giordano and the Mediaset directors as the investigative journalist is not willing to be silenced.
The Covid vaccine has taken the shape of an extremist religious dogma, hence going against any scientific criteria which implies critic, debate and continuous testing. The objective of this draconian imprint appears further and further from public health concerns and many, including the vaccinated, are starting to question why the Italian government wants to irrationally vaccinate as many people as possible, reaching the point of stepping over basic human rights. Further authoritarian measures will only increase the opposition against the government, but so far Draghi and company do not seem to care.
This is Italy, "democratic Europe”, not Saddam Hussein's Iraq or Taliban-run Afghanistan.