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About Eluana: What’s going on in Italy

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I’m not sure if the Persistent Vegetative State is life or not. What I’m sure about is that what’s going on in Italy at the moment has nothing to deal with the Eluana Englaro‘s tragedy.

This unfortunate girl was involved in a car accident in 1992 and never woke up from her coma.  I do not remember the first time I’ve seen her father on television, but it’s nearby six years he’s fighting to switch off the machines that are keeping alive his beloved daughter. This business involved the Italian judiciary system while the Parliament and the Government kept themselves silent. On July 2008, the Appeal Court of Milan authorized Beppino Englaro to interrupt the force-feeding of Eluana. The Prosecutor of Milan had recourse to the Corte di Cassazione, the Italian Supreme Court, who confirmend the decision of the Milan Court of Appeal.

The Italian center-right Government has never hidden his disappointment about the decision of the Italian courts, but what happened in this few days is out of every logic: Mr. Berlusconi signed an act to avoid the death of Eluana. The problem is that every single act of the Government has to be signed by the President of the Republic unless it’s constitutionally illegal.

That’s why Mr. Napolitano did not sign Mr. Berlusconi act beginning an arm wrestling between the Executive and the Quirinale that can be lethal for the Italian democracy. Here we have one of the three power of the state who wants to re-write the Check&Balance system foreseen in the Italian 1948 Constitution trying to solve once for all the main problem of Silvio Berlusconi: the independence of Italian judges.

It’s a matter of fact that in the last 10 years the reformation of Justice had been the top issue on the center-right coalition’s Agenda: while the country is facing a very hard recession after nearby 10 years of non growing economy, the main problem of Italy is Justice. Ok, we have the slowest trials in the G8 countries, but reforming is different from putting under control.

Signing an act who runs against the decision of a Supreme Court is a serious challenge to the structure of the system in general. Nor Roosveld changed the US Constitution when the Supreme Court pushed back the New Deal. Yes, he changed some judges. But he never violated the main foundations of the system he was elected to lead.

Is that all?

No. we have to understand the role of the Catholic Church in this business. As every respectable Italian, I am Catholic. The problem with tha Catholic Church is that in Rome there is the Holy See, the Vatican State who is a major lobby in my country. I have no problem with lobbies. What I really hate is the chief of one lobby phoning Mr. Berlusconi and dictating him his acts until the last comma.

Ok, the US have the Mormons ruling Utah ever since, The UK has the Queen as the leader of the Anglican Church. But the problem comes when a foreign state (The Vatican) wants to rule one of his boundaries (Italy). Ok, Italy is a limited-sovereignty (we are a NATO, EU, UN etc. country) but the interferences of the Vatican in the last 10-years, missing of an autoritative Government, grew and grew. Now, we really don’t know who is leading this country. I’ve got a my own idea, but it’s better if I keep that idea for me.

Is Eluana’s story about bioethics?

Are you joking? NO! It no longer is a bioethics story. This business is, now, a way to understand who is really ruling Italy and to measure Berlusconi’s political strength at the moment.

One more issue pointed out by this tragedy is that Eluana is just a case in a State that, according tho the World Health Organization has got the best health-care system in the world,  leaves alone a lot of families with their pain. Eluana is not dieing in a public structure and she was not recovered in a public structure before: she slept for 16 years in a private hospital paid by Mr. Englaro.

I don’t know if PVS is life or it isn’t. What I know is that my country will never be the same while the final moments of Eluana are expiring. The debate about bioethics in Italy will go on for a very long time and without any solution while Politics is keeping its own circus who might appear as folklorist to a stranger. But, while Politics is balancing its powers and acts such as it were in the Commedia dell’Arte, people is asking for new decisions for a century full of challenges our country does not seem to be ready to face.


Written by Francesco Piccinelli Casagrande

02/08/2009 at 10:32 am

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Written by Francesco Piccinelli Casagrande

02/08/2009 at 9:18 am

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