"Ciao!" Welcome to the only newsletter written by journalists who believe Italy needs another labor union to protect the rights of state employees who count the number of man hole covers in Palermo, "Only In Italy!"
I love this newsletter. It is amusing, entertaining, and love the history. Are people in Abruzzo still considered Southern Italians? Julietta S.
Thanks for the lovely letter. Regarding if the Abruzzese are considered southern Italians, it all depends. If they can eat polenta and declare it's great while making a straight face, then they're not southern Italians.
Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!
La Spezia - February 18, 2010 - A 90-year-old former Italian soldier and resistance fighter has been questioned by police after he allegedly sent a letter threatening the life of Civil Service Minister Renato Brunetta.
Justice officials in Rome opened a probe after Brunetta's office informed them of the letter and asked police in the nearby village of Ameglia to verify whether he had indeed made the threats. The 90-year-old who served in the Russian campaign in World War II, later joined the resistance and after the war signed up with the French Foreign Legion, explained to police that he wrote the letter because "Italy is no longer the just and democratic country I fought for".
"I have circulatory problems and have been operated on but I don't have adequate health assistance. Brunetta is a symbol of a State which does not go after tax evaders or crooks but picks on the little guy," the former soldier said. In his letter, the man reportedly said that "Brunetta deserves to die".
The flamboyant minister is often at the center of press attention for his campaigns against slackers and absenteeism among public employees. He is expected to resign should he become mayor of Venice in this spring's local elections.
Because of his age, police said the angry ex-partisan did not represent a real threat and thus no charges were filed against him.
Oh, "figlio di puttana", I've fallen and I can't get up!"
"Italy is no longer the just and democratic country I fought for". We're puzzled and need clarification on your war records, Nonno.
You served in World War II. One morning, you realized Mussolini who once said, "war is to man what maternity is to a woman. From a philosophical and doctrinal viewpoint, I do not believe in perpetual peace", had lost his marbles and it was time to abandon ship. So, you became a resistance fighter.
After the war which left Italy in complete shambles, you realized your time could have been better spent watching a small herd of goats while picking fleas off yourself. Out of anger and spite you joined the French Foreign Legion.
Obviously, this must have also been a big disappointment for you must have asked yourself, "the French are trying to convince everyone that they were part of the big invasion. But the French weren't part of any invasion. They were already invaded! How can you be part of an invasion in your own country?"
So, you return back to the motherland and sulk.
And now at 90 years of age, you decide it's time to pull your pants up, put on something warm, and pick a fight with Italy's Civil Service Minister whose height and intelligence can be compared with those of a Smurf.
"Porca vacca", worrying about the so-called "symbols of State" and how they should conduct themselves. You know, he's lucky he's not a mule, but still likely to get shot anyway.
Rome - February 19, 2010 - Unions are finalizing an agreement with the Italian postal service which will result in an end to deliveries on Saturday but also an increase in afternoon deliveries during the week.
The growing popularity of electronic mail and competition from other parcel delivery services has greatly reduced the business of Poste Italiane which has compensated by expanding into other services including banking and even mobile phone service.
Last year, union sources said, there was a 20% drop in mail delivery which put the jobs of 10,600 letter carriers at risk.
Aside from ending weekend service, unions have agreed to only increase the length of daily shifts from six hours to seven hours and 12 minutes to allow for more afternoon deliveries.
Poste Italiane currently employs some 140,000 people, 73,000 of whom work sorting and delivering mail.
"Figlio di puttana", who knew mail was being delivered on Saturdays? Most Italians would have loved to have gotten a taste of this! We're happy as pigs in slop when we get anyone capable of delivering the mail without losing their breath.
Ever have the urge of doing something ridiculous like stopping by an Italian post office for some Godforsaken task? It's like entering the 'Twilight Zone' where you're viewing postal workers find 22 reasons to do just about anything (including skinning varmints) other than their original work tasks.
After you get over your initial amazement of actually finding the post office open (meaning that the manager did not lose the keys that morning), you make a run for the ticket machine and rather than waste time reading which of the four different tickets you need, you just take one of each. It doesn't matter what the information states because you'll eventually discover you're the nincompoop waiting in the wrong ticket line and have to start over again when you finally reach the window.
While you are being served, which usually consists of being told that whatever you need is out of stock, you will be constantly interrupted with other incredibly polite Italian customers asking for various paperwork. Mind you there are places for forms to be stocked but these were possibly last refilled when Mussolini was hanged.
At this point your obnoxious and foul-smelling teller will resume the phoney smile and drooling and then disappear from his/her desk to go and find said form which may take 10 minutes and involve at least three other incredibly efficient coworkers who were also busy pretending to work but have now all stopped...thanks to you.
"Poste Italiane currently employs some 140,000 people, 73,000 of whom work sorting and delivering mail." If it weren't for the deliberate help from Italian politicians, 99% of these postal workers would be stooped over picking potatoes and tomatoes right now.
Rome - February 18, 2010 - Young Italians are more likely to be racist and xenophobic than they are open-minded, according to a new report presented in parliament on Thursday.
The research, compiled from a study of 2,000 Italians aged 18 to 29, found just 40% of those questioned were generally open-minded about other national and ethnic groups, while 46% expressed xenophobic and racist views. The remaining 14%, categorized as "mixophobic", did not have strong feelings about other ethnic groups but felt it was inappropriate to "mix up" cultures.
The survey, commissioned by government authorities and carried out by the SWG research institute, found that Roma and Sinti gypsies were the groups most likely to be discriminated against by young Italians.
Asked to rank their "likeability" on a scale of 1 to 10, gypsies were awarded just 4.1. Western Europeans topped the ranking with 8.2, followed by Southern Italians with 7.8 and Americans with 7.7.
The head of Italy's National Anti-Discrimination Office said the report confirmed existing research suggesting there was a particular problem among young people.
"The institutions must invest in educating the younger generations, which represent a priority target in promoting a fully inclusive society," said Massimiliano Monnanni.
The report found that xenophobic and racist respondents could broadly be divided into three categories. Around 15% of the total were hostile specifically to Eastern Europeans and Roma people, followed by 20% who were more xenophobic than racist. This group said they did not mind foreigners or other ethnic groups, "so long as they kept to themselves", preferably outside Italy. The remaining 11% fit the more traditional profile of racists, hostile to all non-Caucasians and non-Westerners.
Of the open-minded respondents, more than half were completely relaxed and interested in other nationalities and ethnic groups. Just under a third were tolerant, while around 13% were firmly opposed to racism but had little experience mixing outside their own ethnic and national background.
The study also touched on other forms of intolerance, asking those polled about which groups they would feel comfortable going to dinner with. The most popular choice was someone without money, followed by someone either Jewish, gay or non-European, who were deemed "acceptable".
A Muslim dinner companion would be "tolerable" but not welcome, among most respondents, while a Roma gypsy or drug addict would be "unacceptable".
According to SWG Director Enzo Risso, the research also uncovered over 1,000 Italian racist and xenophobic groups on Facebook.
"We carried out a kind of census of xenophobic groups between October and November," he explained during the report's presentation.
"We counted over 100 anti-Islamic groups, 350 anti-immigrant groups, around 400 opposed to southern Italians and 300 anti-gypsy groups".
The anti-immigrant and anti-gypsy groups had the highest membership, some with over 7,000 followers.
The issue of racism and xenophobia in Italy has been in the spotlight over recent weeks. In early January, two days of violent clashes between foreign farmhands and locals left over 50 people injured and drew international criticism.
At the time of the violence, two top UN human rights representatives, Jorge Bustamante and Githu Muigai, pointed the finger at "ingrained racism" and "an increasingly xenophobic attitude towards migrant workers" in Italy.
However, the UN Human Rights Council said last week that Italy had made "considerable progress" in tackling racism over recent years. National statistics bureau Istat estimates there are currently over 4.8 million immigrants living in Italy, nearly twice as many as there were in 2001, making up around 7.1% of the population.
Ahhh...Nothing like today's future creating the perfect Italian social environment.
Before we continue, we would like to let our lovely readers know that, according to government statistics, 1/3 of Italians are semi illiterate. That's right, some of us cannot perform simple tasks and have very little notion of history and science. So, we hope that for the sake of the accuracy of the research the Italians questioned were given the chance to respond in crayon. We also hope they realized the most discriminated group, the gypsies, are not a people who dance, have gold teeth, and wear puffy pants and big loop earrings.
"The study also touched on other forms of intolerance, asking those polled about which groups they would feel comfortable going to dinner with. The most popular choice was someone without money, followed by someone either Jewish, gay or non-European, who were deemed "acceptable".
-> Let's digest this for a moment. You'll be happy to pick up the entire tab if you dine with a penniless nincompoop who had the audacity to leave the house rather than go to dinner with an "acceptable" Jew? It's amazing they were able to answer these birdbrained questions and see through air at the same time.
"...the research also uncovered over 1,000 Italian racist and xenophobic groups on Facebook...We counted over 100 anti-Islamic groups, 350 anti-immigrant groups, around 400 opposed to southern Italians and 300 anti-gypsy groups".
-> "Porca miseria", can someone let us know how the hell do we southern Italians always wind up getting involved in these asinine hate surveys?
"Oh, never mind 'Al Qaeda' terrorists and Islamic integralism, we have to worry about those irritating Sicilians!"
We don't understand. "'Fanculo," we're just sitting down here minding our own business, lying on the beaches and eating our "Penne con le Sarde" (past with sardines). Who are we annoying?
Look, if we can scratch our backs and pick our butts at the same time like the rest of the northern Italians, then we should have the right to be considered Italians as much as they do!