I tell the Corriere – Merkel’s first step as a European statesman

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Dear Aldo,
not that Italian public opinion has recently shown great consistency, but it seems to me that we are now going beyond ourselves. Among the privileged targets, Europe, or (in the collective imagination) Merkel, or Germany. Until a few weeks ago, the avalanche of political and media insults overwhelmed the Nordic front – led by Germany – (rightly) accused of lack of solidarity. Then it happens that in the aftermath of a Franco-German proposal, that same policy and that same public opinion scream at yet another scandal because Germany dared to expose itself for the creation of a 500 billion fund which would benefit largely from the Italy. Why can’t we analyze the facts with intellectual lucidity and honesty, even when everything is in our favor?
Chiara Pinna, Brussels

Dear Chiara,
The problem that we Italians have long thought of as a placid Nordic cow to be milked in Europe, except then failing to spend European funds, which finance roads and railways, not forestry salaries and allowances for regional councilors. We still expect money from Europe. We therefore tend to reproduce the relationship we have with the Italian state with the European Union. an observation that Ernesto Galli della Loggia made some time ago: we Italians do not ask the State for much services, protection, investments; we ask for money. Tax subsidies or exemptions.
Obviously with Europe we have a problem, including a cultural one. Otherwise we would not discover sudden passions for countries that at the decisive moment we always find ourselves against, like the Hungary of Orbn, idol of our sovereigns, or the Austria of Kurz, which now governs with the greens but was the first to break the tab ea make a coalition government with the nationalist far right.
Despite the anti-German sentiment that exists in our country, Angela Merkel is not an enemy of Italy. simply a German statesman, with whom it is not easy to deal, given that since sixteen years, he still has no heirs in his party, he has a solid alliance with the Social Democrats, in short he has almost compact behind him (with the exception of the right-wing extremists and left) the most important, rich, populous country in the Union. Now he has to decide whether to go down in history as the last great chancellor, or as the first European statesman. In these days he has taken a step in this direction.
But perhaps the anti-French sentiment is even stronger than the anti-German one. And this, for those who care about the Risorgimento and the history of national unification, incomprehensible: without the French blood shed in Magenta and Solferino, Italy would not exist.

OTHER LETTERS OF TODAY

History

My invitation to use masks in January

I would like to remind you that in the first half of January I sent a letter to the Corriere which was published on this page on January 19 with the title Influenza, the mask against contagion. I stressed that in a week I had visited at least 250 patients, working 30 hours more. I had written why, given the spread of a virulent and unusual epidemic (flu and para-flu), I invited the widespread use of masks and the abandonment of the ritual of hugs and greeting kisses. I was probably the first doctor to sound the alarm that something strange was happening in our country before China raised the alarm. That strange virulent and contagious parainfluenza epidemic, with severe respiratory impairment, was perhaps an outbreak of Sars CoV-2. A few days later, I was infected myself and had to cure myself for about twenty days without being able to stay in bed but continuing to work, wearing that mask that I invoked in the letter, so as not to infect my contacts. With good reason, if the obligation of masks and gloves had been applied for everyone since then, we would have avoided the massacre in which we fell.
Domenico Carpita, general practitioner, internist, Rome

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