Signs of the Times
A couple of responses to recent events in Italy.
The attempt to pass a version of a hate crimes law in Italy went down in flames a few days ago when “caring” center-right legislators voted to table the bill permanently, joined by their counterparts on (what passes for) the center-left. The latter group included, famously, Paola Binetti, a member not only of the so-called “Left Democrats” (Democratici di Sinistra) but of Opus Dei. She didn’t vote for the bill, in case you’ve never heard this one before, because it would have “made my own beliefs about homosexuality a crime.” To which a number of Italian bloggers quickly replied, “Good work. Now your beliefs about homosexuality aren’t a crime; they’re just bullshit.”
The cartoon is headed “Representatives & the People They Represent” and juxtaposes the failure of the hate-crimes legislation with the October 11th gay-bashing of a university professor and his partner in the center of Rome. The case has received a great deal of publicity (for once), in (large) part because it joins a growing number of such attacks lately and in (larger) part because the professor in question was brave enough to come forward and talk publicly about what happened.
A parliamentarian holding the standard of the Chamber of Deputies (the lower house of the Italian Parliament) says, “Yeah, let’s bury it/him! (a play on words: the bill was “affossata,” that is, permanently shelved or “buried” in a figurative sense; but “affossare” recalls “fossa” or grave and, thus, bury in its literal sense as well). The skinhead says, “The only aggravating factor is you!” a reference to the bill’s intention to add an “aggravante sessuale” or “sexual orientation enhancement” to existing penalties for battery in cases of homophobic aggression. (Grazie, Mauro Biani!)
Poster for one of the several ad hoc demonstrations that are being held around Italy in the wake of recent goings-on. This one is a kiss-in organized in Milan by the Giovani Democratici or Young Democrats. The legend says “Who’s Afraid of a Kiss?” and invites the public to “join us for a kiss” in support of a “law against homophobic violence.”