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Chris Slatter

My Blog


Italian Spring

Tags: Monti Gates IFAD 


Accordion Boy is back in Ostia Lido. The sun has summoned him forth from wherever he goes during the short Roman winter. He knows only two tunes: The Lambada (also known as Llorando se fue) and Torna a Sorrento, vintage accordion pieces that evoke conflicting emotions. It seems that wherever you are in Ostia Lido one or other of his songs can be heard, evoking either a desire to dance or cry depending on which song he is playing at the time. I have no idea of Accordion Boy’s story. He is 14, perhaps 15 years old and every day he performs in the streets of Ostia Lido between the middle of March and the middle of September.
It’s a short winter in Rome, but I have never known a city more grateful for the return
of light and warmth. There’s a psychological yearning evident, too, I surmise. I was fortunate to attend the recent meeting of the General Council of the International Fund for Agricultural Development held over two days in Rome. It was the 35th such meeting when donors meet to sign accords, pledge funds and outline their hopes for the coming year. As you might have expected, there were some glamorous guests, among them Bill Gates representing his foundation. He gave a worthy speech which the world’s media reported, but my respect was reserved for the Italian Prime Minister, Mario Monti.
It wasn’t so much what he said, but how he said it. If you are not familiar with Professor Monti, he is an economist and academic and before being appointed Prime Minister of Italy he was a European Commissioner. There is little vanity apparent in the man’s demeanour and he is not a rousing speaker. But he was just what the doctor ordered in November when Italy lay gravely ill, broke, dispirited and suffering from deep-seated disrespect by the Western world. He is leading the technocrat government of Italy and providing an example, hopefully, for future leaders.
That he was appreciated by Italians wasn’t obvious to me and I had thought the absurd antics of his predecessor had created a model that no academic could beat, rather like a firework display will distract you from an art exhibition. But when he exited the plenary hall after his speech and was walking through the long reception area to his waiting car, he found himself in the middle of a spontaneous demonstration of respect. Every Italian in the building, there were three or four hundred of them, had gathered, to applaud him, motivated I believe by gratitude that they could at last be proud of  their prime minister. It has been some time since Italians had pride in their political leaders. I hope it lasts.

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About Me

I have been an advertising copywriter, film director, teacher of screenwriting and a television producer. I have worked for some of the world's largest advertising agencies in Australia and the UK before attending the London Film School for two years.

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