Addio Enzo November 6, 2007Posted by dorigo in humor, language, news, politics.
This morning Enzo Biagi died. Enzo was 87 years old, and had been hospitalized a week ago in the Capitanio clinic in Milano.
Biagi was a great italian journalist, and his career is so long and thick it is difficult to summarize. Born in 1920, Biagi started in journalism at the age of 18 as a reporter for “Il resto del Carlino”, a newspaper in Bologna. But the war was impending: during World War II he fought as a partisan in the brigade “Giustizia e libertà”, and from then on, accuses of being a communist were often cast at him during his illustrious career.
No, Biagi was not really a communist, but for sure he was a free thinker. In 1950 he adhered to the Stockholm appeal, an initiative to ban atomic bombs started by the president of the World Peace Council, the french physicist Frederic Joliot-Curie, and was thereafter fired by his editor as a subversive: those were years of cold war, and the tension was palpable in Italy as well. He went on to direct the magazine “Epoca” from 1952 to 1960, when his article on the riots in Genova and Reggio Emilia caused a strong reaction by the then prime minister Tambroni, and he was forced to resign.
In 1961 Biagi was hired by RAI, the national television. It took him two years to become persona non grata of the right government led by Saragat: he got the sack in 1963. But his rank grew anyway, and he became one of the most respected italian journalists.
Italy had become a more democratic place by the seventies, and it continued to be so for quite a while… So Biagi had to wait for a certain Silvio Berlusconi to hear the accuse of being a communist again – the famous “bulgarian edict” of April 2002, with which the then premier, visiting Sofia, lamented during a press release that Biagi (along with another journalist, Michele Santoro, and two comedians, Daniele Luttazzi and Sabina Guzzanti) had “made a criminal use” of his presence on television. The quartet was soon evicted from RAI programs. Biagi was embittered by this violent act, and he had to wait four years for the fall of Berlusconi’s government to be able to return to work on television, albeit only briefly. As for Santoro and Luttazzi, they have just restarted to appear on television now, while Guzzanti has not yet really made a comeback.
As a tribute to a great man, here is a short collection of aphorisms carrying his signature.
- “I giornali sarebbero ansiogeni ? Ma la Bibbia non comincia forse con un delitto ?” (Do newspapers generate anxiety ? But doesn’t the Bible itself start with a crime ?)
- “Era così ignorante che credeva che la Cedrata fosse un’opera minore del Tassoni” (he was so ignorant he believed La Cedrata was a minor work of Tassoni)
- “E’ difficile non desiderare la donna d’altri, dato che quelle di nessuno di solito sono poco attraenti” (It is hard not to desire somebody else’s woman, since those not owned by anybody are usually unattractive)
- “La mia generazione trovava eccitante leggere la Divina Commedia con le illustrazioni del Doré. Adesso sui muri c’e’ scritto Culo basso bye bye. Capisce che è un po’ diverso ?” (My generation found exciting to read the Divina Commedia with illustrations by Doré. Now on the walls you read “Low ass bye bye”. Don’t you get it is slightly different ?)
- “Se Berlusconi avesse le tette farebbe anche l’annunciatrice” (If Berlusconi had tits he would play the newscaster as well)
- “Credo che la libertà sia uno dei beni che gli uomini dovrebbero apprezzare di più. La libertà è come la poesia: non deve avere aggettivi, è libertà” (I believe freedom is one of those goods men should value more. Freedom is like poetry: it should carry no adjectives, it is freedom)
- “Si può essere a sinistra di tutto, ma non del buon senso” (one can be on the left of anything but common sense)
- “Credo nella libertà di espressione, cioè giornali e televisioni liberi di criticare il potere” (I believe in freedom of expression, that is newspapers and televisions free to criticize the power)
- “Il bello della democrazia è proprio questo: tutti possono parlare, ma non occorre ascoltare” (The best thing of democracy is really that: everybody can talk, but you are not required to listen)
Thank you Enzo!