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Berlusconi Promises To Make Italy Less Like Africa?

This week Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi announced his plans to outlaw graffiti. The Prime Minister hopes to take well-precedented steps toward forbidding citizens to write on public buildings without permission. The new law would make defacing historical monuments punishable by €30,000 ($38, 871), as well as 40 days in prison.

Berlusconi says he wants to make graffiti punishable by fines or prison time "because in some of our cities, it looks like we’re in Africa rather than Europe." Considering Italy has spent years dealing with a massive trash problem that's caused a toxic stench and piles of refuge in Naples, maybe the graffiti makes Italy look like . . . Italy.

In addition to cleaning unwanted art off the street, yesterday the Italian government faced tens of thousands of school workers who marched through Rome to protest school reforms. In Florence, 100 students stopped trains by occupying the tracks. One high school student said, "We are so many people, and if we can't change anything then it means this is a form of dictatorship." A dictatorship that cleans up graffiti!


Join The Conversation
lem0n_ lem0n_ 8 years
I think the comment about Africa is necessary but Italy does have a problem with graffiti. I lived in Milan for a little bit and even some of the most beautiful old building have ugly tags scrawled on them... While I don't mind works like Banksy's because those are thought provoking and beautiful, tags are just idiotic and just them showing off their "territory". While I was there, I also have a friend who would get drunk and go tagging all over the place, he used to show off with me, showing me his tags and how he had to do all these measures to avoid getting caught. And the guys actually discussed how to not get caught at school. I think it's sort of a "cool" things for them to do and it's hard to stop but hopefully the law will make them think twice about it...
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
well you have to start somewhere and i think that he's got a valid point that he wants to clean up the look of the area. it's a shame when you work so hard to make outsiders perceive your cities and countries as a certain level of wonder, and then to have your own use graffiti in ways like this. i know that i we have similar problems in the US but i feel like it's more of an art form here rather than people putting words up everywhere.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
What I've learned about graffiti is that everyone has a voice and they will express it anyway they can. I think the key to ridding unsightly graffiti is understanding it. In Los Angeles after a terrible graffiti blight in the 80's city officials reached out to the youths responsible and commissioned them to make graffiti like murals around the city. Some of them went on to be great artists. As for the Prime Min. negative comparison to Africa I don't think it was racist but it was certainly classist.
yesteryear yesteryear 8 years
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
And vice versa. Sheesh. And yes, when I used the common colloquialism "everything" I truly meant everything in the world. :oy:
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
Everything isn't a "race" issue if you check the last 5 headlines that are posted by Citizensugar none are related to race, and neither are the comments. And just because you personally don't think that this issue is race related doesn't take away from the fact that some people do.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
Why is everything made into a race issue?
wackdoodle wackdoodle 8 years
Dude, Afrifa is a continent not a country, so Italian Dude which country in Africa is covered with graffiti? South Africa? The Congo? Where exact is he referring to? I think he's confused the UK and America with Africa. Easy to do both countries have Blacks in them. Oh BTW I remember during my first year in Art History class that some of the most interesting art from Ancient Rome was the graffiti in the Colosseum and on other ancient Roman building. Actual 'Augustus was here' 'Caesar's the man!' type graffiti craved into buildings. Graffiti that was put there over 3000 years ago, I'm quite sure that wasn't the blacks fault.
Meike Meike 8 years
About f-ing time minus the Africa comment. Even the Vatican had signatures and vandalism at the very top near the dome overlooking Rome. I really can't believe how destructive the youth are with its own history.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
That's a pretty obnoxious way to put it, but why aren't vandals being punished with fines and/or jail time already anyway?
girlA girlA 8 years
Yeah, that African comment was unnecessary.
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
GS, "because in some of our cities, it looks like we’re in Africa rather than Europe." Okay maybe racist is to harsh prejudice I just had a immediate reaction to a off putting comment by a prime minister. To assume that all of Africa is graffiti ridden is a prejudice.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
How is he racist?
KrisSugar KrisSugar 8 years
I am also surprised there are no worse consequences for it (yet). But as soon as you cross the border, you know you're in Italy because of the graffiti. That's kind of sad. Isn't graffiti an Italian word?
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
Note to self: Don't visit Italy because their prime minister is racist!
yesteryear yesteryear 8 years
the africa comments aside... i'm surprised there weren't already more serious consequences for people who vandalize historic sites vs. newer buildings/property? i can't believe anyone would do that. there's only one coliseum... once you vandalize it that's it. i'd execute them.
Brendelwoman Brendelwoman 8 years
Well, that's not exactly politically correct, is it?
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