Like many countries in Europe, Italy is struggling with problems of its own making following sleaze, scandal and corruption, although it has received some credit after taking measures that have begun to turn things around.
On the eve of the Italian general election, euronews spoke to Dario Fo: intellectual, playwright and actor, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1997.
Today the “Can’t pay? Won’t pay!” writer accuses banks and those in power of demoralising the Italian people.
euronews: “Dario Fo, as at other times in your career, you’re currently concentrating on your painting. So I ask you how and what colours you would paint with to represent Italy today.”
Dario Fo: “Unfortunately we’re in a situation, where the colours are grey. At best there are shades of purple, orange and red. This is because ‘there’s no vibration, there’s sadness, there’s disaster. The crisis has destroyed any enthusiasm and joy.”
euronews: “In your latest works, is there any hope? Where is the hope?”
Dario Fo: “There is one positive thing, It’s the fact that we’re doing all we can and not giving up. I see many people who don’t surrender and who look for the best solutions, who look for new approaches. It’s not only about surviving, it’s about something new, a change of approach.”
euronews: “Let’s now jump into your past, to talk about the Nobel Prize for Literature you won in 1997. ‘For Dario Fo’ – and here I’m quoting the Swedish Academy – ‘who, inspired by the jesters of the Middle Ages, castigates the powerful and restores the dignity of the oppressed.’ Who are the powerful that Dario Fo castigates today and why?”
Dario Fo: “The banks mostly, and the big entrepreneurs. All those who hold the reins “the show within a show “, ie those who – through the media, television and in other ways – make every effort to ensure that the people accept the conditions they find themselves in.”
euronews: “You’re following Italy’s election campaign with apprehension . What worries you the most?”
Dario Fo: “I’m not worried about the same things as the politicians because I feel like an outsider. I’m tired of the way they think of the relationships between people, it’s clear I can’t feel pity for these politicians who only risk their jobs. The politicians have just got into a workplace routine, they no longer have a mission, and this is accepted because the voters trust them.”
euronews: Is it still possible to be passionate about politics?
Dario Fo: “It’s all become degraded in a very short time, all that had been created over centuries. Hope and trust have been destroyed as well as the value of laws, the community, justice… especially justice.”
euronews: “When and how did this destruction come about?”
Dario Fo: “If there isn’t a system which is strong, solid, and based primarily on culture and knowledge, which instils in the collective consciousness equality, freedom and justice, then everything collapses . There are many who praised the sleaze, real scam artists.
“It is not even worth naming anyone in particular. they are all like this, just look around you: the first one you see, he’s one of them.”
euronews: “In today’s politics for a few years now, it’s considered a good thing to be moderate. You, however, have always proudly claimed not to be. What’s the problem with being moderate?”.
Dario Fo: “Above all the staging, the mask. The mask of a good person, kind, who’s never hurt anyone. But it’s really a trap. They appear nice and gentle in their mannerisms and gestures; they never let go, they never have fun, they never play, or dance. I’ve never seen a moderate person dance and party with people. They stay in the corner, not to be seen and not not be discovered.”
euronews: “In 1994 he went into politics in a surprise move. He then had a long career and today in 2013 he is back and running for re-election. Obviously we’re talking about Berlusconi. You’ve said much about him in the past, how do you see him now?.”
Dario Fo: “Just yesterday I did a satirical performance drawn from Buster Keaton. It was about a statue in a large room, and all around there are characters who are trying to keep up. They move in all directions, they leave, they come back, they try to support it with mechanical devices, to keep it balanced. But the statue falls, it’s on the verge of breaking. But they stand it up and it’s still OK. It comes back, but each time it’s closer to the abyss.”
euronews: “But it never reaches it.”
Dario Fo: “Here we must be patient “.
euronews: “One last question to finish, what are your hopes for Italy in the future?”
Dario Fo: “Freedom. Breaking free from any obstacle; from infamy, hypocrisy and bondage, which robs us of our lives. To become again master of our own lives: this is exactly what I wish my country.”