Living in Rome
Yesterday Salambo saw Berlusconi by pure coincidence. She was walking past the Hotel de Russie on via del Babuino, when police officers were stopping the traffic and asking pedestrians to walk on the other side of the road. There are often fans waiting outside the Hotel de Russie as it is a known celebrity hotel, but this time was different. Everything came to a halt, the police was there in force… it had to be someone “important”. Being quite curious, Salambo couldn’t help waiting to see who was going to come out of the Hotel. It was Berlusconi in person with his well known put-on smile (He was there to meet one of the leading Italian politicians, the press reported the next day). The reaction of the crowd outside was somewhat surprising to Salambo: people were cheering, applauding and shouting words of support, and he was loving it! They were actually fans, for in spite of everything Berlusconi still has many fans in Italy. Quite puzzling! Meanwhile, drivers who got stuck in traffic because of it, were screaming and beeping, but it wasn’t clear whether they did so because they got stuck or because they disliked the man. It seems that Italy has an equivocal relationship with its prime minister. He is heavily criticised but re-elected. They like him but pretend they don’t. To many Italians, he represents wealth and success. Only the intellectual elite and the professionals despise him. All the anti-Berlusconi protest movement happens online and on Facebook now. He doesn’t care, he thinks he’s rich enough to crash his opponents’ political campaigns, unfortunately.