Thursday, November 08, 2007


The funeral of the journalist Enzo Biagi [9.8.20 - 6.11.07] took place in his home village today. A WW2 Resistance hero who later became a TV anchorman and columnist for Corriere della Sera, Biagi so infuriated Berlusconi during the 2001 election campaign that the latter issued what became known as the editto bulgaro [Bulgarian edict] during a press conference in Sofia: Berlusconi accused Biagi and two other journalists of making "criminal use of public service TV" and of course Rai caved in and dismissed all three. Biagi was reinstated under the Prodi government and continued writing his Corriere column until the onset of his last illness.

A brave, kind and tolerant man who was also a tireless unveiler of hypocrisy, Biagi combined all those qualities which are best in Italians. This Italophile, like so many of his countrymen, will miss him.

Here are some of my favourite Biagi quotes:

On fur-trade protesters [and I am one, by the way, but I take his point here]:

"No one that I know goes without [leather] shoes."

On God:

"The best description of Our Lord that I have ever heard came from a child. 'God', he said, 'arrives with the wind.' "

On hell:

Biagi liked this from the theologian Urs von Balthasar:

"Hell exists but it could be empty."

On Sicily:

"Sicily is an island bathed by the sea and by tears."

On old age:

"I have become old without noticing it and without any difficulty... I've underlined this sentence from Guy de Rothschild's Memoirs: 'Old age is a defeat . We must not allow ourselves to get old.' I'm trying."

- All from 'I' Come Italiani, 1993.


Crushed said...

It is the last one I try with. I'm failing miserably at it.

A certain irreverance is always healthy.

Also of course, an interesting insight into Italian political culture, your first paragraph.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

You have plenty of time, Crushed! Yes, I like irreverance. Glad you found the political bit interesting.

Liz Hinds said...

Some wonderful quotes there!

marymaryquitecontrary said...

I read that he made his "television comeback" in April this year,saying," Good evening,sorry if I am a bit emotional, maybe it is visible. There has been a technical problem,and the break has lasted five years."

lady macleod said...

Well done, a lovely memorial. Thank you for sharing.

jmb said...

I remember when they were fired because I was in Verona and there was a big petition which they were asking people to sign against the firing of these fellows. I always said no because I said I was not Italian (obviously).
Obviously a very special person.

Leslie: said...

Hi WC, just caught up on your last few posts. Love the one below about your long wait at the post office! It's like here at the motor vehicle branch, waiting, waiting, waiting....for that blasted number to pop up on the computerized screen.

Hope your olives are tasty. Do you have to wait a wait before opening the jar or are they ready to eat now?

Love Biagi's quotes. JMB has a current post about aging.

Hope you're well.

Whispering Walls said...

Great quotations! I like the Bulgarian edict. I suppose Prodi's been making a Romanian edict this week?

Sally said...

thank you for letting us know as I hadn't seen the news in the UK press. He was a hero in many ways - everything a good journalist and fine Italian should be

Gledwood said...

"Criminal use of public service TV" then? What did Berlucsconi do with his own ... wasn't it Channel 4 5 and 6 he owned on terrestrial TV? What did he do with HIS exposure????
I have one Italian friend who loathes Berlusconi. Then again what is the point of owning 3 TV channels if you're not going to make fullest use of them!! haha!

O dear me i'm in real politician mode today and to think my only policy is to install roadside cycle paths!!!

James Higham said...

Type of person the world needs more of.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi,Liz. Glad they appeal to you, too. Great comeback, wasn't it, MM? Thank you, Lady M. Hi, jmb - yes, very special and very much loved. Ciao, Leslie and thank you. I'll wait a few days before opening the olive jar. Glad you, too, like the EB quotes. Yes, that's a great post of jmb's. Will be over to you shortly. Ciao, WW. I rather think he has! hi, Sally. I was surprised to see nothing about him in Times Online yesterday but the Guardian had an obit. Glad you liked him too. Ciao, Gleds. You'd make a great politician! Come on now, you gotta get more policies! Yes, indeed, James.

Sean Jeating said...

I remember the very interview with Berlusconi.
And I hope (at least) a few people will remember Enzo Biagi.
My respect.
Enzo Biagi is dead. Long live the freedom of speech!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Yes, I hope he is remembered too, Sean.


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