Rubbish in Naples and other news stories…

I am finding that Italians from other cities are intrigued to hear my thoughts on Naples, and to know what it was like. People seem unanimous in their thoughts of the beauty of the city – it is beautiful. But they are more divided on how they feel when they visit the city. Furbi (sneaky) was one way that the people were described (this in response to my story about the unfilled panino). Another person said that whenever he is in Naples, he is always happy to leave, after 2 or 3 days. He doesn’t feel comfortable there. I said I found the people less open to visitors than I was used to finding in other Italian cities, but people were surprised by this, saying that the Neapolitani had the reputation for being far more open that other Italians. So open that they tend to move into your personal space, for example. Anyway, all this makes me even more intrigued and determined to visit again, for longer next time. I always say that, about everywhere I go!

Naples is in the news at the moment here. All that rubbish we saw… (I mentioned it in an earlier post)… Apparently that was evidence of a growing crisis about rubbish in Naples.

Now that I am eating on my own, people tend to chat with me in restaurants. They ask about my travels, mostly. My second night in Pisa, two young guys sitting near me started up a conversation. On mention of Naples, their eyes widened, and they said, “Ah, yes, there is a big problem with the spazzaturra [ie.rubbish … isn’t that a great word?] in Naples right now.” Sure, sure, I said, thinking still that what we had seen had in fact been kind of normal.

When I got home that night I decided to try my luck with Italian TV. Sometimes there are things on that I can follow. I ended up watching Porta a Porta, which is TV journalism on big issues. That night’s program was devoted to Naples and the rubbish crisis. There were politicians, journalists live at the scene, local residents being interviewed, images of the police and army soldiers marching…. I had no idea really, what was going on.

The next morning, as I had my coffee in the cafe downstairs, I read the Corriere della Sera. This had the Rubbish Crisis on the front page, and several pages inside were also dedicated to it. One writer said that this would lead to the end of the Second Republic. Which sounded very serious to me indeed.

That night (last night) I asked the people sitting by me in the retaurant if they could explain to me what was going on. (I didn’t use this as my opening line, we had already been conversing throughout the meal – all it takes is a buon appetito to get the conversation flowing). They said they were really not sure. It was something about a rubbish dump needing to be built, and those responsible refusing to do it.

The government, I asked? No, not the government. And the police came in to quell the people’s anger. But who are they angry with? I asked. Who should be building the tip? But these people really didn’t know, and they shook their heads at the craziness of it all, and one said, heavily, “Mafia.”

So then I asked M&M. They too, said straight away that they didn’t understand what was going on, that no-one really understood what was going on.

But it is a crisis. One that could bring down the Second Republic (whatever that is). So I have done a bit of a quick scout online, using the search terms ‘Naples rubbish crisis’.

Here is a BBC story from sometime ago. It tells us that this is a problem that has been around for awhile, for which no long term solution has been found, either locally or by the national government.

The Independent offers this succinct explanation, from January 5.

The ABC online posted this today, which mentions the Mafia role in muddying (so to speak) the waters.

The other news story I have enjoyed trying to follow and decipher in Italian is the press conference held by Nicholas Sarkozy on Tuesday. This, too, hogged a fair bit of the media spotlight… he has already getting a lot of attention about his relationship with Carla Bruni.

As CP said, when we first heard of the Carla Bruni story on the plane on the way back to Paris from Armenia, it is not so usual for French people to read about their President’s exploits on the front pages of the serious newspapers.Judging his performance purely on superficial terms, given that I couldn’t understand fully either what he was saying, or the Italian voice-over translations and analysis, I thought Sarko (as they like to call him here and in France) came over well, lookin’ sharp, with a kind of older-guy charisma happening. He reminds me a bit of Kennett… that glamour factor that can be so seductive, but can all go so horribly wrong. (Lordy, hope I don’t sound like a Kennett fan here).

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