Tuesday, May 17, 2005

God is Dead, or Not?

Some days ago, it happened to me to read an old article of The Economist. It was an article taken from the Millenium issue, the one that was in newsstand at the end of December 1999. It was in the Obituary section of the magazine; The Economist has an obituary section every week with the obituary for an important person who recently died. In the Millenium issue, something like five years ago, the obituary was for God. The article is interesting as it pictures in what ways the Almighty recently passed into history (or not so recently, do you remember Nietzsche?) even if in the end this article underlines the fact that remarkably few people deny the possibility of a supreme being. So what?
About one month ago, everybody heard in the news that a new Pope was elected: Joseph Ratzinger succeeded to Karol Woytila with the name of Benedict XVI. The same Joseph Ratzinger that in the Mass Pro eligendo romano pontifice had warned the humankind against the dictatorship of the relativism, that doesn’t see nothing as definitive and leave the ego and its desires as the ultimate measure. I think these are quite powerful words in a moment of the human history when there are so few certainties and so many doubts, even about the survival of the Almighty. However, this is the way the story goes.
In three weeks time in Italy there will be a referendum with some questions about artificial insemination, embryo’s rights and scientific research on stem cells. These are important questions and I think that they concern the private sphere of decision of everyone. The Italian Church has immediately clarified that all the Catholics must abstain from going to the referendum, making it useless because of the lack of the majority of the possible voters. In the same days, the Spanish Parliament has approved a bill in favor of the marriage between homosexuals or lesbians, in contrast with the Spanish Church (as with the Vatican) that consider this like something against the normal concept of family. And this is the point that put together these three paragraphs!
Like in the past, I ask you: what is NORMAL? What is right or wrong about thinking that God is dead or not? What is good or evil in the relativism of present days? What?As usual, a lot of questions with so few answers.

China, a red hot economy

A great interest for China is in the air.
This week the CNN will broadcast a series of specials about China, including the documentary Navigating the new China with Stan Grant and the report from the Fortune Global Forum in Beijing with Jim Clancy.
This month two books with the same name has been released: the first one, The Chinese Century, is by Oded Shenkar, a management professor with a long interest in China; the second one, The Chinese Century, is by Federico Rampini, a journalist of the Italian newspaper La Repubblica who has been living in China for almost a year.
This year the global financial markets have been waiting for Chinese government to loose the existing peg between the yuan renminbi and the US dollar.
The rising of this red hot economy is changing the global balances of power and soon (in less than 15 years time, according to CIA) this 1.3 billion country will be the first economic (and maybe political) power in the world.
In my intention this would be only a bookmark, remembering you that outside your own country, a giant is becoming bigger and bigger day after day. I think that, at least, we have to know something about it and to think about what will happen in the near future.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

A little note, but interesting

In his latest show (beppegrillo.it), Beppe Grillo talks about the World Wide Web and the richness of information it contains (he talks also about the Digital Divide, something that also Cesare is interested in). He highlights the great difference between the WWW on one side and the television on the other, pointing out that in the Internet, if you know how to move (and this is really important), you have the power: the power to change, as soon as you want, the source of the information you receive.
On TV, if you don’t like Murdoch, Berlusconi or Thaksin Shinawatra (the Thai prime minister), you can’t simply change channel: you will find the same emptiness, the same lack of meaning (not really always, luckily!).
On the Internet, if you don’t rely on a source of information, you can simply change the site you’re surfing, every time you want. And if you don’t like this blog as a source of interesting comments on this interesting and so pathetic world, you can simply type another URL on your browser address bar (I really hope it’s Mozilla Firefox) and change your view of the world. For example, you can go to Beppe Grillo’s site: www.beppegrillo.it. And you can also go to this site www.cormorano.net/media, where you can find the documentary that PBS (a US television) made on the Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and his effect on Italian politics and the media, a documentary that somebody called CITIZEN BERLUSCONI (do you remember Citizen Kane?): you can comment on it here.

Freedom Part II

First, sorry for the delay. I’m back and I choose to start a new post (instead of commenting on the old one, where Cesare began the discussion) to highlight this argument. I hope you will like this.
Luckily, this word doesn’t have the same meaning worldwide. Luckily the world doesn’t need a responsible leadership worldwide, like the US or the Pope. Luckily the mankind doesn’t need someone that tell which are the essential human freedoms we need.
Luckily, because otherwise we couldn’t listen to the teachings of the Supreme Writer and Thinker, Ms Oriana Fallaci, without asking ourselves a lot of questions about the great difference that stands between Frank’s word (freedom of speech and expression, freedom to worship [which?] God, freedom from want, freedom from fear) and the opinions of a woman that think that the only possible freedom is from the Muslim world and that the only possible freedom is defined as the western one.
I don’t think so, I think that the first freedom, the most relevant one, is the freedom to choose what are the freedoms we need and from what we want to be free.
Why does nobody talk about the fact that maybe the Middle East simply wants the freedom from the presence of the United States in the region?
Why does nobody talk about the fact that maybe women want the freedom of choosing whether have a baby or not?
Why does nobody talk about the fact that people should really have the freedom of worship every God (or Gods, or nothing) they want, without always having to demonstrate a faith they don’t feel towards a divinity they even know? Even if this God is Allah and even if this worship means a different view on this world?
Why does nobody talk about the fact that people should have the freedom to choose the sex of their partner?
Why does nobody, neither Frank Delano, talk about these and a lot of other freedoms?
I think that neither the Western nor the Eastern world have the answer to these questions, but maybe it’s time to end considering only our view of the Truth, our view of the Freedom.Maybe freedom means the supremacy of human rights everywhere, and I agree with that. But who decide what is the meaning of the human rights?

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Giuliana Sgrena is Free !!

Our happiness, however, is dramatically wrapped by a disturbing epilogue. A secret agent of Italian’s intelligence SISMI has been killed in a gunfire at a checkpoint to the way to Baghdaad’s airport.
In this strange situation, we are happy for the liberation of Giuliana, and proud of how Italy has reacted to her kidnapping. But we should learn to separate people from problems.
In terms of human lives, nothing really changes: a death has occurred. And each human being is equally important as the others.
In terms of political achievement, an hostage has been set free (we actually don’t know if by way of some money) and this is much better rather than what happened with Enzo Baldoni, whose body hasn’t still come back. However, still in terms of political achievement a key agent has been killed. An agent that is not only made of his thoughts, his family, his children, his life. An agent that, politically speaking, was made of recruiting, training, know-how, skills. A set of qualities that will be hard to put together again in a difficult area like the Iraq. This is a great political, even military, loss.
But SISMI’s world is obscure, and I cannot yet understand how a man could die in an armored car, I hope wearing a full metal jacket. I cannot yet understand even how a gunfire could happen in that circumstances.
So, today, my happiness is not really such an happiness. It’s a relief for a woman’s destiny, a sadness for a man’s destiny, and big stomachache for how so-thought talented diplomatic officials, civil servants, ambassadors, so-acclaimed generals, politics’ strives turned into results.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Freedom, Liberté, Hurryya

Freedom, Liberté and , do they mean the same worldwide ?

Giuliana Sgrena was kidnapped in Iraq on February, 4th. This Blog wants Giuliana to be set free.
I am appreciating all the sensibilities that are spreading in Italy, among its people, all the signals that are being sent. I am wondering about many others kidnapping that ended happily, and about those who did not.

I am thinking that similar words have different meanings worldwide.

I would like to start a discussion among the different meanings of this words, referring to our common sense of the terms freedom and liberté after the French revolution, that definitly gave a new shape to this word in Europe.

In my opinion, we should talk about freedoms rather than freedom.
Frank Delano Roosevelt said:
I suppose that every realist knows that the democratic way of life is at this moment being directly assailed in every part of the world [...] I find it unhappily necessary to report that the future and the safety of our country and of our democracy are overwhelmingly involved in events far beyond our borders [...]
In the future days which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms. The first is freedom of speech and expression --everywhere in the world. The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way-- everywhere in the world. The third is freedom from want, which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants --everywhere in the world. The fourth is freedom from fear, which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor --anywhere in the wold. That is no vision of a distant millennium
[...]
Freedom means the supremacy of human rights everywhere.

6 January, 1941 (see here)

No matter our own political feelings, freedom should mean the supremacy of human rights everywhere, and so must do hurryya.

(sorry if I didn't post something like this before, I wouldn't be obvious)

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Pope's Leadership

You guys for sure know my commitment for a responsible leadership worldwide.
Few months ago I reported (not here) the vision indicating the Pope and Bin Laden as two (obviously opposite) living examples of leadership. In this days we are all following the story of Pope’s health as an analogy with Christ’s path to the cross.
I am not concerned about, I suppose obvious, the important role this Pope has in this world and all the good he did, but I am dealing with this topic: may we define the leader from his leadership or viceversa ? Stating this, would assume a factual approach, stating the opposite would assume a natural approach.
An example of the first kind: Given the leadership, so should be the leader, since his decisions reflects his personality. But we may weaken this argument by stating that actual leadership may be influenced also by social environment, thus making certain decision mandatory.
An example of the second kind: given the leader, so should be the leadership, since his personality may only produces certain decisions. But we may weaken this argument, by saying that people may change during their life (during their assignments) because of personal reasons or external ones.
So, how we end up ?
In my humble opinion, a leader is not only what he did, but also what he would have done. But, sure, it’s only what he did that produce effects. So leadership and leader and two faces of the same coin. The first is concerned about the how, the last about the why.

Monday, February 07, 2005

The Kyoto Protocol and its successors

On 16th February the Kyoto Protocol will become active in Italy.
It has been a long wait since the Kyoto protocol was signed in the early hours of 11 December 1997, and the real new task will be to find its successor.
Scientists are all together persuaded that this protocol is not enough strong to block the world climate change, and the long time took by the activation process had really slowed down the search of the real problem's solution.
The Kyoto Protocol had introduced a new point of view to get a development on the treatment of environment problems, putting together industrial expansion capacities with atmospheric pollution's responsibilities, with an economic connection that makes convenience from the reduction of polluting emissions.
I think we must proceed in that way: the economic treatment of environment exploitation is the key of a new industrial production sustainability.
Now we must work to proceed this process, and to find a way to force all the states (U.S.A. participation is strictly necessary) to join to the next initiatives, making hurry to get the Kyoto Protocol obsolete.

Fellows Definitions

Often, in particular among non native English speakers, the term "fellow" comes up.
Here is a useful remind:

fellow (MEMBER)
noun {C}
1 a member of a group of high-ranking teachers at a particular college or university or of particular academic societies:
- Georgia's a fellow of Clare College, Cambridge.

2 a member of an official organization for a particular subject or job:
- He's a fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors

fellow (MAN)
noun {C} INFORMAL
a man, used especially in the past by people in a higher social class:
- He seemed like a decent sort of a fellow

fellow (SHARED)
adjective {before noun}
describes someone who has the same job or interests as you, or is in the same situation as you:
- She introduced me to some of her fellow students.
- Our fellow travellers were mostly Spanish-speaking tourists.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

A little thougth on Hajj

Some days ago, in La Mecca, as Cesare noticed in the Geopolitical Agenda of the last month, we saw something quite beautiful. Some days ago it was Hajj, the sacred pilgrimage Muslims have to do at least once in a lifetime. Some days ago we saw millions of people from every part of the world going to La Mecca inspired by their religion.
They weren’t dangerous, they weren’t angry against the world, they weren’t like a lot of people in the West (do you know Oriana Fallaci?) love to picture them: terrorists, people with a lower culture, people with a wrong justice and wrong traditions. I think it isn’t so. I think it was something special seeing all those people in the same place praying to a God full of love, knowledge and goodness.
And if someone hates these people it’s simply because this person is really scared about what is the destiny of the whole mankind: living together, Muslims with Christians, Jews with Induist, Buddist with Atheist. Because the world is so little that you can’t consider such a little thing like religion as a way to make a man hates another one.

Prelude to the Information Era

I think in this world we got a lot of information, even too much. We got a lot of newspapers with thousands of journalists, a lot of TV channel full of news and spokesmen, a lot of friends always ready to tell you the last gossip or the new world catastrophe. And finally, we got the Internet, a peaceful and frightening way to lose our bearings in less than a minute, overwhelmed with loads of noise we weren’t seeking for.
So I think it’s useless, from my point of view, to add another piece of objective (?) information to the Internet. I think it’s better, much better, writing our personal thoughts on the events that take place every day in this world. With this in mind and perfectly aware of my lack of knowledge in the written English language (all my praises go to Shakespeare and Shaw), I will carry on my part of this great blog in this way. I hope you, readers of this blog, will follow me with a lot of comments.
So speak Matteo.