Bring in the heavy hitters. The Rimini Meeting stands out as one of the key political and institutional events in contemporary Italy. The conference usually features some of the most influential people in the country, along with most of the political leaders. So it was no surprise to see Giuliano Amato onstage on Monday.
- Twice Italy’s Prime Minister and current President of the Constitutional Court, Mr Amato is also a member of the Italian division of the Aspen Institute and the honorary president of the Centro Studi Americani.
Addressing: Russia. “Democracy and Truth” was the day’s theme. And President Amato tackled it face-on. “In post-modern technology, the true has been replaced with the verisimilar. Opinions are formed on scraps of truth,” he said. It seems that opinions are part of the facts, he continued, citing the Russian invasion of Ukraine as an example.
- “They called it a ‘special operation,’ but then young men doing their military service began to die. Their mothers were not even told. Those who tried to tell them were arrested.”
What makes a democracy. The former PM admitted that “sometimes, for the sake of good, you can also not tell the truth.” Sometimes democracies have attempted to impose an official truth, he continued, citing the Ustica massacre. However, he noted, “the imposed truths have failed to get through.” What happens in Russia, he added, cannot happen in Italy.
- “At least here we have a press capable of crucifying those who deserve it, a judiciary with judges who judge with their heads.” In a democracy, “it’s not allowed to deprive anyone of freedom on the basis of presumptions. We need facts. No one can be arrested just because they claim otherwise.”
What breaks a democracy. President Amato also addressed some of democracy’s pitfalls, such as “individualistic relativism that has [frayed] the connective tissue of our societies,” not unlike when citizens moved from the countryside to the cities. “We have witnessed the end of the great aggregators, such as the parties of the past, the real factor that made democracy work and benefitted millions of citizens.”
- The former PM believes that parties are the “differential” of democracy with respect to autocracy. And he also slammed today’s parties, stating that current democracies “do not possess that differential.”