All's Fair in Italian Politics - Including a Book of Insults on the Leader

Article excerpt

The latest book about Silvio Berlusconi is timed to coincide with the start of an election campaign, but it's not the glossy success story that the premier sent to households across the country five years ago.

Instead it's a collection of insults thrown at the Italian leader since then.

Called Berlusconi I Hate You, the collection of more than 500 insults - all reported over the years by Italy's national news agency, ANSA - is being published by the Mondadori publishing house, which is part of Berlusconi's media empire.

'The idea was inspired by Berlusconi himself, who has lamented personal attacks against him,' said author Luca d'Alessandro, the head of Berlusconi's Forza Italia party's press office.

Insults include 'clown', 'bandit', 'Premier Pinocchio', 'pathetic improviser', 'megalomaniac', 'extremist', a man who speaks like a 'drunken hooligan' and who behaves 'like a Taliban'.

Antonio Di Pietro, an anti-corruption magistrate turned centre-left politician, in 2002 said: 'Berlusconi is like Aids: If you know him, you avoid him.'

A year later opposition lawmaker Giuseppe Giulietti offered: 'Berlusconi is mad and anthropologically different from the rest of human race.'

Berlusconi has long resigned himself to being hated by his political opponents. D'Alessandro says ever since Berlusconi entered politics a decade ago the left has tried to discredit him. …