Back to International Essays

Ester Milani

Politics through media: My life history, Italy, from 1994 to today

I remember when I was a child the discussions among my mother and her friends about politics from the government of the state to the administration of our city, but my first real memory goes back to 1994, the first election with Berlusconi as a candidate.

The first strange thing I can’t understand was the reason why a financial manager as Berlusconi wanted to be elected as Prime Minister: he had so much money that I thought that for him was useless to enter in politics: the more I requested explanations from my mother, the less I understood. Then he became prime minister and had allies, such as Lega Nord, but this party became angry and decided not to support Berlusconi. I saw the photos on newspapers and seemed all too much unhappy, a part from the opposition’s parties, and then Berlusconi’s government felt down. All the television stations spoke about this crisis and gave reasons about and solutions to solve this particular moment of the Italian political life.

When I grew up, in 2001 came the elections both for the state and for my city. I was fifteen years old and I had long debate with my schoolmates also during the lessons with my history teacher. To be always well-informed I watched the debates on television and read the newspapers, but, to be sincere, I didn’t understand all I saw and read. I began to have my personal ideas about the different candidates and we made long and passionate debates during the breaks or in the afternoon. We went to school in the afternoon to see our older schoolmates and talked about any topics concerning politics, in that case especially of our city and then wrote them in our little school newspaper. This thing helps me to have a critical look on the aspects of politics and a personal power’s vision, very similar to the reality.

With a little of sadness and nostalgia I remember the fight among the different lists for the school council and the class council. I was part of a list for the school council and it was very interesting and also funny to make discussions and debates among candidates from the different lists. We went together to school in the afternoon and prepared the posters or the programs we wanted to distribute or to propose to the boys and the girls who attended my high school. It was the best period of the school year!

When I came of age (18 years old) I received the electoral certify and I thought that in that moment I could express my opinion not only with words, but also by voting. I was very exciting by this new possibility: I could say my opinion in the government not only of my school but also of the real political institutions. The first date was the provincial elections and I was also more interested than before in reading articles, going to public debates, watching television and thinking about the better part to elect. I remember when Fassino, a leader of DS, a left party. came to Novara to support the left candidate: the big room in which he had to speak was full and people couldn’t breathe, but all listened with a lot of attention the words of the politician.

In that same year, I went on journey with my classmates to Paris: we were there when George W. Bush declared war to Iraq and the streets and the squares were full of no-war manifestations. We were in the centre of the biggest anti-war demonstrations and in hotel we watched the BBC or the CNN and saw the places where we crossed in the morning. But the most incredible thing that happened was that an Italian talking-heads show, “Porta a Porta,” spoke about the news that in the Paris subway there were a chemical attack. We were just come out of the subway and our phones began to play because our parents were frightened about this news and wanted to hear our voices about the fact. All this alarmism was unwarranted: only some powders in a safe-deposit box in the major station of Paris.

Now in my city is in course the electoral campaign to elect the next major and I am participating to debates, make leafleting in the center of the city or in the most frequented places. Finally I write on a local newspaper, so I have to go to debate to write them down for my newspaper and, if possible, I am still more involved.

18/05/06

Back to International Essays