Let’s see life is going on pretty normal around here. Of course that’s not the case a few hours away in Rome. I see on the TV, like you do in the US, that Rome is being mobbed with pilgrims for the funeral of Pope John Paul II. I expected the stores to be closed because people are leaving town for Rome but I don’t see that. If you look closely at the news you’ll see that most of the Italians that are there are kids. These are people that can take off to Rome at a moment’s notice or foreigners with a true interest or passion for the Catholic Church. Most people have to go about things as normal and go to the local church for prayers and remembrance. So yes there is big mess in Rome but the rest of the country is working.
Here is something that you won’t see in the news. Elections took place this week in 13 regions of Italy (of the 20 total regions). The biggest result is 11 of 13 regions elected a new regional president (governor) that is communist over the conservative right candidate. This shows how strong the communist party is here in Italy. This is a strange development for me, because I grew up when the communists were considered THE great evil of the Earth. I didn’t know much about them back then, just that they didn’t like America. Now I’m living in a country that embraces their concepts and beliefs. It’s also amazing to me that with 12 parties on the ballot here in Puglia there was only two parties that had a significant number of votes. That was the extreme left and the extreme right. It seemed there was no candidate in the middle that got more that 0.7% of the vote.The communists didn’t win by a big margin (50% to 49%) but they did win because they are against the war in Iraq and so are the Italian people. This would seem to be clear message that Mr. Burlesconi will not be reelected BUT never count him out. I’m interested to see what, if any, changes occur. I’m also amazed to see how polarized Puglia is.