While attending the baptism of Andrij Shevchenko's son as the padrino, Silvio Berlusconi let his (undoubtedly implanted) hair down and told the media a joke. It goes something like this:
"The Pope was crossing a lake in a boat when a gust of wind blows his hat off. Berlusconi crosses the lake by walking on the water and recovers the hat for the Pope. The next day the opposition papers lead with the title - Berlusconi does not know how to swim."
A joke with a moral then. No matter how many miracles St. Silvio will make he will be maligned by the opposition. The joke might be on Silvio and several other world leaders right now. Up north across the border Gerhard Schroder is facing an uphill struggle against Eastern Christian-Democrat Angela Merkel. Tony is not shining too much from Ten Downing Street these days. In Brasil the wonderful socialist Lula is no longer being cuddled as the Che of the modern age.
And Dubya. Oh Dubya Dubya. His reaction time to Katrina has had black and poor America up in arms. When Hurricane Charlie hit Florida before the general election (that all-important power base) he had zipped up to the state pronto. Bush had also interrupted his Easter holiday to sign into law emergency legislation to save the life of Terry Schiavo whose case had galvanised the conservative and white base. And New Orleans? It wook Bush two days to leave Texas for Washington and he only visited New Orleans last Friday.
Political jokes? The best ones I know get elected.
Meanwhile on a related subject. I read (maybe belatedly) about the formation of ANR Malta's very own Alleanza Nazzjonali Repubblikana. I've seen the site. It is evident that this is another product of the disillusioned, of the sorry state of Maltese politics. A spinoff of a joke can only be a worse joke. Taking their logo straight out of the former Movimento Sociale Italiano (MSI now AN) and replacing the green of the Italian tricolor with more red, these new nationalists take great pains at trying to define themselves as non-racist. More will be said later.
It would have been much better had they started off with a pledge to non-violence and an endorsement of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Then we could move on into the nuances of nationality, race and tolerance. Maybe.
It's time to take these matters seriously. Otherwise the joke could really be on us.