When in a country people start lighting themselves on fire in front of the House of Representatives and dying, then I think politicians and why not the government, should start asking themselves why it is happening. I remember back on May 11th 2012, in three hours 3 people killed themselves in different parts of Italy due to their unemployment status, due to their impossibility in finding a job and in their hopes of a dignified life being stomped on month after month, year after year.
Angelo di Carlo, a 54 year old man, after trying and trying to make it in life and not being able to do so, took a drastic action on August 11th 2012 and at 1am in front of the House of Representatives in Rome, known as Montecitorio, pulls out a bottle of inflammable liquid, a lighter and in the wink of an eye, lit himself on fire. Desperation, depression, madness, or maybe a lack of support from an Italian State that is all too concerned with the gathering of money to pay for their economic crisis. Did they even take the time in realizing, THEY, might be the culprits of this crisis and might as well have held the lighter in their hands?
Angelo, widow and father of one, left a backpack with a letter and 160 euro for his only child. Can you believe that? For a father probably the most humiliating event in his life. Truly one of the many victims of our politician’s greed. The paradox in all of this is that this man, who committed suicide because he no longer held any hope of survival and of providing for his son, will pass on almost unnoticed by the media and by those who put this man there in the first place, our political Caste.
I feel for this man, I myself am in a precarious job situation and have been for the past 15 years. Yes, you read that correctly. I have been an English conversation teacher in Italian state high schools for the past 15 years as a substitute teacher on regular yearly contracts and have never been able, as of yet to pass permanent. Think about it, how can a teacher be a temp for 15 years in Italy? Or for 20 years? Very easily! There are over 250,000 teachers in my same situation in Italy who live on year by year basis. We get hired anytime from Sept. 1st to June 30th and then fired. We live for 3 months or so a year without pay and so do our families and kids. Our unemployment benefits which we all file for within a week of last day of work, are given to us with no specific deadline (they can do what they want, when they want and how they want. No one is there to check on them, they are the sole rulers of our economic lives). Some receive it in December, others immediately, others two months later. In the mean time what do we do? What are we forced to do? Many of us past the 40 year old mark need to still rely on our parents (yes, our parents) for economic help, while we wait for our misery to come in the mail. How humiliating for a person after working in state schools for their entire life, after giving year after year all of their energy and essence to the job. Still, we do their best for their students and not one day goes by that they do not offer the best of themselves for their pupil’s future personal/professional growth. How does the state repay us? By firing us and not even paying our salaries during the summer, leaving families without money to survive. No wonder some people who don’t have parents to rely on, are pushed to extreme actions.
As of yet, considering I’ve filed for unemployment on July 3rd, I haven’t yet received a cent for my survival and that of my family. Does the government think that families survive on air during the unemployment months, where do they think we get the money to feed our kids? Yet, they continue on spending money, they go on vacations to faraway places with state jets, maybe their vacation is paid by an important lobbiest, all of this while not cutting any of their own benefits or salaries and making us pay with our lives and that of our children, while they go on tv and in the media on a plethora of lies.
Angelo di Carlo is only one of many unfortunately and how long will we have to wait for our governments to understand that sooner or later “the people” will fight back, maybe not today, but no one knows what tomorrow will bring, right?