giovedì 31 marzo 2011

Music Department IN FLORENCE: Krystal Rollins Personal Experience

Krystal Rollins is a 20-year old college student from Queens, New York. She is currently studying abroad in Florence, Italy for four months and receiving twelve credits from her University, SUNY Purchase. Krystal is going through the FUA program (Florence University of Arts) at their Corso Tintori campus where they created a schedule for her to take a variation of different classes that pertain to her major. One of her passions is singing, so her program arranged for her to take a class at ISTITUTO EUROPEO (a music, art, culture, and language school). At ISTITUTO EUROPEO she takes “Special topics in music: Music of the Naples, Renaissance, and the Baroque”, yes, if you are wondering... that is one class. Below is a brief interview of her experience so far.

Q1:What is difficult to adjust to Italy?
     A1: The first two weeks it was difficult, but mainly because of the language barrier. I love to communicate with people, but considering I had no prior Italian language background my speaking was limited. The food was another adjustment that I had to get use to and the fact that shoe stores do not carry sizes over 41, and unfortunately I am a 41½; therefore no shoe shopping in Italy for me.

Q2: How is your class at ISTITUTO EUROPEO?
     A2: I recently switched to a new teacher, her name is Valeria Ferri. She is wonderful; she is kind, easygoing, and explains very clearly how to apply different techniques to my voice. My class is once a week for 45 minutes, the short class is designed so I do not over work my voice, and have the ability to practice the techniques later on my own.

Q3: Would you make any suggestions or recommendations for the incoming students studying in Italy?
     A3: You have to know exactly what you want and do not give up until you get it. The Italian culture in general, I mean no disrespect, is very laid back and vague; therefore when it comes to explaining what you want, if you are not clear and persistent then there is no guarantee you will get what you are looking for. This goes for other countries as well, because if someone is thrown into a new culture there are bound to be bumps in the road, my advice would be to accept that nothing is perfect and eventually solutions will present themselves.


email us at:
Do you want to contact Krystal and ask her questions regarding her experience? Just ask us!

mercoledì 30 marzo 2011

The Spirit of Language

The Spirit of Language
by Ingeborg Robles 

Judging someone’s language can mean many things. Someone’s way of speaking a language that is not their mother tongue, I mean...

It can be more or less fluent, lack or posses the right words, be grammatically correct, pronounced more or less right and, most difficult, it can be either be idiomatically natural or not. Even if someone has courageously achieved all of that, we might still detect the slightest hint of an accent.

But then, there is one more thing... Lets call it the spirit of the language and let me give you an example.

The other day, as I was drinking my cappuccino in a local Florentine bar (standing, of course, to respect the spirit of the city or country, and for the sake of my wallet!), an elegantly dressed, not-so-young lady walked in and ordered, in a clear and loud voice, the following: "Un caffè alto, per favore, in una tazza, macchiato, e senza schiuma."

Now, that was certainly rich in vocabulary, grammatically super-correct, properly pronounced and even idiomatic. Nor did I, at that point, detect the slightest hint of an accent; and yet something made me pause and look up. It was not just the bright, open smile on that lady’s face which accompanied her order that caught my attention; there was something else...

There it was again, these orders that I had overheard so often in various Starbucks on the other side of the Atlantic, these orders that even here, in this very bar, I can hear many young American students sing out when they compose –  I mean to say: select the toppings for – their bagels, exercising their right to choose just as much as their pursuit of happiness. Orders, seem to be longer to me than the booklists that I used to get for my courses at school in Virginia and even more complicated than a Shakespearian sonnet.

These long sophisticated orders  - what are they not if the true spirit of America?
And no matter how perfect this lady’s Italian was, here you have a perfect sentence in one language resounding loudly with the music of quite another language – or its spirit...

I remember the owner of the bar telling me one day when, to the astonishment of all Italians present, someone (guess from where?) walked in asking for a cup of hot water waving a tea bag brought from home in the other hand.  "If you only knew the kind of requests I have been getting... In the beginning I couldn’t believe it, then I realized, you just have to give them what they want, then they are so happy." Sono tutti bambini, gli americani.“

Well, I take it as a compliment, or as a fair comment coming from someone representing a civilization so much more ancient than ours.

By the way, permit me to say "ours", even if, passport-wise, I have no claim to do so, I may consider myself American thanks to a few beautiful years spent there, and to a deep closeness, let’s say, to the American spirit.

I remember being laughed at in America by a friend of mine for always calling this or that "beautiful", even if it was just the food in the college dining hall. There it was again, this devilish spirit giving away one’s identity even when carrying the mask of a perfectly mastered foreign language...


"Ramin Bahrami disassembles the music of Bach and then reassembles in ways that are affected by model, Glenn Gould. I taught him to be strong and passionate, yet calm and patient… but I was not able to completely tame him; as time goes on he will learn from personal experiences". 
- Piero Rattalino
The Iranian pianist, heir of Gould, will regenerate the Goldberg Variations BWV988 of J.S. Bach

This great musical event is scheduled to be held in Florence in the context of the 8TH edition of the "Week of Sacred Music from the World". Ramin Bahrami is a young Iranian pianist and is considered to be one of the most important musical breakthroughs this decade. He has also been defined by the critics as the 'heir of Glen Gould' due to his ability to break down ensembles and restore them for all ears to enjoy. He will perform Sunday, April 17 to 21 at the Church of Santo Stefano al Ponte; he will be proposing the Goldberg Variations by J.S. Bach. The hours 18.30 Bahrami meets the public (free entrance) and will be represented at the Church of S. Stefano (Via Por Santa Maria, Florence).


April 20th in Piazza St. Croce, MTV is hosting their annual TRL Music Awards! Very little details and information has been emitted to the public, but big names such as Eminem, Katie Perry, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Muse, Shakira, Black Eyed Peas, Elisa, Jovanotti, Modà, and Negramaro were all nominatied for various 2011 awards; therefore take the day off from work, clear your schedule, and get your cameras ready because you might get the opportunity to catch a glimpse of these famous Music Artists. 

New Information: IT IS FREE ADMISSION! 

Over 50 Artists are in the running, For info and voting see: 

Jessica Parker IN FLORENCE!! Special guest of 'Florence 4 Ever ... it's Magic'

The actress of 'Sex and the city' in the city for the festival, organized by the boutique Luisa Via Roma.

Sarah Jessica Parker is the special guest of the third edition of 'Florence 4 Ever ... it's Magic'.  The festival of fashion bloggers organized by Andrea Panconesi, the owner of the boutique Luisa Via Roma, from June 9th to the 12th, 2011. The actress of 'Sex and the city' will come to Florence for the first two days of the event and will follow the Style lab, a special laboratory in which the fashion bloggers can create the look with clothes and accessories of the new collections.

lunedì 28 marzo 2011

From Ancient to Obsolete

The Lumiere is a cinema located in Pisa, but not for much longer...  

On December 16, 1905 the Lumiere opened as Italy's first cinema.  Now, after a century of generations have passed through the infamous double doors, the cinema has been 'strangled by the logic of commerce and profit' says Daniela Meucci, manager of the cinema.  

Italy's oldest cinema is set to close, and according to the Florentine, is likely to be bought by a firm and turned into yet another coffee house.  Italy is famous for the beauty and historical backgrounds that date back centuries; it is the consumers job to keep those businesses flourishing.

Information from The Florentine Newspaper
Interpretation of article by Justine Trusso

giovedì 24 marzo 2011

8€ To Overlook Firenze!


Need something to do? Want to give your legs a good workout? Climb to the Top of the Duomo In Firenze! The weather is clearing up, it is time to put away those winter coats and stop hiding inside and in museums.  This fun little trip can be accomplished in an hour after a day at work or hours at school. The journey to the top is an experience in it self! Old cement walls, spiral and steep stair cases, low ceilings, dim lights, but once you get to the top and let out that sign of relief or maybe take a hit from your inhaler...the view is worth the work out!



April 20th in Piazza St. Croce, MTV is hosting their annual TRL Music Awards! Very little details and information has been emitted to the public, but big names such as Eminem, Katie Perry, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Muse, Shakira, Black Eyed Peas, Elisa, Jovanotti, Modà, and Negramaro were all nominatied for various 2011 awards; therefore take the day off from work, clear your schedule, and get your cameras ready because you might get the opportunity to catch a glimpse of these famous Music Artists. STAY TUNED FOR MORE INFORMATION!

*Mark Your Calendars. Do not miss out on live guests and performances right in ST. CROCE!*

Over 50 Artists are in the running, For info and voting:

by Justine Trusso

mercoledì 23 marzo 2011

Tomorrow at ODEON in Florence the first night for "La fine è il mio inizio" di Jo Baier. Don't miss it!

"La fine è il mio inizio" di Jo Baier
Was entirely shot in Tuscany!!

Domani a Odeon Firenze alle ore 20.30 ci sarà l'anteprima nazionale del film interamente girato in Toscana "La fine è il mio inizio" di Jo Baier alla presenza del cast.

Il film è la trasposizione dell'omonimo libro, pubblicato postumo, del giornalista e scrittore Tiziano Terzani. Sceneggiato a quattro mani dal figlio FolcoTerzani e dal produttore Ulrich Limmer ed è interpretato da grandi attori come Bruno Ganz, Elio Germano e Andrea Osvart. 

Giovedì 24 Marzo ore 20.30
Odeon Firenze    
piazza Strozzi 


7.50 euro intero
6 euro ridotto

NIcholas Signorello Specials! March 25 Happy New Year, Florence?

March 25 Happy New Year, Florence?
by Nick Signoriello

Yes, Florence has two New Years: one celebrated on January 1 and the other celebrated on March 25, in accordance with Christian tradition.
This day is also known as the Feast of the Annunciation because it commemorates the day the Archangel Gabriel came to the Virgin Mary to announce the birth of Jesus. For centuries, up until 1582, Europe’s New Year started on March 25.
Florentines on the other hand, had a different idea and weren’t ready to change their calendar in accordance with the modern Gregorian day calendar. Florentines did, and still do, have a special attachment to Mary as she is the protector of the city. They officially kept their New Years on March 25 for almost another 200 YEARS! In 1750, they finally gave in to the trend and changed their official New Year to January 1.
The Florentines’ passion for this celebration dates all the way back to the 1200s. Santissima Annunziata, also known as “The Most Holy Annunciation” is a basilica built buy Friars who hold the Virgin Mary in the highest regard, from the order of the Servi di Maria, in 1250 to honor this day. From then on, the March 25 New Year has been celebrated in Piazza Santissima Annunziata every year. Historically, the celebration in Piazza Santissima Annunziata has attracted people from all over Tuscany and even the rest of Italy into the city to take part in this important celebration. 
This festival is also a symbolic day for Florentines as the beginning of spring, and in my opinion there is no better way to kick of this season than by going to Piazza Annunziata on Friday to take part in the festivities. The piazza hosts a large mass, live music and a bustling market. Hope to see you there!

martedì 22 marzo 2011

Studying Abroad Tips And Suggestions

STUDENTS STUDYING ABROAD IN ITALY: Helpful suggestions for before you come and tips for when you are here. 


Dress Code:

1. Italians dress up and look nice all the time, but "to dress up" in Italy does not mean the same in America. 
-American Female "dress up" Outfit = dress pants or skirt, blouse, suite jacket, high heels.
-American Male "dress up" Outfit = a suite and tie with nice shoes.
-Italian Female "dress up" Outfit = Jeans, a blouse or shirt, with a blazer/jacket/sweater. Italian woman seem to wear heels all the time, but it is not practical for students to wear heels. Walking on the cobble stone in Florence with heels is a challenge and not recommended.
-Italian Male "dress up" Outfit = Jeans, a nice shirt, or even a suite jacket. Ties are not popular unless your profession is extremely prestigious.

*Italian Fashion is constantly changing, but jeans have almost always been accepted as an article of clothing that can be dressed up.

Suggestions: key word CASUAL
-A few pairs of jeans (i.e dark wash, black, light, skinny cut, boot cut)
-Nice, simple, dress tops.
-Sweaters, Blazer, Jackets
-Scarfs, Belts, one or two necklaces, earrings, and hair accessories. 
-Sneakers, Boots, flats, trendy low heels, but not more than two pairs of heels because you probably will not wear them.
-Slippers (for apartment)
-One or two, really nice outfits just in case (i.e. dress pants, skirt, suit, or cocktail dress, etc)
-One hooded sweat shirt and 1 pair of sweat pants, BUT NEVER WEAR THEM OUTSIDE THE HOUSE.

*The idea is to layer clothes in a comfortable fashion and be warm*

Suitcases and Mail:
-Try not to pack to the full weight capacity because you will need space for the souvenirs you bring back.
-Mail can take anywhere from two weeks to two months. It is hit or miss. There is a possibility customs will go through large packages; therefore mailing expensive belongings or large packages are not recommended, but are not forbidden. 

Apartments that include utilities:

1. You will get charged if you go over the "average" amount of utilities. 
-Keep heat low
-Do not wash your clothes unless they are actually dirty
i.e. Jeans, Jackets, and layered Sweaters do not need to be washed after wearing them once. 
-TURN LIGHTS OFF WHEN YOU LEAVE THE ROOM or you will pay for it later.

Permit of Stay---Permesso di Soggiorno: If your stay is longer than 90 days...

1. Estimated cost 100£
2. Bring extra passport pictures from home or find a photo booth and get them here.
3. Make 2-3 photocopies of all your paperwork and insurance card front and back. 
4. When you go to the police station for your appointment:
-Get there half hour before it opens to wait in line for a number.
-Bring a snack, a drink, and something to occupy your time you will be there for a few hours.

Cell Phone/Contacting home:

1. Suggestions to keep in contact with people at home:
-Skype. $2.99 a month to call US and Canada from anywhere in the world. 
-Get an international phone, activate the internet, and use BBM or AIM to keep in touch.
*AIM: Can be accessed on any computer as well, allows you to create a screen name and then type in peoples mobile phone numbers on your buddy list and text straight to their phone for free.
-Get a cell phone in Italy and buy the prepaid plan. You can also buy a phone card for those emergency calls home if your computer isn't around.


1. Prepare to be frustrated. It is not high speed, the connection comes and goes, and not all apartments offer it. It depends on where you are placed. Just be patient and remember you are in a different country.
2. Find a Library: If you sign up for a library card they will usually have free wi-fi for a few hours a day.
3. There are "internet trains" and some wi-fi cafes if you aren't frequent internet user, just look for ones near your apartment.
4. FOR INTERNET ACCESS ANYWHERE IN THE COUNTRY>Go to TIM (are said to have the best service) and buy the internet key for the monthly plan. You can buy a certain amount of hours for the month and it is a portable usb port to use anywhere, but be patient because connection is not consistent.

by Justine Trusso

lunedì 21 marzo 2011

FLORENCE: Nicholas Signoriello's Specials: Italian Patriotism

Italian Patriotism
by Nicholas Signoriello

In the days preceding the150th anniversary of Italy, I heard way too many people talking about the things that divide this beautiful country: each region still talks with their own dialect; regional identity still triumphs over national identity; the divide between the North and South is still ever-present. 
The truth is that “patriotism” is subjective and should be applied differently to different countries. The traditional American idea of patriotism is very contradictory to what can be considered patriotism in Italy, which makes it understandable why there are so many doubts about Italians’ loyalty to their country. In my opinion, patriotism is essentially what unites a country and not what divides it because at the end of the day, every country has particular regional and sectional loyalties. 

It would be cliché if I made the argument that coffee, food, and the national soccer team, are the three things that represent national unity so instead I am going to try and explain the true origin of Italian patriotism. I believe that the one thing Italians have in common from the southernmost region in Italy, Sicily, all the way up to the north in Trento, is their strong will to preserve their regional history or even the history of the small village they’re from. 

In my opinion, every Italian is a historian to a certain extent. I grew up in the United States and I know U.S. history very well; I know the history of my home state, Connecticut, fairly well; but I have no clue what was happening in my hometown of Trumbull, CT over the course of the past century. An Italian, instead, would know the details of the significance of his town and region. I find this fascinating. 

It is true that regional identity for many parts of Italy still triumphs over national identity, an idea reinforced by the dialects they speak. But here’s the unifier: it doesn’t matter what dialect they’re speaking, Italians love to talk! They are always talking; an American strolling along the street in Italy can easily mistake two people who are complete strangers for best friends because they just happened to erupt into conversation. In fact, if they speak different dialects it just makes for a more fun conversation. 
I like to call Italian a formula rather than a language because every region manipulates particular words in certain ways, but any Italian will nonetheless understand. The Italian language is a unifying factor in itself because it’s only spoken on this peninsula. Unlike French, English, or German, there is only one place you can go to speak Italian and that is Italy. They have a fun language to speak and unless you speak it, you can’t comprehend its beauty; it’s something that only an Italian can cherish amongst his compatriots.

Speaking of beauty, its significance is different to Italians. Beauty is definitely something that unites the whole peninsula. The language, the food, the history, the buildings, even its natural beauty alone is rooted in Italian culture. Italians use the words “Bello,” “Bella,” “Bel,” “Bellezza” for almost everything. Italians can find beauty in things that no one else might notice. Nothing is right to an Italian if it’s not beautiful. In fact, the Italians have inspired me to find the beauty in what unites their country and what defines their patriotism. 

Diccionario del nuevo Oriente Próximo

Diccionario del nuevo Oriente Próximo

La rebelión triunfó pronto en Túnez y Egipto y se extendió a Libia, donde Gadafi optó por aplastarla a sangre y fuego. Pero nadie logrará detener la lucha por la libertad de unas sociedades humilladas por sus tiranos

Hace tres meses, la inmolación del joven tunecino Mohamed Buazizi aceleró la historia en el norte de África y Oriente Próximo. El viento que soplaba a favor de los luchadores demócratas del mundo árabe, y que consiguió el pronto derrocamiento del tunecino Ben Ali y el egipcio Mubarak, cambió de dirección cuando Gadafi, confiando en la pasividad mundial, optó por aplastar a sangre y fuego la rebelión libia. La esperanza regresó el viernes con la justa, necesaria y tardía resolución del Consejo de Seguridad a favor de una intervención militar para contener al Nerón de Trípoli. En todo caso, nada será igual después de estos 100 días. El diccionario de Oriente Próximo precisa una puesta al día.
Al Qaeda. Lo sucedido en Túnez, Egipto, Libia y otros países sella el fracaso ideológico y político en el mundo árabe de la red de Bin Laden y, en general, del yihadismo, afirma Gilles Kepel. Otro especialista francés, Olivier Roy, considera significativo que el yihadismo opere hoy desde zonas desérticas como el Sahel o países no árabes como Afganistán y Pakistán. El milenarismo ha perdido la batalla de los corazones y las mentes en las ciudades árabes. Sigue siendo, eso sí, una fiera peligrosa.
Árabes. Unidos por vínculos históricos, lingüísticos y culturales, se extienden desde Mauritania a Irak. En los últimos lustros casi desaparecieron para la mirada occidental al ser sistemáticamente etiquetados como musulmanes -y no todos lo son- y, aún peor, como islamistas y hasta yihadistas potenciales. La revolución democrática de 2011, que algunos de ellos consideran su segunda Nahda o renacimiento, les ha devuelto la visibilidad.
Arabismo. Los movimientos en curso comparten -y saben que comparten- elementos comunes: el rechazo a regímenes despóticos y corruptos y la exigencia de derechos y libertades. Los egipcios siguieron el pionero ejemplo tunecino; los libios, el tunecino y egipcio. Despunta un nuevo panarabismo secular y democrático.
Ben Ali o Bin Laden. Los árabes se han alzado contra la maldición de la falsa alternativa entre autocracia y teocracia.
Estados Unidos. Bush decía que iba a llevar la democracia a Oriente Próximo a lomos de tanques, aviones y misiles. Fracasó, como era predecible. La libertad llegará desde dentro, a partir de alzamientos populares, que, eso sí, deberían ser alentados y apoyados por todos los demócratas. Irak fue la última aventura imperial de un país que aún pretendía ser la única superpotencia mundial. Hoy el poderío norteamericano no es irrebatible en Oriente Próximo, el propio Israel lo pone en cuestión.
Europa. El establishment europeo compadreaba con los dictadores de la ribera sur del Mediterráneo, que le garantizaban gas y petróleo, controlaban la inmigración y reprimían a los islamistas. Los sucesos de Túnez y Egipto le pasmaron e inquietaron. Luego, su tardanza en reaccionar a la brutalidad de Gadafi, con Alemania en el triste papel del pantouflard, confirma que los demócratas del sur deben esperar poco de la Europa de los mercaderes.
Hiyab. La obsesión europea por el velo islámico irrita a muchas árabes, lleven o no esa prenda. "No me gusta el velo, pero me prohíbo juzgar, y mucho más quitárselo a quienes lo llevan, admito su libre albedrío", dice la intelectual tunecina Hélé Béji. La igualdad en los terrenos laboral, familiar, político y social les parece mucho más importante a las árabes que el debate eurocentrista sobre el hiyab. Por razones complejas, su uso voluntario es común entre muchas jóvenes de vanguardia.
Irán. El régimen jomeinista es decrépito a los ojos de la juventud iraní y perdió toda legitimidad con el pucherazo de 2009. De teocracia policéfala pasó a vulgar dictadura policial. Las revoluciones seculares de Túnez y Egipto entierran sus aspiraciones a convertirse en un referente que vaya más allá del mundo chií. Un Egipto democrático puede devolverle a este país la condición de faro regional. Turquía ya lo es.
Islam. Ni es el problema de los países árabes y musulmanes, como cree el estereotipo occidental, ni es la solución, como predican los Hermanos Musulmanes.
Islamistas. Los que hacen política a partir de una lectura literal del Corán y la vida de Mahoma no tienen ahora un protagonismo específico, corren tras los movimientos populares. Los modelos islamistas de Arabia Saudí (suní) e Irán (chií) son poco atractivos para las nuevas generaciones.
Israel. En Haaretz, Aner Shalev insta a sus compatriotas a abandonar la idea, "arrogante y egocéntrica", de que todo lo que ocurre en el mundo árabe y musulmán tiene que ver con Israel: sea a favor, sea en contra. "Un nuevo Oriente Próximo merece más que un viejo Israel", sentencia Roger Cohen en The New York Times.
Juventud. La gran novedad en el mundo árabe en las últimas décadas ha sido la explosión demográfica. Entre la mitad y las dos terceras partes de sus poblaciones tienen menos de 30 años. Las nuevas generaciones no soportan el trato humillante que los gobernantes infligen a sus pueblos, quieren ser ciudadanos y no súbditos.
Mirada. Las cámaras occidentales solo fotografiaban o filmaban a barbudos exaltados y mujeres tapadas desde la coronilla a los pies. Estas semanas muchos se han sorprendido al ver cuánto se asemejan los jóvenes árabes a los europeos y americanos. Llevan vaqueros, tienen móviles y portátiles, usan las redes sociales de Internet y sueñan con la libertad.
Mujeres. Decenas de miles de mujeres han participado en los movimientos tunecino y egipcio. "Muchas llevaban pañuelos u otras señales de conservadurismo religioso, otras se deleitaban con la libertad de poder besar a un amigo o fumar un cigarrillo en público", observa Naomi Wolf. El protagonismo de twiteras como Mona Seif y Gigi Ibrahim ha sido recogido en los medios internacionales. Es el resultado del creciente acceso de las árabes a la educación y al trabajo fuera de casa. La lucha contra el machismo continúa.
Neoliberalismo. Se decía que la liberalización económica debía preceder a la democracia política. Pero, como señala el político jordano Marwan Muasher, "los beneficios de las privatizaciones y otras medidas económicas solo recayeron en las minorías políticas y empresariales dominantes". El resultado fue, añade, "la falta de pan y de libertad al mismo tiempo".
Obama. "Los americanos aún no se han dado cuenta del cambio radical que, a los ojos del resto del mundo, hicieron con la elección de un presidente negro de nombre musulmán", dice Thomas Friedman. Obama hizo luego una importante aportación a la guerra ideológica contra el yihadismo con su discurso de El Cairo de 2009. "Intereses nacionales" -petróleo, bases militares, Israel- lastran su acción. En Libia puede unir los hechos a la palabra.
Palestina. La colonización israelí en Jerusalén Este y Cisjordania apenas deja espacio para un Estado palestino viable.
Plaza. Se hablaba de la "calle árabe" para aludir a los humores y rumores de El Cairo, Argel, Damasco, Casablanca, Túnez y otras ciudades. Ahora los árabes hablan alto y claro en las plazas (Tahrir en Egipto, La Perla en Bahrein). Son su nuevo ágora.
Redes sociales. Wael Ghonim, un joven directivo egipcio de Google, creó en Facebook la página Todos somos Khaled Said, así bautizada en memoria de un chaval golpeado hasta la muerte por la policía en Alejandría. Esa y otras páginas convocaron el movimiento egipcio del 25 de enero. Al Ahram informa de que un agradecido vecino de Ibrahimiya ha llamado Facebook a su hijita. Pero a Mubarak lo derribó la calle y a la vieja usanza. La sangre, el sudor y las lágrimas fueron reales, no virtuales.
Revolución. 2011 confirma la universalidad de los valores de las revoluciones americana y francesa, se emparenta con Berlín-1989 y no con Teherán-1979. Aunque, en realidad, señala Kurt Andersen en Time, lo que más se le parece son las revoluciones democráticas europeas de 1848 contra monarquías autoritarias. En la dimensión continental de 1848 tuvieron un papel importante las nuevas tecnologías: el telégrafo, los periódicos, el ferrocarril. En la revolución árabe, el canal televisivo Al Yazira y las redes en Internet. Como en 1848 y en todos los procesos revolucionarios, esta va a conocer avances y retrocesos, victorias y derrotas, traiciones y heroísmos.
Turquía. Se ha convertido en el paradigma de país democrático y con crecimiento económico de tradición musulmana. Lo gobierna un partido, el islamista moderado de Erdogan, que dice ser como la democracia cristiana. Incorporar Turquía a su seno sería un acierto geoestratégico de la UE.

FLORENCE: Nicholas Signoriello Specials: What Does It Mean To Be Italian?

What Does It Mean To Be Italian?
by Nicholas Signoriello

Much of the political discourse in recent weeks has been focused on immigration, primarily the thousands of refugees fleeing in from North Africa. Italy is a country that only began experiencing mass immigration in recent decades; and in my opinion the future of Italian identity is uncertain. Italians are still divided on their views of immigrants becoming citizens and views on this “new generation of Italians” differ from region to region. Many believe that in the ever-globalizing world we live in, there is no reason to stop the inevitable: immigrants are the future of Italy's economy. Even if Italy wanted to prevent that outcome, it wouldn’t have the means to do so. Many will never be able to accept immigrants and their children as truly Italian.

On a sentimental level, it can never be right to send a refugee back to the brutal regime from which he fled. On the other hand, I am skeptical about the idea of accepting immigrants with open arms. Here why: Italy's neighbor, France, started experiencing mass waves of immigrants much earlier than Italy did given its mass colonization of Africa. For example, around 1 million immigrants went to France in the early 1960s when Algeria gained independence (this is while Italy was still a country of mass emigration). The early years of immigration into France were welcomed as the migrants were economically essential to the country; but fast forward to today and the modern identity crisis about what it means to be French. France is now home to the largest Muslim population in all of Europe and there are constant cultural clashes between people who identify themselves as “historically French” and the second generation children who also identify themselves as French. Both communities experience racial abuse from each other on a daily basis and their communities are largely segregated. For this reason, I am curious about what the future holds for Italy, a country that has a more conservative population and has generally been stereotyped as a not tremendously welcoming to “outsiders.”

In my opinion, it is only natural that an immigrant may never feel 100% Italian, much like many of the immigrants into France never felt 100% French. I think the problem may begin with the children of immigrants who DO feel 100% Italian. Truthfully, I don’t know if Italy is going to fall into an Italian identity crisis like the one in France, but I do think it is something to consider when discussing the future of Italian immigrants.

If France's generally liberal government needs to make a controversial decision to ban veils in public places, what is going to happen when these questions begin to arise in Italy? Florence, which is one of the more progressive and liberal cities in Italy, already experienced a hint of these new generation questions when the cities government was approached with the idea of building a large mosque for the growing Muslim population here. The idea was turned down even after a proposal was launched to build it in the classical architecture of the Renaissance. Again, Italy's immigrant population from Muslim countries is still relatively low but it is growing quickly, and one day the question is sure to be asked: “What does it mean to be Italian?”