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EDITORIAL
from issue no. 05 - 2008

A period of non-war


The passage of time has gradually reduced those postwar burdens and – may God keep us – the world is going through an unusual period of non-war (I use the phrase because there are many threats to peace of a non-military character)


Giulio Andreotti


Italian soldier on patrol in Herat, Afghanistan

Italian soldier on patrol in Herat, Afghanistan

When I hear talk – often enough – of restructuring the Italian air lines, I am always reminded of the very particular words pronounced long ago by Minister Vanoni during a debate on the transport system: “Only a multinational company can have a balanced ledger. And in effect, the Companie des Wagons Lits has contributed more to giving birth to Europe than the writings of Mazzini and Cattaneo”.
In fact individual attempts, even if well funded, have failed: think, for example, of the case of the prestigious Pan American. In those days I saw tears in the eyes of officials of the U.S. embassy in Rome. It was the lowering of the flag of an economic entity till then considered “more than solid”.
Disregarding here the general question on the legality (and perhaps the inevitability) of discount pricing policy for some collective services. In alternate cycles the notion prevails of letting the burden of essential services, which would not be fair to leave only to users, fall on the tax-payer.
Then there are other initiatives for which the public makes up the difference, reduced prices for orphans and war invalids, for example.
Through these compensations devised to help war victims and their under-age children myself and my brothers benefited from free education.
The passage of time has gradually reduced those postwar burdens and – may God keep us – the world is going through an unusual period of non-war (I use the phrase because there are many flanking threats to peace of a non-military character).
As a child, through the extraordinary educational power of prayer, I began to pray God to avert plague, hunger and war (it’s a particularly educational form of prayer).
Mention should be made of the movement of armed forces dictated by emergencies. In themselves they are impeccable forms of international solidarity and prevention. It would be wrong to confuse them with expansionist ambitions. But I remember what a struggle it was as a student to convince myself that certain “expeditions” were dictated only by humanitarianism and prevention.
And for that matter, even within the limits of the language imposed on schools, one of our teachers taught us not to be misled by official versions.
As a child, through the extraordinary educational power of prayer, I began to pray God to avert plague, hunger and war (it's a particularly educational form of prayer)
A curious question that I wondered about during high school comes incidentally back to mind. Why – apart from a few brief mentions of the discovery of America and other such events – do the history textbooks speak only of wars?
Professor Zanoni told me to forget it. I’d already got on his nerves by objecting to the idea going round that it was a duty to hate the British.
A few years ago, in the fair weather of nascent Europeanism, there was talk of the need to arrive at unified history books. I know it’s difficult for many reasons – even (in the broad sense) commercial – but I don’t think we can do without if we really want integrated education and culture.
And it’s natural that the teachings of President De Gasperi, always aware of vast horizons and inspired by a rare humanistic understanding, should often come back to mind.
Through the foundation that bears his name we are trying to stir interest and affection for the President of the Reconstruction in the new generations. It’s also a good antidote to the perils of particularism and an intellectual arrogance that is very long a-dying.


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