A convalescing Silvio Berlusconi addressed the Forza Italia party convention from a Milan hospital. The former PM is being treated for cancer, and a lung infection. Berlusconi called FI members “secular saints of freedom”.
Forza Italia is invincible and for Italians its members are like secular saints of freedom, the leader of the centre-right party and former premier Silvio Berlusconi said on Saturday.
“Forza Italia is for us like a secular religion, the religion of the freedom spoken about by (Italian historian and philosopher) Benedetto Croce; a religion of the heart, of the mind, a commitment to ourselves, our children, the Italian people,” said Berlusconi in a video message at the end of a party convention in Milan.
“Please, let us continue like this with conviction, enthusiasm, passion,” continued the 86-year-old party founder. Berlusconi is currently convalescing in a Milan hospital following a lung infection linked to his chronic leukaemia.
“We will be invincible. You will see that Italians will consider us to be their secular saints, the saints of their freedom and well-being,” he said. At times during his speech, he sounded fatigued.
In the video, Berlusconi appeared in a shirt and jacket, sitting at a desk. On the desk were a pile of papers, two copies of one of his books and a glass of water. A Forza Italia banner and the Italian and European flags were in the background.
“I will be with you with the same enthusiasm and commitment as in 1994,” said Berlusconi.
“The future is of our ideas, the future must guarantee us real and total freedom,” he concluded.
1994 was the year in which Forza Italia was founded before it merged into the centre-right People of Freedom (PdL) formation in 2009.
Berlusconi established a new Forza Italia as PdL’s legal successor in 2013.
An aged, ill and tired Berlusconi appears to be making a case for his own secular sainthood in the 20-minute video.
Berlusconi addressed his illness and his reason for survival with questions that had something of a metaphysical ring to them.
“A few nights ago, here at the San Raffaele, I suddenly woke up with a question in my head that I couldn’t get rid of. ‘But why am I here? What am I doing here? What am I fighting for here?’. Near me my Martha was watching. I asked her the same question too. ‘Why we are here?’. And she said to me ‘We are here because you have worked so hard, you are working hard to save our democracy and our freedom’.”
What exactly Berlusconi has done to achieve any form of sainthood it would be interesting to know. What freedom has he delivered to the Italian people? How can a man who has been investigated for sex with under-age women be considered virtuous? And let’s not forget his insensitive remarks following the L’Aquila earthquake in which 309 people died: “They have medicaments. They have hot food. They have shelter for the night,” he said. “Of course, their current lodgings are a bit temporary. But they should see it like a weekend of camping.” That to people who have lost everything.
Berlusconi and his band are far from saints, secular or otherwise.