Love is neither domination nor possession, was one of the messages in the Italian President’s End of Year speech. Sergio Mattarella also called for a culture of peace worldwide.
President Mattarella told Italians in the traditional President’s End of Year speech yesterday, that love is nether domination not possession, commenting on a wave of femicide that has hit Italy in the past year.
The president also called for a culture of peace in Italy and the world citing conflicts in Ukraine and the Mideast. Furthermore, he touched on an array of topics including the promise of AI, which must remain human, unacceptably long hospital waiting lists, the impact of rampant tax evasion, and the need not to look away when faced with the issue of migration.
“I would like to address the younger ones. Dear young people, I tell you in simple words: love is not selfishness, possession, domination, misunderstood pride,” he said.
“Love – the real one – is much more than respect: it is gift, gratuitousness, sensitivity” he said, speaking of “violence, the most hateful violence against women”.
The femicide wave was most recently highlighted by the murder of 22-year-old student Giulia Cecchettin by her possessive ex.
Peace is not abstract but realism
Peace is not abstract do-goodism but realism, Mattarella went on to say in his end of year speech.
“It is indispensable to make room for the culture of peace. To the mentality of peace.
“Talking about peace today is not abstract do-goodism.
“On the contrary, it is the most urgent and concrete exercise of realism, if we want to seek a way out of a crisis that can be devastating for the future of humanity.
“We know that, in order to put an end to the current wars, it is not enough to invoke peace. It must be pursued by the will of governments. First of all, of those that have triggered the conflicts”.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a revolution, but it should remain as far as possible human, Mattarella said.
“Now, with artificial intelligence feeding itself, it is generating unstoppable progress,” he said on live TV across all channels.
“Destined to profoundly change our professional, social, relational habits.
“We are in the midst of what will be remembered as the great historical leap at the beginning of the third millennium. We must ensure that the revolution we are experiencing remains human.
“That is, inscribed within that tradition of civilisation that sees in the person – and in his dignity – the inalienable pillar”.
Healthcare and taxation
There are unacceptably long waiting lists in the national health service, the NHS, Mattarella went on to say.
Among the problems faced by citizens and families, he said, are “the difficulties encountered in the right to health care for all.
“With unacceptably long waiting lists for visits and examinations”.
Mattarella also addressed the issue of tax evasion, saying it hinders Italy’s development. Doing one’s part for the country “means contributing, also fiscally.
“Evasion reduces, to a great extent, the resources for the common social security. And it delays the removal of the public debt, which hinders our development.
“Contributing to the life and progress of the Republic, of the Fatherland, can only arouse pride in Italians,” he said.
Immigration and students
Other key messages addressed immigration and students.
Affirming rights also means “not looking the other way when faced with migrants”, the head of State stressed.
The cost of university housing is unfeasible in Italy, Mattarella went on.
“Affirming rights means paying attention to the needs of students, who must be helped to fulfil themselves. Whose right to study meets with obstacles in practice. Starting with the cost of accommodation in large university cities; impractical for most families”, he said.
“It means making equality between women and men effective: in society, in work, in the burden of family responsibilities”.
The president also appealed to his co-nationals not to show resignation but to participate actively in Italian civic and political life.
“We must not be overcome by resignation. Or by indifference,” he said. “We must not close in on ourselves for fear that the impetuous novelties before us only bring dangers.
“Before being a duty, participating in the life and choices of the community is a right to freedom. Also, a right to the future. To the building of the future.
“Participation means taking charge of one’s own community. “Each one for his part”.
Mattarella ended his 16-minute speech by telling his audience that if they were united, they would be strong.
“Solidarity, freedom, equality, justice, peace” are “the values that the Constitution sets as the basis of our coexistence. And which belong to the very identity of Italy. These values – during the year that is coming to an end – I have seen them witnessed by so many of our fellow citizens”, he said.
“United we are strong.”