A black and white sticker depicts the face of a man with a question mark instead of facial features, wearing a hat with the word Standard written across the brim. Standard's tag can be found all over Rome, sometimes exhibited with text such as "Standard is my mate" and "Standard was here", posted on every lamp, street sign, and local bar's bathroom around the city. While depicting the same person, the sticker's massive quantity surpasses the feeling of an individual’s presence; instead Standard has created his own brand or logo easily recognizable to anyone who is paying attention.
Viewed with a similar frequency are a coat of arms with two intersecting keys and a crown, molded into the facade of buildings, sculptures, monuments and other surfaces of public architecture. After a couple weeks of passive observation I finally researched the significance of the ornate structure learning that it indicated the Pope's authority, the keys representing the link between earth and the heavens and a three-crowned tiara representing the Pope's headdress.
To a cultural outsider learning the visual clues of a foreign place, Standard's graffiti tag and the Pope's coat of arms serve the same function of marking territory, asserting dominance, and carving out space within the long complex history of this ancient city.
This is how we treat people in the 21st century, in the middle of Europe... Look carefully how people are STRIPPED from their Human Rights, their humanity - watch how our society is dealing with migrants, with fellow human beings who dream about better life and seek the new opportunities.
Do You feel shock, shame, despair, me too, but They even more!
The recent surprise success of the Movimento Cinque Stelle (Five Star Movement, or M5S) in Italy's recent elections and the heavy losses suffered by both Berlusconi and his centre-left counterparts in the Democratic Party have produced a kind of Mexican standoff in which the stakes are not just who will form the next Italian government, but how the country's politicians will deal with enormous social and economic challenges in an EU country which is truly 'too big to fail'.
In the past few days, both flagship newscasts by Italy's state-owned public service RAI, Tg1 and Tg2, have made 'mistakes' in reporting the dates for the four referenda, stating they would be held on June 13 and 14, while they will actually be held on June 12 and 13. Tg1 made this mistake two days ago, but even more incredibly Tg2 repeated that mistake yesterday. How is it possible for both programmes to get it wrong, not least on two different days?
Ratings agencies may have been roundly (and rightly) booed over the past few years for the deep flaws in their work, but markets and governments still pay attention, especially when ratings for weak economies are downgraded.
Berlusconi's personal reputation and political position took a blow today: in the run-off elections between his right-wing party candidates and left-wing independents, Letizia Moratti and Nicola Lettieri were roundly trounced. In Berlusconi's Milan stronghold, Moratti was roundly defeated by 55.1% to 44.9% by lawyer and former communist Gianluigi Pisapia. In Naples, former anti-corruption judge Luigi De Magistris gained 66% against a right-wing candidate whose political patron is being investigated for links to the most powerful Camorra clan, the Casalesi.
We have recently been treated to the unedifying spectacle of EU governments scrambling to 'revise Schengen': no sooner had France and Italy called for this, than Denmark put customs officers on its borders with Germany and Sweden. Thinly-veiled xenophobia has been lurking in the background throughout. As soon as refugees began arriving in Italy, Italian politicians began crying blue murder. Roberto Maroni, in particular, spoke of a "human tsunami".
As the temperature heats up in the Northern hemisphere's spring, so does the political temperature. Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy have all seen various protest movements over the past few months (or, in Italy's case, years).