Milan honors ex-Premier Silvio Berlusconi with state funeral and national mourning as his legacy remains a topic of debate among Italians.
As ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s rose-covered casket was carried out of the hearse and into the cathedral for his funeral Mass, thousands of people, including supporters from his favorite AC Milan soccer club, applauded in tribute outside the Duomo. The ceremony was attended by Italy’s top political and business figures, as well as three former premiers and Berlusconi’s family and partner, who openly shed tears as the casket was placed before the altar.
Silvio Berlusconi, who was a media tycoon, soccer mogul, and three-time former premier, is widely regarded by most Italians as the most influential figure in Italy over recent decades. However, people have differing opinions as to whether or not his legacy has been positive or negative, leading to a sharp divide among the public.
There exists a contrasting viewpoint on whether Berlusconi deserves all the attention and ceremony of a state funeral. Although his supporters believe he was a great leader who transformed Italy, his opponents argue that his personal scandals and legal issues overshadow his contributions to the country.
Regardless of these opinions and debates, Berlusconi’s legacy has left a significant mark on Italian life, politics, and society, making him a controversial and complex figure in Italian history.
Silvio Berlusconi passed away at the age of 86 on Monday while undergoing treatment for chronic leukemia at a Milan hospital. Before entering politics in 1994, he made his fortune as the head of a media empire in Milan, the city where his family held a private wake on Tuesday at one of Berlusconi’s villas.
In his eulogy at the state funeral for Silvio Berlusconi, Milan Archbishop Mario Delpini presented a nuanced view of the former Prime Minister’s legacy. He acknowledged Berlusconi’s success as a businessman and politician, but also highlighted his failures and turbulent political career. Delpini noted that Berlusconi had a polarizing personality and a mixed reputation, with both supporters and detractors.
The Archbishop’s eulogy attempted to present a balanced portrayal of Berlusconi’s life and influence. He acknowledged the former Prime Minister’s role as a transformative figure in Italian media and politics, but also recognized his controversial personal life and legal issues. Delpini emphasized the complex nature of Berlusconi’s legacy and the contrasting opinions surrounding it.
Despite the controversy surrounding Berlusconi’s legacy, his passing has sparked reflection and debate in Italy about his contributions and flaws. The state funeral and national mourning served as a testament to the impact that the former Prime Minister had on Italian society and politics.
Archbishop Delpini closed his eulogy with a reminder that Silvio Berlusconi was, above all, a human being with aspirations and desires. He highlighted Berlusconi’s desire for life, love, and joy, even in the midst of controversies and political turmoil. Delpini ultimately asserted that Berlusconi had now passed from this life to the afterlife, to be judged by God.
The Archbishop’s remarks highlighted the humanity of Berlusconi and acknowledged the range of emotions that his passing has brought up in Italy. Despite the debates over Berlusconi’s legacy, Delpini focused on his shared humanity with all those present at the funeral.
Opposition leaders have raised questions about the decision of the current government under Premier Giorgia Meloni to hold a state funeral for Silvio Berlusconi and declare a national day of mourning. While it is customary to give all former premiers a state funeral, the rare invocation of a national day of mourning has been a subject of criticism. Some have argued that Berlusconi’s controversial legacy does not warrant such an honor, while others have questioned the government’s priorities in the face of other pressing issues.
As a result of the national day of mourning, flags have been flown at half-staff and all non-charity political events have been postponed. Nevertheless, normal business operations have continued in most other areas. The decision to afford Berlusconi these honors has provoked a range of reactions from the public and political commentators, highlighting the difficult balance between respecting the legacy of a former leader and acknowledging their flaws.
Journalist Marco Travaglio, who has long been a critic of Silvio Berlusconi and co-founded the newspaper il Fatto Quotidiano, has expressed his strong opposition to the honors and national mourning given to the former Prime Minister. In an interview with private La7 TV, Travaglio argued that Berlusconi was responsible for causing division in Italy, insulting his political opponents for three decades, undermining the independence of the judiciary, and disregarding the rule of law.
Travaglio’s comments reflect the views of many Italians who hold Berlusconi responsible for many of the country’s political and social problems. Despite his status as a polarizing and controversial figure in Italy, Berlusconi still has many supporters who view him as a transformative leader who modernized the country’s infrastructure and created jobs. The legacy of Berlusconi remains a topic of intense debate in Italy, reflecting the complexity of his contributions and shortcomings.
Despite the controversy surrounding Silvio Berlusconi’s legacy, thousands of Italians still came to pay their respects to the former Prime Minister during his funeral, filling the piazza outside the Milan’s Duomo. Two giant video screens were set up for mourners to follow the proceedings, while carabinieri in full ceremonial dress were on guard amidst a sea of floral wreaths.
The diverse crowd included fans of Berlusconi’s beloved AC Milan soccer team waving their red and black flags and chanting “One president, there’s only one president” as the casket was carried out of the cathedral at the end of the Mass. The event was a testament to Berlusconi’s widespread influence and reflected the polarizing nature of his legacy in Italian society.
A number of high-ranking foreign dignitaries were present at the state funeral for Silvio Berlusconi, including the President of Hungary, Viktor Orban, and the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. In addition, Italian politicians from various parties attended, underscoring the broad spectrum of political views that Berlusconi elicited during his life.
Premier Giorgia Meloni, who served as a minister in a Berlusconi-led coalition, was in attendance, along with Matteo Salvini, the leader of the League party, which has a long-standing alliance with Berlusconi’s Forza Italia. Other prominent figures attending the funeral included Italian President Sergio Mattarella, as well as former Premiers Matteo Renzi, Paolo Gentiloni, and Mario Draghi. Despite their political differences, they all came together to show respect for a polarizing figure who had an enormous impact on Italian politics and society.
The funeral of Silvio Berlusconi has sparked debate and protests in Italy, with some criticizing the decision to give him a state funeral and national day of mourning. However, Barbara Cacellari, a councilwoman from Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party, defended the honours as a sign of respect for a political figure who played a significant role in Italian history.
Cacellari argued that Berlusconi’s contributions should be recognized, despite his flaws and controversies. She emphasized that he represented a crucial part of Italy’s political legacy and that it was important to acknowledge his service to the country. Cacellari’s comments reflect a sentiment among many of Berlusconi’s supporters, who view the national day of mourning as a testament to his lasting impact on Italian society and politics.
Silvio Berlusconi has been recognized as a forerunner of the type of populist politics that brought Donald Trump to the presidency in the United States. Both Berlusconi and Trump leveraged their high-profile business careers to enter politics, creating a disruptive and unconventional approach to political leadership. In both cases, their unorthodox style energized supporters and ruffled the feathers of traditional political elites, leading to a fundamental shift in political culture.
Berlusconi’s legacy continues to be a subject of intense debate in Italy, reflecting the complexity and controversy of his career. However, his influence on global politics cannot be denied, as he paved the way for a new type of political personality to emerge and challenge the established order.
Supporters of Silvio Berlusconi point to his legacy as a successful unifier of the Italian center-right. They credit him with providing stability to a political landscape that had been shaken by the 1990s “Clean Hands” corruption scandal and subsequent rapidly rotating governments. They also appreciate his bold and irreverent approach to political leadership, which they view as a refreshing alternative to the stuffy and bureaucratic norm.
Despite criticism of Berlusconi’s personal scandals and legal issues, his supporters admire his willingness to break the rules and challenge the status quo. They see his years in power as a positive period of transformation for Italy, lauding his efforts to modernize the country’s infrastructure and create jobs. While his legacy remains divisive, Berlusconi’s impact on Italian politics and society cannot be denied, making him a complex and controversial figure in Italian history.
On the other hand, Berlusconi’s detractors accuse him of causing significant political damage during his tenure, with a long list of controversies including conflicts of interests relating to his media empire, numerous trials mostly for business dealings, revelations of sex-fueled bunga-bunga parties at his villa near Milan, and questionable associations, such as his enduring friendship with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. His critics view his leadership as a threat to democratic institutions and the rule of law, and argue that his policies often prioritized his own interests over those of the country. Despite his flaws, Berlusconi remains a complex and influential figure in Italian history, with a legacy that continues to be debated and discussed.
According to Beppe Severgnini, a long-time foreign correspondent and writer for Corriere della Sera, Silvio Berlusconi was not a leader who helped Italy grow. Instead, Severgnini argues that Berlusconi exploited the country’s weaknesses in various areas, including ethics, taxes, and sexuality. Severgnini’s comments reflect a widespread sentiment among Berlusconi’s detractors, who accuse him of prioritizing his own interests over those of the country and undermining democratic institutions. Despite his controversial legacy, Berlusconi’s impact on Italian politics and media remains significant, raising important questions about the relationship between power, wealth, and democracy.