Cassandra has moved. Ugo Bardi publishes now on a new site called "The Seneca Effect."

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Hunger in Italy? It is Coming Faster than Expected


 A malnourished Dutch girl during the "hongerwinter" of 1945. It was the last famine recorded in Western Europe -- but for how long?

Olga Milanese, Italian lawyer living in Salerno, not far from Naples, wrote the post below as a comment in a Facebook group. I thought it was interesting enough to be reproduced here, and I do that with her kind permission. It seems that things are really collapsing in Italy. In a certain way, it was unavoidable, but it is amazing that it is happening so fast. The Covid crisis never was impossible to manage with a reasonable effort, but the Italian government bungled almost every aspect of the crisis, overreacting to it, using it as an excuse to terrorize people, while being totally ineffective at upgrading the health care system in such a way to handle the situation. In the process, the government managed to destroy the sources of income of the poor and of the most vulnerable sections of the Italian society -- and with that wrecking the whole economic system. Now, things are getting worse every day. Eventually it will end, I figure, but not before we reach the bottom, and it may be a hard landing.


By Olga Milanese

Can I say something a little strong? Then I'll really shut up, disappear and no longer speak, because I consider it useless by now. I understand all positions, really. Already in June I felt that the situation had not changed, that, at least in my opinion, the same mistakes continued to be made in the sanitary districts. (having visited some of them several times), that the health care units were absolutely unprepared, as were the general practitioners. 

Nothing, absolutely nothing has been done, not even by those same doctors who, first and foremost, should have denounced openly and without hesitation the disgusting inactivity of the government already  before the summer not in the autumn crisis, those same doctors who today invoke the lockdown!!!

I invite them to come to suburban homes, to popular buildings, for God's sake, to the lower reaches of the city to see with their own eyes the misery that exists there!!! From the group that deals with helping the families who lost their jobs in my city, yesterday I had a young mother, whose husband, a pizza chef, was left without work, with two small children, a 3-year-old male and a 6-year-old girl, two gaunt creatures, like their mother, fragile, almost invisible, who lacked EVERYTHING, everything !!! From food, to soap for washing, to detergent for clothes. They are not the first and they will not be the last. 

I'm a drop in an advancing ocean. I really invite these doctors and all those who invoke general closures or even just the stop of work to come to these places and look them in the eyes of these children, these parents deprived of dignity, smile, desire to live, without feeling shame and disgust for that. that we are becoming. Sorry for the outburst, but these situations exist, they are one step away from the doors of our house. Is there a valid reason to ignore them without falling into inhumanity ??? 

Do you choose to do something for them too or do they have to die forgotten by God, in the name of medicine and science? For me only the first way makes sense. In my view, there are no alternatives to humanity! And there is no fear of openly denouncing those measures that have reduced those children to hunger! This kind of appeals above, as I see it, must be condemned straight away, no hesitations!


Olga Milanese is a civil lawyer. She mainly deals with aspects related to the protection of rights in business, family, and in relation to medical and professional responsibility, as well as the issue of the protection of human rights





Original in Italian

Posso dire una cosa un po' forte? Poi veramente mi taccio, sparisco e non parlo più, perché lo ritengo ultroneo ormai. Io comprendo tutte le posizioni, veramente. Da giugno avvertivo che la situazione non era cambiata, che, almeno dalle mie parti, si continuavano a fare gli stessi errori nei P.S.(essendoci andata più volte), che le Asl erano assolutamente impreparate, così come i medici di base. Nulla, assolutamente nulla è stato fatto, neanche da quegli stessi medici che, in primis, avrebbero dovuto denunciare apertamente e senza remore il disgustoso inattivismo del governo da prima dell'estate non nella crisi autunnale, quegli stessi medici che oggi invocano il lockdown!!! Io li invito a venire nelle case di periferie, nei palazzi popolari, santo Dio, nei bassi della città a vedere con i propri occhi la miseria che c'è!!! Tramite il gruppo che si occupa di aiutare tutte le famiglie che hanno perso il lavoro nella mia città, ieri a me è toccata una giovane madre, il cui marito, pizzaiolo, è rimasto senza lavoro, con due bambini piccoli, un maschio di 3 anni e una bambina di 6 anni, due creature smunte, come la madre, fragili, quasi invisibili, a cui mancava TUTTO, tutto!!! Dal cibo, al sapone per lavarsi, al detersivo per i panni. Non sono i primi e non saranno gli ultimi. Sono una goccia in un oceano che avanza. Io veramente invito questi medici e chiunque invochi chiusure generalizzate o anche solo lo stop del lavoro a venire in questi posti e guardarli negli occhi questi bambini, questi genitori privati della dignità, del sorriso, della voglia di vivere, senza provare vergogna e ribrezzo per quello che stiamo diventando. Scusate lo sfogo, ma queste situazioni esostono, sono ad un passo dalle porte di casa nostra. Esiste un motivo valido per ignorarli senza scadere nella disumanità??? Si sceglie di far qualcosa anche per loro o devono morire dimenticati da Dio, in nome della medicina e della scienza? Per me ha senso solo la prima strada. Non esistono, nella mia visione, alternative all'umanità! E non esiste la paura di denunciare apertamente quelle misure che hanno ridotto quei bambini alla fame! Questo genere di appelli qui sopra, per come la vedo io, vanno condannati in tronco, senza se e senza ma!


  1. I feel it is a failure of Government not of the medical profession.
    A solution is to pay the people who have lost their jobs because of the lockdown until they regain employment.
    Yes it costs the Government money but it is what Governments have done in other countries.
    The duty of Government is to look after its citizens, both health wise and well being.

    1. I am afraid that the people of the Government see as their only duty that of maximizing their chances of being re-elected.

    2. In the case of Italy, the constituency of the current government (Left-leaning, a little) is mainly with retirees and government employees. Instead, independent professionals, workers in private companies, people in the commercial sectors, they vote for the right-wing opposition. (very much like the constituencies of the Dems and the Reps in the US). So, the government imposed the burden of the lockdown mainly on the categories of people who don't vote for them.

  2. Lockdowns were bad idea from the beginning. Lockdowns just made things worse. Good part of excess mortality is due to lockdowns, not to pandemic. What surprised me is how governments of different countries reacted in the same bad way. I think what we have here a case of mental epidemic, when government of one country thinks that it should have the same exaggerated response to epidemic just to show that it worries enough for it's people as the government of other country. As Ugo explained it's not genuine care for the people, it's political marketing.

  3. everythings is political marketing, also the hunger.

  4. You really did yourself no favor with this post, Ugo. I have to agree with Ian Welsh: the idiocy of inveighing against lockdowns boggles the mind. If people die en masse, do you really think the economy will fine? If the breadwinner of that family was ill or dead, would his wife and children would be any less starving?

    This is a failure the Italian state, not an indictment of lockdowns. Maybe next you will publish a screed against masks.

    1. A virus of common cold was never a danger of epic proportions, especially in a Western world where there is no undernourished people extremely sensitive to common cold. Old and chronics are always sensitive to every respiratory infection. Spanish flu was so dangerous because people were exhausted from war and hunger. They were in such condition to suffer excessively from a new virus. Also, there are opinions that Spanish flu mortality was due to the new cocktail of vaccines soldiers received, that vaccines interfered with their immunity in unpredictable way.

      It is obvious that this is artificially produced bio-weapon, made in such way to cause some damage, just enough to scare people, and fear is powerful tool for deep state movers and shakers to influence mass. The idea is to take away their liberties and to sell them vaccines at the same time.

      Until this whole fabricated disaster goes away I shall listen to great Fabrizio de Andre's 60's stuff. We really need some time out of this madness. We also need somebody to teaches us empathy for common people and very few can do it better than Fabrizio. In fact I am listening his music while typing this reply.

      Yes, everything is political marketing but does that mean that there is no people in need (even in Italy)?

    2. Olivier, I have no idea of where you are writing from or of what you do for a living. But I am sure you have no idea of what's happening here. It is not question of a screed, the whole fabric of society is being destroyed. Many people have barely survived the first lockdown of March-April, now we are entering a new one (although not defined as a "full lockdown", that's what it is). They have no money, no resources left, they are out of their job, no perspectives, no hope, no place to go. And they are under threat of eviction. That's real, not something they tell you in TV. You see it happening around here. You see real people suffering, people in pain, people who are desperate. And you think one should keep silent on that? If that's your opinion, it is fine. Enjoy your salary (I suppose you still have one) and be blessed by the Goddess (She blesses everyone and everything). But if you have a moment to rethink to this matter, maybe you would do yourself a favor.

    3. I am not saying there should be no reporting on the plight of people who have nothing to live on but, again, why blame it on lockdowns when it is a failure of the welfare state? Why is there apparently no safety net in Italy for such situations? After all, people fall out of jobs all the time for reasons xyz, albeit not all at once in such numbers, and the welfare state exists precisely to cushion such episodes of joblessness.

      Meanwhile we know that restaurants and bars, i.e,, stuffy places where people congregate for long periods of time while taking animatedly, are a main mode of transmission of the virus. Are you suggesting that we just shrug it off? Because that is what you are effectively doing right now.

    4. PS: I am starting to think that the problem of this family is that the man was working in the so-called informal economy and thus cannot claim unemployment insurance. But even so, there should be some form of basic support available, no?

    5. PS2: I read that Italy has a kind of universal basic income scheme. Why isn't that family receiving it?

    6. Dear Olivier, the Government cannot give back to the people more than it takes from the people -- and usually gives much less than that. The universal basic income scheme in Italy brings Eur 350 per month to the unemployed, enough to eat if you live under a tent in the woods. But it is worse than that. If the government takes away from people their dignity, then there is no way that it can give it back to them in the form of a small dole. If the government takes away from people their hopes, it is a way to kill them slowly and painfully. And it is what they are doing.

    7. OLI - The Spanish flu infected the young and healthy. It turned their natural immune response against them so those who were the most healthy were dying. Lock down is a no brainer (hat that term but...).

      Covid-19 is the opposite of that. It is most virulent and kills the weakest, most unhealthy, and the elderly, 20% of the population. So locking down the other 80% along with the most vulnerable is criminal.

      Also if they truly wanted to minimise suffering and death why do they not promote vitamin D, C, and zinc supplements which 80% of victims are deficient in? This would save thousands more lives than masks and distincing.

  5. This is one thing I find hard to believe is Italians starving.

    1. In my previous post, the one on the Grand Duke of Tuscany, I noted how he describes people starving in Tuscany some 150 years ago. Things tend to change, it is the great cycle of life!

    2. Italian government is highly indebted and limited in it's financial policy by ECB. It doesn't have enough money to give to the people that lost jobs but at the same time insists on lockdown. They forbid poor people to work and to earn. That's nonsense. What was the purpose of the first lockdown if second and third is needed? Why not lockdown forever until all unnecessary people die?

  6. I have been railing about this for months. The government mandates that millions of people stop making money then do little or nothing to make sure they are ok.

    "6 in 10 Americans don't have $500 in savings"

    This was 4 years ago or so, I wonder how much of the $500 200 million americans have left?

    This is not an american story, it is the 7 billion earthlings story.



Ugo Bardi is a member of the Club of Rome, faculty member of the University of Florence, and the author of "Extracted" (Chelsea Green 2014), "The Seneca Effect" (Springer 2017), and Before the Collapse (Springer 2019)