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Lizzie Borden Sarah Palin Kate Middleton now Windsor Wallis Simpson David Beckham Adonis Nicolas Sarkozy Napoleon Bonaparte Chris Evans Alvar Liddell Toussaint Louverture Nelson Mandela Garibaldi and Italian flag Berlusconi and Italian model Berlusconi wounded Silvio Berlusconi Guiseppe Garibaldi

Modern ego:

Silvio Berlusconi

Prima ego:

Giuseppe Garibaldi

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A great historian remarked that "Garibaldi is the only wholly admirable figure in modern history." I cannot criticise Berlusconi and take that as truth. Only Jesus has been wholly admirable. My faults were those of any man - pride, folly and lust. It was my image that rose above my frailties and guided Italy through some dark hours. Therefore it is the image of Berlusconi that I despise more than the man. The image takes over when your name gathers associations. I am not talking about biscuits or moustaches. There is a nursery rhyme still sung today. It's called 'Garibaldi is wounded'. When I saw Berlusconi's face pulped by a marble and lead statuette I wondered if he had staged it himself and it was my blood, my stigmata he wanted to echo. Italy did not feel Berlusconi's wounds because there was too much pain from the injuries he had done to her.

Il Cavaliere, as he loves to be known, is the second longest-serving Prime Minister of Italy. He entered politics to express his support for "freedom, the individual, family, enterprise, Italian tradition, Christian tradition and love for weaker people" and his intention to combat the fiscal, judicial and bureaucratic oppression of Italians. He has acquired breathtaking freedoms for only one individual, Silvio Berlusconi, and his family. He has turned commercial enterprise into a synonym for political manipulation. He has revived those most Italian and unchristian traditions of corruption, bribery and extortion. He expresses his love for weaker people by persuading underage women to dance naked with him in the newly adopted custom of bunga bunga. He has fiercely combated fiscal, judicial and bureaucratic oppression of one particular Italian by spending 174 million euros on lawyers' bills to resist 789 prosecutors, 577 visits by police and 2,500 court hearings.

Image attribution

Photos: Berlusconi, m24digital.com, grandenchilada.blogspot.com and dailymail.co.uk

Image: Giuseppe Garibaldi, freemasonry.bcy.ca

Image: Garibaldi with flag, dressspace.com

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If I had the power to do it, I would rise up and remind people of what the Italian tricolor stands for: the fertile green of the country's plains and the hills; the pure white of the snow-capped Alps, and the red, red blood spilt in the Wars of Italian Independence.  I would don the redshirt of i Mille again and ask even those who worship i Rosoneri of Berlusconi's pet football team to hound the man from office.

Giuseppe Garibaldi’s opinion was interpreted by Father O’Donnelly, Jan 2011

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Giuseppe Garibaldi assesses Silvio Berlusconi

Berlusconi is not wounded, Italy is.

When your legacy is a nation you are in limited company. Qín Cháo in China, Alfred in England and Bismarck in Germany certainly belong to that band. I say it with all humility; my name is among them too. Do we all share the same pride at what has happened to our legacy? Wen Jiabao is no warrior leader but China is a remorseless power under him. Cameron is not in the mould of Gladstone or Disraeli, both of whom I knew well, but England's head is not yet slumped upon its shoulders. Merkel is a woman, which might offend Bismarck more than it does me, but her country prospers. Berlusconi is...I cannot write the words for the tears that stain them.

A century ago, when the world thought of Italy, it thought of Giuseppe Garibaldi. Now when the world has to turn its mind to Italy, it sees Silvio Berlusconi. No more than a preening penis. Should I just weep and let my soul sleep fitfully on in Caprera? Or should I take some responsibility and ask modern Italians to rally to a flag that is not fouled by Forza, mafiosi, media manipulation, bribery and prostitution?

I can accept that responsibility is not a burden that dies with you. Geographically, Italy remains the shape I fought to make it. Spiritually, it has returned to a state that the Borgias and Medici would recognise.