It sounds strange that the largest anti-terrorist operation ever in Italy has been carried out in a period when the Government is vacant. As a matter of fact, the cabinet headed by Paolo Gentiloni is outgoing, and there is no new government in sight. But according to the Italian Interior Minister, Marco Minniti, “today” Italy is facing the jihadist threat. What about yesterday?
We are witnessing one of those strange circumstances that have always characterized the history of Italy. The largest operation against Islamist terrorism in recent times has been carried out while the Government is vacant.
Perquisitions and preventive detentions, along with the dismantlement of the jihadist and ISIS proselytist networks, are ongoing from Turin to Foggia, passing through Cuneo, Aprilia, Latina, and other places.
Apart from the satisfaction for the elimination of imminent threats to the Italian and European security, and the fact that the police operations must not necessarily be in line with the timing of the Italian politics, some questions to break this journalistic and media romance must be posed.
Minister Minniti has not spared attention to certain phenomena, but when he tells us that today the jihadist threat is higher than ever, he opens the door to a series of queries: What does “today” mean? Should it be understood in a strictly temporal sense, meaning that from a specific moment onward a certain threat has been triggered? Was this threat absent until yesterday?
These questions might seem exaggerated, but they can help us understand the motives underlying this sudden surge in operations and arrests in the Italian jihadist context.
As long as the government was in office, facing our complaints and clarification requests about the radical proselytism dynamics, or the do-it-yourself mosques and their associated risks, we were always told that the situation was not particularly worrisome and that the phenomenon was under control. Why? They made us believe that the situation was relatively quiet, but today we realize that it is not so peaceful, and this is a fact not a journalistic opinion.
And we realize all this in a period of institutional “limbo”, with an outgoing government and without the certainty that a new one will be formed shortly. Moreover, even if a new government will be ushered in, there is no certainty that it will endure over time.
These might be coincidences, but those who look at this noise of news from the outside and relate it to the political situation, could come to the conclusion that the outgoing government has really worked to keep the country safe, and that the many criticisms at its action are mostly ungrounded.
The neutral observer, the ordinary citizen, could be inclined to make such a reflection, not having the critical tools of the sharpest analysts of the mainstream media (simply because in his life he has to take care of others issues, such as work for instance).
This time, however, they will not use these tools, because they would expose the reluctance or even the reticence with which they have dealt with these issues in the past. They will use once again the script previously provided by the single thought, whereby the governments that seem weak are actually the strongest, and that “populists” and free minds are wrong even when they are right.