Sunday, 31 August 2008

Compensation in Italian Style

Not many remember, in late 60s or early 70s, three movies from Hollywood in a series brought Italy in the forefront of cine-goers mind. They were “Marriage in Italian Style”, “Divorce in Italian Style” and “Ghost in Italian Style”. I remembered them with a recent development of dispensing compensation in Italian style.
News of Associated Press suggested that Italy agreed to pay Libya $5 billion as compensation for its 30-year occupation of the country in the last century. This has been to by Libyan foreign minister Mr Abdel-Rahaman Shalgam. He further claimed that Italian Prime Minister Mr Silvio Berlusconi, who is visiting Libya at present, is set to sign a memorandum pledging a $5 billion compensation package involving construction projects, student grants and pension for Libyan soldiers who served with the Italians during the Second World War (too late to consider!).
He further said “It is a material and emotional recognition of the mistakes that our country has done to yours during the colonial era” and added “This agreement opens the path to further cooperation”. In return, Italy wants Libya to crack down on illegal migrants turning up on Italian shores and will fund $500 million worth of electronic monitoring devices on the on the Libyan coastline. So, it appears that this compensation not exclusively a giveaway. The Italian Prime Minister said $200 million of the package would be for infrastructure projects over next 25 years, including a coastal highway stretching across the country from Tunisia to Egypt. However, such generous gesture despite its not being without terms is unique in the history of colonial rules. How about Britain, having ruled almost half of the globe; except forming a worthless commonwealth, can the British be expected to follow the Italian queue? At least for their “Jewel in the crown” i.e. India!

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