Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Rubies are a knight’s best friend

This column has often been cynical about the behaviour of people in government. I feel it’s time to set the record straight by at last doing a piece about virtue in high places.

Loyalty is a deeply attractive quality, isn’t it? It becomes all the more striking when it is displayed towards a person who belongs to a group that suffers painful discrimination in today’s society. In Europe, few are subject to so much difficulty as immigrants from outside the European Union, especially those who come from Africa including its Northern countries, whose treatment reflects serious undertones of racism.

Indeed, if they are from the North of the continent, it is likely that the problems they suffer will be further intensified by the terrible Islamophobia that infects so many of our nations. The worst of it is that such people, particularly if they are women, suffer additional degradation by being sucked into the sex trade or at least into its fringes.

Protecting someone exposed to all these hardships is therefore particularly commendable. It is even more admirable if the person offering that protection has the power to give it real effect. If, say, he holds the highest elected position in his country and therefore has such influence that a simple station commander in the police can hardly deny a request from him.

So we must be moved by the sight of such a politician using his influence to secure the release of a seventeen-year old Moroccan belly dancer from police custody. If the police commander in question later goes on to a position in government, that may be a completely unrelated occurrence and, even if it weren’t, how can we cavil at a reward for contributing to an act of generosity?

Now it’s true that the belly dancer in question, who rejoices in the name of Ruby (and is sometimes referred to as 'Ruby rubacuoure', Ruby the heart stealer), might have revealed embarrassing information about her protector, had she ever appeared in court. That he had some advantage to gain from the transaction does not lessen the kindness of the gesture.

So let us offer all the admiration he deserves to Silvio Berlusconi for obtaining the liberation of Ruby the belly dancer. One understands now why he is referred to as ‘il Cavaliere’, the knight. Can anyone question his chivalry today? He clearly laid his job and his political career on the line for her.

Now it is up to the Italian people and opposition politicians, joined by his erstwhile allies, to help complete his gesture by ensuring that this act of sacrifice is taken to its conclusion.


Anonymous said...

I think it's absolutely revolting that you should spring to the defence of that villain.
Cancel my subscription.


David Beeson said...

Somebody has to speak out for him. And I value my reputation for balance. Or I probably would if I had one.