Saturday, December 09, 2006

Italian father "attempts televised self-immolation" in protest

Watch the video here.  Italian father Nicola De Martino is reported to have tried to set fire to himself on Italian TV in protest at the poor state of fathers' rights in Europe.  The BBC says he had no history of mental illness with obvious implication that he was mentally ill to try the stunt.  On the other hand, watch the video.  He moves slowly, and gives the studio staff plenty of time to react and restrain him.  He had no intention of setting light to himself, but he sure as hell made a point.

De Martino's son, Luca, was taken from him 13 years ago when his mother moved to Australia.  The two were only reunited when Luca turned 18 and traveled to Italy to find his father.  The Italian site AGI posts a message curiously subtitled "on behalf of the Italian Prime Minister's office" which says:
I believe Nicola did more in ten minutes than we did in ten years. Nicola is not crazy, he is moderate and certainly somebody who suffered a lot, very much. But who wouldn't suffer if they would take away your child for 13 years?
"In Italy in the past ten years 100 fathers committed suicide, in Europe two thousand in the past year. Our country has strict laws on the sufferance of animals but forgets about some human beings. It is time to change things and the gesture of Nicola must be interpreted in this sense".

Did De Martino do the right thing?  Had he actually set light to himself, I would have to say "no".  But he didn't, and raised the profile of a desperate and widely ignored cause.

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Anonymous said...

This Nicola character is not crazy. He is an abusive man because what real father would make such a spectacle in front of his child like that. Luca's shock shows that he has been used by this man for his own agenda with no regard for Luca. Child abuse isn't legal in Italy - is it??

John Doe said...

Luca is an 18 year old MAN, and the reports that I saw said that he supported his father in his protest. The important point is that De Martino clearly did not intend to injure or kill himself. Did you watch the video?

John Doe said...

But apart from that, anonymous, like many unthinking people, you're pretty quick to condemn the father. What about the mother?