“You Speak About Freedom but You Don’t Respect Ours”: A Parish Reprimands Beppe Grillo
Beppe Grillo’s most recent political rally was held two days ago in Alghero, Sardinia, and was subject to an unpredicted interruption. The parish of the local church, Don Tonino Manca, went on stage to reprimand Grillo about the noise from the square, “so loud we can’t officiate the mass.”
Grillo, Italian comedian who converted to political muckraking and blogging, is the ideological leader of the Five Star Movement, a grass-roots political phenomenon born in 2009 that is quickly gaining unprecedented levels of popularity among the Italian electorate, increasingly fed up with traditional parties and a fractured political arena.
Grillo’s rally in Alghero was held to support the Five Star Movement’s candidates to the municipal elections, which will take place on June 10 and 11.
Committed to the promotion of participative democracy through the use of internet-based tools and through constant feedback, Five Star Movement had four of its candidates elected mayor in the last administrative elections held in May – the average age of the FSM mayors is 31, about half the average age of Italy’s MPs.
Sometimes, however, advocating for democracy in the squares of Italy might turn out into anti-democratic behaviors towards those who work in the close surroundings. It was the case with Don Manca, from the nearby Church of the Mercede in Alghero.
Wearing his cassock, Don Manca appeared on stage next to Grillo, complaining about the disturbance the rally was causing to the worshippers attending the mass: “You speak about freedom but you don’t respect ours. You have bothered us for half an hour!”
Interviewed by Italian news outlet TgCom24, Don Manca explained that he was extremely pacified when he went onstage, “but Grillo was very nervous, as a primadonna he is good at conducting his show, not at having a dialogue. Except that politics are not a show.”
When Don Manca mentioned to Grillo that they had previously met at the “Rock Café,” Grillo made a joke and said Manca was "the local pusher there".
“I used to work in rehabs, that was a serious offense. Grillo can’t see beyond his nose and he should open his mind and his heart,” the parish commented.