For a moment, the flamboyant Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi looked like Floyd Patterson after a 7 round drubbing by Mohammad Ali. The fastidious playboy was blind-sided by 42-year-old, statuette-wielding assassin who bonked Silvio’s schnoz leaving him reeling backwards, blood issuing from his nose and mouth, eyes staring blankly skyward like a beached shark.
The entire tragedy unfolded in a flash and was captured on film by an independent photographer who zoomed in while Berlusconi was thrust harum scarum into the back of the presidential limo and whisked off to the hospital. The assailant, Massimo Tartaglia, who has a history of mental illness, was quickly apprehended and rushed off in the Milan Paddywagon. Early reports from the hospital say that Berlosconi suffered minor lacerations, cracked teeth, and a broken nose.
Just minutes before the attack, the fiery premier had been waving his finger at a gathering of anti-Berlusconi protestors who had assembled in Milan where he was scheduled to deliver a speech. According to the Wall Street Journal,
“Mr. Berlusconi interrupted his speech to challenge the protesters, booming: ‘We must oppose you, because you want you transform Italy into a screaming piazza.'”
“‘Shame on you! Shame on you! Shame on you,'” Mr. Berlusconi yelled, pointing his finger at the protesters.” (Wall Street Journal)
Next thing you know, the Italian media mogul was slumped in the back of a black sedan mouth agape with blood drooling down the front of his suit. What a sight.
Always a controversial figure, Berlusconi has come under withering attack in recent months as the economy has continued to drift sideways and the president’s libidinous escapades have been voluminously covered in Italy’s racy tabloids. One can only hope, that capable plastic surgeons are summoned to reassemble the randy septuagenarian’s fractured facial protuberance. A misshapen Silvio would be too much to bear.
MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He can be reached at [email protected]