The Deputy Mayor Who Threw Away The Clothes Of A Homeless Man

The way the deputy mayor of Trieste explained his gesture reveals the arrogance of populist parties

We must point out yet another striking gesture of inhumanity by one of the Northern League representatives, namely the deputy mayor of Trieste, Paolo Polidori. And what’s worse, what followed was a bad, inappropriate and offensive way of communicating some empty political visions. This time, our country lost its face in the eyes of the world thanks to a public figure who took the initiative of throwing in the garbage the blanket, the coat and some other clothes of a homeless man. Obviously, that’s not all. As a real macho in defense of his city, Polidori posted on Facebook (to then remove) the picture which proved his glorious exploit, bragging about what he did.

The Facebook post

I think it’s worth looking closely at the text he wrote and think about the words he used. “I was walking in via Carducci, I saw a pile of rags thrown to the ground… blankets; jackets; a quilt and more. There was nobody, so I assume they were abandoned: as a normal citizen who cares about the decency of his city, I collected and threw them, I have to say with some satisfaction, in the dumpster: now the place is decent!! Will it last? we’ll see. The signal is: zero tolerance!! I want Trieste to be clean!! P.S. I immediately went to wash my hands! And now that the right-minded ones are unleashed, I don’t care at all!”

A casual selection of words?

I would like to focus on three specific passages of the text. First, he said he acted as “a normal citizen who cares about the decency of his city”. Fine, it moves me that you feel you’re a citizen like any other, but you are not. You cannot jump form being a public figure to a role without any greater responsibility, depending on how it suits you better. It would be certainly easier, but this attitude hides a mockery towards “normal” citizens, for real this time. The second and, in my opinion, remarkable point can be found when he felt the need to tell us that he had thrown away the “rags” with a certain satisfaction. An unnecessary and vulgar detail, unveiling his personal feeling and aim to go straight to people’s stomachs rather than to their consciousness and brain.

The echo of Fascist-style communication

This intended effect is similar to that caused by the third expression I’d like to point out. I am referring to the very last sentence: “I don’t care at all”. These words impress me particularly, because I recognize the echo of the very famous slogan “me ne frego”, emblem of the arrogant and careless attitude typical of the perfect Fascist man. This kind of expressions have been already recovered by the undisputed champion of tasteless quotes, the minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini. The Northern League leader not only frequently uses this same expression, but he recently dug up more serious quotes like “I will do anything to create a new Rome-Berlin axis”, or “whoever helps the immigrants hates Italians”, inspired by Hitler’s anti-Semitic phrases.

Solidarity from the citizens

Fortunately, not everybody is in line with this unwelcome revival, nor with the unfair and arrogant attitude of populist forces. Indeed, the case of Trieste for some citizens became the excuse to make a great gesture of solidarity. Exactly where the deputy mayor had removed the homeless person’s stuff, other clothes and blankets appeared together with a sign that said: “Dear friend, we hope that you feel less the cold tonight. We apologize on behalf of the city of Trieste. P.s. In case you don’t manage to collect the stuff, don’t trash anything, we will recover it by tomorrow, thank you”.

A normal citizen would show a different depth from that of the deputy mayor, don’t you think?