World Congress Of Families: 21st Or 12th Century?

In Italy there will always be people on guard against hypocritical and bigot impositions

Last weekend, the city of Verona has been at the eye of the storm. It is not the first time this has happened and the reasons are always the same. This year, the American organization WCF (World Congress of Families) has chosen the city of Romeo and Juliet for its 12th meeting. The WCF is known for its ultra-conservative positions on themes such as abortion, divorce and LGBT rights. It is an ecumenical movement bringing together catholics, orthodox and protestants who benefit from funds dispensed by people close to the Russian government. The aim of the meeting was to claim the importance of the so-called natural family composed by a man, a woman and the (possibly many) children, in which, obviously, the man has a central role, labelling every other family model as committed with Beelzebub.

Now, the question is: why so much noise? Naturally, an event like this should come to nothing as a meeting of fanatics who shouldn’t even be worth taking into consideration. The problem is that, this time, the WCF has got itself a perfect ally in politics. Indeed, the mayor of Verona, Federico Sboarina, offered for free the Gran Guardia, one of the city’s most prestigious locations. Even three government ministries were present at the event with their logos. Lorenzo Fontana, Minister for Family, Marco Bussetti, Minister of Education, and more importantly Matteo Salvini, Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister, have all been there. And not only that: together with the three members of the Italian government, also Lucy Akello, Ugandese deputy and petitioner of a law disposition for the introduction of the death penalty for gay people, attended the event. In such a context, it was inevitable that criticism would be raised for months before the event. All media have widely covered the meeting and the university of Verona has published a note against it, confirming the pseudo-scientific approach of the WCF’s arguments. A joke which has been circulating in the days before the meeting was about the change to summer time of April 30: “Tonight we set the clock one hour back, while in Verona they set it four centuries back”.

However, the good news is that the weekend ended with 100 thousand people taking the street in a wonderful counter-demonstration which has seen hundreds of associations, sindacates, political parties, feminist and LGTB organizations gathering and making Verona the true city of love. It was a pacific rally to say out loud that personal rights cannot be subject to discussion and that no one can dare to put their hands on them. People would have prefered to stay at home or go out to enjoy a sunny end of the week, but in Italy there will always be people on guard against hypocritical and bigot impositions worthy of a medieval society.

Photo credit, Giacomo Cona