Old Calabria By Norman Douglas

 -  A
fatuous observation! Everything concerns everybody. The foreigner in
Italy, if he is wise, will familiarize himself not only with - Page 420
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A Fatuous Observation!

Everything concerns everybody.

The foreigner in Italy, if he is wise, will familiarize himself not only with the cathedrals to be visited, but also, and primarily, with the technique of legal bribery and subterfuge - with the methods locally employed for escaping out of the meshes of the law. Otherwise he may find unpleasant surprises in store for him. Had Mr. Mercer made it his business to acquire some rudiments of this useful knowledge, he would never have undergone that outrageous official ill-treatment which has become a byword in the annals of international amenities. And if these strictures be considered too severe, let us see what Italians themselves have to say. In 1900 was published a book called "La Quistione Meridionale" (What's Wrong with the South), that throws a flood of light upon local conditions. It contains the views of twenty-seven of the most prominent men in the country as to how south Italian problems should be faced and solved. Nearly all of them deplore the lack of justice. Says Professor Colajanni: "To heal the south, we require an honest, intelligent and sagacious government, which we have not got." And Lombroso: "In the south it is necessary to introduce justice, which does not exist, save in favour of certain classes."

I am tempted to linger on this subject, not without reason. These people and their attitude towards life will remain an enigma to the traveller, until he has acquainted himself with the law of the land and seen with his own eyes something of the atrocious misery which its administration involves.

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