“We must move forward by putting citizens’ safety at the centre, but we must not create alarms that are not justified by facts and objective evidence”. Culture Minister Gennaro Sangiuliano said this when speaking about the security issue and the possible repercussions in Italy due to the war between Israel and Hamas (THE SPECIAL – WHAT IS HAMAS – THE CAUSES OF THE CONFLICT – THE HISTORICAL REASONS – WHAT IS HEZBOLLAH – WHAT ARE KIBBUTZ).
“Symbols of terrorist organizations cannot be displayed”
The minister spoke about the possibility of canceling the Armed Forces Day on 4 November, which was feared by Minister Crosetto for security reasons and then reversed: “Minister Crosetto, who has the elements to evaluate, will decide on 4 November, I can say that in my opinion we need to carry on with the activities and avoid the outcry and the media bubble. In these cases great awareness is needed, the safety of citizens must be put at the center but a lot of tranquility and serenity are also needed. The socio-economic life of the nation must continue to flow, therefore also tourism and culture. Culture is the enrichment of the spirit, it is something opposite to violence. Where there is culture there is no violence. We must move forward with great serenity, we must not create alarms that are not justified by facts and objective evidence”. As regards demonstrations, “pro-Hamas ones are prohibited” and “we must avoid the banners of terrorist organizations such as Hamas on monuments because, just as symbols of the Red Brigades or Ordine Nuovo cannot be displayed, symbols of terrorist organizations cannot be displayed State symbols, such as museums for example, must be neutral. On monuments I want to see the Italian flag or, in the case of international events, the flags of friendly nations.” As regards the pro-Palestine demonstrations, for Sangiuliano “the constitution is our lighthouse, there is freedom of demonstration and thought but then there are limits: one cannot express support for terrorist organizations, one cannot apology for crime, for those who killed children, for those who raped women”.
“Culture is a pillar, we must live up to our heritage”
Moving on to the activity of the Ministry of Culture, Sangiuliano underlined that “Italy has a great strength which is business, with many Italian excellences, and another great pillar which is culture. We represent a cultural unicum. At the center In the Mediterranean there have been many civilizations that have left us something important, we are a synthesis of those cultures. We must live up to this heritage, we must protect and develop it.” The minister then spoke about the Pantheon in Rome: “We paid for it and it had a great influx, in the month of August it collected one million euros. With these resources we will improve the assets while another part will be used for charity Then there is the related activities that develop around cultural peculiarities. We are working to improve the offer.” Sangiuliano then stated that “cultural heritage also has its own sustainability, there is an objective number of people who can visit a property per day, more is not possible but we are increasing night visits and taking other initiatives to increase quality. For example, we opened the Domus Tiberiana. We need to raise quality and balance it with quantity.” As for the Shoah Museum, “many have theorized it, we have put it into practice. We will also restore the synagogue in Milan while in Venice we are looking for resources for the synagogue”.
“Whoever defiles goes against the environment he wants to defend”
Speaking about the latest cases of defaced works of art, the minister declared that “those who demonstrate for the environment by hitting works of art go against the environment because monuments are part of the landscape. They are a product of centuries of history, we must protect the sea and the mountains but also what the human race has done. We have made a provision against eco vandals because we want to make those who deface pay the costs: cleaning up is expensive and there is no guarantee that permanent damage will remain. The marbles they are porous and there could be something left forever.” Even “some foreigners come and think they can do what they want, but rules must be respected”. Regarding museum openings, Sangiuliano specified that “for the first time this year on August 15th everything was open, even on December 26th, we organized ourselves with shifts. We are the most generous in museum welfare, we guarantee openings to those who cannot pay the tickets, there are free Sundays plus some holidays. For the openings on November 4th we will evaluate based on safety issues”.