News about Umberto Eco

07.03.2011 - Umberto Eco sparks furore by comparing Berlusconi to Hitler

BY NICK SQUIRES, DAILY TELEGRAPH FEBRUARY 26, 2011
 
 
Umberto Eco, one of Italy's best known novelists, has provoked uproar among Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's allies by comparing the Italian prime minister to Adolf Hitler.

The author of The Name of the Rose responded to a question about turmoil in the Middle East with an outburst against the Italian leader, who is mired in a series of sexual scandals.

Invited to compare Berlusconi to Hosni Mubarak, the deposed president of Egypt, or Moammar Gadhafi, who is facing a revolt in Libya, Eco, 79, chose a more controversial parallel.

"Intellectually speaking, a comparison could be made with Hitler, who also rose to power with free elections," he said.

"Berlusconi is not a dictator like Mubarak or Gadhafi because he won the election with the support of a large majority of Italians."

Francesco Giro, the deputy culture minister, said it was shocking that Eco had demonized the prime minister by comparing him with a bloodthirsty tyrant.

Sandro Bondi, Italy's culture minister, said: "It is distressing that a man of culture like Eco should make such a provocative comparison, offending the truth as well as the sensibilities of millions of Italians, and that he did it in Jerusalem."

It is not the first time Eco, a philosopher and critic as well as an author, has criticized the prime minister.

In 2009, he told the Sunday Telegraph that "Italy's problem" was not just Berlusconi himself, but the fact that millions of Italians had turned a blind eye to his misdemeanours.

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