According with "Il Corriere della Sera" , one of the most "well- known" Italian newspapers, this summer about a million of Russians have their holidays in Italy.
Corriere della Sera talks about the data released by our Foreign Ministry.
Since the influx of Russian tourists seems to be a trend, I reflected a lot from it. Mass tourism is not so easy to organize. In order to make room for a million people you should begin
to spend money and work years beforehand.
First, since is a mass tourism, you can't expect that all of them
speak English or Deutsch as the tradictional customers of our tourism. So, in almost every hotel you need one or two guys speaking Russian. Since our school for tourism (called "Scuola Alberghiera") is 5 years old, that means that this summer result were achieved after almost 5 years of work. Who want's to make someone enjoy must know HOW that people feel joy. And this needs to study and prepare:
one million is a very big number.
Second, in order to permit a similar mass to travel , you need to take agreement with russian tour operators. That is a work that needs a lot of time too. You need someone who knows the russian market, Russian rules and laws, and so on.
At the same time, the number of the tourists from the USA in Italy is decreasing. This started before 9/11, and this means that Italian tour operators prefer to have business with Russians than with Americans.
What is happening?
There is a change of generations. I am thinking of my father. He was born in the WWII years. He was really poor, so he could not go to school: he worked, worked and worked all time.
In his memories, the USA was the country which came here
with blonde soldiers throwing chocolate and bubble gum to hungry (and curious) children.
As for Russians, my father (and the major part of his generation) had their image drawn by America: some kind of cool red communist robot, with a steel power engine (that uses vodka as a fuel) in the place of heart.
This image of Russians was hard-to-die , if in the middle of the 80's a famous singer (Sting) sang a song called "Russians" , in which he asked "do Russians love their children too". If a poet writes something of this kind, we readers say he is doubting of that.
That was the "gestalt" of about all people of last generations about the world, about Russia and the USA. I think they simply had a hard life, so lot of them never go school.
It is called ignorance.
Of course, new generations are quite different. Taking myself as an example, I went to the secondary school (from 14 y.o to 19 y.o) called "Liceo Scientifico". Despite its name, it is a general open look-culture driven school, and is not an elite school, being the choice of millions of young Italians. My generation was more lucky than my father's one, so all we were able to get education, and a lot of us have a degree.
I studied something called "Byline". I studied "The life of Avvakum". I studied (ok, not really deep as other Italian-related issues) something called "Slovo o polku igoreve".
That does not mean that I am an expert about Russian roots, but demonstrates that I know Russia not only about Communism.
Since I a bit of hystory, I know there was a "Kiev" period
and a "Moscow" period in ancient Rus', so I don't believe Russia started to exist with Lenin.
And so, Russians are not only "former communists".
Sure I studied ancient Latin so I don't read cyrillic, but I know
cyrillic is NOT some communist-born standard to build keyboards, due someone explained to me at school the root of cyrillic.
Of course, this changed the feeling people have about Russia. The image of Russians my father's generation had was the same image the average American had. The problem is, here that image was changed. In the USA, it was not changed. So,
if I talk with the American man of the same age, I feel it difficult to understand him: he does not take Russian history
before Communism into account, and he has the image of Russians similar to this of the last generations of Italians. Surely, they dont consider Russians like Communist robots: lot of them consider Russians like post-communist robots! They consider Russian culture as something that starts now, despite the fact that Russia has long history before Communism.
At the same time, the image of Americans has been changed. Even the last generations continue to worship them, the new generation is quite difficult to speak with. Talking with some average American of my age, I feel he is unable to understand the people having history.
When I talk with some Muslim, I think if he doesn't eat pork is not because he is NOW Muslim, and NOW Islam forbids him. I think he doesn't eat pork due his HISTORY is the HISTORY of a Muslim country, and history creates the way people live.
The US people, (and some other former UK colonies too) think "you are not eating pork because you are Muslim NOW. If we change the present, we will change your future, and we will change who you ARE". They think all problems are in present state, and changing the present state all things will change all.
They think history does not matter much. The example is when they came to Iraq: they simply had the illusion that the Iraqis could become American-like. By changing the present, they claimed being able to change what they are.
Of course, it doesn't work. Iraqis are who they are due to their long history, in a "hontologic" way to talk instead of the "epistemiologic" way to think of Americans.
Being without a true history (300 years is not history, is just a trend) they are unable to understand that a person IS (almost in some percentual) the history of his people too. They are unable to think there is a kernel which is not possibile to be changed, as it is related to history of a people. Sure, some peoples changed their culture. But of course this was done
by THEMSELVES, and only when the people itself decided to discuss (or sometimes to put in trial) its own culture. Anyway, it can't happen due to external decision, or after someone has
decided to export "democracy".
So, when I talk with some average American, I feel he doesn't
consider me as Italian from the country having 2,500 years of known history. He considers (in the best case) about 100-200 years of history. And, anyway, he doesn't consider history as something that made me who I AM.
Of course, this means they claim being able to change other peoples by simply changing their way of life. They think
since I dress in blue jeans and I drive a SUV, I should become American. This irritates me.
In general, there is a gap between different generations. Now, in the government pool there are about 60+ aged people. They lived their lives worshipping the USA, and they take a lot of support from the generation that do the same.
Under their feet, there is a newer generation more attracted by
ancient cultures, and more attracted by different peoples. Since the demographical trend, new generations will be really heavy (in order to influence government using the vote)
only within the next 15-20 years. This is an horizontal break that will came dominant up to the years. And this is the reason
you can see the government attracted by the USA, and the people preparing room to have a millions of Russians, abandoning their habitual oversea customers. This is the reason you see governments that follows the USA, and streets full of young opponents of the USA. Ones are older and represent an old belief, the others are younger and represent
a younger belt with different belief.
Americans reading this can say that we are becoming anti-American. No, the situation is quite different: we feel better while talking with others. When I talk with someone having a rich history, I understand he IS the product of ALL his history (and it is quite IMPOSSIBILE to change it if he does not want it to be changed) and (that is the best) he will do the same with me considering me as Italian due to Italy's history.
That kind of respect person the ancient nations have for other's hystory is the key that attracts new generation of EU
peoples. Simply let us wait for the new generations become the new governments.
While you wait, have a nice trip to Italy.
Ivan Nikola Guerra
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