Strange things happen in this country. “Smoke and Mirrors”, the title of an article about Italy in the latest edition of The Economist, seems to interpret very well the general feeling that is pervading Italian civil society. The new economic measures undertaken by the centre-leftist government of Romano Prodi is, in short: tax now, reforms later. But what is interesting is the way the Italians show their extreme resistance to change. That is: strike! They have gotten used to it–even those who aren’t interested in it–but know very well what it means. Especially in Rome, the capital, the chosen forum in which to strike. In the last few months there have been multiple strikes, just about one for every kind of job (and if it wasn’t a strike, it was public dissent). It’s so common here that nobody asks themself why anymore. The questions are different, and have nothing to do with the workers’ motivations for striking. For example: “How do I get there? How can I change my ticket?”, when there is public transportation strike. Or, “How can I reach the city from the airport?”, if the strikers are taxi drivers. This year there are new entries, like professional associations – lawyers, journalists and the like – that struggle against reform in order to secure their jobs (in terms of contracts, money, privileges etc…). So don’t bother asking why today there are no newspapers, no tv or radio news. There is even the government itself struggling underground against its own effort to reform the regulations for the biggest companies of the country: banks, communications, the national airline company, etc. Paradoxical. Another paradox is that the same people that gave their vote to this left-wing government are unsatisfied. Because even the labour unions are busy campaigning for the same basic rights that they deny to their own workers. So when there are public protests your question becomes: “How can I stand people screaming under my window?”. So much smoke in the air, we can’t see anything.