Tonight, around 8:10 PM CET, Eluana Anglaro passed away.
May she rest in eternal peace.
It’s 1992. Then 22 year Italian young woman Eluana Anglaro
is caught in a deadly car crash. Her body refused to die, but she was deeply comatose, and in essence, well, dead. Her father decided she had to be let go. Sad detail is that a friend of Eluana also had gone into a deep coma and according to her father, she had told him that that wasn’t life, and she would never want to live live like that. Fast forward 2009. The now 38 year old Eluana’s body is still alive, and her father is still fighting to give her a respectful, caring, compassionate death. Last 10 years of the fight was before the highest justice body of Italy.
All that time, Rome, as in, the Catholic Church, has kept up a venomous and intense campaign to deny this woman her right to die. This of course stalled any lawmaking in unstable Italian politics. Finally, in November 2008 a few days ago, the highest court greenlighted her to be taken off artificial nutrition. Next hurdle was to find a clinic that would actually dared to do that. I think it would be fair to compare this situation with the abortion doctors in the US. A private clinic was found, and as far as I have understood, its doctors have now protection. She is off support as of yesterday morning and it should take another 3 to 4 days from now for her body to give up. But the craziness didn’t stop here.
The Italian administration (or cabinet as it’s called) yesterday met in a special meeting, to file a decree to forbid this to go through. Prime minister, now the right winged, 72 year old (remember, calling Obama “nicely suntanned” ?) womanizer and media moloch Silvio Berlusconi, had the insane, insulting and indecent brutality to state in public: “as a father, I will NOT take the responsibility for Eluana’s death”. He also stated the woman can still bear children “as she is still having her periods”, suggesting she can be cured. The Vatican immediately marked the decree as “a very courageous decision”. Now the president has to sign every law and decree, but you have to understand, a president in Italy is not a president of say the US: he has no executive powers. In this sense, the president is more like a head of state, a king. President Georgio Napolitano an hour and a half later refused to sign the decree, stating it is against the Italian constitution to file a decree that is going against the judgement of the highest court.
Don’t cheer yet, it’s not over. My prayers (in a non-religious sense) are with poor mr. Englaro. And mr. Napolitano has my deepest respect.
Latest (7-2): Italian parliament will gather Monday to debate. Not a good sign.
Latest (8-2): As expected: inspectors were sent to the clinic and they found “administrative irregularities”, and are trying to prove the clinic is not a sanatorium as spoken of in the last verdict. Pope Benedictus made strong hint in a Sunday speach. And one of the cardinals phoned Napolitano. And the church cheered parliament’s effort to ratify the decree on Monday. Told ya. In a response, Eluana’s father has publicly invited both Berlusconi and Napolitano to the clinic.
Latest (9-2): Police filed a request at the justice department to seize the room where Eluana is dying.
Latest (9-2): She passed away. I will refrain from posting, as well as commenting on the Vatican’s declaration.
Side note one: of course, dozens of people are “let go” of each year in Italy, but that is simply under the surface. One of my siblings is a chief anesthesiologist, say no more. It’s just a private, silence thing.
Side note two: it might seem I am on an anti-religion roll, just after yesterday’s post. I am not. Old men telling others what to live and die for is what gets me. Together with the Richardson drama, this is the fast lane to my disrespect.