Berlusconi's Italy is a strange place and amidst the madness today comes a little "no nukes" sanity. The people were asked and the people have spoken: Italy should have a nuclear power free future. This is great news and I cannot help singing the old Patty Smith's song: this is a great day and it's time to celebrate.
In the past weekend Italians' were called to cast their vote on four referendums, one of which was about the production of nuclear energy in Italy. The answer has come loud and clear: almost 57% Italians went to vote and the vast majority of them, almost 95%, have chosen for a future free of nuclear energy.
25 years after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster and just three months since the earthquake and Tsunami wreaked havoc at the Fukushima nuclear complex, Italy, regardless the reckless will of its government, becomes the third country, joining Germany and Switzerland, to exclude nuclear power from their future energy sources, since Fukushima reminded us once more of the inherent dangers of nuclear power.
If you live in the US, find out if you live near a dangerous nuclear plant on our nuclear locator map.
The time has come to leave the deadly nuclear distraction behind us and to move steadily towards a future powered by clean, safe and renewable sources of energy.
This is a great result also considering that there has been an almost total media blackout on all the four referendum, an institutionally driven blackout with a specific goal: not enough voters showing up to render any outcome invalid.
Over the past two months countless Greenpeace activities and those of others in civil society have been able to break the silence, giving back to the people the democratic right to exclude from their future and from future generations the tragic experiences the people in Chernobyl and in Fukushima have gone through, and still are.
Turning up was only the first part of the battle, next came the obtuse nature of the question posed in the referendum itself. Since it was meant to cancel legislation put in place by the Berlusconi's government, if you wanted to vote "no to nuclear energy" you had actually to vote "Yes" .
In the light of all these difficulties put in between the citizens and one of the most powerful tools of direct democracy -- a referendum -- it's clear that we all, not just those of us who are Italian, have good reason to celebrate.
People have the power! … and the reason I am still singing is that I have just read that according to an opinion poll, run in France by IFOP, the majority of the French people support a nuclear phase out in future.
And the song goes on urging us all to have: "The power to dream, to rule, to wrestle the world from fools …."