Berlusconi says he still has his spine. Nonetheless, he still might need to be measured for a zunnar* if he intends to maintain his nation’s status as “a country, Italy, loved and esteemed by the Arab world.” For that love is always a result of deeds, not just because the Arab world admires the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
ROME (AFP) – Italy insisted it did not pay a million-dollar ransom to win the release of two aid workers, as the country rejoiced in the homecoming of the women who said they were ready to return to Iraq to continue their work there.
Foreign Minister Franco Frattini insisted “absolutely no ransom” had been paid for the release of Simona Pari and Simona Torretta, both 29, known affectionately by Italians as “the two Simonas”.
A proud Frattini said Italy had simply used its “wide system of contacts” in the Arab world, adding that this “made the kidnappers understand concretely what they were dealing with: a country, Italy, loved and esteemed by the Arab world”.
“That was our only ransom,” he said in an interview with RAI state radio.
*Zunnar: a wide cloth belt that was often in Islamic countries part of the mandated dress code for dhimmis.