- By Rebecca Frankel
Rebecca Frankel is deputy editor at Foreign Policy. She is the author of War Dogs: Tales of Canine Heroism, History, and Love a New York Times bestselling book about canines in combat, the subject of her regular Friday column "Rebecca's War Dog of the Week," featured on The Best Defense. She has appeared as a guest on Conan O'Brien, BBC World News, and the Diane Rehm Show among others.
In the aftermath of the earthquake that’s killed at least 250 people and displaced a total of 28,000 from their homes (17,000 of whom are taking refuge in tents and group camps, some even sleeping in their cars). And in an attempt to offer…comfort, Italy’s prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, has gone and stuck a big old boot in his mouth, again.
While touring makeshift shelters in L’Aquila, the city most devastated by the quake and its aftershocks, Berlusconi remarked:
Of course, their current lodgings are a bit temporary. But they should see it like a weekend of camping.”
Yes, there’s merit in the sunnier outlook of “when you have lemons make lemonade,” but Berlusconi’s comment — made as rescuers continued their desperate search for survivors — was grossly off color.
Though the prime minister did change his position on accepting foreign aid, saying that other countries would be welcome to help rebuild cultural sites.
Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images