As soon as it came out in bookstores, the book stirred up legions of censors. But it also shot to the top of the sales charts. The diary of Giorgia Meloni, president of Fratelli d’Italia (FdI), has given rise to strong feelings. It could not have been otherwise for a passionate and frank writing, in which a personal story is intertwined with that of political commitment. The effective title I’m Giorgia. My roots, my ideas is taken from Meloni’s speech at a demonstration in October 2019. In the speech, the leader of FdI explained the importance of defending family, homeland, religious identity and sexual identity from single thinking. And she concluded with these words: “I am Giorgia. I am a woman, I am a mother, I am Italian, I am a Christian. You will not take that away from me.”
Mrs. Meloni, is it more difficult today to be a woman, a mother, an Italian or a Christian?
At this time the challenge is to defend identity everywhere, at 360 degrees, and in all the forms in which it manifests itself. Everything that defines us is under attack: the family, the homeland, religious freedom, our sexual identity. Identity of individual citizens is a danger for the single thought and for the great economic-financial clusters, because what we are is an expression of a vision of the world, it has a history behind it, it expresses a certain set of ideas and values. Without those ideas and values, without our identity, we are nothing: we are “citizen X” who does not believe in anything and, as Michael Ende, author of The Neverending Story, would say, “It is easier to dominate those who do not believe in anything”.
In your book you write that “in the eyes of the mainstream, they think I am a bigot”. Is it possible to defend certain values that are being mistreated by the dominant thought?
Absolutely, and we should not be afraid to do that. We need to base ourselves not on the denominational level, which is subjective, but on pure logic, on the secular common sense of our arguments. Certain Leftists and certain intelligentsia point at us as monsters just to escape confrontation: since they don’t know how to answer you on the basis of merits, they attribute all kinds of labels to you. Do you defend the natural family based on marriage? You’re retrograde. Do you fight to give women an alternative to abortion? You’re a traditionalist. Do you oppose gender ideology in schools? You’re stupid. If standing up for family, life, and educational freedom means being retrograde, traditionalist and stupid, then I’m proud to be all that.
Your opposition to abortion stems from the knowledge that your mother changed her mind on abortion in extremis when she was pregnant with you.
I owe my mother everything. She was the one who taught me how precious and sacred life is and how necessary it is to defend it. She was almost convinced to have an abortion, but she didn’t. She decided to take a chance, to throw her heart over the hurdle, to have courage. Even though the situation she was living in pointed to an exact opposite. But she decided to take the plunge and make the most unconventional choice you can make: to bring a child into the world. Her story, which is also mine, taught me above all that many women who have abortions do not rule out another choice in their hearts, and that a just state would be concerned with how to help them, instead of passing off abortion as the best possible option.
This story of hers has elicited reactions. Someone has objected that Law 194 dates back to 1978, the year after your birth, but ignored the 1975 Constitutional Court ruling. Did that incident hurt you?
Yes, and it made me very sad. It’s a controversy that denotes the paucity of certain self-styled journalists and intellectuals. Persons whose only reason for living is to show off and who have no qualms about using even personal facts to attack someone politically.
If the FdI were the ruling party in Italy, would it intervene in any way on the issue of abortion?
We will continue to support the full application of Law 194, which in its first article stipulates that the State shall defend and protect human life from conception. Because for us, each conceived, smallest and poorest of human beings is one of us and must be protected. The State and institutions, at every level, must do all they can to help women who see abortion as the only possible choice. I am thinking, for example, of economic and psychological assistance and support for women who want to carry their pregnancies to term, even if they want to give the child up for adoption, or the strengthening of the Centri di Aiuto alla Vita (CAV) (Help for Life Centres) and of those organizations that support women in crisis pregnancies. What is needed is a radical reversal of direction that will also put an end to those measures, such as the Speranza directive on the RU486 pill, which trivialize abortion into a do-it-yourself practice and expose women to huge health risks.
Today we have the Zan single text (a bill against “homo/bi/trans”-phobia, proposed by MP Alessandro Zan – ed.). With what arguments can you explain to the public that opposing this bill does not mean that someone is homophobic?
The Zan single text does not serve to combat discrimination but to punish with new crimes of opinion those who do not bow their heads to the single thought. And we have seen this in countries where similar legislation has come into effect. It’s a libertarian proposal that the Left wants to impose to target those who oppose gay adoption or surrogacy. It’s a measure that denies sexual difference and will end up discriminating against women in particular, denying them achievements they have accomplished over so many years. To argue that a person’s sexual identity is completely disconnected from their biological identity leads to exactly that. And I’m not the one who says this, but those historical feminists who are now even accused of homophobia because they claim that females are special and different. The Zan single text also serves to throw the doors of our schools wide open to gender ideology, starting in primary school.
Civil unions were approved in 2016, despite strenuous opposition from a large part of society. Is the passage of laws defined as progressive inevitable?
Nothing is inevitable. But it is fundamental that citizens always make their voices heard, as it happened, for example, with the two great Family Days: in San Giovanni (a rally in 2007, where 1.5 million people gathered to support the natural family – ed.) and at the Circus Maximus in Rome (a protest in 2016, against a bill giving gay couples legal recognition and adoption rights – ed.), two massive, grassroot demonstrations. If the citizens make themselves heard, it is harder for the Government not to listen to them.
It was 2006 when Pope Benedict XVI enunciated the famous non-negotiable principles at a conference sponsored by the European People’s Party. Are those principles central today to the Party of European Conservatives and Reformists, of which you are president?
The defense of life from conception to natural death, the culture of life as opposed to the deleterious culture of death and discarding, typical of a certain amoral progressivism, the defense of the natural family as the pivot of society and as an educational bulwark – these non-negotiable principles, enunciated with great depth by Pope Benedict XVI, are an inseparable part of the political and cultural heritage of European Conservatives. And they represent the priorities of my term as the president. Because it is from these values that Europe must start again, in order to have a future and not betray its thousand-year history.