As others see us

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ONE OF the achievements of our civilised times is that we have transformed children into ferocious criminals. At 10 years old they rob, rape, kill and terrify adults . . . From South America a few weeks ago came an invitation to do away with the little devils and now from Britain comes a remedy not too dissimilar, even if it has the aura of legality. The High Court proposes the abolition of the law defending minors. (On Tuesday, the High Court ruled that children aged 10 to 14 can be convicted even if the prosecution fails to prove that they knew they were doing something 'seriously wrong'.)

How frightened adults are of themselves, how terrified they are to see themselves reflected in the mirror of infancy.

The British justices argue that these evil children are too like adults. But isn't it the other way round: that the adults of today are too like children? You need only turn on the television to see grown-ups playing, joking, winning millions of lira by answering childish questions, dressing up, taking their clothes off, humiliating women . . . It is always carnival time for adults, always a party.

Not all adults are like that, it's true. There are men and women with good heads on their shoulders, like the English judges . . . They take responsibility for a difficult decision: that of cleaning the world of faeces and criminality. And when all the wicked and dirty children are safely in prison we adults can play more peacefully. And our own little angels, blond, clean and good . . . sit in front of the television, learning to become adults.

From 'Unita', Italian newspaper.