The story of “Mario”, a sick man from the Marches who was authorized to resort to euthanasia, marks a milestone in the history of our country, profoundly changed by the civic battles of Marco Cappato
Who is Marco Cappato
His is definitely an atypical figure in the complex Italian political framework. First and foremost it is capable of change things even by being outside the institutions, while many of those who hold an elective role leave no trace of their passage. It has also been able to involve an impressive number of our compatriots in the referendum battle, in a historical phase of strong disaffection and abstention. In addition, it has reached the peak of popularity after dodging jail, a prospect that, understandably, for any other politician would have represented the beginning of a terrible media pillory. Let’s start from here to draw the profile of an activist who seems truly tireless.
Cappato and DJ Fabo: tears and absolution
In a truly incredible succession of events, in December 2019 Cappato was acquitted of the charge of suicide aid by DJ Fabo, for which he had self-reported two years earlier, on the very day he lost his mother, who was also a radical and ill for some time. The court gave him just a few minutes’ break in a trial in which he faced up to 12 years in prison. At his side was there Valeria Imbrogno, Fabo’s companion, born Fabiano Antoniani. Left quadriplegic following an accident, the DJ turned toLuca Coscioni Association, which has long been fighting for freedom of scientific research and in particular for the legalization of euthanasia. Cappato, secretary of the Association, accompanied Fabo to Switzerland, where the “sweet death” has long been allowed by law, unlike Italy, and he immediately declared himself. By bringing the question to a courtroom, he achieved that euthanasia conquered the center of the political debate, underlining the need to fill the legislative gaps on this point. The ruling of the Constitutional Court in fact establishes that, under certain conditions, suicide aid is not comparable to suicide incitement, punished by art. 580 of the penal code. A fundamental achievement, which Cappato obtained by putting his own freedom at risk, in favor of the freedom of each individual to choose what to do with their life. And this was greatly appreciated.
From + Europe to the boom of digital signatures
In the wake of a case that has stirred consciences such as that of DJ Fabio, last October Cappato closed the collection of signatures for the referendum onlegal euthanasia with a staggering total of 1.2 million signatures. 500,000 would have been enough to request popular consultation.
The merit of this exploit is certainly in part the possibility of digitally signing thanks to Spid, an important innovation, but above all in the ability to deal with issues that really affect people’s daily lives, as opposed to the often smoky and self-referential dynamics of politics-politician.
The significance of Cappato’s civic battles is also recognized by those who do not share them. This was also seen in the discussion on GMOs, in which, precisely because of his faith in science, he went against the tide taking a favorable position on genome editing. And in fact it is difficult to give it a precise location, according to the classical schemes. Certainly his personal tendency is more towards the center-left, of which he was part as a city councilor in Milan with Giuliano Pisapia Mayor, but the Radicals have often taken transversal positions and, especially in the economic field, have often found points of contact also with the center-right. In January 2019 Cappato participated in the congress of + Europe running as national secretary against Benedetto Della Vedova. His defeat, closely linked to the agreement between Della Vedova and Bruno Tabacci, led him to engage in politics “in another way”, that is, outside parties.
Journalism, politics and civic battles
Cappato will not have any cards in his pocket, but he certainly does not lack opportunities to intervene in the public debate. In addition to the role of treasurer of the Luca Coscioni Association, he is a promoter of the pan-European movement Eumans, as well as a freelance journalist since 2012 and curator of the Sunday press review on Radio Radicale, entitled “Press and regime”. Among his battles, there are also those for the legalization of cannabis, as well as those for the climate: on 23 April 2020, on the occasion of Earth Day, he launched the initiative “Stop Global Warming” and in mid-November he promoted “Citizens for the climate”, on the wave of the success achieved thanks to digital signatures. A path that demonstrates how it is possible to engage in politics even without holding institutional roles, something that Cappato has done abundantly in the past. Born in Milan on May 25, 1971, in the 1990s he fell in love with the Radicals project, inspired by the figures of Marco Pannella and Emma Bonino. Chosen as an assistant to the European Parliament, he was arrested during an unauthorized anti-prohibitionist demonstration in Brussels: it would have been only the first of many similar episodes of civil disobedience. In the following years he was elected European parliamentarian, Italian parliamentarian, municipal councilor in Milan and the metropolitan city, as well as running for President of Lombardy in 2013 (but without obtaining the necessary signatures to present the list) and Mayor of the capital in 2016 (in the ballot Radicals then supported Beppe Sala, obtaining a place in the council with Lorenzo Lipparini). Yet on the referendum on Justice they are on the same line as the Lega di Matteo Salvini.
Public challenges and private life
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