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Superiority and gourmets (year 2018)
Many people think that "superiority" is a dirty word. As far as I'm concerned, ... well... I don't know. I have the same attitude towards the connotations of this word as I do towards religions. I'm an agnostic.
Once at an Italian bar an acquaintance told me that according to his academic experience Greek was better for philosophy and Latin was better for engineering and proverbs.
But in any case, is it not you - a wretched stranger and an ignoble person - who would like to convince me that a provincial Merlot is better than a vintage Bordeaux?
A superior wine here, a table wine there.
There's no difference, some say.
The difference, as far as I know, lies in the capitalist market that conducts the dances.
But for that matter... not all of them (the people) are sommeliers.
For the sake of a smoke-free society (2018)
If tobacco didn’t exist as a crop, do you think anybody in her/his right mind would want to create it? Can you imagine a conscientious biochemist or geneticist actually trying to come up with a highly addictive plant, leaf or similar thing containing a mixture of chemicals such as benzene and more than seventy other substances already known to trigger an array of health problems including cancer? I hope not. And the question that arises next is this: “If we had never seen it or heard of it, would we really miss it?” Probably not. But before I get to the core of my idea please let me tell you something about my experience as a smoker.
I had my first fag in Italy in the mid-80s, on my own, at times when everybody knew that tobacco wasn’t healthy but the dangers weren’t as demonstrable as now, and there weren’t any serious media campaigns discouraging its use.
The reasons why a teenager decides to take up such a habit might vary a little from person to person, but I suspect that they have remained pretty much the same since then.
Personally, it was the curiosity and the expectations of a slight increase of alertness induced by the nicotine, as well as the idea that holding a white and brown burning stick in your hand was a sort of cool thing to do that might have helped with socialisation and conviviality.
Another reason, something that perhaps has changed now, was the prospect of unconventionality and belonging to a more or less homogeneous group of cool, fashionable, understating or rebellious people.
30 years on, I recoil from this last motive with the humiliating feeling that – these days - some of the non-smokers and the ex-smokers see me more like a loser than a rebel or an unconventional person.
After the first few fags, it’s not a fully-fledged addiction yet. In my own experience, it took some sort of “dedication”, as it were. And the boredom. And the widespread availability of the cigarettes. Those of us who have always resisted and managed with maximum two or three a day have never been truly addicted and would find it easier than any of the “heavy users” to give up completely.
Undoubtedly, in order for my idea to work better, the various media voices of dissuasion and de-glamorisation (This is a word I have just come up with now and doesn’t actually exist in the dictionary, but is hopefully well understood in this context) – if any – should remain in place as much as possible and for as long as they are needed, because these days there isn’t anything particularly unconventional or rebellious about smoking, and even if you needed to be unconventional or rebellious, it wouldn’t be necessary to light up the fags.
What I hereby refer to as the “dumb down aspect”, or that odd psychological mechanism presumably similar to when some of us employ a local dialect despite speaking the standard language, or that phenomenon by which smokers are led to dumb themselves down or dumb down a particular social situation by puffing away together in a common feeling of pathetic solidarity, might indeed be a reality, and might also entail – for some – a certain degree of discriminatory attitude against the non-smokers. Not that much can be done to eliminate the “understatement aspect”, but awareness of it might avail to those of us smokers who set out with the purpose of reducing or quitting. Addicted smokers like me, I presume, even if when they need a cigarette any place where it’s permitted will do, tend to feel more comfortable smoking when other smokers are around.
In 2010, after about 24 years on 20 or more a day, or equivalent amount of roll-ups, I developed a carcinoid tumour in my left lung. There is no evidence that the aforementioned type of cancer was directly connected with the use of tobacco, nevertheless I got so scared that I had to stop. In only two weeks I managed to get rid of tobacco. But about one year after the operation, more than 350 days of more or less intense craving, a bloke offered me a cigarette, despite me saying that I had stopped, and just a little nudging was enough to tempt me. Before I knew it I was back on 20 a day.
Around 2015. Feeling a bit like a failure and worried about my health, I decided to give it another chance. With the help of a few nicotine nasal sprays, I managed to free myself of the damned poison again. But the craving persisted and after about ten months – under similar circumstances to the above – I started again. Of late, even if trying hard to deny it, I had to face the ill-fortuned but quite predictable fact that – especially at night – I had difficulty breathing. The horrible cough too made me give up again, but for only five days. Then for some time I have alternated roll-ups with vaping, which helped to reduce. I felt a little better but still relished a a good puff. Then the vaper gave me some problems with irritation of the respiratory organs and an even worse cough, so I gave it up and have been on 17 g of tobacco since.
One condition I think is politically and ideologically necessary for this proposal to materialise is the following: we would all have to acknowledge and agree that tobacco is a dangerous poison and we discourage everyone from smoking it. So even if you are a smoker and you get a lot of pleasure from it, and don’t yet have any health complications due to its use, you still might want to sympathise with me when I say that I wouldn’t recommend it nor give approval to my son or my daughter if they began to take up such harmful habit. Us as a nation, as parents, do we want our descendants to smoke? Do you want your children to smoke tobacco? If the answer to these questions is no, you are probably interested in reading this next one: “Would you consider a world where smokers, non-smokers and ex-smokers alike help themselves defeat this widespread addiction with no feelings of bigotry, discrimination or contempt?
Personally, I have never been too keen on any cheap type of nanny state intervention. So, if you liked my rather draconian approach you would have to appreciate that in this case, more than a nanny state type of proposition, this is an idea that could result in actual legislation which will gradually but considerably reduce the number of smokers and the amount of tobacco consumed. But if the people believe that our teenagers have an incontrovertible right to smoke nothing gets done.
And now to the core of my idea.
I am thinking of a system of allowances based on weights. Tobacco companies should always state in a large font size on the packets the net weight and the amount of nicotine and tar of all the tobacco products they sell.
A tobacco allowance is the number of 84 mm (king size) cigarettes any smoker in the country is allowed to purchase daily, and a unit is a tobacco allowance 1, or 0.8 g of tobacco, which is the average net tobacco weight of an 84 mm cigarette (without paper and filter). Assuming that 20 king size ready-made cigarettes are equivalent to about 14-15 g of loose tobacco for roll-ups or pipe, the maximum daily allowance of 36 would be equivalent to a 25.2-28.8 g sachet (pouch) of loose tobacco. Enough to run out of breath and die prematurely.
At this stage, I wouldn’t worry too much trying to differentiate the allowances according to strength: customers are allowed to choose their desired strength responsibly. But I assume that the government would be in a position to allow tobacco companies to sell only products with a maximum of – say – 25 mg of dry weight nicotine in a king size cigarette weighting about 0.8 g, which means a maximum of 2.5% of nicotine allowed in all tobacco products. (The dry weight is the actual weight, not the yield.) The yield is the average percentage of nicotine absorbed by the body which the companies sometimes state on the packets. We should not seek to legislate according to the yield. The yield is probably something quite difficult to measure, and varies from person to person according to how “forcefully” (lustily) they drag, or take their puffs. My suggestion of setting a maximum limit of 2.5% nicotine is solely owed to my common sense, simply because the great majority of smokers would agree with me that this is more than enough to get a kick. For my part, if you really wanted to know, I fare well on about 1.8% or less, although I am not even so sure of this percentage because often they don’t state it. And they should.)
As for the amount of tar (how do they measure that?) or any advice about healthier uses (filters, sizes, papers and different types of tobacco), I envisage a policy that maintains the staus quo. On these matters, people have strikingly different opinions often based on unverifiable sources, so they should be allowed to choose responsibly for themselves.
For the allowance system to work maximum amounts must be set. Incidentally, my foregoing suggestion of a maximum allowance of 36 king size cigarettes or units a day is only something that may or may not be ratified after evaluation of other – perhaps more informed and convincing – recommendations. But those of us who smoke more than 36 a day – I bet – wouldn’t complain: they know that they have a hell of a chain-smoking problem and they would probably think that the nation is doing them a favour if it doesn’t let them surpass that purchasing limit.
The minimum allowance is one 84 mm standard size (king size cigarette) weighting 0.8 g or less without paper (net tobacco weight) per week, or 1 unit per week. If you needed more than that, you could choose to have 2 per week, 4 per week, 6 per week, 1 per day, 2 per day, 5 per day, 10 per day, 15 per day and so on in increments of 5 up to 35 per day plus 1. The maximum allowance, as suggested above, would be fixed at 36 units per day. Packages for all current quantities and dark brown cellophane wrappers containing 1, 2, and 4 king size cigarettes or loose tobacco equivalents will make up all the other quantities if bought together. Quantities for all allowances should be procurable at the usual retailing shops selling tobacco products as easily as possible. To be more precise, what I mean by “easily” is that if for example a customer who wanted to purchase only two units (equivalent to a cellophane of two king size cigarettes or to a small pouch of 1.6 g of loose tobacco), she/he shouldn’t be finding herself/himself in a position of having to travel for miles and miles for this desired quantity, but should always be able to find it available at the local outlet. However, the question on how to enforce the availability of the “small quantities” is rather outside my competences, and I must therefore defer it. Incidentally, the reason why the availability of these “small doses” has relevance within this context will be clearer later on in this text. What I can say for now is that for some non-heavy smokers the possibility of buying a cellophane containing for example only two king size cigarettes once a week would certainly stave off the temptation of heavier use.
Because the net tobacco weight of 100s is often not so greater than 0.8 mg, cellophane packages of 100 mm cigarettes containing four or less than four could be sold according to the same allowances standards as for the 84 mm. However, if the net tobacco weight of a 100s was 1 mg and you had an allowance of 5 units a day you would be allowed only a cellophane of four 100s a day, and if you had an allowance of 10 units a day only a packet of eight 100s a day, and proportionally so up to the maximum allowance of 36 a day, which would entitle you to purchase 28 long (100s) cigarettes each day.
The laws on plain packaging and warnings could remain the same and apply to the cellophane wrappers too.
We would all have to apply in an online form for an allowance if we wanted to buy tobacco products. A special card with the holder details and weekly allowance can be issued and posted. It will be needed at the retailer's to swipe for the transactions. The website could be called " Mandatory tobacco allowances UK, mta.gov.uk" or something like that. Young people under the age of 20 shouldn't be able to apply, and first-time applicants who have never smoked should be refused allowances above 6 units a day (42 units a week). Existing smokers know how much they need and will apply for their desired weekly allowance. For example, if I now need roughly 17 g of tobacco each day, I would apply for 21 units a day (147 units a week), because 1 unit is set at the weight of 0.8 g of tobacco. Tobacco may be bought in quantities not exceeding the weekly allowance. This means that if I bought 147 units on a monday after midnight when my allowance started and I tried to buy some more before seven days have elapsed, the sale will be refused. This also means that nobody will be able to make tobacco provisions for more than a week. All tobacco retailers and online shops will have to be connected to the site database, so they will know how many units there are in the account of all smokers. "Unspent units" expire each week. This means that if for instance you were allowed 147 units a week and during a period of seven days you used only 100, you wouldn't be allowed to spend the remaining 47 units on top of the 147 the following week.
We should always be able and encouraged to reduce our allowance. Reducing the allowance can be done easily via the site. Most smokers are aware of the dangers of tobacco and may want to self-discipline. Many will realise that reducing the allowances gradually will help them quit. However, it should never be possible to increase an allowance without appealing via the site first. The appealing process would require the smoker to be charged an amount of money to be established and the applicant may never be able to increase her/his allowance by more than a third. People with certain health conditions such as asthma or COPD may not be able to increase. Medical expertise should be sought to draw a list of conditions where an increase of allowance may not only be discouraged but declined too.
It should be illegal and punishable by law with a hefty fine to lie on the form.
One page of the site could inform everybody (The Government and the public alike) about tobacco consumption in the UK. It will be possible for everybody to visit an up-to-date page refreshed daily by the system which will tell us things such as percentages and number of smokers by gender, age, county, nationality, ethnicity, and tobacco allowances.
The transition period? I don't know how long it could take to issue and post the cards to all the existing smokers, but if and when everything will be in place (when the software will be ready, the tobacco companies will sell in the quantities established, and the retailers will have the equipment and the software to process the transactions) we will all have 6 months time to apply. Retailers and online shops will refuse tobacco sales to those who don't have a card (or its details and password for online purchases) only after the 6 months transition period has elapsed.
Because at the moment I am only an unpaid comedian, I will end this with a joke. I don't think that this is an idea that can actually be put up for sale, but if any of you think that it can be and want to buy it, I will sell it to you for a carton of Marlboro.
François Truffaut (year 2018)
"Adolescence leaves a good memory only to adults with poor memory"
I'd tell François that this is due to the failures of the neo-fascist school and the ignorance of the populace. But above all, to criminal bad parenting. Particularly the sick, immature, disgusting and unruly devil, who expects the people to be superficial and unhappy like him.
My dear sister. As for the past, you're my only hope. We will soon play the same games so hated by the devil, who does not like children and therefore does not know how to live. Yet art for him will always be second nature.
One thought about language and technology (year 2017)
In any given human language, if I tried to employ many distinctive low-frequency terms, communication could maybe become a better, more creative and effective, and possibly a more interesting process.
Consider for instance the already extensively developed computer language HTML, where a really good knowledge of its single components would result in more precision and possibly more aesthetic value too.
So, my question is: “Do you think that the bigger your understanding of vocabularies and syntaxes are, the bigger your possibilities for mind expansion become?”.
Now a famous quote from Wittgenstein: “The limits of my words are the limits of my world.”
I think this is only a truism though, because quite noticeably the creativity and the skills we have are not always matched by our linguistic abilities.
Globalization (year 2017)
Today, my modest remarks about globalization.
From my point of view, there is nothing deplorable with the intentions and possible outcomes originally associated with the idea of globalization.
Previously, it was not primarily about the liberalisation of markets (nowadays with its sometimes harmful consequences), but above all the extension of economic, political and cultural relations between the nations of the world. Some use the term "globalisation" especially with regard to cultural issues, especially when refering to the single world system, or to societies that will look more and more alike, a phenomenon that worries some and which for others is simply inescapable.
Of course, globalization can cause the spread of diseases (we fear pandemics), financial crises, cyber-attack... However, it is plausible that these scourges would have arisen anyway, that is, even without the liberalisation of markets, without the development of means of transport, etc. Then, it is rather easy to guess that the benefits, especially in terms of general democratization, of information and communication technologies, far outweigh the risks or the reality of cyber-attacks.
In my opinion, the notion of a united world without borders, of a global village (globalism) is a desirable ideology, not just a pipe dream, provided that a true democracy is envisaged and established, and that the inequalities between peoples and people will be, at last, only a bad memory of the past.
But unfortunately the so-called globalist organizations, notably the IMF and the WTO, are often themselves, according to many analysts, who exacerbate inequalities. We ask ourselves: "Is free market an expression that can't bear its name?"
About utilitarianism (year 2017)
The thought that follows is maybe a little biased due to the fact that in my life some horrible individuals have in some occasions tried to lead me in a merry chase. Also, I have no background in economics, so I am not in a position to fully appreciate or comment on Keynesian theories. But in one thing I do believe, that we shouldn't waste people's time and efforts. The work we do should always be in some way useful or necessary, or at least meaningful and purposeful for some.
The metaphor of the holes, which some theorists would want us to dig and then fill up again just to keep us busy, reminds me of the Southwark houses, where the premises were painted and repainted innumerable times, because the bosses thought that the residents needed a sense of purpose. A dated theory today, I think.
I just detest all kinds of waste, so if i were in charge and I represented you, I would just let you go on holidays, instead of squandering resources. Who wants to work on unnecessary or meaningless projects? As far as I am concerned, i would't want to do that even if the wages were better than the unemployment benefit and I had nothing to look forward to. Many of the things a lot of people do today have little utilitarian or intellectual value. Yet it seems that the rich and poor divide is getting starker and starker.
On immigration and racism in the UK (2015)
A 17 years long life experience in London leads me to conclude that some type of propaganda, particularly the type of propaganda practised by the tabloids, is non-factual and immoral. They would want you to believe that foreigners are “invading” Britain, and are dwindling the resources of the NHS and state benefits allocations.
Statistics tell a different story. In 2009, the UK had just over 4 million foreign-born citizens, or 6.6% of the total population. By contrast, in the same year, Germany had over 7 million foreign-born citizens, or 8.8% of the population.
It is true that we are a relatively small island becoming more and more populous, but immigration is just as big an issue in many of the other EU countries.
It is plausible that perhaps there has been a failure in creating a truly multicultural society, but isn’t that exactly what Angela Merkel concluded when reporting on her own country in Potsdam in 2011?
Virtually all of my friends, and I tend to go along with their sentiments myself, agree that foreigners in London, the vast majority of them at least, put more money into the economy than they take out of it. They are enriching this city in all aspects.
Eastern Europeans workers, who often take the blame for pushing down the cost of labour, are only competing in the free global market economy. They are doing what an Englishman, or for that matter what any national of any other country, would do if they found out that life could offer more opportunities and the wages were high enough to even send remittances to their relatives.
Then, on ethical grounds, and from my personal viewpoint, the more prosperous real economies of the West have a duty of care: they should give a chance to those seeking a better life, with special attention and sympathy being paid to political refugees, who are mostly fleeing war-torn dictatorial places.
As far as I'm concerned, as an agnostic, to all those who claim that Britain is a Christian country I reply: “A geographical area, or a nation, defined by the dictionary as an aggregation of peoples of one or more cultures, races, etc., organised into a single state, isn’t very likely to be of, or share, a single religion. Nevertheless, and surely, whenever because of your loyalty to the tenets of Christianity you pay a bit more tax towards the foreign aid budget or the Inland Revenue (money expectantly used also to look after the disadvantaged and the “immigrants”), you are supposed not to whinge. National interest is a concept alien to Jesus.
As for the racial issues, before I continue, I would like to make sure of what is meant by the words “racism”, “race” and “xenophobia”.
What all Anglophone dictionaries I consulted seem to report unanimously is the following: “Prejudice, discrimination or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s race is superior” (Oxford dictionary) or more simply “A belief or doctrine that one’s race is superior” (WordReference.com).
Now a question arises: “What is a human race?” From further research, I found out that these days the older physical/anthropological definition of race implying that humans can be classified into different types (e.g. Caucasoid, Mongoloid, Negroid etc.) by using methods of differentiation such as hair form and body measurement, has now very little scientific standing.
Because all humans today are very similar genetically, the concept of race has been abandoned for the concept of cline, a graded series of differences occurring along the line of environmental or geographical transition.
“Race” today is primarily a sociological designation identifying a class sharing some outward physical characteristics and some commonalities of culture and history.
To put it simply, according to my understanding, a racist person today is someone who discriminates against, or even hates, one or more groups of people who don’t share his or her own physical traits or his or her own culture and history.
A xenophobe, defined by the dictionary as “someone who fears and hates strangers or foreigners”, is indeed a racist too whenever not only does he or she fear people of a different culture and history, but also hates them.
I wonder if the almost 1/3 of the people in Britain, who according to the 2013 British Social Attitude Survey admitted to being racist on some level, could benefit from reading these definitions. Maybe they don’t find it easy to realise that discriminating against or hating someone because of their different skin’s colour or eyes’ shape is a very superficial thing to do. They don’t realise that antagonistic behaviour towards all of us who have a different cultural and historical background can only be due to obtuseness and lack of understanding.
All this can only lead me to conclude that, ultimately, most often if not always, racism and xenophobia go to bed with ignorance.
Strictly speaking, it could also be argued, none of us share an exact same history: we are all different to some degree and we all have things to learn from each other.
According to the same survey mentioned above, the percentage of self-confessed racists in Britain in the 1980s was 36%. With the exception of a small spike in 2011, probably due to the 9/11 terror attacks, the figures seem to indicate that we, as a nation, are becoming less racist.
While this trend can inspire some hope for a more tolerant society in the future, it must also be noted that, despite some disagreeing, institutional racism is still alive and thriving in Britain. Not only within the police service, but also throughout civil society. Members of the Black and Asian communities, for instance, still seem to be underrepresented, with this trend getting worse rather than improving according to some sources.
Let’s not forget that in Britain, as well as in other so called “democratic countries”, there are laws against racism.
The Race Relation Act of 1976 is supposed to protect people on employment against discrimination on the grounds of colour, race, nationality, religious belief or ethnicity: harassment occurs whenever the workplace becomes a hostile environment, whether through direct threats or “jokes” directed to a certain race.
But the laws don’t seem to be so effective: they don’t tackle the dysfunctions which cause unjustified discriminatory behaviours. Maybe, in trying to resolve this problem once and for all, we should look at addressing school children more vigorously, early on in their formative years.
In Northern Ireland, just to mention a statistic I have come across accidentally, only 12 out of a reported 14.000 race hate crimes over the last 5 years have resulted in successful prosecution.
It’s not the jokes or the words themselves, particularly if these words are uttered or written singularly without adhering to a solid logical construct, or without much articulation, that offend me. Words are only semantic units which can’t cause too much offence on their own. It’s the way some people employ them, or put them together in such a way that reveals their apparent ignorance, or antagonistic attitude; that offends me. That subtle, ignorant and cheap wind-up. That is what offends me and hurts.
My personal experience of racist individuals?
Take Annibale. When I informed him that my doctor was a black man from Africa, this individual, supposedly concerned about the level of professionalism of the person who was in charge of my health, retorted with a disappointed glance: “Oh dear!”. I had rather he used the n-word instead of that “Oh dear!”, which felt like a stab wound in my stomach.
Or take Merlo, whom I thought was my friend. When he noticed I was wearing the same type of shoes some black people in Peckham like to wear, caustically remarked: “Black Luca”. He couldn’t have said anything so bitterly worse.
And these are only two of the low, despicable insults directed to myself and my Peckham community. Insults that are not yet within the range of power of enforcement of the law of the land.
“We must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force”… “We hold this truth to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…” (MLK)
The Death Penalty (2011)
(debate on the Esperanto website lernu.net year 2011)
I have always been against the death penalty but I wonder whether it would be useful to introduce it as an 'option', a last resort for those who think that the sentence to which they have been subjected is totally unfair and/or unbearable. Or when the penalty to which they are subjected is considered more serious than the loss of their life. There are prisons and prisons, they say. Personally, rather than being one of those US prisoners in solitary confinement - fortunately not many of them - I would prefer to be dead, and I would at least appreciate if I were entitled to a lethal injection. For me, this would be a right to one last just action to confirm what I have always believed in: that certain state barbarities are unacceptable whatever the justifications for punishing. A real democracy should never tolerate torture. A state that tolerates torture and the logic behind it is also a state that has already tolerated murder every time such situations arise. But if there was no longer torture in the world, I probably would have never felt the need to write all this.
Good thoughts, but we must not confuse the death penalty with "desired" death which is tantamount to suicide.
Suicide, although the church condemns it (I am not religious), is a solution to extreme cases, as you describe, or even incurable diseases and can be acceptable if desired by the individual himself.
First, however, we must eliminate the cruel prison, torture and encourage humane justice, as is already the case in some European countries.
The death penalty in certain countries, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, Arab countries, even for political opponents, for women (stoning), homosexuals, is an inhumane and absolutely horrific thing.
I agree and you're right. And perhaps in the extreme cases I refer to, it would no longer be too precise to talk about death penalty, even though the expression 'legalised opportunity for euthanasia', if it were a real opportunity, would in effect lead to the right to pay with one's life, whatever the quality of the judge's sentence had been. All this basically refers to the fact that I have a strong feeling that for some crimes, certain regimes and certain cruel people do not even think that a dignified death of the criminal is an adequate or sufficient punishment to "settle the debt with society" (or even more pathetically with God, as in the case of theocracies).
Even in those horrific cases of multiple murders that we learn about through the media and that make people horrify, and which generally result in life imprisonment, it would be desirable that the benefit of the doubt, and possibly even the possibility of ending one's life, should always be guaranteed. In theory, and rather cynically , a policy that could help with the problem of overcrowding in the prisons and the pockets of the taxpayers.
In my opinion, a state with democratic pride should never be reduced to the risk of committing atrocities or inflicting punishments that are manifestly disproportionate in relation to the crime committed. As for the desire to die, it must be considered that this desire, (I would call it rather "desperate way out") usually vanishes with the cessation of the cruel treatment or torture. How much is freedom worth? How long, how many years is it worth spending in a 16.20 square meter cell with five other people, thus having an area of only 2.7 square meters? It's a question that I would never want to be in a position to ask myself but that I wish I could ask myself when the hope that my situation may change is no longer felt. In this particular case, which I gave to give an example, after six months the prisoner was transferred to another prison with a derisory allowance of one thousand euros. A picnic, those of the solitary detention would say. But mind you, I haven't discussed euthanasia here yet, where it's clear that in some cases of terminal illness, for some patients, this desire to die will persist until their demise. And in the unfortunate extreme cases where the prisoner is also the victim of a serious illness, the cruel treatment and/or the sometimes illegal punitive therapies would represent a further abominable aggravation. Anyways, "Io speriamo che me la cavo."
NB "Io speriamo che me la cavo" is the title of a book written by a primary school teacher and published in Italy in the 1990s. The book contains the essays of his pupils, who are full of mistakes and fun stories. "Io speriamo che me la cavo" is not good Italian, it would have to be "Io spero di cavarmela". It's a bit like a child told you: "Me, I hope me gets by", instead of "I hope I'll get by". I only thought I'd ended with a little humor, the subject was heavy.