I never thought I would ever had written that header, but Berlusconi (whom I have well and truly loathed in the past for his populism and not-so-latent sexism) has really impressed me in the case of Eluana Englaro, the young Italian woman in a vegetative state for 17 years whose father recently got permission to disconnect her feeding tubes and starve her to death. The Vatican and the Italian Bishops have attempted to save her life for a long time, but recently Berlusconi entered the fray, stating that he would not have Eluana's death on his conscience. His government drafted a law to protect her but President Napolitano balked and she sadly passed away because of dehydration on Tuesday. More about the case here, with observations by prominent Italian neurologists who opposed the murder.
Berlusconi seems genuinely upset by the whole matter and offers this pithy analysis:
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi rejected the notion that Englaro had died of natural causes after she was deprived of food and water. "Eluana did not die a natural death," he said. "She was killed."
Amen. Access to food and water is not an "extraordinary treatment". It is an inalienable human right, also for persons with severe cerebral damage. I'm glad Berlusconi has seen this; maybe there is hope for Italy after all?