19 January 2011

Springing Up Gaddafi

The Fiuggi Terme (hot springs) are some of the oldest springs in Italy. The Romans cherished the waters, and ever since the Romans, Fiuggi water has been bathed in, “taken”, bottled and even prescribed by doctors for it’s high mineral content, ability to flush uric acid from your body and it's purifying affect on the kidneys. Even the Servizio Sanitario Nazionale (national health system) recognizes the water as a treatment for kidney stones and urinary tract infections. Today, most grocery stores and markets in Italy carry the green glass bottles on their shelves. Sangimini is the company that runs the bottling of the water with strict quality controls and the resort/spa.

Unfortunately, I guess it’s expensive business to run a hot spring spa because the Italian-Iraqi Chamber of Commerce has notified that Gaddafi (yes, that Gaddafi) has just made an offer to buy out Sangimini for 250 million euros and take over all operations. The plan also includes the construction of a major conference center and hundreds of additional jobs. He has apparently made quite the “friendship” with the mayor of Fiuggi, whom, of course, is thrilled with the prospect of such a deal. Now, this is not a done deal yet, as it is sure to cause a bit of stir and the proposal needs to be approved by the president of Lazio (Lazio is the province that governs the town of Fiuggi). Plus, the Libyan consulate denies that Gaddafi made such an offer, so some political issues need to be addressed before anything official.

I’m not quite sure how the Italian people will react to this, given that there is bad blood between Italians and Gaddafi from when he kicked out over 20,000 Italians that had a community in Libya back in the seventies. But, that was a while back, people forget and anyway there is no good argument for foreign settlements. Plus, there has been a recent love-fest with Gaddafi since he started working with the west and he and Italy have made peace. So does this mean that a national Italian treasure will be purchased by the head of Libya? Even if the Italian people have a problem with this offer, what company would say no to a 250 million euro offer during an economic crisis?

What do you think about this?

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