NEW DELHI: Italy, with over 6,000 people felled by the coronavirus has more dead than anywhere in the world at this time. Fausto Biloslavo, a senior journalist with Il Giornale and Panorama warns the actual number of people infected may be ten times the official figure. In this conversation with StratNews Global Associate Editor Amitabh P.Revi, he insists the all-India 21-day lockdown is necessary but not sufficient, if the lessons from Italy are to be learnt. Think of it, Italy has a population of about 60 million compared to India’s 1.3 billion. Citing photographs of long army convoys transporting coffins to the crematorium along empty streets, Fausto says it is necessary to tell and show graphic tales of death so people understand the gravity of what they’re up against. He describes how towns in Lombardy, at one point, were seeing one person dying every two minutes. Fausto stresses that preventing the health sector from collapsing is crucial, more so for India’s 1.3 billion population. A conflict reporter for over 40 years, Fausto knows this is a long, tough and deadly war against an invisible enemy. But, he adds, the disease has forced the rediscovery of the homeland and community — exemplified by widely seen viral videos of Italians singing across cities and towns in lockdown.
Fausto Biloslavo is a veteran Italian war journalist, and a prolific writer on modern conflicts. Over the last 35 years, he has covered conflicts first hand from Afghanistan since 1979, the Balkans, to the “forgotten wars” in Africa, Chechnya and Iraq – for a wide range of Italian print and broadcast media. In 2019 in Moscow, he was awarded RT’s Khaled Alkhateb memorial international award for best video journalism from a conflict zone for his reporting from the ongoing battle around Tripoli, between government forces and the troops of General Haftar.