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The Body Economic by Sanjay Basu, David Stuckler

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7

RETURNING TO WORK

On May 4, 2012, a crowd of women waving white flags marched to the entrance of the Italian government’s Equitalia tax office in Bologna. They were the vedove bianche, the White Widows. Following Italy’s austerity drive in response to the Great Recession, their husbands hadn’t been able to find enough work or pay their tax debts. And so the men had chosen to end it all by taking their lives. Saddled with debt, and left to pick up the pieces, the widows were angry and frustrated that the government wasn’t helping them.1

“Non ci suiciderete!” they chanted: “Don’t suicide us.” Tiziana Marrone, the leader of the protest, said, “The government must do something. It is not right what is happening in Italy.” They were upset that the ...

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