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She does not do anything by halves. Emma Bonino always and ever gives the impression as if she wanted to roll up her sleeves straight away and start getting a thing done. There is probably hardly any other parliamentarian who could better be described than her by the term "bundle of energy". Not even when confronted to the hopelessness of a situation does this wiry blonde with the big glasses give up her perseverance. She does not refrain from bluntly calling things what they are; this accounts also for her present, difficult mission as the leader of a EU delegation observing the Sunday parliamentary elections in Afghanistan. She does not get tired to help creating the difficult path of political stabilisation and democratisation in this country. The elections, Ms Bonino said at the beginning of her stay in Kabul end of July, represented a cornerstone for the strengthening of a state of law and the reconstruction of a pluralist society in Afghanistan. Already in the seventies Bonino, born in 1948 in North-West-Italian Piemont, stood at the head of a movement fighting for the lifting of an anti-abortion law. Together with Marco Pannella, she has since then formed a rhetorically strong duo leading the Italian Radical Party. Neither of the two cares about ideologic patterns; otherwise they would not have helped Silvio Berlusconi to come to power in 1994, through their votes. Seven years later, however, out of protest against Berlusconi's media power, Bonino started a several week-long hunger strike - without though giving up the pleasure of smoking a daily 20 to 30 cigarettes. She was nominated for many posts - ranging from State President of her home country to UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Not only others prevented such posts; Emma Bonino herself prevented them because it is not her habit to think within a political consensus. In Germany, Bonino would probably be situated somewhere between the Greens and the Liberals. She fights against nuclear power, but in favour of embryo research. Between 1995 and 1999, during her almost five-year term as European Commissioner for Consumer Protection and Fisheries, responsible also for the European Office for Humanitarian Assistance (ECHO), it was not easy to politically fix Ms Bonino. She stayed out of the (still today) typical hierarchical power fighting between Commissioners. Instead, she concentrated on her fields of responsibility, not the least on the consequences of BSE, which first appeared in Great Britain then; she mainly concentrated on humanitarian dramas on an international level: Central Africa, the Balkans, Asia Minor, and also Afghanistan. When in September 1997 she officially visisted Kabul, the Talibans kept her prisoner for several hours. She did not lose her head for a single moment. She is still just the same today, eight years later, being the head of a delegation of EU Observers; she is still the contrary of a silenced leader.

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