Miracle at Gezi Park

My dear Turkey, you're beautiful when you're angry. However, it remains to be seen whether the aesthetics is always a key to understand the facts and history.
When I moved to Istanbul in autumn 2008, the Turkish friends suggested me to rent a room in their home. They had settled recently, a few months before. The house was located in the district of Tarlabaşı, not far from the Gezi park. Tarlabaşı is a very special place. At the time of the last sultan was an European quarter populated mainly by Greeks and Italians. Then, with the agreement of 1922 between Turkey and Greece on the exchange of populations, the district went blank and in recent decades began to be populated mostly by Kurdish and Roma families, as well as by a certain population of African immigrants. But Tarlabaşı also borders Taksim Square, Istanbul's historic main square, often the scene of clashes as happened recently, from which the park Gezi begins. Tarlabaşı then takes its name from the boulevard, an avenue primarily for the use of the big city traffic, which separates the district of Tarlabaşı from the district of Galata and Istiklal Street, the most popular of the entire city, with its numerous shops, as well as bars, restaurants, nightclubs, concert halls, but also sites of associations, movements, political parties, cultural centers. And it's in fact the meeting place par excellence.

Miracolo al parco di Gezi

Mia cara Turchia, quanto sei bella quando ti arrabbi. Resta da capire se l'estetica però sia sempre una chiave di lettura per capire i fatti e la Storia. 
Quando mi sono trasferito a Istanbul nell'autunno 2008, gli amici turchi di allora mi proposero di affittare una stanza nella loro casa. Si erano insediati da poco, da qualche mese. La casa si trovava nel quartiere di Tarlabaşı, non lontano dal parco di Gezi. Tarlabaşı è un posto davvero particolare. Ai tempi dell'ultimo sultano era un quartiere europeo soprattutto di Greci e Italiani. Poi con l'accordo del 1922 tra Turchia e Grecia sullo scambio di popolazioni, il quartiere si svuotò e negli ultimi decenni cominciò ad essere popolato soprattutto da famiglie curde e rom, nonché da una buona popolazione di immigrati africani. Ma Tarlabaşı confina anche con piazza Taksim, storica piazza principale di Istanbul, spesso teatro di scontri come avvenuto recentemente, da cui si estende il parco di Gezi. Tarlabaşı poi prende il nome dall'omonimo boulevard, uno stradone essenzialmente ad uso del grande traffico cittadino, che separa il quartiere di Tarlabaşı dal quartiere di Galata e da Istiklal Caddesi, la via più famosa e frequentata di tutta la città, con i numerosi negozi, ma anche bar, ristoranti, discoteche, sale per concerti, ma anche sedi di associazioni, movimenti, partiti, circoli culturali. E' insomma il luogo dell'incontro per eccellenza. 

In risposta a Monitor, vizi e sviste napoletane

Recentemente è apparsa una recensione a "L'uomo con il megafono" sulla rivista mensile napoletana Monitor. La stessa recensione è apparsa poi ieri sulle pagine locali del quotidiano La Repubblica. Mi sono pertanto permesso di scrivere una risposta al giornalista Luca Rossomando, autore della recensione, non tanto perché indispettito dalla sua valutazione del film-documentario, peraltro tutto sommato lusinghiera, quanto piuttosto perché la visione e il giudizio che si dà di Vittorio Passeggio, il protagonista del film, e della sua esperienza di militante di base o ancora meglio di persona attiva, sono a mio avviso distorti.

Explanation of vote: between the post-ideological society and the Cumaean Sibyl

This below is what I published in Italian on this blog 2 days ago on the eve of the Italian elections. Now that we know that the result is a kind of ungovernable situation, I would like to ressure all those who don't live in Italy. This is not a so bad result, after all. Financial markets may be worried, but among those who were elected in the M5S there's a clean and responsible Italy, at least no less than those who governed until now. They can fade away from their purposals (they are perfect unknown normal citizens, no history of reliability), but if they will not, this can be an acceptable new beginning. Financial markets and Euro-gurus can relax, just is what is just and not what is necessary (for whom?). And Italy needs justice first, now.
 
<<Five years ago, in the last elections for the Italian Parliament, I wrote on this blog a reflection that I ventured to call "Small essay on Italy humiliated at vote". Many things have happened since then. First, in the meantime I left my country because of the muddy wave that took possession of it, I spent more than two years in Istanbul, a kind of self-imposed exile. In the meantime, then I came back to Italy for 2 years and live in Naples, a difficult city that this monetary and social crisis is paying from the forefront. And, nevertheless, at the forefront I set myself.
 
I REPEAT 5 YEARS LATER

Dichiarazione di voto: tra la società post-ideologica e la sibilla cumana

Cinque anni fa, per le scorse elezioni per il Parlamento italiano, scrissi su questo blog una riflessione che mi permisi di chiamare "Piccolo saggio sull'Italia umiliata al voto". Tante cose sono successe da allora. Innanzitutto nel frattempo ho lasciato il mio Paese proprio per l'ondata di torbido che se ne impossessò, ho trascorso più di 2 anni ad Istanbul in una sorta di esilio volontario. Nel frattempo poi sono rientrato in Italia e da 2 anni vivo a Napoli, una città difficile che questa crisi monetaria e sociale la paga in prima linea. Ed io nondimeno in prima linea mi sono messo.

 

Circus Scampia

On Friday, January 11th, the documentary film "The man with the megaphone" was presented to the Scampia district and the city of Naples.
Made in silence, I would say quietly, without disturbing others. Maybe it's because picking up the pieces that the media caravans had left, at the end of the television and film orgy. That has followed, on time, the sarabande, the real one, the bloody feud of 2004-2005. And, you know, pick up the pieces is always a quiet operation.
In January 2011, when the shooting began, at an early rainy morning, the spotlights were turned off on the neighborhood. There was only a little man who tried in vain to shelter under a tree from a torrential downpour. He was there, because the latest ones, when the lights are off, they are more late than ever. His name is Vittorio Passeggio.
With a perfect timing, last week, the press broke a controversy that concerns us. It all started from a recent statement by the President of the Eighth Municipality of Naples, who has publicly denied to the TV platform "Sky" a permission to make the filming of the fiction inspired from "Gomorrah", for which Roberto Saviano again would sign the script.

An accidental lift

In the night of the last September 27 an earthquake was felt in Naples. It was around 4 a.m. I was awake, lying down in my bed, turning left and right side continuously. All of a sudden I felt my building sway, you know I live at the 7th floor of an old building, we were like clinging to a flag in the wind. When I went to bed, a hour before the earthquake, I said to myself that would have been my last night in Naples. No hot-air balloon offing, therefore I took the decision to cut the root by myself, given the persisting laziness of the little mouses. (Please check the previous post I wrote if hard to follow what I am writing now). The building was really shaking.
The following morning, betimes, I received a call. Thereafter things have changed. Now I am still living in that building, at the 7th floor. It is not shaking anymore, but my life does. I had to wait an earthquake as a premonition of change.

Any hot-air balloon passing by?

Yeah, it's not a lucky period. You realize this not because things don't work (this can happen for many reasons, the majority of which you are often the only responsible), but because things start colliding with you. Oh, yes, I guess I have still in this case some responsibility, but the environment should be considered at least unfriendly to me, if not hostile, too.
The list is quickly made. In the latest weeks I: heavily crashed with a go-kart (one of my rare hobbies), was bitten by a dog in my calf (first time in my life), spiritedly discussed to blood with one of my dearest person (first time in my life), fell from the scooter and I had to wear the collar to recover my neck (first time in my life), was robbed of my documents (all of them, from passport to the library card, including 100 €, anyway first time in my life), and today seems that the cat I cared for during the entire summer (and that since a few days was back with his owner) has ran away and nobody could find him anymore.
Anything else? Wait, if I think better it's possible I can recall something else.

Syria: everything was written already (and said)

Everything was written already. Sure. And said. Go and watch "Isti'mariyah - windward between Naples and Baghdad", people from Syria already told us in 2005 everything we need to understand about what is going on now. And something we have said already at that time, because that experience provided us the elements to analyze and foresee.
We can start with this extract from the movie: WATCH HERE (Italian subtitles).
The one who is speaking in this footage is Ali Hidar, a member of a semi-clandestine party at that time. As you can see, he is saying 3 main things: 1) he is asking the Syrian Power the chance to run free elections and therefore to take part in them (which is like saying that yes, this is a regime, but we can still dialogue with it) ; 2) according to the perspective of a Bashar Assad political opposer, US are not interested in democracy, on the contrary they are interested in regimes and governments that can pursue the american interests in the region; 3) the colonialist project on the Middle East, begun almost a century ago, is still running and back again became a strategic turning point for the planet ambition of US.

The god of nomads

And so here I am, one year older. Here the eyes rest on the gulf, lazing ships moored off, those that leave and those that never will be back. And a fateful choice to be taken by tomorrow: stay or leave.
In other words, say goodbye to everybody and shelter in Apulia for the summer and wait for things to happen from there, or stay 1 month more in this house and find the way to get the money to repay it back in september.
The crisis is biting my ass, too, that's sure. Too many things didn't work, all kind of peaceful therapies were taken too, don't know what is left to be done. Obstinacy can eventually bring to unexpected achievements, but I also think that after a certain point is healthy to accept failures especially when others are paying for you, are supporting you and there's a moral limit to what is fair to demand. 

Nostalgia

Come on, what homecoming we are talking about? That's what "νόστος" (nóstos) means, after all. I better know what "ἄλγος" (álgos) means, this is a much more known experience. The one who invented the term made by the 2 words, a writer, a storyteller, had a clear character in mind, a clear story and a clear place to make the character suffer for. Given the man, the story, I still can't deal with the place of my suffering. Is it possible, Homer, to suffer for different places at the same time? Is it possible to call home different places at one time? So, where should I go to? Which Ithaca should I move my ship towards?
Don't take it seriously, Homer, they are not real questions. The story is compelling when the hero has a direction. That was your duty as a storyteller, to find a direction for Odysseus, the hero. I guess you did not have time to lose for these boring trifles. However, so it is.
My Ithaca is not a place, definitively. At least not just 1 place. It is many places at 1 time. Any portion of this pain dedicated to these different places produces different sides of me. It's like a prism. The light comes through the prism and divides in different colors. The prism is me, the light is my suffering, the colors are the many ways of my suffering.

Sitting on the dock of the whale's mouth

Ah, what a nice May. The breeze is sweet out of the window, the change in the pocket is always less, the swallows fly around the bell towers and seagulls are feeding their nests. Momo is back again. A nice, watchful, unflappable seagull, a kind of seasonal neighbor, she is standing on the tip of the cornice of a tower of the complex of Saint Gregory the Armenian, in Naples. My window is just a few meters below.
The house is full of friends. Dominic is checking his scenario about his latest short-movie, Maike is working hard on her sewing machine to make her latest coin pocket from a music cassette. At the end of the corridor Elena and Max are coming up with their latest mischief for their next show of juggling.
And the whale is cradled by the sweet spring waves in the Gulf of Naples and sometimes she forgets her mouth open while doing a nap on the surface of water. And I can see the world outside, finally. Sure, because all this long period was nothing but a long captivity in the whale's belly. I guess it happens to everybody soon or later along his lifetime. Still I am not outside, yet. My mood is good, but I am still prisoner. I can always choose to stay here some more to enjoy the amazing view of the world seen from the whale's mouth, but since it's a necessity before a choice, therefore I feel prisoner.

Nec spe nec metu

There's a special state of mind when you may start not feeling hope anymore. Which is not like losing hope, don't mistake. I am not saying that you become pessimistic, or you think that all the things you have fought for will never happen. Nobody said this. I am just saying that you learn to go on without thinking of hope. And you find this state of mind, after all, more appropriate to your present life.
After you saw people spending words of unity just to gather other people and graze them where they please always keeping the head of the parade.
After you saw dictators being overthrown with the bullshit of freedom while Europe is facing a dramatic economical crisis and the only important thing in these countries has always been their natural resources, but then above all, you saw people believing these bullshits without wondering, moreover, coating the end of the regimes with the label of revolution, not mentioning about what is what is coming then.
After exactly 3 years have passed since you left all behind to chase something that first disappeared, then left the place for something new, but struggling and pushing all this time was still not enough to come across something that broke once and never found the pieces back.

Genoa 10 years later: a generational judgment - Genova 10 anni dopo: un bilancio generazionale

So, I should tell now what remains in my mind and in my heart of the Genoa G8 experience ten years later. One question above all the still pulsing memories: what was it good for?
After years I found my own answers, but still not all. But one thing is sure: me, like all those who were there, we were experiencing, as Italians, something which marked our generation.
I will share with you a wound I am still carrying of those days.
I was in Genoa since the beginning of the week. I was a beginner video-activist at that time. Therefore I followed all the demonstrations. And I was in the street when Carlo Giuliani was killed. But the bad situation I was involved in was the infamous police raid in the "Diaz" school. I used to upload my videos in the school where the media center was based, that was just in front of the "Diaz" school. There I was when the raid started at midnight of 10 years ago. Actually the school of the media center (called "Pascoli") was almost empty, everybody had left already by taking the special trains to go home.

Italy is the doormat of the empire

I am getting nervous. I am sitting on a nuclear bomb on the day when Italy is voting a referendum against the nuclear energy (and against water privatization and immunity of premier, I mean, not trifles). This is a paradox!! Fine. Let's put besides the coincidence. I am anyway sitting on a nuclear bomb. How should I feel?
Since 2 days ago the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), the biggest nuclear aircraft carrier of the world is anchored in the waters of Naples, a short stop before heading to Libya within the plan of increased military operations. In a while its planes will start bombing on Libya.
I can see the monster from my window. Since 2 days. Do you find it normal? A nuclear accident is totally excluded? How? And what if Vesuvius decides to wake up today? And waking up hits a underground fault and causes a tsunami? Are we ready to say goodbye to the gulf of Naples after thousands of deaths? An italian expert of nuclear wrote in a column today that a nuclear accident is as likely as the possibility that 7 shepherds from Afghanistan hijack a plane into a tower. But with a difference: the permanent damage of the contaminated area.

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