“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”
– George Orwell
November 9th, Thessaloniki.
For the first time in twenty-five years, I am far from home on this day. Italy is my home. It’s the country I love and to which I belong.
November 9th, International Day Against Fascism and Antisemitism.
Italy is my country, but I don’t recognize it anymore.
In recent weeks it has seemed to be a man suffering from dementia. Too old to remember, too old to take responsibility and blame. Big and sick moving in a grey area of “reductionism”.
Italy is the country where an extraordinary commission against intolerance, racism and antisemitism has been set up, but the right-wing parties decide to abstain from voting on its creation. The commission is the result of the will of Liliana Segre, an Italian survivor of the Holocaust and now a lifelong senator of the Italian Republic. The abstention from the vote and the right- wing’s indifference at the end of the vote (when all the rest of the Chamber was joined in thunderous applause) had a very wide resonance both in Italy and in the rest of Europe.
Being Italian in some way means being forced to deal with our historical and political memory. We cannot afford to downplay and our political elites cannot minimise it. Often, those in the most sensitive positions forget that they can be a vehicle for emulation.
Italy is the country where a group of underage people appear dressed up as Nazis in Lucca, complete with swastikas and flags with Celtic crosses. There were hundreds of people in a festival dedicated to comics when a tank protected by Nazi soldiers came out. Teenagers justified themselves by saying “it is a historical reproduction”.
While I was reading this news and trying to understand when my country had turned into a foreign entity for me, came the light. The right word is only one: Example. If we let the political elites shape our choices and subvert the social order that we have built with the ruins and shame of the Second World War, the abyss is closer. Nowadays, a new wave of nationalism and populism it’s spreading across Europe, but that’s no reason to forget. On the other hand: where is injustice, fairness; where racism, the fraternity. We cannot tolerate the belief that a genetic code exists and that it will become the dominant ideology.
We are required to make the new generations aware of how hatred and racism can lead to the destruction of the world they know. Fascism remains a possibility, is not dissolved in the universe. Moreover, Fascism remains a possibility of social aggregation, not linked to specific historical contingencies. Past but now remote, which risks ending up in oblivion, between distance, reduced sensitivity and little knowledge of those historical facts.
75190 is the number that Liliana Segre carries on her arm. This is the strongest memory, against any kind of denialism. When we believe that fascism and antisemitism are far away, we should think of this number. Make this number a flag. Liliana Segre is forced to be accompanied by policemen because she receives more than 200 hate messages every day. That number must be remembered.
Hate. In the street, in the family and on social networks. Everyday we witness episodes that change the day, watching TV or reading the newspaper. It is a black wave. Attacks the weakest to appear stronger. David and Golia. Very often being part of a minority or belonging to a specific religion makes us exposed. We become David. And we must fight to survive.
What do we want for the new generations?
What kind of country do we want to live in?
#SpeakupNow and let’s strive for the future!