La città e il cielo, Guendalina Salini, 2017
by Giulia Anita Bari
On the first day of spring it was raining, and it was cold in Foggia. We had our hoods up, umbrellas open, scarves knotted. We were all there, strangers in our shelters. Then someone started talking, calling names: Maria, Antonio, Carmela, Giovanni. And again: Mohamed, Giorgio, Emanuela, Luciano. And then again: Annalisa, Jerry, Stefano, Gelsomina. And then again and again. We said them all. All the names of the 972 innocent victims of mafia. They fell down together with the rain and, with this, our shelters. They melted in our shoes and became a sole dough, our memory.
Many other names were then added to these: those of the nine million individuals in Italy who live in relative poverty; of the five million in absolute poverty; of those without a shelter but who are surrounded by thousands of empty houses; of the Italian and foreign workers who lost their lives in the fields, working.
Paola, a Pugliese worker, who died of fatigue in the summer of 2015 for two euros per hour while working under a big awning in the Andria countryside. Mohamed, Sudanese, struck down by an illness under the scorching heat in the expanses of tomatoes at Nardò. Sekine, killed in 2016 by a police weapon in a wooden and plastic shack in the industrial area of San Ferdinando, Calabria. Sekine, an orange picker, had lost his head, holding a kitchen knife, a victim of an unfair fate of which he was certainly not responsible; victim of an injustice that, for some, was just a problem not to be leaked out. The next day, in that same shack, it seemed that nothing had happened. Climbing down from the Aspromonte, we looked for the traces of that disappearance, we waited in that cruel nothing the determined reactions of the institutions. But what we found was the intimidation of the police, the interests of the ‘Ndrangheta and a sea of shacks that are still there today, in the Piana di Gioia Tauro. Even more than before.
Each member of the national community has established common rules, a pact of solidarity. According to it all citizens have equal dignity, and they are equal before the law, without distinction of sex, race, language, religion, political opinions, and personal and social conditions. It is the task of the Republic to remove any obstacles of economic and social order which, by limiting the freedom and equality of citizens, prevent the development of the human being.
This great organism: the Constitution is – before a set of norms – the way in which a body, an object, an organism is constituted as a whole of its qualities, in its physical and chemical nature. How to think of treating a temple if you do not look at the shoulder? How to think of treating your stomach if you do not care for your mouth? We are all connected: in our country, an increase of the number of the poor coincided to a similar increase of billions as well as the power of the mafias; the number of homeless people (about 50 thousand) has increased despite half of the built-up area of the national territory is empty – throughout Italy there are 15 thousand residential cubic meters built while the aggregate national requirement is less than half. This is the proof that the problem is not the absence of wealth or growth but the lack of redistribution of that wealth, the absence of sustainable economic and industrial models that are functional to the life of the whole community, of social and cultural policies. Of a vision, of a dream.
Let’s shelter, all together.
* Original text in Italian. Translation made by me. For suggestion and corrections, feel free to contact me.