Wandering ideas across evictions, migrations and Erri De Luca’s stories.

It was 7 o’clock in the morning when the police came to evict a family made up of a mother and her three sons from an occupied abandoned basement in the Quarticciolo neighborhood of Rome, derogating from the law that prohibits to leave people on the street during winter without providing an alternative. This indignant declaration by an activist of the “Palestra popolare” introduced the spectacle “Una vita, mille storie” by Erri De Luca in the theatre Teatro Biblioteca Quarticciolo on the 2nd of February.
A life made up of many stories, a life of fight and resistance in many fields, from politics to writing. For him, writing is evasion; a way out disturbing the discipline of power. Erri discovered this at school, after that a professor criticised its excess of fantasy and freedom in an essay, insinuating that it could not have been written by him. From that moment on, he promised to write with the aim to reach a space of freedom and to contrast those reactionary powers, combining such activity with personal commitment in the movement of ’68, working for Lotta Continua and still participating today in movements and protests related to TAV, migrations and injustice in general.
In his opinion, what happened to the Rom family in Quarticciolo, what happens every day to foreigners, immigrants and emarginated people is unconceivable and unjustifiable. As he wrote in the book “Il più e il meno”: “Foreigner is the human species on earth. (…) Foreigner is the condition of beginning, the premise. Without this, it is easy to get drunk, to consider ourselves as owners of the land, the air, the water and the fire, to share out among few people the abusive fees of a world condominium. (1)

Talking about his personal experience, he admitted that also in his case he is a foreigner and he cannot be considered belonging to Naples anymore, as, leaving the city, he had in some way betrayed it. Thus, Naples can only be considered as the denomination of origin, the beginning of a journey, and not a title of belonging. And the journey deserves such denomination in particular when it is done by feet, without tickets and date of return, otherwise it is simply a temporary displacement. Migrants crossing the desert, the sea and facing hundreds of difficulties and challenges on their road are real travelers and they should be welcomed or at least hosted in a kind way, recognizing the human common nature of homo migrant.
It was living in a multiethnic and multicultural environment among factory workers in Paris, that he experienced the alienated condition of the proper immigrant, but also the feeling of solidarity, brotherhood and unity in diversity of the human society. They all had different backgrounds, beliefs and life objectives, but they were sharing the same problems and helping each other in the difficulties of everyday life.
None was forcing them to expose themselves, apart from their feeling of justice that sometimes makes a person a prow that opens the sea in two parts. Because justice is not a code of laws, but a feeling that warms and solders together reasons and breath, dignity and backbone. At this bodily temperature, fear and courage are the components of the same energy and produce the history of human progress. (2)

Thus, making a parallelism with climbing, one of his biggest passion, he wrote: “It is dangerous to lean forward, says the official signboard of current times. It is necessary to do so. (3) It is fundamental not to remain imprisoned in the cage of our fears and habits, but to lean forward in other cultures, in other stories and experiences, helping those in difficulty and enriching our perception and knowledge of the world, as well as ameliorating the limited space we live in together.

  1. Author͛s translation of the italian version: “Straniera è la specie umana sulla faccia del mondo: Perché mia è la terra e stranieri e residenti siete voi presso di me.” (Levitico/Vaikarà 25,23). “Forestiero è la condizione di partenza, la premessa. Senza di questa è facile ubriacarsi, prendersi per padroni del suolo, dell͛aria, dell’acqua e del fuoco, spartirai tra pochi le quote abusive di un condominio del mondo.”
  2. Author͛s translation of the italian version: “Nessuno li costringeva ad esporsi, solo il loro sentimento di giustizia che a volte fa di una persona una prua che apre il mare in due. Perché la giustizia non è un codice di leggi, ma un sentimento che scalda e salsa le ragioni e il fiato, la dignità e la colonna vertebrale. A questa temperatura corporea la paura e il coraggio sono componenti della stessa energia e producono la storia del progresso umano.”

  3. Author’s translation of the italian version: “È pericoloso sporgersi, dice il cartello ufficiale dei tempi correnti. È necessario farlo.”

Image source: http://antheaknowsbest.blogspot.it/2012/10/810-for-effort.html

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