Freedom is……….

Think about a region, a very productive one, where there is the best education system, the most advanced health system, excellent manufacture, a place where ingenious, hard working people have succeeded in making profit even out of one of the less quaint stretch of coastline of the Adriatic sea, creating well organized bathing resorts, a mix of good quality facilities and places to have fun, which attract thousands of tourists from all over the world. In this region poverty rate is very low, welfare truly works, good food is popular cult and lively music part of the cultural heritage. A paradise. Does such a place really exist in Italy? Yes, it does. It’s Emilia Romagna, 1 of the 20 administrative regions of Italy, the place where lasagne, tortellini and piadina, just to mention some of their worldwide most famous delicatessen, were born. This region has been ruled by the same party for 72 years.

Now, imagine that on occasion of the administrative elections to choose the new president of this region, another political entity would decide to defy the ruling party. With such history and such outcomes it would seem a desperate attempt to anybody. Emilia Romagna has always been the most powerful stronghold of the left wing, doing better would be very unlikely. Another scenario had to be found to have a chance of victory. Something that could mine the certainties of those lucky citizens and convince them that they were not safe at all, that there was a real danger, despite all the good that had been done in years, right behind their doors which could reduce them to poverty: immigrants, thousands of immigrants, ready to replace them at work and strip them of their wealth.

What did the leader of the new political entity say to persuade them? Well, not much. Apart from the same refrain about immigrants, his political campaign was mostly based on the kissing of rosaries, on calling the name of the Virgin Mary and all the Saints in any possible occasion and taking selfies with all the fans who wished it. Fans ? You would say. Yes, fans. He has got millions of fans, who worship him from North to South in any social media, who believe he is just like one of them as he speaks their language and are ready to support him in his holy mission, which,  he seems sometimes to imply, was given him by God himself ( this must be when he is under the effect of a mojito): defend us from any invader and unify the country under one motto “Italians first “(the fact that only 2 seconds before, as the  leader of lega, he had claimed the secession of other two rich regions Lombardia and Veneto, was only a little detail). About Emilia Romagna he never said much. It was not important. If you think, I am just joking, you can have evidence of this in any Italian paper ( but if you do, I’ll be offended).

One thing I forgot to say, this leader, who is former Minister of the Interior, Matteo Salvini, was not the candidate for the presidence of Emilia Romagna, the candidate was a woman, of whom we had only seen a picture of her, I can’t remember her name, actually, and only few have ever heard her say a word (and those who have, refer that those words had the power of breaking the spell had won their brains and went back soon to normality). Salvini did the campaign on her behalf, in fact, as he had planned to make of those administrative elections a test on him and the government stability. Winning Emilia, even with no strong candidate but himself as enchanter, would have smashed the last fortress of the left wing, thus opening the way to new elections and god knows what else .

Did it work? Well, you know well, particularly if some British readers have ventured to read this post so far, that a good dose of populism, nationalism, dreams, inconsistencies rather proven fact and fears, make the infallible potion to win any political test these days, in fact, in November Salvini’s candidate, or better the bill of the candidate, was 7 points before the candidate of the left wing and former president of the region, whose work had been esteemed incontrovertibly good till then.

Something had to be done to stem the losses but what and how? The political forces of the left wing were under shock and did not seem capable of planning an effective counter attack, so as citizens, what can we do in these cases? Well, we can stay at home and pray that something happens or make it happen. Matteo Salvini had planned to open the political campaign with a rally in Bologna and about 5.000 people were expected there. It could be the beginning of the end. Mattia Santori, Giulia Trappoloni, Andrea Garreffa and Roberto Morotti, all around their thirties, thought they could not just watch in silence. Something had to be done. So in few days they organized a counter-rally at Bologna’s Piazza Maggiore the very day Salvini would start his campaign at the sports arena. They hoped to be at least 6.000. More than 15.000 thousand people gathered at Piazza Maggiore.

They call themselves “Sardines”, as they aim at filling squares packed together like sardines in a tin box. And this is what they did: wherever Salvini held a rally, the “Sardines” followed him, organizing another one and attracting more people than he did, thus demostrating that the voices of many people together can make a very powerful one that can silence any threat. Bologna, Modena, Ferrara, Parma first and then the movement spread all over Italy from North to South. A week ago Salvini was defeated at the regional administrative elections, and the candidate of the left wing won with a 9 point margin. As an Italian singer once said: “freedom is not standing on a tree, it is not even the flight of a fly, freedom is not an open space, freedom is participation.

La libertà non è star sopra un albero
Non è neanche il volo di un moscone
La libertà non è uno spazio libero
Libertà è partecipazione…(Giorgio Gaber)


20 thoughts on “Freedom is……….

  1. I actually was thinking more of the U.S. when you talked about in the first paragraph. When they say it is the land of opportunities I truly believe it, I was on my way to do great things if I kept on the work, but I messed up. But if I kept on the work I had put in, ….. won’t be thinking if the next month I´m going to get the paycheck of the social security or they are going to cut me off like they are doing now to a lot of people. In the U.S if you put on the work and you show to people that you can be a good asset to them, you’ll rise the ladder for sure. And certainly there are more people there with more vision to see that they can invest in you not like in Europe.
    What I know about Italy is that your leader is a nationalist like Trump, and that is good in my eyes. You do have to put your country first, they all do, the left, the communist, e.t.c. Here in Spain the government consist of a coalition of Socialist-communist(who is now the vice-president)-Catalonians( who want the independence of Spain and they are governing Spain…explain to me how that works out) and Bildu which is literally the political arm of the terrorist ETA from the Vasc Country who also want the independence from Spain. So we are screwed big time. But they will put their interest first for them to stay in power. In the U.S is the reverse, Trump has to put the American peoples interest first in order for him to stay in power. Plus I´ll make a prediction, he will win 2020, forget about this impeachment farce, it is “Legally” that is the key word, legally is a farce.
    I went in every direction in this comment.
    Still love ya Mrs. Tink, you’re my best teacher.

    • Trump has always, and always will, put his own interests first.

      Anyone convinced otherwise is demonstrably suffering from delusion and in the throes of the Dunning-Kruger effect as they ignore hard data in favor of fairy tales. Understand, both of the major US parties are near-criminal enterprises, but Trump has taken that to a new level.

      As for the trial . . . name me one criminal who thinks highly of the rule of law. Apparently, you don’t.

      Still, I fear you are correct. Trump will win because people like his supporters don’t understand that dismantling the rule of law, dismantling representative government through compromise, dismantling equal rights for all, and taking a huge step backward in freedom and a common goal is not the way to fix the real problems we face. They also don’t read history (probably don’t read anything) and forget that things change. Democrats will eventually be in the same position of power and the cycle will repeat until whatever we end up with will bear no resemblance to the ideals we once paid lip service to.

      We’re watching lemmings march toward the sea of totalitarianism and doing so with the beatific smiles of idiots on their lips. Look! Look! . .. look how proud they are. They know they can’t be wrong because they all wear hats that say so.

    • Salvini is not our leader, not yet at least and I hope he will never be. In the age of globalization “Italy first”, “Spain first, “England first”….cannot work in the long run. “The communists “have been ruling Emilia Romagna for 72 years and made it a prosperous region, demonstrating that communist values and clever politics of investments and industrial development are not antitetical at all.

  2. Sardines UK is trying to inject Italian spirit and style of protest into UK Remainer Resistance – but with great difficulty. Though statistics show that there was a 3 million majority in favour of REMAINING in UK on infamous Brexit Day, there is also a majority of people in UK (or in England) in denial of creeping fascism and the corruption of the present government.

    The notion of fascism latent in British character and politics has never been incorporated into our mainstream history or sense of identity; it is “foreign”. Just as unfortunately, so is Resistance. Our lack of self-knowledge, our sheer ignorance of history, our exceptionalism, is shameful to Remainers.

    Italian Sardine are a huge inspiration. British Resistance desperately needs a leader. And brilliant marketing to beat the propaganda which has manipulated the Brexit “mob”

    And we need love of European countries to support us.

    • Of course for us it was such a blow to see the U.K. leave, but if I think about Farage’s last words to the European Parliament and the colorful countdown at Downing street, let me say, you didn’t choose the most elegant way to take leave.I’ve been in England for more than 5 years, so I cannot but love your country, but those exhibitions,actually, did not inspire exactly love in the men and women who watched them 3 days ago, but rather the contrary.
      “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing” . John Stuart Mill

      • Believe me, e-Tinkerbell, there are many British people, me included, who are thoroughly ashamed of the rude behaviour of Farage and his ilk.

  3. Nice to read this small pearl in a vat of mud. I hope it can last and not turn into something ugly. Meanwhile, I fear on this side of the big pond, Republicans have lost their collective minds (and morals, and ethics, and any remaining shred of honor and honesty) and Democrats are rushing to join them.

    We don’t have piazzas here as events organized to stroke egos are usually closed and attended only by mindless supporters. Other outdoor events usually turn violent as thugs from both sides are more than happy to help hasten the breakdown of law and order and respect and civility.

    I happen to live in a predominantly religious and pro-Trump area. I literally have to switch off input to my brain whenever I venture out lest it gets damaged by the stupid.

    • “The Sardines” aimed at shaking consciences .They taught to fight and not to surrender to big shark Salvini, but it is a movement and I believe impossible to turn it into a party of the left wing area. Sartori is avery clever guy but the next step has to be pondered well.

  4. Freedom is not about standing on a tree
    It is not even the flight of a Moscone
    Freedom is not a free space
    Freedom is participation… (Giorgio Gaber)
    Yes, my dear, I can sing many songs about fighting for freedom. But I think we will overcome someday 🤗💖🙏💖
    PS: there is no doubt that the woman rocks, I just hope in the right way 😏💖

      • Sorry to know that, I had also an adventure with a surgery on my gums; pine implants! 😛
        I wish you well to get healthy soon. I love your wonderful works 😊💖🙏😘

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