Kupanda kilima


Jumapili jana mimi, Flavio na Abdhul tumepanda kilima cha “Sasso del ferro”, karibu na Laveno. Abdhul anatoka Unguja, kisiwa moja katika Zanzibar. Abdhul amepanda kilima mara la kwanza. Anajua Unguja na Pemba tu, na Dar es Salaam na Mombasa kidogo. Katika Unguja kilima hamna. Amefika UItalia baadaye ya vitu vingi vibaya…
Saturday I climbed Sasso del ferro with Flavio and Abdhul. He’s from Unguja, in Zanzibar archipelagos, the island where people where waiting (=Unguja) ..people where waiting to be embarked on boats to reach south est Asia as slaves. Nowadays slavery has been abolished on the paper, but it is still a reality in many places.

It was the first time for Abdhul to climb a mountain. Abdhul comes from Unguja, a flat coral island, and only knows Pemba, the other Zanzibar island, and very little Dar es Salaam and Mombasa, from where he reached Italy. He came by plane, not by boat through the Mediterranean Sea. But he had already lived the hell before departing. He hasn’t gone to school, he lost his parents, he had to buy his life in a way nobody would like to…side by side the rich lodges for tourists, many Italians, visiting the popular island.

He came here through Norway. He wants to stay in Italy because “baadaye ya miwaka tano, labda kumi,..baadaye”..after some years, maybe 5 or 10, but later, he could go back to his island and work there with dignity, speaking Italian with tourists, hosting them in a guest house.
He is one of the guy you can meet around the street, with his phone. The only contact with his home. Despite the horror he has lived at his place he’s still very attached to it. In Italy it is very rare to find someone speaking Kiswahili. At first he was lost. He doesn’t know any English or French, though he comes from a tourist island. That was not for him. He wasn’t asked to speak.
He didn’t escape from a war, or from famine or religious persecution. He flew something that is the normality for millions people in the world, sad to say. The poverty trap, the new slavery eating your dignity: you have to do anything for survival. He’s here for a better life. The same as me going and working in Tanzania, traveling across the country and enjoying the mountains, the plans, the lakes and the wildlife.
His story is one of the many different or similar stories of people arriving here. Many others have died on the same routes. Many haven’t found the NGOs at their arrival, but for decades they’ve come in the hands of our southern criminal organisations.
It is very difficult to judge the current situation and Italian response. In Italy you can only be “communist or fascist”..too emotional or not at all. But the reality is complicated, as usual. Some people are trying to do their job in a good way, respecting the regulations and human rights. Other people are just taking advantage of the situation as in any other business..and not all the people arriving here from anywhere in the world since decades would deserve to stay and get help… But nobody takes the responsibility to say “this is good and this is bad”, ” we accept people coming for a better life, x amount very year, regularly, etc..”, and when someone does it, he’s called a fascist. But there are two separate issues here, the human traffic and the Italian politics.

We’re 60 millions, we shouldn’t worry about 150,000 people more each year. . If there is enough job for 60 millions, then there is for the others. If we are able to make 60 millions civil citizens, healthy and educated , respecting the rules and the people rights, then it’s not a problem to extend it to another handful of people. So if conditions aren’t good for 60 millions, it is not because of those few people arriving by boat. The migration fad is just for distracting us from the real issues.  And from our responsabilities. Stopping the human traffic is a human right and police matter. Making Italy a stronger country for 60 millions and so able to integrate newcomers without much effort is another matter, it is political and it is about competence.


Changes and challenges

Global warming and climate change doesn’t only mean “it’s gonna be hotter”. Increase of greenhouse gases emissions and global average temperature rise are producing and will produce several effects, including ice sheets loss, ocean and air circulation changes, extreme events such as floods, draught and snowfalls, which could be translated in less food security, less coffee in the morning, more people losing their houses and migrating, changes in diseases, changes in tourism attractivity, etc.. These may lead positive or negative consequences at local scale, but globally they are likely to create big troubles.

Mt Rosa and the near lakes are an example of big changes occurred on earth, the lakes basin being created by the glaciers hundreds thousands years ago. Changes have always happened on planet earth and always will. What put us at risk now is the rapidity of changes and our overall vulnerability, given we depend on very limited resources. Some people and some places are more vulnerable than others, but I think it’s clear to everybody that we don’t live in a vacuum and we’re all connected. We are at risk, not the planet. If hurricanes were god’s, then Trump wouldn’t dare saying “America first”. However, it can still be the second. As we have been using our capacity to modify the environment to the point of challenging our species survival, we can, and have to, use this capacity to reduce the risks and be prepared to them.
This is not just a matter of attending a march, but could involve a thorough mindset shift. Our society has mistaken wealth with possession and civilisation with productivity.
Economy is only the means of living, while ecology is the rationale of living. Someone could say that economy makes our life better. Yes and no. Is that true across the world population? Will it be across generations?
Climate change has become a big umbrella under which other challenges have gone in the background and are striving to get attention. But climate change is also under another big umbrella that many philosophers have addressed since long time. The rationale of life, the ethics of life. While this would take great effort and time to be tackled at planet level, yet we can’t miss this opportunity, and heal only the symptoms or proximate causes.  (inspired by MtRosa view from a plane, I swear I’ll stop flying!!)

“Il futuro non nasce da solo”


Rubo questa bella frase dal sito della Fondazione Feltrinelli, nel giorno dell’inaugurazione del loro nuovo spazio culturale, pubblico, aperto, innovativo, costruttivo, ispirante, (anche se ancora non ci sono andata).. e remunerativo. SI! Non si tratta del solito circolo di cooperativa dove pagano i lavoratori con rimborsi dei biglietti del tram e si creano illusioni che non portano a niente..per quanto siano spazi per i giovani etc..
Ecco qui un investitore che fa qualcosa con un chiaro intento culturale/commerciale, ma anche di ritorno commerciale/culturale. Certo, facile quando ti chiami Feltrinelli. Ma poteva anche farci dei loft per festini con sesso e droga..
Non è che fare soldi , generarli, richiamarli, sia sbagliato. La moneta di scambio è alla base della nostra società sedentaria e credo ci vorrà motlo tempo per approdare ad altro. E’ sbagliato quando per genare denaro si fa del male ad altri, se ne calpestano i diritti. Qui sembra si vada ancora oltre, a creare benefici e sviluppo. C’è questa nuova tendenza in alcuni imprenditori. Ed è un bene.

Se si pensasse che gli imprenditori sono solo i cattivi, e i veri lavoratori solo i buoni, mi preoccuperei.  Se si pensasse che i soldi vanno investiti in lavoro concreto e non sviluppo di idee, che poteva dare un aumento ai suoi impiegati per esempio invece di spendere tutto in ristrutturazione. Mi preoccuperei ancora di più. Perché un giorno qualcuno potrebbe mettere in dubbio l’esistenza e il supporto di lavori che non producono niente, di tangibile, se non conoscenza, informazioni e idee. Insomma, quello che faccio io, e tanti come me.

Non c’entra niente questo con Feltrinelli? bò non so, mi è venuto così.


Addis lunch

It has been a while since my last post, the reason being lack of inspiration, and already too long time spent working on the pc.

But on the past Saturday something happened that really made me feel eager to write about it. And I want to use the same words I put on my notebook immediately afterwards..


I got a taxi to Jimma airport (an old van driven by a very old man) and we picked up two other Ethiopian guys o the way. One of them introduced himself and his friend, and then we started to talk, and talk till the airport and then in the waiting area. About different things: their business and my job, the different cultures of different people, the way people behave, particularly white people, and tend to isolate themselves into laptops and phones. Interesting guy, very different one from the other. Mesfim, very spontaneous and practical, has come to Italy some times to buy machinery for cutting aluminium window frames. The other, Mohamed, an architect working in building sector, looked like a spiritual person.

We were sitting far on the plane and so at the arrival in Addis ababa I waited for them in order to say goodbye. They asked me if I had any plan for lunch and they invited me to join them. Mesfim called a friend of him and we went to a place down the Lobelia hotel (where I spent some times last year), and I had a good traditional lunch, but didn’t try the raw meat.  I wished F. could be there with me, to enjoy the moment. They were very nice to make me spend some time in company, rather than at the desert airport. This was just a simple act of kindness and humanity, of recognizing each other as human beings despite of the many differences. We got two separate tables, I talked a lot with Mohamed, he’s a Muslim and quite religious. We talked about the fact that people put barriers, but also that there are different kind of people all over the world, despite categories and definitions (such “Western” or “Muslim” culture).

What is so surprising about all this? Well, the thing is that with the kind of job I have been doing for the last 5 years,  these type of not interested, not job-oriented meetings with almost unknown people happened very rarely to me, neither in Africa nor in Europe.

Then they took me back to the airport. Probably we’ll never meet again, but this Sunday lunch left me in a very good mood, and I needed it all to stand other 8 hours at the airport…



with or without

The main reason why I don’t agree with Brexit or whateverecountryexit, neither with the way the EU is reacting, is that it’s a destructive aut-aut. either you take it all or you reject it all…
(well, all but the tariff-free deal that Farage is looking for..he’s trying to get to both reject and take)..
the leave is the result of lies and miscalculations, a game that went too well for a few players, while the others may end up regretting it, or just don’t share any good… on the other side EU is closing up in a defense of the whole system that obviously had failures.. no room for changes.. no room for friendship…no room for new rules???
Indeed the myth has faded down of the monetary union, the market union, a protection from globalisation and from internal competition that has always led to wars within EU….the EU well-advanced regulation on environment, climate change, citizens protection, customer security, minority protection, quality, culture, diversity ad richness,..and much more., is not enough .. the Great EU has forgotten the small one..
I’m just back form a trip to France and Tuscany, where I met with international project partners from Finland, UK, France, Kenya, me the only woman in a group of men backed up by strong Institution..a meeting in a wonderful, vibrant, multicultural city become the major hub for agriculture science in EU thanks to a visionary and open-minded major..well, EU (not only the Institution but also the “soul” of it) has supported and allowed all this, including me being present .. on the day I was back the referendum stated the first big break in this huge mechanism..On my way back I thought about it with my mind of “international worker” , but then I recalled the lady living in the shopping mall in Montpellier, helped by some assistance personnel during a crisis..the “international workers” (migrated or escaped from wars) traveling between Spain, France, Italy by bus at night (I was with them),.. the many people living on the streets I met in France and then in Genova,  Firenze and Milano  on the return trip…homeless people publishing  a journal in Florence, calling for attention and houses.. The same people I met in the Uk while I was living there.
the great EU has forgotten the small one.. global markets, free circulation and trade,  university exchange, shops, wealth, this is not for everybody, people are struggling for the basic and cannot stand the plutocracy of Brussels, or at least what they all know about it..what politician like Farage are using to undermine an idea that could be much more than a market. I still believe in that as a mean to reach a better world.
But we should not follow those who have always stood apart…we’re in, in a different way, and we should take it all, and enjoy it and make it work for us…

The snow ball

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There is a very common trick on snowballs play fields, somebody told me a few days ago. Somebody launches a ball up in the air towards someone else. While the fellow is focusing on the ball coming slowly down from the ski, for few seconds totally forgets about the “enemy” and then receives another ball, faster, bigger and worse, right on his/her face.

This happened in Paris, and today again in Brussels. And actually it happened even in New York.

The circle is getting closer, many friends of mine were there today, and luckily I know everybody is fine. Not the same for some tens of people and families. Casualties are between 25-30 declared by European authorities and 230 claimed by the so-called IS.

The first ball was at the airport, so many people in line at the desks, any security at the entry doors. It’s weird that you can’t enter the airport in Nairobi, Tripoli, Addis Abeba, Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro, as far as I know..before you passed the security check, but you can almost everywhere in Europe.

The second ball was after one hour, in a crowded and narrow metro station close to the EU buildings, right in the face, not at the heart, of Europe.

Ils parlent tous jour de securite’ mais je crois ils ne savent pas ce que’ils font..

But the point is that this game is not fair, there aren’t only two snowballs, but many, and many players against a team looking totally lost and naive, like the Brazil team at after 5 scores in 30 minutes from Germany.

Can we predict the next one? Can we stop it? can we fence everything out? Je ne crois pas.

Can we stop the causes? the weapons traffic? the neutral governments selling weapons? those making business with the worse criminal government? the greed for power and money? the abuse of religious and political pretext?

Can we make everybody feel so good that he/she would never support anything like this?

I’m tired of these discourses.

Anni di piombo

Un incontro casuale con un giornalista in un noto magazzino di mobili svedesi (io non lo avrei riconosciuto ma qualcuno me lo ha presentato :)) richiama in superficie le trame di vicende che negli anni 70 dilaniarono l’Italia, e tra stragi e vendette coinvolsero gente comune, anarchici, poliziotti, politici, giornalisti, servizi segreti, criminalita’.. mandanti, esecutori, vittime e innocenti…sembra la trama di un libro giallo, ma la realta’ fu piu’ complessa e piu’ feroce

noi eredi di quella realta’ quasi non ne sappiamo niente, studiamo gli egizi e Napoleone, ma non conosciamo i nostri piu’ diretti “padri” ..”Tutti siamo figli di qualcuno”, ma siamo anche figli di coloro le cui azioni cambiarono il corso della storia.

la nostra preoccuazione moderna e’ invece il condominio e anche un famoso conduttore televisivo ha affermato che di questo dovrebbero trattare i talk shows..

Senza aver capito gli anni di piombo, attentiamo contro gli altri … per il colore delle tende da sole.