A Letter to Italy

Dear Italy,

I love you!

It is important that you know it and it is also very important that I say it out loud, that I write it, that I remember it and that I keep it very clear in my head … because for too long I have forgotten it!

I haven’t traveled the world very much … of course, I have traveled to many countries but I still have many more to visit … yet, in this moment of quarantine, I feel a strong desire inside me to be able to leave my house and visit you again from the Alps to Sicily! The other countries can wait, you are so beautiful … It is no coincidence that they call you the Bel Paese, i.e. the Beautiful Country!

Yet for many years I have not given you due attention. Maybe I thought you could have done it alone, without me … but I didn’t count with the fact that I grew up in an era when the Italians just wanted to relax a bit after the tragedy of the World War, the hard recovery after the post-war economic crisis, the crisis of the 70s, terrorism of the 70s. I was born in those years, in 1971. When I was a child I was lucky enough to travel around and visit you together with my family, but then growing up between the 80s and 90s I found myself, but maybe I had better say “lost” myself , in a period in which buying Italian, going on holiday in Italy, even spending good words for this country was something for losers!

Exactly in those years it became fashionable for Italians to spend summer holidays abroad, even go and study abroad, the dream of many Italian girls of my age was to be a hostess to be able to travel and discover the world. If you listened to Italian music in those years you were either old or strange, even the television was beginning to be invaded by foreign series and the soubrettes made more scene if they had a foreign accent!

Then it became more and more normal to dress like foreigners (we who are famous everywhere for fashion!), to eat like foreigners (we, renowned all over the world for the pleasures of our table), to speak like foreigners, replacing Italian expressions with foreign terms that have the same meaning (we who are direct descendants of the great Latin poets).

I realize now, as these memories come to me, that this has always seemed normal to me. I always thought, and now I can say “stupidly” thought, that it was normal. In reality I didn’t stop and think if this feeling, or I had better say “no feeling” for my country, was right or wrong. I simply thought unconsciously that it was completely normal and that it might have been the same for my grandparents and parents when they were kids. Too bad that they lived through the war and then the post-war period … and therefore, they certainly could not enjoy the luxury of behaving like spoiled kids and treating their country like I was doing! In fact, my ancestors fought for their homeland, my father had to roll up his sleeves and got busy to support his family, thus supporting you too. Yes, he helped you!

Instead, I have to apologize to you, dear Italy. I apologize because I forgot you. There was a time when I was ready to abandon you to move abroad. Even though I still had to see many of your cities or regions, I thought that I would still have been able to visit them when I would be old! How stupid I was to believe that everything that was foreign was, by definition, better than you.

Even when I grew up… I was still so “little”, because, being busy with the frenetic and alienating rhythms of modern life, I was one of those thinking they are happy looking only at their own “garden”. How unwise I was to think that Politics was of no interest to me, that I didn’t care about it, because it was a very complicated matter for me, also considering how it was managed by our so-called rulers, and in the end nothing would have changed anyway! As if I were not concerned by the fate of my country!

Indeed, in the years when we began to hear about Globalization, I passively accepted that large quantities of Italian food products (oranges, milk, vegetables) were thrown away to make room for those imported from other countries. Not to mention household appliances, electronic equipment or cars: if you owned an Italian car you were considered as poor , while in fact traveling by foreign car was quite another thing!

Instead, I have been realizing in these weeks of forced detention how great you, Italy, are. And how great many, many other Italians can be, maybe people who, like me, until yesterday snubbed you but that now, faced with the emergency, the unexpected, the uncertainty, they too have rolled up their sleeves and have rediscovered that characteristic that has made us renowned in the world since ancient times: namely, creativity!

Now, dear Italy, I have only one way to repay you for what I have done to you, to remedy the fact that I have neglected you for so long: I can only use these days to rethink my past life and understand what I want for my future. It’s called awareness, or awakening. It means taking responsibility for yourself and also for others, including your homeland. And once this is done, andonce we have understood who we are and above all what we want for the good of our nation and the whole world, it means taking action! To act every day, at all times, with the heart in our hands, with the awareness of our strength, dictated by the Love we have inside.

Dear Italy, I wish you, but also myself and all Italians that we can all remember our greatness as individuals and as a nation of people!

Advertising, the media, the choices of our politicians over the years are all ways that have been used to flatten us, to level us and make us forget our true identity. We have been led to think that we are worth nothing, that we are not up to par and therefore that, dear Italy, you do not deserve our support, not even our courage in asserting our constitutional and human rights.

But you, dear Italy, are still that power demonstrated to the whole world by the Roman Empire, by the Renaissance, by the Risorgimento, by the founding fathers of the European Community who fought for a true brotherhood among peoples … which was a very different concept from what actually the EU has become.

Now, looking back, I clearly see that nothing was accidental and, indeed, everything served to empty us of our true essence which is genius, precisely creativity, solidarity, brotherhood … in short, Love, that love that for too long we have denied you and which unfortunately we have denied to ourselves!

We Italians, your inhabitants, your children, have turned our backs on you because foolishly we have blindly followed like domesticated flocks our rulers and all those who want you and want us badly.

But the time has come for a new rebirth. I will not leave you alone this time, dear Italy. I will not leave you in the hands of improvised politicians, unable and guided only by personal interests. I will not leave you at the mercy of villains who plot to sell you off as happened to Greece at the time. I will not abandon you to unscrupulous people who only want to exploit you and your resources until exhaustion! And I know that, like me, many Italians will take care of you this time, dear Italy. And I don’t say it with rhetoric, but I say it because this is what I witness and listen to every day. People who are finally waking up from their slumber and who have decided that it is time to act. In the name of freedom and love. There are many people who are organizing themselves, individually and in groups. People who have understood that the way is collaboration, harmony, respect.

United, with Love and Consciousness, dear Italy, we will make you proud of us. And you will see that once again we will become the cradle of the Renaissance of the World, this will happen when we too become finally aware of your beauty and ours!

Erika Barani
Blogger Rebis Group

Pubblicato da Redazione Rebis

Membro gruppo esperti e gruppo redazione di Rebis.

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