L'Italo-Americano

italoamericano-digital-5-30-2019

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THURSDAY, MAY 30, 2019 www.italoamericano.org L'Italo-Americano 2 P atria, the land of our fathers, of our ancestors. The Latin origin of the noun well exp- lains the idea of belonging to a community centered on shared cultural heritage that developed through the centuries. In today's world, a world made of globalization and mass migrations, of multi- ethnic and multicultural societies, of fast tourism that transformed us in citizens of the world, the idea of fatherland, but also of its ideal and spirit, has become labile. Let us go back to the origins and take a look at The Voice of the Great Spirit, by Rudolf Kaiser, where he discussed Native Americans' thought. Here, a famous 1887 speech given by the chief of the Duwamish and Suquamish tribes, Seattle, on the differences between Native Americans and white conquerors is cited. Interesting is his definition of fatherland, which should be embraced again: "There isn't much in common between us. The ashes of our ancestors are sacred to us, and sacred is the place where they rest. You, on the other hand, leave your fathers' graves without a thought… As soon as they descend into their grave, your dead cease to love you and the place where they were born. Soon they are forgotten, and go far away, up above the stars, never to come back. Our dead, on the other hand, never forget the beautiful land who birthed them. They keep on loving its sinuous rivers, its high mountains, its solitary valleys; they keep on tenderly loving those they left behind with a lonely heart, and often return to visit and console them. "For my people, then, every part of this land is sacred: every slope, every valley, every plain and forest are sanctified by a sweet memory or a painful experience my tribe has lived. Even the stones, apparently silent under the burning sun of the coast, are imbued with memories of the past connected with my people's destiny. And even dust moves more lovingly around our steps than yours, because that's nothing more than the ashes of our ancestors, and our naked feet understand this benevolent touch, Patria, our fatherland: a personal connection with the land of our ancestors in need to be rediscovered From the director because the soil is made fertile by our families' lives."  It is a fascinating, intense speech, very far from our own conception, much less philosophical, of the world around and of the people sharing it with us. This book is about very different civilizations and discusses radically different cultural ideas; but what is of interest to us is the way it describes the intimate, personal, spiritual relationship with the homeland, that enticing sense of "belonging" to the land of one's ancestors. An idea we should return to, freely, if we want to understand who we really are. And so, what is patria, the fatherland, to us? Is it still the place of our roots, of our memories and traditions, where people like us, who speak the same language and share the same values still live? It is, without a doubt, an ideal and idealized concept, because everyone of us declines it differently, on the basis of where we belong to, of our individual experiences and of our own personal history. Often, an emigrant sees it in a way that is incredibly close to the original concept. Those who left their birth land have a more intimate relationship with it, a genetic tie, so to speak, that allows them to feel its call more vividly than those still living there who, on the other hand, may feel this connection less strongly. It may be a bit over-the-top as an expression, but we could say this perception is even "disturbed" by other themes like freedom, justice, equality and respect of human rights, which are at the heart of Italy's own society, or like the importance of the institutions born from our Constitution, all the way to what the current nationalist and sovereignist movements and what they may mean for the country. All these superstructures are part of the definition of fatherland itself, because they are part of its history and evolution, yet they bring us further from that "natural" type of relationship our Native American chief talked about. Now, let's think about the 2nd of June, about the upcoming celebration of the 73rd anniversary of the Italian Republic, about the Fori Imperiali parade. This year's theme is "inclusion," to highlight the wish not to let anyone behind, to fight against social marginalization, to bring attention on the neglected. Well, this "inclusive" 2nd of June that wants a more open and comprehensive society, mirrors the ideas we highlighted here, in this reflection. A reflection that wants to be an invitation to feel — wherever we live, however we want to put it — integrant part of a community by rediscovering the ancient, natural, atavistic relationship with our own land and our own culture. Simone Schiavinato, Director NEWS & FEATURES TOP STORIES PEOPLE EVENTS

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