Posts Tagged ‘Citta Divise



P1170912Our lives become more and more complicated and intertwined. We have to travel, to work in different time-zones. Sometimes to live apart.

The more this happens, the more I appreciate to call a place home.


no party-crashers in Berlin, bitte

1009lf9Looking forward to November’s celebrations in Berlin, I hope the city will remain – as many Italian bars in the German capital already are – a “Berlusconi freie Zone”.

A party-crash by Berlusconi would be another source of embarasment for many Italians (and not only). He should already have other parties on his schedule anyway.

Berlin invites all EU leaders to Berlin Wall celebrations

The British, Russian and French leaders are among those expected in Berlin for the festivities, set to climax in a “freedom party” at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate.

Berlin — Germany has invited all European Union leaders to attend ceremonies in November to mark the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday.

Speaking to reporters after an informal EU summit in Brussels on Thursday, Merkel said: “I invited all colleagues from the European Union to take part in our celebrations for the 20th anniversary of the Wall falling on November 9.”

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and French President Nicolas Sarkozy are among those expected in Berlin for the festivities, set to climax in a “freedom party” at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate.

The Soviet leader at the time, Mikhail Gorbachev, will also take part, as well as former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan.

One world leader not likely to attend is US President Barack Obama, who will be in Asia for a summit. Former president Bill Clinton will likely represent the United States instead.



Turkish path


Radio 3, our Multikulti, has started a series on the Turkish presence in Berlin on its programme called ‘Percorsi’ (=paths).

Podcasts were finally loaded onto the website, you can listen to them here below. Not very original content to be honest. However one must consider that anything multikulti is welcome and to some extent courageous, in a country whose government just stated “we do not want to have a multicultural society” (sic). Continue reading ‘Turkish path’



My friend L. is writing articles on the fall of the Berlin wall for her newspaper. Yesterday we talked over the phone and compared the best books we read on the topic, the best radio series we listened to…

This video feels just right now.


democracy, activism and social networks



It’s exactly what I wanted to elaborate yesterday in my post (but we had an invitation to dinner and had to rush 😛 ).

The economist Loretta Napoleoni tells it very clearly today on D di Repubblica. “Is internet shutting activism down?”. Check out the article here (and babel-fish it, it’s in italian), issue n.652, page 19.

Basically, what she says is that participation (to democracy) is not the same as being connected online. You do not discuss themes which impact society in the same way if you are at dinner with friends, online or in a public gathering (a political party meeting or an assembly). Some things need to be done by being physically there, in the street.

On the other hand, two important events this year.

The Obama election. He’s no Gandhi, ok. But maybe this time the grass-roots movement (especially for the financing of the campaign) really made the difference. And the fact that he was online. The web was not a sticker on this candidate product. It was part of him.

Second event, the Tehran events on Twitter. When I read an account of the precise events of Paris, May 1968, what struck me is the fact that demostrants had to resort to Ancient Greece methods to communicate, namely: run. Run between one barricade and the other, bringing messages and information on where the police was. Even in the WWI trenches the transmission of messages was more efficient. But hey, these boys and girls could just use telephone boots and tennis shoes. Now Twitter brought us the events unfolding in Tehran before CNN. If we want to talk things italian, since we are approaching another G8, it’s on YouTube that you can find the reportage of what really happened in Genoa that night at the Diaz school and in the barracks of Bolzaneto (english witnesses).

I guess that social networks should be an additional mean towards participation and information but not an objective per se. I blog, I twitter therefore I can act. But sometimes the illusion of “feeling in touch with others” can be predominant and annihilate participation. As Napoleoni says “in the end, you are in your pajamas, at home. Alone”. So get in those jeans and get out and meet those people.

Because the Divided Cities exist. The fact is that the wall is not a vertical one that you can stumble upon when walking. It’s horizontal, above our heads. And we move like little ants or busy bees under the slab of grey reinforced concrete that we call “democracy”.

I just saw by browsing on that the foreign minister Frattini is Twittering from the G8 in Triest…beware…


ethics, c’est chic


The referendum in Berlin didn’t change the status quo. Ethics for everybody at school, as a common ground, and religion(s) on the side, only if you are interested. BerlinRomExpress celebrates with a post!

(source: Morgenpost)


Anna in Stasiland


Stasiland, an incredible book by Anna Funder. The italian translation is very good, pity only for the title “C’era una volta la DDR”, which sounds a bit silly, actually.

Funder starts in a casual way to ask people how things were during the DDR years, and she ends up conducting a very intriguing reportage.

Beyond stereotypes and beyond Ostalgie, “between Kafka and Monty Python” Funder contacts victims of the regime and former Stasi officers, Mitarbeiters and talking heads. She visits the places were citizens were detained and subject to police interrogations. She smells the stale air of these rooms, where the odour of terrified people, dossiers, senile power and outright paranoia still lingers.

For 10 years the letters that my DDR penpals and I were writing each other were intercepted, opened with special W-shaped steam devices, read, copied and filed.

My friend Michael went up to the Archive and got the letters, just after the fall of the Wall. Just like those people you see in the film “The lives of others”. Just like the protagonists of Anna Funder’s reportage.

We were teenagers and loved Duran Duran. We were discovering Madonna. I worshipped Radio Caroline, we met over Radio Free Europe.

My friends in Brandenburg and Saxony were longing for freedom. They travelled a lot across the Socialist countries. We had freedom in Triest, but I had never travelled. Freedom meant different things for us.

I wonder if I can go there, and feel the blow, of seeing my letters in a file, imagine them through the eyes of a Stasi zealous Mitarbeiter, filed and numbered, in a box. I have the sinister impression that somewhere, someone knew a lot about me.

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