Posts Tagged ‘History


At war


The hopelessness of a reindeer, used by the military to carry bombs in Murmansk. First a useful mascotte, then abandoned to her fate. Betrayed, she lost hope and stopped pursuing the column of military.

A thought for all those civilians, and those animals too, who are abandoned and betrayed today, left in the realm of war. In Syria, and elsewhere.

Photo: Yevgeny Khaldej, Murmansk


40 years of blasting silence

Almost every working day there are protests in Rome. In the morning, close to the Ministry of Education. The Treasury. The Ministry of Industry. Students. Workers from Eutelia, Alcoa. People grumble in the buses.

Continue reading ’40 years of blasting silence’


back from berlin!

0911wo_domino-420x0-420x0We’re just back from Berlin, after this fantastic long week-end dedicated to the fall of the wall. Our digital camera is in ER, so let’s hope that our reflex did a good job…photos in a few days, like in 1989!

The domino fall was fantastic, we were at Elizabeth Lueders Haus, opposite the Reichstagufer.

Actually, in the morning we were interviewed by RTL “What does Berlin mean for you?” “Were you here in 1989?”. Unfortunately not…that’s why we didn’t want to miss this 20th anniversary! In spite of an easyjet flight cancellation, wir waren dabei!!



Months ago MeinMann and I bought our flight tickets in ordet to “sei dabei”, to be there, in Berlin, on November 9th.

There are many reasons to it. The main one is to be physically there, since in 1989 I lived the events (fall of the Berlin wall, but also velvet revolution in Czechoslovakia) through the letters of my DDR and Czech pen pals but I wish I could have been there, side by side with my friends.

And of course we want to join the party, and live the Stimmung, the atmosphere of such a special day.

But there is also another reason. We want to escape to the viruses which are already incubating in Italy. I have already spotted extreme-right posters with the small icon in the corner: “against all walls”.

There are people here, in the Banana Republic, ready to hijack the celebrations. We don’t want to be in Italy on those days, even if we are very well equipped with firewalls against these viruses. We don’t want a beautiful day to be stained with Banana Republic rhetoric.

As Tabucchi says in an interview today “The end of totalitarian governments is a good thing to celebrate, but you have to be careful. Someone could use it to scrutinize other conquests and other freedoms”.

The laboratory of post-democracy, Italy, is not the place where I want to be on that day.


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…


hungry as a wolf

Two posts ago, we were the 1980s, the Cold War and the Iron Curtain were there lebonsimonlebonand I was in love with both John Taylor and Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran. Geez…I could not make up my mind! In Cold War attire, Le Bon had a bon enfant sovietique spy attitude.

So it seems quite appropriate, after last week’s full immersion on STASI’s Eric Mielke, to get to know more about Markus Wolf.

Listen to the whole story on Radio2’s “The STASI over Berlin”



Thank you Mik for  the heads up!

And well done to Radio 2 for the “View to a kill” cameo. After all, “a fatal kiss – is all we need”.

Continue reading ‘hungry as a wolf’


more about Berlin


A few updates…on the italian Radio 3 the “Jumping over the Wall” (Saltare il Muro) series of interviews has been on air for a week now. You can find the MP3 files below the Berlin Wall section.

I kept on reading books on Berlin, the Weimar Republic, 1945, 1989…a few updates in the bookshelf in Berlin and Rome sections, depending on where I actually read the book. In Berlin we do not have TV, Mac, PC. It’s fabulous for reading books, no distraction…no blogs, no news apart from a tiny alarm clock radio permanently set on JazzRadio.

Other books are being read now, so more to come. I have a few thousands pages to travel across, so I’ll refrain from buying other books, but in the meantime in the Berlin Wall section I jotted down the titles of a few ones which may be worth browsing (but not buying yet!) when in a bookstore…

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