Posts Tagged ‘urbicide


wall proliferation

Gian Matteo posted a deep analysis on the meaning of divided cities today…Old walls have been replaced by new ones. Visit Metapolis


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…


intensive car


In the press they talk about The Great Deal (Fiat-Chrysler), talks are underway today in Berlin on the future of Opel.

But only on Beppe Grillo’s blog I can read today some news on the price increases applied by the italian motorway companies. Oil is cheap, and it won’t last long. So toll rentiers seize the opportunity today to levy more taxes on the italian public.

Alitalia and Air One are lame ducks, public transport does not get the necessary investments, people who need to be on the move are forced into using the car.

In the meantime our real unemployment and our real inflation are figures never published in the press…not only the politicians but also the journalists indulge in abundant Schadenfreude, about the 6% GDP fall estimate for Germany, the 20% unemployment rate in Spain but…what about us? No real figures on our own inflation and unemployment, Keine Weltanschauung for the way forward.

Listen to the Sage from Omaha. He says that the only certainty about our future is inflation…(or read “Weimar, utopia and tragedy”).

Continue reading ‘intensive car’


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.


burnt after eating


“Sunday morning, the 5th, we meet at Necci for breakfast”. Well, we didn’t. The Necci was a victim of arson. Maybe some people were disturbed by the friendly traffic of pedestrians around the cafe’. The once cosy atmosphere is now covered in black dust. How sad. Only the portrait of Pasolini remained intact…We hope they will re-open soon…we can’t live without their fabulous croissants and witzig foto-montaggi…


stolpersteine and sanpietrini

cimg0422Stolpersteine in Schoeneberg.


Saving private Saviano


Just landed back in Rome, the Rai3 special with Roberto Saviano, David Grossman and Paul Auster. One of those rare evenings in which it was worth turning the tv on.

2009-03-26 10:02 SAVIANO: CAMORRA UCCIDE CON SILENZIO E DIFFAMAZIONE (di Bianca Maria Manfredi) MILANO – Il silenzio e la diffamazione sono armi terribili in mano alla camorra e l’ordigno adatto per combatterli è quello della parola. Anche la parola, o meglio le parole, dette questa sera da Roberto Saviano allo speciale di ‘Che tempo che fa’.

Continue reading ‘Saving private Saviano’

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