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New Year … Let Us Unite Against the New Obscurantism!

Viewpoint by Michele Zizzari*

CASTELLAMMARE DI STABIA, Italy (IDN) – What can we say about the fact that we live in such an inhuman world … where even the most superfluous of personal whims, the smallest interest or private profit is enough to make us completely ignore others or consider them (especially if poor, or for some other reason) only with annoyance and disdain?

A narrow, widespread, often gratuitous, induced, unmotivated egoism … that we even try to justify invoking a banal and misunderstood sense of peaceful life … which then translates into an even less noble “let’s mind our own business” or “who makes us do it?”

The same so-called common sense which, at the beginning of 2017, to avoid getting our clothes wet or catching a cold, left a young African refugee to drown after he had plunged into the Grand Canal in thriving Venice, a centre of incomparable commerce, the same canal where luxurious cruise ships dock … almost as if to underline the bloody social contradiction in which we live.

[Scores of tourists were reported to have watched 22-year-old Pateh Sabally from Gambia drown as onlookers filmed him on their phones, laughed and made racist remarks, ed.]

This is indifferent selfishness that increasingly takes away our ability to reason, to observe things critically and at the same time to feel, to experience feelings – fed as it is by a set of negative and reactionary forces that have given and give life to a new obscurantism that risks blinding consciences – to the point of making us no longer see reality, the truth that manifests itself as gigantic to our eyes.

While we turn a blind eye to the bigger picture, we bend over backwards to point to and deplore the smallest of faults in others.

We live a reality where economic and social policies, governments, international agreements, criminal pacts, religious beliefs, business and resources of all kinds, control and power systems, means of mass communication, manipulation of information and consensus, wars and conflicts, police forces and armies are downright promoted, activated and enacted (knowingly, with cynicism and unimaginable cruelty) …nothing less than denying bread to the hungry, water to the thirsty, aid to those in danger of death, a hand to those in difficulty, a family or a community to the orphans of all, care for the sick, a home to the homeless, land to the landless, word to the wordless, dignity and life itself.

Misery of wealth!

Not to mention all the undeniable liberties and rights, sacrosanct by birth – I would say are natural – which are denied in every corner of this tormented planet.

Just as well that we wanted to insert the common “Christian matrix” of European peoples into the European Constitution (if it is true, of course)!

Who knows what Christian principles certain Christians are blathering about!

I am an atheist, but you do not need to be, feel or proclaim yourself Christian to know that Jesus Christ would have thrown all the shop windows and stalls in Como’s markets to the wind!

[On December 15, the mayor of Como, a city in the northern Italian province of Lombardy, passed a controversial law banning begging and camping in the city centre. Mario Landriscina, the city’s recently elected centre-right mayor, issued a 45-day decree aiming to “protect urban decorum and liveability” on the grounds that a rise in the number of beggars and homeless had become a problem that would become more apparent over the Christmas holidays when there would be a rise in the number of visitors to the city centre, ed.]

The example of Como’s mayor denying a meal to the homeless in order not to disturb the Christmas shopping of the wealthy is just an infinitesimal pustule that surfaces to the skin of a system (social, political, cultural and economic, local and global, public and private) that has nothing more to say, promise or reveal other than human and environmental catastrophe.

A system that is slave to a logic and unbearable values ​​that can no longer be accepted, without abdicating as humans from Humanity.

So, on the occasion of this new year, I just want to wish that everyone is able to remember who and what we are … to remind ourselves that we are children, co-inhabitants (together with other forms of life) and citizens of a single Community (the Human one), one Earth, one Sea and one Sky.

And that any each of us endowed with a minimum of awareness can no longer remain indifferent, to observe the systematic havoc of Humanity and Our Common Home without doing anything … may not a day go by without trying to concretely construct Utopia (each with their genius and their heart, with their abilities and their imagination) … may there be no thought or project that does not take account of others … may no opportunity be lost for denouncing and fighting abuse, inequality, injustice, prejudice and racism wherever they occur.

This is the wish I have for 2018.

I wish this for myself, for all people (companions, friends, relatives, acquaintances, colleagues of all kinds, people encountered along the difficult journey of life, of work and change, of ideals and feelings) with whom I shared even just one moment or idea, and ideally I wish it for everyone: let us try to transform our thoughts, our gestures, our words, our choices, our deeds, our commitment, our work into revolutionary actions and relationships!

A harbinger of change … simply to reaffirm our humanity, to move towards a better world, to be able to look at ourselves in the mirror again … without spitting shame on ourselves!

May a renewed feeling of brotherhood and commonality unite us against this new obscurantism!

May the joy of life invade our minds and our hearts!

I wish everyone all the good possible, and – why not – let us go back to thinking big, even in what seems impossible!

Happy New Year!

* Poet, author, director and theatrical interpreter, Michele Zizzari is a multifaceted Italian artist rooted in the social and cultural and political movements of ’77. He organises creative and theatrical activities with students, young people at risk, disabled people, patients, migrants and inmates, for whom he has elaborated and perfected his method of creative intervention in a particularly effective social context. This article was originally published in Italian under the title Anno Nuovo, Auguri Immutati in Utopia Rossa. Translated by Phil Harris. Views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily of IDN-INPS. [IDN-InDepthNews – 01 January 2018]

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