Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Freedom is participation - evolve or die!

It was a joyous sunny morning reflecting on the wet pavement. We were walking home after the busride from Rome and an amazing Europride parade.
You might have heard of it by now, you certainly know about Lady Gaga's speech and what a powerful, moving and serious speech it was. I felt proud and honored to be there and grateful.
We went to the newsagent, we wanted to see our day printed in sticky ink. A discussion started around the counter covered with papers, "look at that, this Lady Germanotta attracted 1 million people, she brought 1 MILLION people in the square with a 30 min show, while we have to make all this effort for the referendum". I raised my head in disbelief, sleep brushed away by a sudden anger, "you may find out - I said - that we would have been in that square anyway". I wanted to say more, but I left, my stomach churning, leaving silence behind.
We would have been there anyway, I thought again as I was going to vote. We flooded Rome's streets for our rights, we flooded the electoral box the next day for our rights, and yours too. But that man at the newsagent's did not seem to notice how the two things were connected. Some "friendly" newspapers did not seem to notice either. L'Unità - a left- wing committed newspaper - decided that 500,000 people marching and a gathering of 1 million deserved a small mention somewhere on page 22, after 20 odd pages about the referendum. Most media thought, as the man at the newsagent's, that it was all about Lady Gaga, they failed to register that as she brought thousands of people together, it was thousands of people together bringing her in the first place.

I have no problem with the fact that a Versace dress tickles journalists' pens more than the broken voice of a lesbian parent, the swelling heart of a mother, the stinging words of the president of the transgender movement, but I want the man at the newsagent's, I want journalists, I want everybody to realize that the meaning of the Europride parade is not different from the meaning of the referendum. As the Italian songwriter Giorgio Gaber said "Freedom is participation". The Pride parade is a carnival, it is an expression of sheer joy, it is a show of us being us and of us being here, it is a protest, made of energy and rage and exhilaration. And you Mr newsagent's man should have been there too. Besides it was a fabulous dress and boy what a voice ;-)

Today it is another joyous day, the sun is struggling to break through the clouds, the street is filled with cheering chats about the referendum and I am grateful to all 26,130,637 Italians who voted.
It is priceless to see the papers spread on the counter spread with YES, even more priceless to see this:

But hey, 26 million, listen, you should have been with us too. And if you still think that we are not talking about the same kind of RIGHTS... well "evolve or die".

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