Friday, May 27, 2016

Hiroshima and Nagasaki story: the elephant and the loneliness of the survivors

Stories and News No. 881

While the US President Obama was visiting Hiroshima at the Memorial of the atomic bombings, embracing one of the survivors, a female elephant named Hanako died in Tokyo, described as the loneliest in the world by many animals rights activists.
It was a 'gift' by the Government of Thailand and had lived most of her life completely alone in a small concrete fence at Inokashira Park Zoo.
Exactly as much the time that separates us from those bloody days in August, Hanako lived about seventy years.
More precisely, she survived...

Before and after.
Photo from The Telegraph

I know.
Indeed, I remember.
I know and remember what I know what they says about elephants.
We have good memory.
Maybe I had not been an elephant.
Maybe I was just a lucky exception of the above rule.
Because I know.
I know and remember.
That it has not always been so, the captivity called life.
There was a before and an after.
They say.
The people by the soft floor used to say, whenever the shock wave - that even now upsets destinies in the silence, touches them: the world will never be the same again.
We are now already in the after.
Well, you have to know that this happens every second far away from you that look beyond the bars and discover the other's solitude in the shelter of a camera, possibly with suitable sweeteners filters.
Photo from The New York Times
I know and remember that before.
Because that is where I have never stopped living.
With whom at that before remained.
In all natural dance of things.
Before.
In the daily wounds and joys.
Before.
More than ever in feared nights, drowned in the dark skies and screaming rains, that only now I see as small and precious frames of the only true life I had.
Before.
I remember because I know and I know because I could not forget.
I owe it to the damn heart that still gave music as a gift.
To the air that did not stop cross me like it was mistress of my body.
To the light that did not give up and found me whenever it could.
I owe it especially to you.
That in all this time, in many came here and went away like the waves on a shore where we were trapped.
I know it.
I know because I remember perfectly all those who were next to me before the giant who delete stories walked on us.
I am the enormous imprint of his colossal shoe.
I am the shadow that exceedingly lingers and unnaturally stretches.
I have always been alone to really know and remember what it means.
Before.
And after.

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Woman found after three years: what's left of me

Stories and News No. 880

Last year there were found the remains of 66 years old Geraldine Largay, who had been reported missing in July of 2013 after leaving the Appalachian Trail during her walk.
Details revealed only recently, the woman, aware of going to die has left the following message: "When you find my body, please call my husband George and my daughter Kerry. It will be the greatest kindness for them to know that I am dead where you found me — no matter how many years from now."
Before surrendering, Geraldine has survived twenty-six days...

What's left of me.
Photo from The Guardian

What's left of me in twenty-six fragments.
One, the first time, all the first times, each first time that we have lived together, convinced that the miracle would be repeated again. Rarely it goes really like that, but we can certainly not complain of this.
Two, the steps I did, all the steps that I did, but only small ones, respectful for the time and the persons involved, as in the room where my daughter faced the first essay in school.
Three, when I was angry with you, my husband, all the times that I was angry with you and we had no way to turn aversion into its opposite. Well, I do now, now it's up to you.
Four, the trips we did, my loves, all the trips we did and we never went back because there was nothing to return to.
Five, the strength that I stole from you, all the strength that I secretly stole from you, I swear that I have not wasted a gram.
Six, the person that I forgot, all the people I wanted to forget, I am sorry just now, despite being late.
Seven, the tears that I have hidden, all the tears I hid are free, now, because there is nothing to be ashamed of when it receives all the weight that really deserves.
Eight, the hands I shook, all hands that I made no eye contact with life behind them, only now I see and understand.
Nine, the air I did not breathe, all the air that I have not breathed that day because I was not there, though I should be.
Ten, the ground which I rest on, all the ground which I could rest on, only now resonates identical and made of the same earth.
Eleven, the kiss that you wanted to give me, companion that I leave, give me all the kisses you wanted, do it now and I will stand still forever.
Twelve, the music that made me dance, all the music that made me dance, inside, but I remained still for modesty.
Thirteen, the images that have made me move, all the images that moved me, inside, but I remained silent for custom.
Fourteen, the scenes that made me indignant, all the scenes that made me indignant, and I raised my voice, the sky or whoever bless them one by one.
Fifteen, the night we made love, every night we made love only with your eyes, my beloved one, I will bring with me.
Sixteen, the day when our daughter smiled, as often as she smiled when in fact I was sad, or just tired, I leave those to you.
Seventeen, life around me, now, all that is alive around me, in this very moment that I am about to disappear, I thank, yes, I thank it.
Eighteen, the road I have traveled, all the roads I have traveled on the wrong way because it was the heart to order it.
Nineteen, the fast hug, all fast hugs that lasted too little, I wish the time to stop and render them motionless as the trees that will be my friends forever.
Twenty, the falls on the way, all falls on the way that made you cry, adored daughter, kiss again for me those wounded knees.
Twenty-one, the food that was enough for me, all the food was not special but it was enough, I thank too, yes, I thank it too.
Twenty-two, the water that was enough, all the water that was not due, but was enough, I have to thank, yes, I have to.
Twenty-three, the departures of no return, all departures without apparent return, except the last one, this.
Twenty-four, the sunset that I have not loved, all the sunsets that I have not loved at all, because the most beautiful day was at the end, except the last one, this.
Twenty-five, you, all of you in my life, thank you, yes, and thank me you too, if you will be so nice.
Twenty-six, dear husband and sweet daughter, for all the times that I uttered these words, do as I would have said it thousand other times and pick up everything within you.
Together.
With what is left of me…

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Child labor in Indonesia 2016: the sons of smoke

Stories and News No. 879

According to a report published by Human Rights Watch, thousands of children work in the tobacco industry in Indonesia, where they are exposed to nicotine poisoning and pesticides.
Indonesia is the fifth largest tobacco producer in the world...

We are the sons.
Photo from The New York Times

Yours, if you want.
Someone else, if you prefer.
But there is little difference, almost none, in this our life.
We are all equal here on the ground, even at the same point we would come if we got up.
Yes, I know it is absurd, all this.
But this does not prevent us to live it.
Maybe the opposite happened, as the ghost named normality that so much they used to talk about, above the perennial clouds, ran down on us.
Pure chance would be fine too, we would be here waiting for him, anyway.
You will see a very few distinctions in our doing.
The game is in our bare fingers wielding death.
And the school is in the very opened eyes measuring how long the cruel movie might be.
A break is the result of a breath from abused nature.
And work is everything, actually, in spite you can call it in a thousand other ways.
It ennobles, they say.
Maybe, but here we would rather avoid so much inherited lineage.
If only we had awareness.
If only the years and guile, especially the muscles, were proportional to our mutilated tenderness.
Then we would get up together and united in one voice would scream our desire for a present, before a future.
However, it takes time that we did not have to know the alternatives.
Here it is the life that moves away from itself, or the worst version which you may fall in.
That is difficult, almost impossible, whereas you draw all the turns by yourself.
Like the celebrated families by the famous Russian narrator, all the happy children are alike, but every unhappy child is exploited differently.
But when the way is the same, we are all brothers.
Few differences between us, I said.
Because we are all sons.
Of a single parent.
Father, mother.
Reason for living.
And its opposite.
The infamous, cursed.
Smoke

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Friday, May 20, 2016

When a plane falls

Stories and News No. 878

Who were the victims of the flight MS804? 66 people, including 56 passengers from 12 different countries, seven crew members and three security officers.
This is one of many questions that those who remain arise.
When a plane falls...


When a plane falls.
When a plane falls means that the dream of flying is over.
Because when a plane falls it leaves you the gift of fear.
And when a plane falls you cannot help but put it there, on the scale always ready to welcome our time’s terrors.
But when a plane falls, heaven forbid that the weight will steal the show to courage.
Since when a plane falls do not say that audacity of those who made the short trip was spent in vain.
When a plane falls you cannot help but cry.

Because you were not there with them.
And at the same time, when a plane falls, you cannot help but feel relief.
For the same reason.
When a plane falls we are obsessed by the answers that the dark box will deign to reveal.
Because when a plane falls the guilty is such in the worst meanings.
But when a plane falls, heaven forbid this man to steal the spotlight at the other culprits hidden in the shadows.
When a plane falls the magic disappears and there only the tricks remain.
And when a plane falls we remember only flames and wreckage.
Because when a plane falls we forget everything else.
But when a plane falls is like photographing the stormy sea and being convinced that the blue painted placid waters were just an illusion.
And then, when a plane falls, anything goes.
When a plane falls the pain is the most logical track and at the same time worthy of respect.
But when a plane falls silence would be a smart choice for the audience.
When a plane falls, now, we are not impressed anymore.
And when another plane falls you do even less.
Because when a plane falls there is only the noise of the explosion to lord.
Yet, when a plane falls, you may tighten the ears and do the same with the eyes.
And imagine what it would be if the plane had never crashed.
However, when a plane falls, you cannot go back, but from that moment the miracle that defeats gravity, and all fear it weighed, needs you.
All of us.
Because when a plane falls it means that the dream of flying is over.
But for each plane has fallen, and every dream that ends, a thousand others are ready on the runway.
Ready to fly.
To dream.
Until the wings allow it...



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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Idomeni: the wonderful world of mistaken monsters

Stories and News No. 877

The clashes in Idomeni between police and refugees, including thousands of children, are becoming more violent.
A story of monsters...

Monsters.
Real monsters, now, we are no more afraid of.
We have learned to fear the others.
The mistaken ones.
Among the most improbable, I have to mention fires spitting dragons and blood donor mosquitoes.
Tsunami that return villages and landscapes even refurbished.
Earthquakes that offer just likable syncopation to those who have already danced enough, until now.
Seas wrecking in the finally safe hearts of the children on the barges.
Hunters who dismantle guns while reassembling animals, fragment after fragment, as a puzzle.
But also ghosts who tell bedtime stories and a happy ending nightmares.
Lethal injections of syrup for cough and cough syrups that treat vengeance sickness.
Civilians who blow their life up in the public square.
And some of the most extraordinary examples of the blind in this world, blessed eyeless creatures that should be cloned and disseminated everywhere as human deterrents against stupidity: those who do not see differences where there are none and see equalities where they should be.
One, ten, a hundred men surrounding a woman alone, helpless on the road, far from light and all together the save her from everything that could make her bad.
Walls that decide to build strong people, and people simply just wise to knock down walls that would never be strong.
Soldiers men who become children and children who rightly become able of not being both, men and soldiers.
People who love other people's love and hates their hatred for the love of others.
Incessant rain of useless tears that rise into the sky to create black gray clouds of all forms, even the most threatening one, but destined to dissolve thanks to the wind.
Blowing on the contrary, by a mountain of candy to the eternal spectators of the fruitful table.
Blessed army pushing sad past away extending their arms.
To welcome and succor, as if it were the most natural thing on earth, the future, the only possible future.
Of everyone’s present...

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Floods in Sri Lanka 2016: where the magic is

Stories and News No. 876

Once again torrential rains and floods befall on Sri Lanka.
Right now we speak of three buried villages, 137 thousand people forced to leave their home, 36 dead and at least two hundred families missing.
Fortunately, there is magic...

Be fast.
Hurry, do not waste time, grab the camera, indeed, the smartphone and steal the moment.
The proof.
The indisputable evidence that the spells work.
Of course the demonstration is all yours, you who are watching.
Try to understand, my brother and I are now veterans of such discoveries.
It has occurred so many times that it became an ordinary miracle.
Anyway do not believe that this will move us to the unexpected result.
Get used to the normal wonders.
The spectacle never fails with us, even now it colors the heart, at this very moment.
Because it is a shared fire.
Because it is the only life we have.
Together.
We do not need invincible superhero teams even fighting each other.
The rest of us cannot afford that luxury.
Because the enemy is always here, a centimeter from the wire that holds it all.
Home, loving ones and future, suspended on the hungry hole that is our usual floor.
Yet Dad smiles, you see?
Just as my brother, who hates the shirts on the skin almost as much as the mosquitoes that so have an easier time with him.
I have thoughts to add to the total levity of the moment, despite the tragedy that frames.
Yes, I reflect.
Sure, I think.
And I am thankful.
You might not believe it, but I am thankful with all my heart for the gifts we have.
The valuable companion with whom I share just now the gaze.
The paternal hand that accompanies us on the path.
But above all I am grateful for life itself.
Because the special effects really exist.
No at the blockbuster movies and even less in the literary sagas.
It is all here.
Where at any moment we survive.
Transforming the pain and misfortune into the opposite.
Here.
Where the magic is...


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Friday, May 6, 2016

First Muslim mayor in my town

Stories and News No. 875

It seems that the Labour Sadiq Khan could become mayor of London.
And, as pointed out by some newspapers, he would be the first Muslim mayor in the town...

Let's assume.
Let's assume that you was not in London.
Yes, I am talking to you who are reading.
Let's say you look at this page from a completely different city.
Mine, for example.
Or even yours, there is no difference.
Then you starts to read the news and find the alleged striking freshness: the first Muslim mayor was elected in our city.
Yes, let it be yours.
Or mine too.
Do you realize the comments?
Now he will fill us with mosques, they will build it anywhere, in fact, attending will be obligatory.
And how will the rest of us find time to watch football... oops, I meant to go to the Mess?
He will impose the veil on our women and force them to submit to males, even if we are famous in the world for the respect we have for ladies…
The Quran, I forgot the Quran. He will oblige us to read it all.
And how will the rest of us find time to watch... oops, I meant to read other things?
Even if we are famous in the world for the number of books we read per year…
Books? We will have to read and write from right to left!
And how will the rest of us find the time... and you know what I mean.
We will have to grow a beard like him, you see.
He does not have it?
But is he really a Muslim?
Anyway, he must not dare to remove our shops to put those Kebab vendors: first those born here, and then the other, this is our rule.
What? He was born here?
He was born, grew up and graduated in our city?
Excuse me, but is he seriously Muslim or just pretending?
Maybe it is something he used to get the vote by Muslims.
I know someone who just eats Tacos before the cameras to recapture Hispanic voters, after having insulted them in every imaginable way, I can expect everything.
Let's assume, then.
Let's say that, sooner or later, it will also happen in your city.
In mine.
That a first Muslim mayor will be elected.
I hope that that day we will take care only.
If we will have.
A good mayor

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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Woman faces 300 neo-Nazis: who wins?

Stories and News No. 874

The photos and the video of Tess Asplund trying to stop with her raised fist the neo-Nazis marching in Sweden are viral.
But who wins?

Alone against many.
What is the news?
It already happened.
It does even now, despite only them and she know that.
The fact will repeat again, tomorrow and the day after.
Because it is normal, banal human arithmetic, simple balance of playing sentiments, namely, imbalance.
It is an uneven dance, a foregone conclusion, I would say tattered, a so predictable victory to be out of the list of every bookmaker on earth.

Alone against those.
Where is the wonder?
It is a natural physics of emotions, pure logic of equally pure aspirations, inescapable consequence of axiom born with man.
Or maybe I should say woman.
It is David against Goliath in the real world, it is Puss in boots that defeats the ogre along the rugged borders of the latter, and even the little Hansel who saves her brother by tricking the witch who tries to devour their future. And believe me, beyond those same borders it really happens.

Alone against the crowd.
Why the surprise?
It is the only possible outcome.
Do you doubt it, perhaps?
Get the calculator, then, and follow me well.
They are so many, we could also say three hundred.
And she is alone.
Alone with the courage of who does not fight to win, but she knows has already won since she starts to fight.
Alone with infinite serenity in every inch of her mistreated skin, because she knows that same skin will always be the best dress in her life.
Alone with pride in her eyes that does not need the protection of the eyelids, because she know will still meet evil.
Again, again and again.
But every one of those times, evil will find someone else stronger, more obstinate.
And, above all, less alone.

Alone against them.
Now you understand why finally she is the one to win?

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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The average ranting citizen’s beam

Stories and News No. 873

The front page news have variable and constant occurrences. Among the latter you never fail to read about terrorism and immigrants. Above all, what is really omnipresent is the impetuous protest of the irritated average citizen...

On the road.
Two men meet.
Or collide, the choice is yours.
A moment after the unexpected crossing of existences, one of them says: "Did you see the dirt here around? It's a shame."
"In fact, though..."
"It's normal, with all these illegal people who have no respect for our city. You know that there is a squatter camp right here? But this time in the upcoming elections I’ll give my vote to him, so we’ll finally kick them off."
"Perfect, but..."
"Of course, you’re right, that is not the whole problem. Do we want to talk about carefully? "
"All right, if maybe..."
"Let's talk, then. There is no room for everyone, here, no work for us, let alone for those guys. However, they don’t really look for a job. I'm not racist, but... but they are make me become, because these persons are not like us, they are uncivilized."
"I see, anyway ..."
"If they were Christians, one could as well find some common point, but how could we communicate with those people with the long beard and the carpet? They live in a world of their own, they don’t integrate."
"By the way, I would..."
"One may argue: let's see, let's try. What do you want to see? What the hell do you want to try? The Chinese live with us since a lot of time and they are always... the Chinese, with their restaurants and small shops."
"Okay, but..."
"If I had the money I would go abroad, but in some quiet place, though. Because with these terrorists we civilized people are at risk. They hate us, they hate and envy us. They want us all dead, that's the truth."
"It may be, nevertheless..."
"We should build a nice wall around and who stays out worse for him. Indeed, a wall is not enough. A large rugged bubble, a dome, like that TV Series. All safe and the rest of the world goes to hell. "
"I understand, now, if you may..."
"Shit, I already regret having left the house, here. They made us dislike going for a walk, they ruined our life, and then others tell us that we need to help those debauched criminals without any dignity..."
"I told you I understand!" Shouts the other man shaking the very air, capturing the attention of all near passers-by.
"I understand what you think," repeated the man with a disfigured face thanks to the frustration, "and if you had not spoken I would still caught your point of view. But, as I said earlier, now, if you may do me a favor in this order, I will be happy: raise the foot which you’re crushing mine with, withdraw with the special glove the dung that your horrendous mastiff left on the sidewalk and, while you’re there, collect from the ground even the plastic package of the cigarettes that you has just bought from the tobacco shop here. Then, you must apologize to the young man who you bumped entering the shop, the incoming elderly lady who you have not given priority, all children passed through here in the meantime for the vulgarities you just said and the immigrant who tried to sell you CDs for insulting him, since, unlike you, he is working. Finally, me too I should go and earn my bread, so you should promptly move your double parked car that prevents mine going out, then remember to march in reverse, as you came in the wrong direction in a unique way. Then, if you like, you might also continue."
Your ranting...

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