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The empty half of the school desk

Stories and News No. 1212

Once upon a time there was the desk. Like the school one, on wheels or not, old and new, as long as you can imagine the classroom that hosts it, the whole school and everything you can remember for sure. Because you have been there, you have lived part of your life there, or because perhaps the fruit of mutual love – or mere passion – he or she is in turn living this particular, delicate and fundamental phase in their personal journey. Do you see the desk? Can you touch it with your fantasy’s fingers, hopefully surviving the digital dream suckers and horizons burners called social networks? Well, I presume you will easily agree with me that, like the chairs, the blackboards of the past and their erasers, or a cold IWB and the ever-present teaching post, is just a piece of furniture, a fragment of a special show’s schenography, where the brave protagonists, called students and professors, minimizing their value somewhat, are the meaning of everything. To be honest, they are the whole show. Why brave? Well, because nowadays it really takes a fearless heart to do both: open eyes and ears to rely on the teachings of an adult and stranger specimen, with everything we have done in recent decades. Nonetheless, at the same time, women and men who are there every day, in front of their literal future, trying to remedy the mistakes of their own generation and the previous one, they deserve as much admiration. Because they are hopefully helping them to make things right. Well, can you see the desk better now? Not just any school desk, but the great one. The one that awaits, or should do, every student on the planet. Are you also looking at what I have before my eyes? I am talking about the two different halves that make it up. Can you see the empty part in front of the unoccupied chair by the perpetually absent student? Because about 872 million children from 51 countries, half of the student population of our entire planet, have not returned to school at all, due to the Covid-19. But the most tragic aspect, a sort of further part of this already devastated half, 463 million children among those unfortunate at birth in the previous months could not even take advantage of the much-hated distance lessons. Because for them the computer is a fairy gift from overseas paradises, let alone the magic called internet. School is everything, to us and others, who survive beyond the margins of our more or less small perception of things. Each of us must commit himself personally, at any latitude, making the primary place of learning every day better than the one before. At the same time, however, let us never forget the most important of the teachings: there are billions of lives beyond the windows of our classroom, the living room, the kitchen or the bedroom, the office where we work, as well as the windshield and windows of cars, bus and train, or even the cell phone monitor and PC screen, from which we can learn at any moment the difference between complaining about something and not having it at all...

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My new book: A morte i razzisti (Death to racists)