New Humanity Movement

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Palermo

An experience and a book that tells us about the search to communicate with a people that are no longer seen as a threat to its individuality, but as the "other" asking for dignity and citizenship. An approach that we see in wonderful Palermo that speaks to us of life, that demands from us a readiness and openness to share our needs and our wealth, through different municipalities that make the community of any city.

 

By Maddalena Maltese-edited by Paul Balduzzi

We know from history that Palermo is one of the most beautiful cities in the Mediterranean. Its artistic and architectural splendour are a sign of the many civilisations that have laid their hands on this city over the centuries. Geographically nestled in an area among one of the most interesting and enjoyable places, a natural bridge between Europe and Africa, Palermo is not only the greatest economic and political centre of Sicily, but it is above all a city that seeks its own freedom, its new identity that remembers its ancient splendour and at the same time would like to "tell" the world the comedy and tragedy of its history, the beauty of its places and its people.

Carla Mazzola is a psychologist who has been working for 16 years at the Centre Against Leaving School Prematurely in the Zen suburb of Palermo and for about three years has been working on keeping Rom children in schools.

To give a concrete response to the need of training young Roms from 16 to 25 years who have left school, a completely new experience providing specific courses to meet the needs of young Roms has been completed.  This initiative was formalised through the signing of an Agreement by a network of institutions and associations working for the city.

CopertinaThe experience of Carla is recounted along with other witnesses in the book “Yek dui trin..Rou(t)e”  a collection of stories, experiences and projects with the Rom people of Palermo.  The book is the result of five years of meetings and fears overcomed, conflicts, difficult to contain in 130 pages. However, reading through the pages, you enter into a vision of life and cross the threshold of injury and commonplace to understand the grim existence of a community that has tried to defend its identity and roots and struggled to receive citizenship that has been denied despite 20 years of residence. During these five years in Palermo a lot has been done in this field to combat early school leaving, through sports tournaments, research and knowledge.  Much still remains to be done to raise this veil that inevitably separates the city from the field.

"In its thousand transformations we arrive at the end of our journey".

“May you be healthy and lucky” is the greeting that Rom, Gypsies, exchange at every meeting. And it's the same greeting that opened the presentation of the book at the Faculty of Letters in Palermo last May.

"Come to sleep in our field for two or three days to get to know us" was the provocative invitation of Hasan Salihi, Kosovan Rom musician, representative of the community of Palermo. "You would find many surprises but be confronted also by our enemies: the mice, open-air sewers, the total absence of services".

The words "resident" or "citizen" sounds weird and seems almost the betrayal of what is commonly considered the vocation of this people: nomadism. "This is also a prejudice that that is painful to death" explains Alexian Santino Spinelli, Professor of Romanian culture at the University of Chieti, a Rom poet and musician. "In reality Rom is a nation without a territory, but in Italy no less than 70% of Roms reside here permanently". The Professor tells a historical account of his people, their flight from India, persecution under the Nazis, their extermination under the indifference of all.

"Which was our weapon of defence? An extended arm that asks continuously. Begs  to survive, but also asks for a secure homeland, and a dignity denied ".

Perhaps you then must find the courage to march beside this people, try to outline a common path, Rom and Palermo together, so that in the ancient splendour of this city, we may add a new one:  that of diversity and dialogue for the common good. Precisely for all.

© Photo Copyright Tchacky, all rights reserved.
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