Italy – ‘On a very beautiful gesture’: a piece of writing by Massimo Passamani


Translation act for freedom now/B.pd
We receive and transmit a piece of writing by Massimo Passamani, a comrade held under house arrest.
 On a very beautiful gesture
 As they live in fear and get carried away by the saying ‘I just hope I’ll pull through’, very rarely do individuals get together in solidarity and mutual aid even in the face of situations that affect them directly at school, the workplace or the neighbourhoods where they live. Sanctions and dismissals come in thick and fast, and one always hopes that it will be someone else’s trouble. Police beat up and harass those who protest or don’t have documents, and one turns on the other side and even proudly calls oneself honest and respectable citizen.

In this context it is even more significant that some prisoners decide to show solidarity with other prisoners whom they’ve never met, prisoners who are locked up hundreds of kilometres away; and they express this solidarity by deeds and for reasons that don’t affect them directly.
As I read about the protest of refusing food trolleys announced by 98 prisoners in the Tolmezzo prison as an act of solidarity with not only Maurizio Alfieri – who is still being held in solitary confinement in that prison – but also the comrades being inflicted a special regime in the prison of Alessandria and for the removal of window grilles [bocche di lupo are special grilles that let air and light in the cell but prevent prisoners from seeing outside, TN] I was deeply moved. What a slap in the face of men of power and priggish people with rotting hearts! What a setback for the barriers erected by society every day! Not only do ‘social’ prisoners (Italians as well as immigrants) address some ‘terrorists’ as ‘our comrades’ but they also have the courage to carry out an act of solidarity in the shit prison where they are locked up. Solidarity not only as concerns the goal to be achieved but also its own making (if enough food for everybody is not stored in advance, the protest of refusing food trolleys actually becomes hunger strike for the many prisoners who do not have money for the canteen).
Window grilles are undoubtedly a disgrace as they even deprive prisoners of the possibility to catch glimpses of the outside from behind bars, as happens in ‘normal’ cells. But life conditions at Tolmezzo are not at all to be envied.
The attempt at isolating comrades from the rest of the world made by the home secretary, the Prison Service and various prosecutors proves here totally wrong thanks to some society’s outcasts. Let the attempt at slaughtering in silence the dignity and life of many rebel prisoners be also proved wrong thanks to the comrades and all generous and brave individuals…
As I am under house arrest and no longer locked up in the prison of Alessandria, I wouldn’t know how to join this protest. With these few lines, therefore, I send my solidarity embrace to the comrades imprisoned in Alessandria (and in all the other prisons), and shake hands with my brothers in Tolmezzo as I am proud of having met them, although for a short period of time. I will never forget either you or this very beautiful gesture of yours. Thank you.
Massimo Passamani
19th November 2012 

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