Italy – A letter from comrades Niccolò, Claudio and Mattia from the prison of Turin



Translated by act for freedom now

The following text was written byNiccolò, Mattia and Claudio, arrested along with Chiara on December 9. Although the three comrades are isolated from the other prisoners, they have the opportunity to meet every day (Claudio and Niccolò share the cell and see Mattia in the yard). On the contrary Chiara has been in total solitary confinement for over a month, as there are no other female prisoners on High Surveillance regime in the same wing.
Their mail is subjected to censorship, which causes considerable delays to incoming and outgoing letters; that’s why we can publish only now this text written almost a month ago.
Yesterday we learnt that the Court of Review rejected all requests of the defence lawyers, including that of declassifying the charges and the aggravating circumstance of terrorism. In the court prosecutors Padalino and Rinaudo reiterated that the terrorist behaviour of the comrades is not to be recognized in the more or less violent modality of the action against the TAV construction yard occurred last May, but in the overall context in which the action was carried out: the opposition to the realization of the Turin-Lyon line. What really worries the prosecutors of Turin and the whole party of the TAV is the twenty-year old struggle against the high speed railway, the attempt to give substance to that NO around which the movement has developed. 

It’s just 4pm and the sun is going down behind the massive metal incinerator, while in the distance we can see some of the mountains of the valley and image the outlines of mount Musiné.
We’ve been locked up here for 10 days but our thoughts are still travelling away…
Even the stones knew that Turin prosecutors were preparing something big. It could be seen in the increase of charges against the movement but above all in the intense work of propaganda with which investigators, mass-media and politicians have been trying to lead the NO TAV resistance in the shadow of that magic word that makes everything possible: ‘terrorism’. For months they haven’t talked about anything else, a mantra obsessively repeated in order to evoke fierce repression.
Finally they singled out some of the many episodes of last summer’s struggle, on which this suggestive imagery can strike a chord, and have bent and twisted them according to their vision of the world made of militaries and paramilitaries, hierarchies, control and blind violence.
They did the same with the police raids of the end of July, now they are doing it again to justify our arrest.
But there is an abyss between what they want to see in us and what we really are.
We are not interested in knowing who ventured in the woods of Clarea and sabotaged the yard on that night in May – probably not even the investigators themselves are interested in this. What they want is to have someone in their hands now so as to threaten the movement and active resistance with years in prison and achieve quiet and undisturbed the opening of the yard in Susa.
They want people to stay at home and watch the progressing of the high speed project from their windows.
But these people have already the instruments to get involved: we all learned to make a blockage when we shouted ‘no pasaran’, and to smash our way open with sledgehammers as concrete barriers were blocking our way; we learned to look away when the horizon filled with gas and to stand up when everything seemed lost.
It won’t be the terror they are abundantly sawing that will spoil the future crops of this long struggle.
It is necessary to continue to find places and times of discussion, and to exchange ideas and information in order to put forward proposals and be ready to come back in the streets and in the woods.
It is evening at the Vallette prison, but besides the dark there’s not much difference with the morning as the armoured door of the cell is kept close around the clock: high security!
Compared to the Nuovi Giunti unit, here it’s much more quiet and clean but the lack of human contact is debilitating us.
The chaos of B, C and F wings (apart from the isolation Chiara is enduring) is a swarm of stories and life experiences to be mingled with, and where to find complicity and solidarity.
Last month Niccolò, who had been arrested at the end of October following another trial, could observe how the echo of the struggle against the TAV had reached the inside of prisons, and for many it represents the courage of those who ceased to suffer the decisions imposed by an oppressing state.
For us, constrained in isolation in an aseptic unit, it is vital to refuse segregation and separation between prisoners: we are all ‘ordinary’ prisoners.
For these reasons too it would be good if a discussion on and against prison developed within the movement.
Most guards of the Vallette live here, in big buildings within the walls and they won’t ever get rid of prison. Even if they treat us politely in this unit they wouldn’t stand back if they had to report us on order of a senior officer whenever we decided to struggle for whatever reason.
So, with the memories we hold tight, we’ll make this ‘key-bearers’ fume with the narrowness of their horizons.
‘Have you ever seen the sea push through the woods in a fine afternoon of July, and pouncing on the fences of a construction yard?’
‘Have you ever felt human warmth as you stand shoulder to shoulder with people of all ages while shields advance, the asphalt of the highway becomes liquid and the back roads fill with smoke?’
‘Have you ever seen a snake without head or tail or a rain of stars in the heart of a midsummer night?’
We have, but we are not satisfied yet.
The road ahead is a long one, there will be exciting moments and resounding blows, steps forwards and steps backwards, and we’ll learn from our mistakes.
For the moment we look our prison in the eye and it’s not easy, but if ‘Valsusa is fearless’, we certainly can be no less so.
 Niccolò, Claudio, Mattia
To send letters and cards:
Niccolò Blasi
Mattia Zanotti
Claudio Alberto
Chiara Zenobi
C.C. Via Maria Adelaide Aglietta 35
10151 Turin

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