It’d take too much to talk about the countless things that have been said and done in solidarity with us. It’s easier to gather suggestions, cheerful and serious thoughts, a bit of sweet nostalgia and some perplexities, and write them down on these pages.
A continuous and impressing sequence of public and private messages, initiatives, individual and collective actions have been characterizing the recent months. This flow of love has always kept our hearts warm and filled our stomachs with butterflies, sensations that no words can describe. None of us has ever felt ‘worn-out’ or exhausted by imprisonment. Prison is the same short circuit of reasoning and humanity for all those who have to cope with it, and unlike us most prisoners face it without love, economic or legal support or anyone publicly shouting for them.
There was not a single moment when we felt victims, even if someone (incredibly few, to tell the truth) has naively and wrongly described us as such, and has turned to the press or even politicians, to which we have never wanted to ask for anything.
(Out of consistency and honesty I cannot help but say that I feel total distrust towards journalists and politicians of any colour and position. Both categories just want to sell their commercial products and search consensus through servitude, making their best to be the mouthpieces of others’ bad consciences. And both categories wear the mask of subversives, sincere democrats and hangmen according to the needs of the time and place. Journalists who are not like I’ve just said are probably unemployed, or will be so soon, or are relegated to the margins of the official distribution of news. In any case, they can only confirm that they share the same roof and bread with the indifferent, the vultures and the jackals.)
To decide to oppose the folly of the status quo can be heavy with consequences. Among them, to be identified as enemies of humanity: evildoers, provocateurs, violent people. Terrorists.
Not to feel victims doesn’t mean to accept these definitions, but to acknowledge this world is being ruled by shameless and perfidious hypocrisy. The same hypocrisy which calls ‘development’ the continuous and gradual destruction of the source of life of all living species and is ready to send to the gallows anyone who smashes the windows of some giant of exploitation (human or environmental), but which ‘ignores’ the devastation that ENI produces everywhere it goes in the name of the Italian people; which fells offended and raise its head if a defender of order (and privilege) grazes himself on the knee, but which hides its head when someone is forever ruined or put an end to their lives in a police station or jail.
Reality without veils is sad and terrible. But by constantly looking at it, one can fall in love with a dream of freedom, self-determination, justice without the deceit of the Law, and starts looking for it anywhere it suddenly manifests.
I saw it. In a migrants’ detention camp in flames. In the running off of a bailiff, who backed by the Law would have wanted to kick someone out in the street. In the defacement of a symbol of social inequality. In blatant graffiti along the ‘precious’ streets of a city centre.
And I saw it at the junction of a highway at sunset, after three days spent sharing anger and fear for the life of a brother, which was hanging by a thread thanks to zealous servants of the TAV. Thousands of people who just don’t want to move away from there. Someone cooks a soup, some other puts fire to a barricade. And not only for the police is it difficult to discern who does what. They come in the end. A sea of blue helmets. Jostling between us and them. We are facing uphill, unmasked, unarmed. I look for my comrades’ faces. None of us would ever choose to be so vulnerable: we wouldn’t pass an exam of urban guerrilla. But we look at one another and smile. All around us, hundreds of people are chanting ‘Val Susa has no fear’. We are not naïve, everybody knows how it’s going to end. But time becomes dense, bodies dilate and merge and no one would want to be anywhere else.
Try to explain to certain vile men that it is not in the law that they will find the words to talk about this beauty. And the determination, the tenacity. But we are not scared of their words. The concept of terrorism only serves to take the piss out of stupid and spiteful men. This is what really happened with our arrests. It’s not only the usual, stubborn subversives who are sending the charges back to those who pressed them. Many are now sensing deceit and understanding what it’s getting at: the ace up the sleeve of terrorism (already used to repress those who struggle against oppression, exploitation and devastation) can be applied to social struggles, et voilà. But prosecutors, or others on their behalf, are getting it wrong. They think they are preparing an easy ground for themselves. They think they are playing ahead of the game but they arrive too late. By now there’s no way stubborn individuals, made obstinate by a twenty-year-old NO, fall in the trap of some sharp windbag. And if the charge of terrorism has already fallen through on a symbolic level, it might also do so on a judicial point of view. And it’s good that the State doesn’t find it easy to get itself the instruments to terrorize many struggles and many fighters. But it’s not possible to dwell more on what happens in the courtrooms. Certainly we can’t expect a pat on the back
But the collective and incredibly widespread claim of that action fills us with strength. For we’ve gone far beyond of just saying that they are the terrorists. We’ve ended up by saying that behind those hoodies in the shadow of the moon in May there were the faces of all the men and women who don’t want that bloody train. The categories of guilt and innocence disappear and become stuff for bureaucrats and accountants. ‘On that night we were all there’: this statement makes us feel freer than any sentence could do.