Open letter to the anonymous who have smeared the statue of Montanelli

Dear anonymous,
I don't know who you are, even if I wait to know: soon they will track you down and then you will cry, invoking your mother; then, once you understand that you are not risking anything, you will be more arrogant than before. They will take you as a model, build the young man of the future on you, say that you have acted out of love. They will take you in procession for televisions, for newspapers, you will discover the thrill of a ragged notoriety and you will suffer in leaving it: now addicted, ready for any sacrifice, you will do everything to remain in the cone of light even if a fake light, grim, like a icy neon that intoxicates. Dear anonymous, you are known to belong to a collective of students, therefore young people, who have all their lives in front of them to learn life: start badly, however, or perhaps, who knows, you have already understood everything. For example, that, with the right families behind you, you can allow yourself anything, so much, at the right time, those same families, namely the bourgeoisie that you pretend to hate so much, will reabsorb you in the comfortable bubble to sort you where you don't sweats and is not afraid: publishing houses, media, bureaucracy, or even in the big game of politics. For acquired merits.

For the moment you have worked hard against a statue, obeying like Pavlov's dogs an impulse dictated by many puppeteers: the Sentinels , of whom we did not suspect the existence, and we lived very well; the Democratic Party, whose waste immediately joined enthusiastically; the singer Fiorella Mannoia, according to whom "we should not throw down the statues but equip them with a plate: fascist and racist". You, ready, put into practice the delusion with the monument to Indro Montanelli, of which you are completely ignorant: they told you that, at twenty-six years old, official in Ethiopia under the fascist regime, he had been given a "wife" of twelve or fourteen, according to local customs, and he had disposed of it until his return home. Episode that the person concerned never gave up recognizing, even if it would have agreed. These fragments of history, completely stripped from any context, were enough for you to proceed as Sentinelli and Mannoie commanded: a blood-red statue of Indro and the words "rapist and racist" .

And it was, believe it, a good coward. Because the statues cannot defend themselves, and because you acted in secret, like thieves, and then you ran away. Your prowess has been so miserable as to prevent the thrill of a claim. But you will have time for that. Know, however, that if this is the meter of your conscience, you should not stop: you have to find monuments of Mao, with his virgin children; busts of Mario Mieli, who pedophilia theorized it; by Daniel Cohn-Bendit – find out who he was, however an icon from '68 – who wrote of how "exciting it was to get undressed by a 5-year-old boy"; and so on, in an infinite reliquary to which not even Pier Paolo Pasolini is a stranger, who will certainly make you read at school, provided you go there. Know also that many of the myths of the Resistance with which they raise you, at 20 years or so paraded with the uniform of the same fascist regime, shared even aberrant ideas, wrote shameful words, granted atrocious privileges and mistakes; only that, unlike your target, as soon as the wind changed they struggled to deny everything by hitting the military in the adverse army and reacting furious every time someone reminded them of those embarrassing past.

It is useless to explain the value of customs, which rest over time: even the most barbaric, most unfortunate, and which today, but only today, we consider repellent: the Ethiopian madam dates back to a century ago, roughly, and was practiced by soldiers and officers from each country; in truth, and in forms that are not admitted, it is still practiced today by soldiers from every country and even by the UN pacifist army. But let us go: there is no need to teach you the lesson, much less preach it. The point, dear anonymous, is that, going through your life, you will have continuous, infinite opportunities to be ashamed of the day after something you did yesterday: it's called growing up, it costs blood – true, not like the paint you poured on Montanelli. Life is all repentance, at least for men and women who know how to win their dignity and their pain. Life does justice to certainties, easy solutions and even easier morals: it will happen, as happened to those who write to you, to run into someone against whom you had publicly supported the worst and most contemptuous accusations: and not to be able to escape the his hand outstretched. Not out of cowardice, nor out of opportunism, but because that man, however abject his behavior may have been, no longer corresponded, at least, to the portrait that you had made of it, and that you had fed to thousands of people . Maybe he had changed, maybe you. Or perhaps nobody: it is that judgment, finally, is too heavy a burden to download and even more to carry on; it is an infamous responsibility.
You will discover that you have every reason to judge, within yourself: but not to condemn. That your adversity, even your hatred, can also make sense within the consciousness that you have built yourself or rather that life has shaped within you. But when it comes to showing it, with a jet of paint or blood-red words, it's a damned different and more complicated matter. It's like quicksand, you get bogged down in it and you don't get out of it, you get submerged.

You will discover, perhaps, that Montanelli, your target in 2020, was a man, and a protagonist, of a century too long and frightening, to be able to quickly dismiss him as a "racist and rapist"; who knew how to captivate with words; that he was hurt, he was born to stand against everyone, to be condemned to death by that fascism to which he had adhered, and then, scampatone, to get shot at by that communism that had never stopped fighting; and who even pretended to adopt him, almost ninety years old, when he had the latest madness to invent a newspaper that went against the rampant power of a Knight who, at the time, was in fashion to define as "new fascism", "new Duce" . So the left to whom you refer no longer reminded of Montanelli's marriage to the little Ethiopian, willingly boned him. But he, Indro, did not delude himself: he knew that there is only one thing eternal in men: ingratitude, the damnation of memory to be rediscovered whenever it suits you. He, Montanelli, was a journalist and a man of many merits and infinite defects, but he was never mean and was never cowardly. He did not hide and did not hide his mistakes, nor his thoughts and words, did not seek excuses, never acted as a victim. He knew how to forgive, and he knew how to ask for forgiveness. In a word, he was a man. Perhaps not the greatest journalist of the twentieth century, because writing is like playing (this too, perhaps, you will discover) and it makes no sense to establish at the table who is better at touching certain strings, shaking readers, enriching society: it is often also a matter of knowing how to play it well, of being able to sell yourself, of learning how to be in the world. And this is truly the most terrible challenge, learning to be in the world as a man or woman possibly free, that is, free as far as the complexity of existing with others allows us; be able to keep your head up even after tragic or gross errors, as long as you have been able to pay them. And to die free, after giving everything to life that everything never gives you.

Dear anonymous, maybe one of you, one day, will discover that he envies that man in the statue, which a lifetime ago covered with blood-red paint. Pray that it is not too late to regret it and move on. That it is never too late, because success does not count in the end, the myths to be torn down, and the statues to be devastated, and anger do not count. What remains is a breeze in the soul that can accompany the great challenge of eternity. As a relief. A pacified understanding of the absurdity of the world, the awareness that men are crazy, yes, but, as long as they can remedy their bestiality, a gust of hope still survives.

The post Open letter to the anonymous people who smeared the statue of Montanelli appeared first on the Daily Atlantic .

This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Atlantico Quotidiano at the URL on Mon, 15 Jun 2020 04:11:00 +0000.