The months of “Stasis” during the coronavirus emergency

Federico Cenci's dystopian novel on health totalitarianism in the times of the Conte government

The months of epidemic emergency were a moment of stasis for Italy … but precisely of "Stasi" in the vintage sense of the word: Staatssicherheit , like the homonymous ministry of East Germany dedicated to state security, and known by the acronym " Stasis". In the name of the coronavirus alarm, a hood of sanitary totalitarianism has descended on Italy, welcomed by the screams of approval of a part of the company that while applauding the hermetic closure in their homes, yearned to be part of the elected group of "signalers".

Federico Cenci in his agile dystopian novel "East Berlin 2.0" ( Eclectic Editions ) recalled this totalitarian atmosphere in real time, showing how it was, especially in Italy, more similar to the climate of the defunct GDR (the regime in which a diligent bureaucracy of spies lived "the lives of others") other than the normal reactive forms of an accomplished Western democracy.

In the introduction to the novel Alessandro Sansoni underlines how in Italy a Chinese lockout has not provoked any resistance from most, who have introjected the "medicalization of existence" and with it "impressive restrictions of civil and constitutional rights accepted without blinking ".

At this point it is easy to foresee the objections of the "serraglisti": "But what did you want? A massacre? Don't you realize that by closing us in the house the government saved our lives? " In truth we would have liked, just to avoid a massacre that actually took place, that Italy had behaved like those Asian countries geographically closer to the Chinese giant, but less geopolitically dependent: a warning of the danger with rapid reflections, a flow control, tracking of contagion chains, mass screening, in short pragmatic behaviors. Instead, for more than a month we sank into a theater of Sardinian statements such as "the real virus is racism" , "the mask of culture" , "embraces a Chinese" , all this while the Chinese ambassador intimidated us if only we tried to control the flows or to apply quarantines to the runners of the Silk Road who returned from the exciting celebrations for the beginning of the year of the mouse .

Then the tragedy followed the tragedy: instead of keeping the virus out, we closed ourselves in the house, with a dynamic similar to that which leads European companies to militarize cities after excluding as serious blasphemy any serious policy of filtering migratory flows from warm regions.

Tragedy becomes the material of Cenci's story: a caustic and effective portrait of what has been and still is. Federico Cenci tells us about an Italy sucked into a sad dejà vu from East Germany in which the Single TV channel celebrates the planes loaded with goods that come from the great sister Republic of the Red Star; in which the propaganda speakers describe as crazy satrap the premier of over curtain with bizarre hair who dared to question the effectiveness of our system.

In East Berlin 2.0 the slogans of the Mega Single Party ring out: “Stay at home! It's for your sake! " And in an increasingly hostile climate, infested with informers, anyone who dares to stick his nose out of the door is considered a traitor.

The concepts of individual guilt (in an ideological system in which the individual is aprioristically guilty) merge with those of confession and expiation: overwhelming theology, while there is a clear divergence between two religious perspectives: on the one hand a "digital church "Without sacraments, which in agreement with the Mega Party preaches abstract pacifist-ecological formulas, and a Church of the Catacombs that risks the truncheon or at least the media pillory.

Cenci is good at capturing in this eerie atmosphere the amalgam of two close ideological waves: that of Gretism first and then Chinese-style imprisonment.

Salvation from the "system" is captured in the individual's ability to "go to the woods" (clear quote from the anti-totalitarian Junger of the "Treaty of the Rebel" , "Der Waldgang" in its original title), or to break a certain I point the chain of prohibitions by carving out an increasingly vast area of ​​freedom by finding myself with my fellow men who have not given up the status of free citizens.

However, a new dystopian novel is needed to narrate the follies of the post-menagerie: the unleashing in the cities of the tribes of the statue cutters. Even a good dystopian author like Cenci will have to admit that the novelist is in a hurry: the tragicomic reality of our days pursues the imagination and surpasses it on the left …

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This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Atlantico Quotidiano at the URL on Sat, 20 Jun 2020 04:15:00 +0000.