When a theatre becomes a bookshop

According to Flavorwire, El Ateneo Grand Splendid is considered one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world.

I got this information when I visited Buenos Aires in August, from a ‘porteño I met there.

I love bookshops, and it is one of the places I never miss when I am abroad. But when I got inside El Ateneo I couldn’t believe my own eyes … What do you think?

Image

Image

Image

 

 

Myanmar: the beginning of a new era

When I visited Myanmar in 2002, I spent a lot of time wondering if it was right to go there.

All the money spent in that country would have surely supported – in some way – the terrible military dictatorship.

Finally, I decided to go and see … During my trip I met a nineteen years old guide. When we were on the bus with the driver or other people he was used to mechanically speak, with a sort of  ‘flat’ sound. He didn’t reply to any difficult question about his country.

But during a trekking, far from any other people, he started to talk about his life, his family, his difficult life in Myanmar. There I realized that he was able to speak Italian better than English, that was also the reason why he looked at my Italian book about Myanmar. At the end of the trip, I wanted to give him the book but before I had to inform him about contents, as it strongly criticized Myanmar government.

A simply travel guide could represent a danger for him, for his freedom. However, as I supposed, he was very happy about the present, he took the book but fastly hid it.

Today, reading about Aung San Suu Kyi election, all my thoughts are for that young guy and ‘the beginning of a new era’ for Myanmar people.

Here and here two previous posts about Sung San Suu Kyi

And here, the song that Bono with U2 dedicated to her


Against all racism

Apartheid Museum - Johannesburg

Today we celebrate the International day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. You are in Rome, go to Colosseum for symbolic embracing!

Rome, Italy - March 21st, 2012 - by Jemima Russell

This is the message of the Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon
“The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is an important opportunity to remember the pernicious impact of racism.

Racism undermines peace, security, justice and social progress. It is a violation of human rights that tears at individuals and rips apart the social fabric.

As we mark this International Day under the theme of “racism and conflict,” my thoughts are with the victims.

Racism and racial discrimination have been used as weapons to engender fear and hatred. In extreme cases, ruthless leaders instigate prejudice to incite genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

There are many valuable treaties and tools – as well as a comprehensive global framework – to prevent and eradicate racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. Nevertheless, racism continues to cause suffering for millions of people around the world. It thrives on ignorance, prejudice and stereotypes.

The United Nations is responding by working to foster inclusion, dialogue and respect for human rights. Where societies have been shattered by conflict, the United Nations strives to promote peace processes and peacebuilding that foster inclusion, dialogue, reconciliation and human rights. Uprooting racism and prejudice is essential for many war-torn societies to heal.

At the same time, I look to all people to join the United Nations in our drive to eliminate racism. We must, individually and collectively, stamp out racism, stigma and prejudice.

This year, we are spreading the word through social media. Visit our new website, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ban_Ki-moon.

Tweet your support with the hashtag #FightRacism.

Share the text of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination with the link http://bit.ly/xGOrnX.

 Post to one of our Facebook pages in English, French or Spanish. Or create your own campaign.

Join us, on this International Day, in spreading awareness to stop racism.”

Rome, Italy - March 21st, 2012 -By Jemima Russell

International Woman’s Day: nothing to celebrate

In these days all the Italian media are reporting about ‘crimes of passion’ in my country. In 2011, 97 (ninetyseven!) women were killed by their husbands, boyfriends, partners. How can we define a crime as a passion? Isn’t it a sort of cultural justification of power of possession?

Together with these crimes, sexual abuses are still alive and most of them are committed at home.

I was really impressed reading about an important a photography project by Grace Brown. This project is called Project Unbreakable. Grace uses photography to help heal sexual abuse survivors by photographing them with posters that hold quotes from their attackers.

Project Unbreakable

Project Unbreakable by Grace Brown

At the same time, in another part of the world … we are in Africa, but the “topic” is always the same: crimes and violence against women.

In order to create awareness, 70 climber from 30 different African countries are climbing Kilimanjaro. This initiative is part of an important campaign called Africa Unite (http://www.africaunitecampaign.org/), which aim is to enforce national laws to punish all forms of violence against women.

So … let’s start again with new ideas on International woman’s day, considering it not as a celebration, but an important opportunity to increase awareness, spread the voice, fight all forms of violence against women, all over the world.

Carnival in Gomorrah’s land, or the wish for a normal life

Scampia's carnival

Scampia's carnival parade stops along its way to send its message to citizens and invite them to join - (c) 2'012 nicoletta di tanno

I’m proud to introduce a special guest for a very special post: Nicoletta Di Tanno. She accepted to share with us her experience in Scampia, and her passion for social photography.
She is a communication specialist with more than 20 years experience in international environment, and volunteers for Shoot4change.
A child from Scampia

A child from the Scampia football school represents the school on the top of their float - (c) 2012 nicoletta di tanno

Ever since, Carnival celebrates the subversion of the ordinary. In Scampia, the neighbourhood in the outskirts of Naples described in Saviano’s best-seller ‘Gomorrah’, subverting the ordinary means that residents can occupy their territory, reclaiming their ownership.
The driving force of this carnival is the G.RI.DA.S association, meaning ‘Group for awakening from sleep’. This association, founded by a couple, Mirella and Felice Pignataro, has since decades bravely been providing a centre of social aggregation and cultural initiatives in this difficult area of Southern Italy.
For the 30th year, Scampia’s carnival proposes to schools and to the local community a parade for expressing creativity, and a day of collective re-possession of public spaces – the real Occupy Scampia! Social issues are at the heart of this carnival, denouncing inequalities and injustice as well as representing local initiatives and achievements.
In this context, different initiatives and associations, both local and from elsewhere, meet in the morning of Carnival’s Sunday in front of GRIDAS’ base, to walk the neighbourhood in parade through its streets and buildings, often off-limits on an ordinary day, using dancing, masks, protest and proposals to raise awareness among those met along the way.
This year’s theme was “Your money or your life, i.e. this is the way it goes”, around which children, citizens, boy-scouts, Roma people, musicians, relatives of convicted and many others, brought their message along with carnival floats and masks.

It was simply impossible not to be involved! The enthusiasm and commitment of all participants was overwhelming. The aspiration to live a life as much ordinary as possible, based on work, integrity and justice, shows through in every instant and in every representation. From the parade, an invitation to join was constantly addressed to the many people that from home look at the march out of their window, revealing a wish for participation that can’t be achieved.

Masks and symbols, positive and negative, coexist in the parade in a symbolic fight. At the end of the path, reaching a nearby Roma settlement, an allegoric bonfire destroys negative symbols while the positive ones are kept, and the parade is joined by the Roma community.

Being within and together the parade as a photographer was a unique experience, joyful and hopeful. One of those that heal your spirit, because they bring about solidarity and the best out of each and every one, in spite of a lieu commun that would make you think you wouldn’t find them there. A virtuous circle, where positive calls positive, and where you hope you can come back again.
Scampia's Carnival

People watching the carnival parade in Scampia from their windows -(c) 2012 nicoletta di tanno

Scampia's carnival

A child watches the carnival parade as it passes through a courtyard. He was possibly forbidden to join - (c) 2012 nicoletta di tanno

Scampia's carnival

A child from the Roma settlement joins the parade crowd with his bike - (c) 2012 nicoletta di tanno

Blogging day to free Rossella Urru

#freerossella

Rossella Urru #freerossella #freerossellaurru

I’m proud to join today the campaign to free Rossella Urru, the Italian woman working for the International Committee for the Development of Peoples (CISP) that was kidnapped on the 23rd of October in Raguni, Algeria, the administrative centre of the Saharawi population refugee camps.

This blogging day is part of an important campaign supported by important media such as Rai TG3, as well as bloggers and websites from all over the country.

If you’d like to be part of this campaign, don’t forget the hashtag: #freerossella #freeRossellaUrru