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


Soccer and Refugees

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This week’s European issue of Time dedicates its cover history to the refugees and the asylum problem.

According to 1951 U.N. Convention, refugees are those people running from persecution in their nations, because of race, religion, nationality or social or political affiliation.

U.N. figures out over 15 million recognized refugees that live unsafe at home and unwanted anywhere else, at the beginning of 2009. They are not economic migrants, even though they often have to face economic problems.

So that … what’s the link between soccer and refugees?

I’d like to tell you about an Italian experience I’m very proud of.

Liberi Nantes is a soccer team formed by refugees, asylum seekers, migrants. The team is part of an association whose aim is giving these people a ‘normal’ life through different sports.

Liberi Nantes with its soccer team will participate at Antiracist World Cup, that will be held in Italy, at Casalecchio di Reno (not far from Bologna) from 7th to 11th of July.

Thinking of U.N. numbers, we can rightly believe it’s just a drop in the ocean.

But normal life is made of little things, small steps.

In this case, soccer represents also a chance to inform people about refugees condition, and do not forget them and the hard life in their countries.

Obviously, S4C and its photographers will be there to show us all the best of this tournament!

News from Rome: Flash mob for Peace

Dear All,

as you can imagine this is one of the best season for visiting Rome. Not too hot, nice weather, plenty of exhibitions.

But next Saturday  there will be a special event you can’t miss if you happen to be in Rome. The location will be one of most beautiful squares: Piazza del Popolo.

Hundreds of people will meet there for a Flash Mob in order to support the campaign ‘Internet for Peace’. All together, we’ll transform Piazza del People into a peace symbol.

Last November Internet was proposed as candidate for Nobel Peace Prize. Since that, many people have been working hard to support not only this proposal, but PEACE.

Shoot for change, Flash Mob Roma, and 100Tag are asking you to wear a coloured t-shirt (choose one color from the peace flag!), and bring – if it’s possible – a computer device, such as a mouse or a keyboard or an old motherboard.

Obviously … don’t forget a camera to shoot the event and partecipate  at Shoot4peace photo contest.

What else … an important aim, a beautiful location, a lot of fun!

WHEN: Saturday, May 29th

WHERE: Roma, Piazza del Popolo

LOCAL TIME: 4.55 pm

Don’t forget it’s a FLASH mob, so don’t be late!

Internet for Peace: a photo contest

Dears All,

once again I am proud as I can offer my little help to Shoot4Change, by promoting an important campaign.

As you probably know (otherwise, please read my previous post!), last November, the magazines Wired Italia, Wired UK, and Wired US proposed Internet as candidate for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.

This proposal generated a worldwide movement, supported by Shirin Ebadi (Nobel Prize 2003), Umberto Veronesi (scientist), Nicholas Negroponte (founder MIT medialab and OLPC), Giorgio Armani (fashion designer), Zeferino Andrade De Alexandre Martins (Minister of Education of Mozambico), Geraldine Namirembe Bitamazire (Minister of Education and Sports of Uganda), Luìs Federico Franco Gómez (Vice President of Paraguay), Joi Ito (CEO of Creative Commons), and the three Wired directors: Riccardo Luna, Chris Anderson, and David Rowan.

Everyone can be part of this movement. Everyone can play a starring role in this project.

That’s why Shoot4change launched SHOOT FOR PEACE photo contest! It’s not a commercial contest, its aim is to focus attention on the peaceful power of Internet.

You can take pictures using a camera or your mobile phone, but don’t hesitate in showing your point of view about Internet for Peace.

You have 100 days until June 30th, 2010.

For more info … and

Iran: the endless Green Wave

As I believe that sometimes  it’s fundamental keeping the focus on facts, news, ideas that people can easily forget, I’d like to talk once again about Iran’s  Green Wave.

Few weeks ago I wrote a post about important screenings that took place in NY and LA. Have you been there?

If you didn’t have the chance to be there, I suggest to read the report by Yelena Posniak on Shoot4Change

She worked hard, but the result was great.

Don’t stop staying tuned with the Green Wave and Shoot4Change


Today, attacks and clashes were reported in Iran‘s capital as the opposition leadership has called on its supporters  to continue the protests that began after the disputed victory of Ahmadinejad in the presidential election in June

As the normal telecommunications are censored, opposition is spreading information by word of mouth or by text messaging using bluetooth wireless protocol, which despite its limited range is hard to block.

From all over the world, the Green Wave is increasing, helped by bloggers, websites, social networks. In one word … Internet.

I’m proud to inform you that SHOOT4CHANGE,  “a  platform of initiatives carried out by photographers (both pros and amateurs), designers, artists and other dreamers …” born in Italy, is presenting two movies by an important Iranian director: Daryush Shokof.

These are the two appointments:

Iran Zendan
Heavens Taxi

February 14, 2010
Anthology Film Archives
32 2nd Avenue
New York City
1pm – 4pm

February 18, 2010
Laemmle Theatres
11523 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA
3pm – 6pm