Creaking at midnight

Publish date 08-09-2023

by Fabrizio Floris

It's midnight and the streets of Mirafiori are silent (incredibly silent), so much so that I can hear the creak of a bicycle crossing Via Roveda in the distance. After a few moments I see a man on two wheels with a cart attached: he is a waste collector who searches the bins for objects to resell, clothes, iron and other metals.

He reminds me of Martin Luther King's famous sermon, Somebody Knocks at Midnight, in which he lists the nights in which the humanity of his time had fallen, concluding with "the midnight of the moral order". Because Mr. Joseph pronounces exactly the same word, he says that for him «working is a moral duty», he also expresses it clearly in French: «For me this est un devoir moral (it is a moral duty), with this work I maintain my family, I send my children to school and they can eat. You know, he continues, here (in Burkina Faso) this year with inflation, the war in Ukraine and the jihadists would have risked dying of hunger; instead, what in Italy is waste, for me and for my people is life. […] There is currently a general mobilization to deal with terrorism which has led to the cancellation of civil liberties, as well as forced enlistment for all young people over 18 years of age. More than 10 thousand people, including civilians and soldiers, have died and two million people have been displaced."

King said in the sermon that «at midnight the colors lose their distinctive characteristics and blend into a dark grayish hue.
Even moral principles have lost their distinctive characteristics: for modern man, absolute right and absolute wrong depend on what the majority does. Right and wrong are linked to the tastes and habits of a particular community. We have unconsciously applied Einstein's theory of relativity, which correctly described the physical universe, to the moral and ethical field." But in this midnight of Mirafiori everything appears clear. If we were in a theater now there should be applause and we should personally thank Joseph and praise his courage. In a neighborhood where we mourn our loneliness, the redundancy fund, unemployment, let's stop and listen to those who creak in our midnight.

Fabrizio Floris
NP June / July 2023

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