I'll handle that!

Publish date 28-05-2023

by Matteo Spicuglia

Franco Leoni Lautizi was just over five years old when the Nazis killed his grandmother, his mother, his unborn little brother, his father. Lives interrupted on a path of Monte Sole, in Marzabotto, the bloodiest Nazi massacre ever to take place in Italy. Franco is no longer here.
He died in 2021 at the age of 83, a witness until the end of the pain that had torn him apart. Those who met him were struck by his calmness, by words never used at random, by facts put together with impressive lucidity. But there was a trait that disarmed the interlocutor: when he remembered his story about him, Franco was an old man who cried like a child.

You couldn't do anything but listen and welcome that pain that is still so alive: the sound of lead, the grandmother killed instantly, the wounded mother who embraces him to protect him, the partisan father who went to arms in the same days . And then the life that began immediately after: the uprooting from the places of childhood, poverty, the orphanage, finally adoption. And that hate that didn't go away, that asked for revenge: Franco managed to defeat it only after many years, welcoming a sprout of forgiveness that made him more serene. A passage by no means obvious that other victims like him have never managed to live.

Franco speaks today even when he is dead, he continues to remind us that war in all its forms remains something inhuman, it depersonalises, divides, annihilates individuals and societies, compromises the present and the future. It applies to every conflict, even those that history and circumstances have made necessary.

A lesson in this sense comes from the great French philosopher and thinker Edgar Morin, who with the wisdom of his 101 years, has given us From war to war, a great little book which opens up necessary horizons of thought. Morin retraces the wars he experienced firsthand, starting with the war against Nazism: he recalls the barbarism of Hitler's regime, the extermination of Jews and opponents, but also the blind violence of the Allied bombing of German cities, the total destruction, the tens of thousands of women, children and the elderly killed. Morin does not put everything on the same level, he goes beyond politics, aiming for the right to humanity. Going so far as to say with extreme lucidity that «however just the war against Nazism was, the war of Good entails Evil in itself». Let me be clear, every war. With always the same effects linked to what Morin defines as a hysteria opposed to "every complex knowledge and every contextualization".

The legacy is ancient and always the same: hatred, divisions, opposing memories, personal wounds to heal, so many Francos forced to fight an endless war with themselves even when the weapons are silent and diplomacy reaffirms words the value of peace.

Unfortunately, it will be like this again this time. Now it seems impossible to imagine the trail of pain that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine will leave. But it is the only sure thing in this complicated and convoluted phase. A certainty that brings with it a question: who will take charge of all this? The states? Reconstruction funds? The heads of government? Politics? Perhaps. It would be nice if already now, in the silence of heart and mind, each of us had the courage to say: me!

Matthew Spicug
NP March 2023

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