Publish date 06-06-2023
There are masks that even survive the carnival: ours. And, they too, at least in part, are a ferocious consequence of Covid We have all learned to lie more and better.
The long hours of silence and solitude that have not been imposed on us for at least a century have, at least in part, clouded our gaze. We smile: to show that we are fine. We learned in those weeks in which (has anyone forgotten?) you couldn't go beyond 200 meters from your home. That prohibition has remained “inside” us and will not go away.
It's time for indifference: another gift from the pandemic. Barred doors, lights out, elderly people asking for help, children overwhelmed by incipient life, abandoned couples, people annihilated by illnesses and economic misfortunes: nothing can pierce the curtain, the bark, the armor that, sometimes unconsciously, has grown inside and fortified around us. But the fear and anxiety for the future that have gripped us for three years are stronger.
To someone (few according to statistics!) has given a dive into mystery, faith, solidarity. For others (many!) it has brought a squeeze in social relationships, in relationships with people. It is a very dangerous process for everyone: it leads to the loss of roots, the characteristics of a society and the memory of the past. In the controversial effluvium of the images that reach us at home, I seem to perceive many islands that could risk being submerged by solitude. The churches are increasingly empty. Why? Cultural encounters, those that give perspective to life too. Why?
on the other hand, leafing through the annals, here is: how much humanity in our history, how many events of extraordinary-ordinary heroism in the past centuries of our country, how many beautiful figures of people who have got their hands dirty with the sick , the poor and hopeless.
How much dissatisfaction, however, today in the eyes of those we meet on the street. Is there a reason? Yes. Our hearts have hardened. And we know why. The ambulances went by with sirens blaring, the doctors and nurses arrived at our homes "paratrooper carriages", covered, masked. They did it to protect and protect us. We, now, "passed to nuttata", do it only out of selfishness.
Tremendous stories arrive at home every day: from Ukraine, from Turkey, from the world, from next door. Of course, reading them is not easy.
They are certainly provoked by malice, neglected nature, hatred, social inequalities. But Covid and the fear of not breathing anymore has made us shut down, has left room, once again, for consumerism that gluttonously devours every feeling and erases humanity. There is the clear risk of "minding my own business", the choice not to raise one's eyes beyond the horizon of the house, the growth of a massive and excessive dose of presumed privacy. But that's not all: life is getting harder and harder, work is scarce and almost always precarious, expenses and taxes (which despite promises) grow, families increasingly alone, broken up and left to themselves. There is the natural search for safety, so a mask is enough, pulled down: at home, in an apartment building, on the street and tranquility is saved. And then? The lowered shutters, in history, have never brought anything good, now the demographic winter, the empty halls of clubs and conferences, a sea of indifference. Windows open to the first sol of spring are another world.
Gian Mario Ricciardi
NP March 2023