A couple of days ago, as I was browsing a Sicilian blog, I saw a curious post. The thing in itself was only the picture of an old toilet located in a train railway station of Agrigento, which is a Sicilian province (South of Italy). No text was attached.
It was a very old sign, probably going back to the beginning of the XXth century so it made me smile. Then, I started to read the comments. There were so many and I wondered why.
The reason was that the second comment was written by a person of the north of Italy who started to offend all, labeling us as “bloody southerner that can’t even read. …You should be walled up in your island and do nothing as usual, while the real Italy works!!!”
Something like that…
This suddenly created a web mayhem, as you can imagine, but made me very sad, and I started to think it over.
I didn’t choose the place where I was born, as I didn’t choose the color of my skin, hair, eyes, social class or anything else that can be discriminating.
It is not my fault if I am a bloody southerner from a very tormented place, and it is not my fault if I happened to have blue eyes and blonde hair.
I was born where I was born, and I have the colors that I have, but there is something I definitely chose.
I decided to be a person that show respect for others. I always wanted to be a person who help the next in line, a person you can count on when there are troubles, and I spend my life so far, trying to be respectful with people, even when they just knock you down or treat you badly.
So it does is my fault and responsibility if I choose to become a worthless human being. Someone who is not able to give anything but inconvenience, troubles, offences, attacks, fights, meanness, hate.
That’s why I like to say that I am not different from an afro-american man of 50 years old, an Irish old lady, a kid living in the slums in Brazil, an Aussie teen ager or the famous unknown man holding his bags in front of a line of tanks in Tien an Men square in June 1989. I am a citizen of the world. I am not different from all these people and I often feel I am all these people and more others. And why?
Because I do believe people’s differences make our lives richer, at least they make mine richer, as far as they accept you the way you are, without judging or discriminating. But the problem is that in 2009 we still have to write this kind of statement, or better still, we have to shout it out loud. And this is a sign of our times. Really hard times.
So that’s me. Nice to meet you.