Thursday, April 21, 2011

Letter From Vittorio's Mother

"Vittorio never was as much alive as he is now“" By his mother, Egidia Beretta Arrigoni:
Do you have to die to become a hero, to be on the front page of the newspaper, to watch TV
even outside the home or to die in order to stay human? I remember the Vittorio at
Christmas 2005, when he was imprisoned at Ben Gurion airport, the scars of the handcuffs
which had cut off his pulse, the denied contacts to the consulate, the mockery trial. And the
Easter of the same year, when he was stopped by the Israeli police at the Jordanian border,
directly behind Allenby Bridge, to prevent him from entering Israel, when he was loaded
onto a bus and seven of them, one of them a policewoman, beat him “with art”, without
leaving external signs, true professionals that they are, they threw him on the ground
facedown, and as a last devilry tore out his hair with their potent boots.
Vittorio was persona-non-grata in Israel. Too subversive, one year before he had
demonstrated at the Wailing Wall with his friend Gabriele together with the men and
women from Budrus village. He taught and sang with them our most beautiful partisan song
“O Bella ciao, ciao….”
At that time I did not watch TV, not even when in autumn 2008 an Israeli commando
assaulted the fisherboat in Palestinian waters near Rafah and Vittorio was first locked up in
Ramle and then sent home in prison clothes and slippers.
Certainly, now I can only thank the press and TV that they have approached us in a decent
way, that they have “occupied” our house respectfully, without excesses, and they gave me
the possibility to speak about Vittorio and his chosen ideals.
This lost son, now so much alive as he may never have been before, just like the seed that
grows and dies in the earth, will bear prosperous fruit. I can see and hear this already in the
words of friends, especially the youth, some of them close by and some of them far away
who through Vittorio have known and understood how to make sense of “Utopia”, that the
hunger for justice and peace, brotherhood and solidarity still prevails and that, as Vittorio
said, “Palestine could as well be in front of your door”. We were far away from Vittorio, but
we were closer than ever.
As of now, his lively presence which is ever-growing by the hour, is like a wind which from
Gaza, his beloved Mediterranean Sea, is blowing wildly and bringing us his hopes and his
love for those without a voice, for the weak, the suppressed, bearing us witness.

Restiamo umani.

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