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Commentary. For them, it’s easier to paint a picture of anti-Semites than to look real pacifists in the eye.

A demonstration louder than those who plug their ears

How huge was the Milan demonstration if after two hours from the scheduled start, no one was able to move one step, either forward or backward, appointments were missed, people weren’t picking up their phones and everyone got stuck somewhere they hadn’t planned to be, within large groups of others, and so they got to know each other and mingle; then, when they finally got to Piazza Duomo, it was already over, but no one would have it any other way?

And how out of touch is the political scene of Rome-based pundits and the circus of information if on a day like this, the only thing they managed to focus on were a few scattered counter-protests, recounting them as if things had been on the brink of all-out war, while ignoring the tens and hundreds of thousands of peaceful marchers? The few instances of shoving involved a few dozen people, mostly policemen, and lasted for only a few minutes.

A joyful demonstration of extraordinary size, this year’s April 25 in Milan can only be downplayed by those who had already announced before the march that “tensions” were expected, having decided long ago that antifascism was a relic of times past and calls for ceasefire were the outburst of an extremist, possibly violent minority. For them, it’s better to hide behind a pre-packaged and false narrative. It’s better to plug their eyes and ears while many thousands are waving the flag of an oppressed people, bombed into ruin, thus giving real meaning to the word “solidarity.” It’s easier to paint a picture of anti-Semites than to look real pacifists in the eye.

At the same time, Thursday has shown – first of all, to those who believed and those who came – that the refusal to listen is not enough to obtain silence, if those who have reasons to raise their voices refuse to comply. When il manifesto launched its call for a special April 25 a month ago, there were many strong reasons for protesting against a government that is dismantling the last constitutional safeguards in laws and institutions one piece at a time, completing the work started by different majorities in the past, but adding their own brand of authoritarianism and incompetence.

The urgency of a ceasefire in Gaza and Ukraine was already obvious as Europe began to slide with determination into the spiral of rearmament. Then, everything that happened between our initial message that “it’s possible” and Thursday’s march only added more and more reasons to be there: to raise our voices, to be seen and heard even by those who don’t want to hear and see. To grow the ranks of the march more and more.

If we have any particular merit in all of this, it is only that of understanding the moment and getting in tune with our people. For a newspaper, that is no small achievement; but this is where the hard part begins, for all of us.

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