Milan on Saturday was a sea of people in a colorful and festive atmosphere. This “Sea of Milan” gathered under the demonstration’s official yellow banner, “Together Without Walls,” underscoring the common denominator of this mosaic of people. Not far away was another banner, with black and white letters, declaring a sentiment everybody there shared: “No one is illegal.” And nearby was another, larger and colorful banner with the phrase in Italian, which felt even bigger: “Nessuna persona è illegale.”
This peremptory affirmation was replicated in a thousand signs and T-shirts, stickers zigzagging among the crowd. There were 100,000 people from every ethnic group, every age, every country. They came together, met, mingled with different accents, different clothes, different stories, different affiliations, but all dragged into the rhythm of this big friendly calm celebration. And everyone involved shared in the knowledge that we are together on the side of a divide that is deciding the future of the world and the world of the future, for which we can no longer postpone the moment of choice. If not now, when?
Much has been said about the fault lines that now characterize political and social conflict. The fault line that separates Left and Right has been declared obsolete and weary. The one that separates High and Low, emerging and turgid, able to draw the scenario of rising populism. The one between Conservation and Innovation, with all the burdens of ambiguity contained in both terms. The fracture line referred to at the demonstration this weekend in Milan is the line that separates and contrasts Human and Inhuman. That’s an extremely dark line that leads communities to ask the ultimate questions: Will we be able to recognize each other, to recognize Us in the Others?
Those who marched felt the need to say, very simply, that they wanted “to remain human.” They do not want to look away from the image of a dying man, a drowning child, a woman giving birth on a beach before passing. It’s a powerful choice (with a strong charge of positive energy), because when the Human presents itself in all its strength, the arguments of the Inhuman vanish like ghosts of a gothic novel. It was evident Saturday where, in “his” Milan, Matteo Salvini looked like a poor, surreal and grotesque shadow, only evoked on some mocking signs (one said “+Salvati / – Salvini”).
But on May 20, Milan also said something else. A quiet, soft-spoken but firm “no” to political hypocrisy, fictions and double or triple play. The yellow signs reading “No Minniti and Orlando” dotting all segments of the procession from tail to head, were not an expression of a “biased” position nor a “divisive” vocation.
In their rhizomatic pervasiveness, they expressed a common feeling and shared intransigence on fundamental questions on rights and respect for life that cannot be undermined by an appeal to “urban quality.” Fast and prioritized expulsion lanes cannot be created at the expense of fair legal instances. We cannot deal with rogue states and tribes to help us send away to die in the desert those we do not want to see landing on our shores… We simply cannot. Those who do it, perhaps in secret, behind the screen of diplomatic hypocrisy, lie on the slope of the inhuman.
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