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We, the people: the beautiful non-violent Italian revolution

Piazza San Giovanni

We’re on the eve of General Elections in Italy.

On Sunday 24 and Monday 25 February, the Italian people will vote on ending the clutches of an almost twenty-year-long period of conflict-of-interest-filled, corrupt, nepotist and fraudulent governing, or vote on going back for more of the same.

If it depends on the tireless efforts  of a new political force, there will be a complete turnaround and honesty and transparency will finally prevail in Italian politics.

For three years, Beppe Grillo’s MoVimento 5 Stelle (5 ***** Movement) has been gaining momentum.

Last night, a crowd of 800.000 people (and 150.000 more watching in streaming and who knows how many more watching the video stream on 120 streets and squares all over the country) gathered on Piazza San Giovanni in Rome to listen to the candidates and Beppe Grillo himself.

For Grillo (the 65-year-old comic/satirist), it was the 77th stop of his “Tsunami Tour,” criss-crossing the country in a donated camper and making two to three campaign appearances a day. The endeavor has paid off: MoVimento 5 ***** is a political force to reckon with and might well win the elections.

In an emotional ending that you can find on Beppe Grillo’s blog under “Parole Guerriere,” he took leave of the crowd.

Here is a translation.

“We searched for a way out. We were prisoners of the dark. We never thought we’d make it. We had been told that the windows and doors were bricked up. That there was no exit.
Then, who knows from where, we picked up a flow of words and thoughts. From outside. From inside. From the network, from the streets. Peaceful words, yet at the same time warrior-words.
We have used them as a guiding light in the dark, utilized them as keys that turned the lock that opened the door to elsewhere, to unknown territories, to ourselves. And now, here we find ourselves outside, not altogether used yet to the light. We squeeze our eyes and even though we know we took the only road possible, we are fearful, and rightfully so. What is happening in Italy right now has never happened before in the history of modern democracy. A democratic non-violent revolution, uprooting powers and upending pyramids. Citizens who become the State and enter parliament within the timespan of just three years.
Now we have come to understand that we ourselves were that closed door, that those warrior-words were living inside us for quite some time but we were unwilling to exit, believing ourselves alone in our struggle – while in effect, we were a multitude. And now we register surprise at getting to know the multitudes that share our thoughts, our hopes, our fears. We have finally gotten to know each other and have exchanged those warrior-words with each other.
Estranged words that had lost every meaning, we have turned into powerful arms that we used to change everything; to turn around an artificial reality where finance equalled economy, lies became truth and war was peace, where dictatorship was democracy.
Ancient warrior words, like community, honesty, sharing/participation, solidarity, sustainability, sounding fresh once more and reverberating through a far-reaching soundwave, negating old-style politics.
We have finally caught up with and understand reality.
We know that we can count on our own strengths, facing a Country in ruins and difficult times, where tensions, problems, and conflicts may lie ahead, but the road ahead is plotted. We who have found this road that leads us into the future know that the future may bring poverty, but also truth, concreteness, solidarity and contentment.
A new Italy awaits us.
Being part of it will be beautiful.”

[Cercavamo una porta per uscire. Eravamo prigionieri del buio. Pensavamo di non farcela. Ci avevano detto che le finestre e le porte erano murate. Che non esisteva un’uscita. Poi abbiamo sentito un flusso di parole e di pensieri che veniva da chissà dove. Da fuori. Da dentro. Dalla Rete, dalle piazze. Erano parole di pace, ma allo stesso tempo parole guerriere. Le abbiamo usate come torce nel buio, come chiavi da girare nella serratura per andare altrove, in posti sconosciuti, verso noi stessi. E ora siamo fuori, siamo usciti nella luce e non ci siamo ancora del tutto abituati. Stringiamo gli occhi e, anche se sappiamo che stiamo percorrendo l’unica via possibile, abbiamo qualche timore, ed è normale. Quello che sta succedendo ora in Italia non è mai successo prima nella storia delle democrazie moderne. Una rivoluzione democratica, non violenta, che sradica i poteri, che rovescia le piramidi. Il cittadino che si fa Stato ed entra in Parlamento in soli tre anni. Abbiamo capito che eravamo noi quella porta chiusa, che le parole guerriere erano da tempo dentro di noi, ma non volevano venire fuori, pensavamo di essere soli e invece eravamo moltitudine. E adesso siamo sorpresi che così tante persone a noi del tutto sconosciute avessero i nostri stessi pensieri, le nostre speranze, le nostre angosce. Ci siamo finalmente riconosciuti uno nell’altro e abbiamo condiviso parole guerriere. Parole che erano state abbandonate da tempo, di cui si era perso il significato, sono diventate delle armi potenti che abbiamo usato per cambiare tutto, per ribaltare una realtà artificiale dove la finanza era economia, la menzogna era verità, la guerra era pace, la dittatura era democrazia. Parole guerriere dal suono nuovo e allo stesso tempo antichissimo, come comunità, onestà, partecipazione, solidarietà, sostenibilità si sono propagate come un’onda di tuono e sono arrivate ovunque annientando la vecchia politica. Siamo diventati consapevoli della realtà. Sappiamo che possiamo contare solo sulle nostre forze, che il Paese è in macerie e che quello che ci aspetta sarà un periodo molto difficile, ci saranno tensioni, problemi, conflitti, ma la via è tracciata. L’abbiamo trovata questa via e ci porta verso il futuro, un futuro forse più povero, ma vero, concreto, solidale e felice. C’è una nuova Italia che ci aspetta. Sarà bellissimo farne parte.

Read more:

Beppe Grillo (CNN)

Beppe’s Inferno (The New Yorker)

Meeting Italy’s silenced satirist (BBC)



This was the image that cruised the world this week with tags:
I am not a fan of Berlusconi, and never have been. In fact, I am convinced that he did more damage to the country in 17 years than the Democrazia Cristiana in almost 70….YET, Europe, the world, will need more than just the overthrow of powerful individuals. It needs a profound change, preached by the likes of Beppe Grillo. It needs an end to greed and the end of capitalism (as we know it.)

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