Passaparola - Culture is everything

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ďOnce upon a time there were wars and the young men went off and died and three generation of young men got missed out. Today, luckily, this no longer happens but another type of murder is taking place: the murder of the future. The impossibility of finding oneself through work, this is the most atrocious thing that is happening to a young person in Italy.
And so the only thing I can humbly say to them, with great humility, is that I donít believe in hope. Anyone who lives by hope, dies hopelessly. I believe in intentions, that you have to make some plans in your head, to do things anyway, to stand up to the circumstances, even hopelessly ...Ē Andrea Camilleri

Passaparola with the writer Andrea Camilleri

ďI would like to talk about something that I feel is fundamental. Something that few people seem to take an interest in and most people in Italy seem to not care about at all. But is is a serious matter. I would like to talk about the protection of the Italian language. Someone said: ďLook whoís talking - and youíre writing in dialectĒ. Apart from the fact that I also write in Italian, however, you see, thatís not the problem. The problem is that recently, well a few years ago, they decided that the European laws were to be translated into English, German and French. Before that, they were translated into Italian. Then Italian got excluded. Theyíre no longer translated into Italian. If you want to know what Europeís laws say, you just have to know English or French. Otherwise tough luck. You have to get them translated.
This means a step back for our language. Our Deputies in Europe should have forcibly opposed this move. Whyís that? Because Iím noticing that in the field of technology, English terminology is quite common. Thereís ever more use of English words even in every day life. And not just there but even the politicians are using the English terminology for Italian laws or for Italian regulations, like ďelection dayĒ and so on. Whatís the point of all this?! This is provincialism above all. You hear a President of the Council using English words and to me, an Italian, that makes a mark on me. Itís as though the British Prime Minister were to use Italian while speaking in Parliament. Itís madness! Itís pure madness.
There are Italian words that mean exactly the same thing. Why not use the Italian words? Letís not talk about the world of fashion. By now they only talk English.
Thatís how languages die! Do you know how many languages die? Six languages every 15 days in the world. A language becomes unused and then it dies.
My God, we have a really strong literary tradition. Fortunately, that will not disappear. But thereís the risk of making Italian become a dead language.
Take care. Iím not an autarchic like there were in the fascist times, when Wanda Osiris had to change her name to Wanda Osiri, removing the final ďsĒ because it sounded foreign, or "Saint Luis Blues" became "Tristezza di San LuigiĒ, which was a mental delirium, but Iím saying that a just defence of the language is absolutely necessary.
We have waged a dreadful war against the dialects, but the dialects are the strength of a language. We have this rare thing, the multitude of dialects that other nations, other peoples, donít have. The language is national. Itís like a tree, that sends out its roots into the whole of Italy and it draws in words towards the centre. Once upon a time, this is how the words became the language - from the periphery to the centre.
And they were like life-giving sap for the tree of language.
They produced live leaves. If the land where the roots of the trees get their nutrients, if the land is polluted with foreign words, the tree will die and this is a risk that we are encountering, not now, for sure, but certainly in thirty years time! So Iím inviting you to have less provincialism and to retrieve some really beautiful words for our really beautiful language.
Iíve written a book called ďCome la pensoĒ {How I see things} and itís just been published. There are a few things in this book: ďWhy - can you get to eat culture? Culture is not something sacred, something just for people of culture, for the few. Itís for everyone! Then what is culture? Itís not just literature, but the culture of a manual worker, how an office worker carries on their work, itís about how the administrator of the condominium is thinking. Culture is us! Because we are culture. The human is culture.
Sure, there are higher forms of culture, but when I hear that Italy is the country that spends the least on culture in the whole of Europe, Iím stunned into silence, because - well - what have we come to? Above all thereís the stupidity of not understanding that if you spend money on culture, then culture gives you back your money three-fold. Because spending on culture means keeping Pompei on its feet and not letting it fall to pieces. It means making it possible to keep museums open at all times and in all circumstances. It means exploiting our works of art even for the tourist industry. I donít know whether Iím contributing to culture by publishing books. When you think that Iíve sold six million copies in Germany and they are writing to me from Germany: ďBut whatís it like in Sicily? I would really like to go thereĒ, and at times, when I reply Iím turning myself into some sort of tourist operator. I donít know whether itís a matter of culture, but it is a matter of money that definitely comes back to Italy through tourism.
Letís do Montalbano on TV Ö Iíll tell another story. The BBC takes it and shows it in the UK in the early evening. You wonít believe it! Am I not getting a letter from a British tourist company that is sending two charter planes to Sicily full of tourists who have seen Montalbano?! Culture provides food. Iíll keep on saying - the money invested in culture gives a threefold return to the State.
Thus as well as raising up the person intellectually, it is also beneficial to the finances of the Italian State. This idea of giving advice to young people isnít really very comfortable for me, partly because Iím 88 years old and someone giving advice to young people is presuming at 88 years of age to understand the youth of today. That is presumptuousness.
This is why I donít want to act like a lovely grandpa. I always try to avoid that assiduously.
Today, however, there is something that I can see, not how they are thinking because they do their own thinking about their own affairs and thatís how it should be. To understand todayís young people, you need to be their contemporaries, and thatís something Iím not. Iím a contemporary of the atomic bomb, of the TV and the miniskirt and I stop with the miniskirt that seems a good place to linger.
As well as that, things are beginning to get difficult for me. Letís not talk about computers and the Internet. However, itís clear that a series of economic, social, financial, and political circumstances are killing the young people of today.
Once upon a time there were wars and the young men went off and died and three generation of young men got missed out. Today, luckily, this no longer happens but another type of murder is taking place: the murder of the future. The impossibility of finding oneself through work, this is the most atrocious thing that is happening to a young person in Italy.
And so the only thing I can humbly say to them, with great humility, is that I donít believe in hope. Anyone who lives by hope, dies hopelessly. I believe in intentions, that you have to make some plans in your head, to do things anyway, to stand up to the circumstances, even hopelessly. Think of being on a life raft. But you just have to get this life raft to a beach, while never losing, not tenderness, but the courage and the strength that comes to you because you are young.
This is what I wish for you: never lose the strength and the belief in your youth.
As for the adults. Many of the adults are responsible for the situation we have today. Thus a bit of advice that I can give to the sensible adults is to take quite a lot more interest in serious political life, because abstentionism makes things worse. To take part in public life and in political life with your own opinions is always something positive. Thus continue to exist in society.
Spread the word if you think its appropriate and if you donít think its appropriate, stay silent.Ē

You could find these posts interesting:

Passaparola. Culture is for eating - Dario Fo
Florence is not selling off its culture
Culture against the system

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 07:00 PM in | Comments (5) | Comments in Italian (translated) Post a comment | Sign up | Send to a friend | | GrilloNews | listen_it_it.gifListen |
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La pretattica del pd meno elle e del pdl del blocco momentaneo dell'Imu ha funzionato a meraviglia gli italiani hanno hanno creduto per l'ennesima volta al gruppo di famiglia in un interno i classici italiani creduloni i conservatori mi rivolgo a loro e vi dico bravi continuate a credere alla favole continuate a votare i stessi partiti l'asino vola non venite poi a lamentarvi a giugno quando l'imu si ripagherŗ un'altra volta non venite a lamentarvi quando ci saranno gli aumenti di gas acqua e luce
non venite a lamentarvi quando verrete licenziati o quando avrete lo sfratto perchŤ nessuno vi aiuterŗ nessuno vi tenderŗ una mano voi credete ancora nelle favole e invece fareste bene a svegliarvi non Ť mai troppo tardi

Posted by: egidio esposito | May 27, 2013 07:51 PM


Thanks for sharing your great opinion with us.

Posted by: jason | May 21, 2013 07:11 PM


cos,Ť url?

Posted by: verdiana cangini | May 21, 2013 01:03 PM


Are we going to adopt esperanto as the only way to communicate world wide?
We, the humans, don't think like that.
Have a positive day.

Posted by: claudio millanti | May 21, 2013 09:25 AM


Love reading the blog.
But please lose the Amazon ads, there MUST be other online bookstores.
In the UK they're being challenged about avoiding tax.

Posted by: Mike Barron | May 20, 2013 08:19 PM


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