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Cease fire: Rome calls for peace

High school kids and old '68s, Catholics and workers, artists and immigrants: Acrimonia was also at the anti-war demonstration in Rome. To tell you about another Italy


The watchword is ceasefire. Regardless. And regardless. In the Italy that slowly becomes aware of being plunged into a war, into many wars, a wave of hope appears. A wave that brings together old Sixty-eighters and high school students, petit-bourgeois and workers. Artists willing to put themselves on the line and university students. Women and men who take it upon themselves to take to the streets to say that this cannot go on.

Urged by Acrimònia to look this Italy in the eye, we took part in the 'Cease fire' demonstration on Saturday 9 March in Rome, organised by Assisi Pace Giusta with the support of Cgil, Emergency, Arci, Associazione Partigiani and many Catholic associations. The first sensation was that of being among beautiful people. People who believe. People who are not content with political slogans, with the pre-cooked narrative provided by the media, but feel strongly the need to raise their voices to demand an immediate stop to the wars underway, those on the Gaza strip, in Ukraine, in Syria, in Africa. All wars.

30 thousand people, according to the organisers. A colourful and transversal people, enemies of any violence, who claim the right to demonstrate and loudly denounce the baton blows on the students of Pisa and Florence, demanding that it never happens again. As does the professor from Pisa who took the stage set up at the Imperial Forum.

The beacon guiding the march is Article 11 of the Constitution forcefully chanted under a dark sky broken at times by rain and flashes of sunshine. "Italy repudiates war as an instrument of offence against the freedom of other peoples and as a means of settling international disputes" reads the law on which the Republic is founded. It starts here to call for an immediate stop to bombs on every battlefield. Elio Germano lists a frightening series of data that perfectly renders the idea of the insane direction taken by the planet. "Two thousand one hundred billion dollars are spent every year in the world on weapons and in 2024 Italy alone will spend twenty-nine of them - denounces the Roman actor and theatre director -. If that money were destined to reduce inequalities and improve health, the world would be reborn. With the cost of a single submarine, eight thousand nurses would be hired for five years".

Utopias? Utopias to be vigorously pursued. Like those that students rode on the streets of Europe in the late 1960s and to which Fiorella Mannoia's speech is ideally linked. "I'm not good at talking, I prefer singing. But I want to say one thing. If they had explained to me, when I was a girl, that we would arrive at what we see today, I would not have believed it. Those who speak of peace are laughed at or, worse, end up on proscription lists. We had the conviction that we could change the world, make it fairer. We did not succeed, it is clear that we failed. But I am still here, even today. I am here because I am not resigned."

Just as the thousands of young people who took to the streets of Rome, raising the flags of Palestine and Peace to the sky, are not resigned. Young people asking for a future that is not this dangerous return to the darkest past. No politicians speak, a banner says it all: "We are Jews and Palestinians, we are Russians and Ukrainians: humanity has no borders".

It is not long before sunset. Loudspeakers blare Ghali's "Casa Mia". The procession breaks up, while in the air floats a verse by Fabrizio De Andrè bounced on stage: "May pity not remain in your pockets".



Illustration by Gloria Dozio - Acrimònia Studios