We have to be optimistic and hoping in a prosperous future for everybody, particularly in this period of the year, but optimism on its own makes very little to avoid sliding towards avoidable catastrophes. We can hope no storm will hit our towns in 2020 and live a happy life. At the same time, we can speak about the possibility of storms landing on our homes campaigning for strengthening river banks, coastal protections and flood barriers. Because our optimism should be well-spent in the hope that our actions will be successful rather than in the hope that our inaction will be rewarded by chance.
Lucio Dalla (1943-2012), a famous Italian singer, released a beautiful song in 1979, l’anno che verra’ (‘the year to come’). This song does not speak about war but of a troubled period of Italian history, when the country was shattered by political terrorism, when people’s worries were addressed by politicians by the constant renewals of promises of a prosperous future. This iconic Italian song is not just wonderfully and sadly contemporary, but also deeply meaningful outside Italy. It is thus a pity that, to my knowledge, no English rendition was ever attempted but scroll down to the bottom of this blog-post for a translation and the link to the song.
By many, l’anno che verra’ is considered an anti-war song. And being in Italy speaking with life-long friends, it came back to me. Yes, because during the last year, something has happened. Since the financial crisis, some of us has spoken about worries, at least privately, for an international political context similar to the period that preceded world-wide wars. Until recently, most people would respond to these concerns as if they were related to an abstract possibility, a distant scenario. Lately, I started to notice reactions that are more emotionally involved. Some people respond with an explicit wish for authoritarian figures that could bring back order and prosperity to people. Many others, quietly share their concerns, as to liberate themselves from an untold secret, something they never liked to speak about worried to be judged. Then I find myself speaking about the possibility of war with people from different countries and backgrounds, a discussion that is rarely met with skepticism by now. People does not appear pessimistic, desperately looking into the barrel of a gun, but realistically discussing about something that can happen and they wished to avoid.
Some politicians are promising us a prosperous future. At the same time, they are playing a complex chess game in an international scenario where the global geopolitical structure is in slow and constant flux, towards a new balance we cannot predict. Some politicians promise a wonderful year ahead, but advocate policies that lead to friction and conflict with other countries, a scenario that rarely leads to a peaceful and prosperous life. While I think that mainstream media could do a better job explaining to us what is happening, even just to reassure us, or to keep us alerted about the storms forming at the horizon, I feel I can do just one thing for now.
With a mild optimism that people will reject conflict and embrace international cooperation, with adequate scrutiny on the actions of their politicians, I dedicate to all of you Lucio Dalla’s song. Because there is still time to reinforce the river banks, the flood barriers and the coastal protections that defend our democracies, human and civil rights from the storms ahead.
Dear friend, …
The year to come by Lucio Dalla
Dear friend, I am writing to you so that I can distract myself a bit
And since you are very far away, I will write to you with that much more force.
Since you left, there’s been great change
The old year is over by now
But something still isn’t right here.
People don’t go out much at night, even when there are parties
And there are individuals who have put sacks of sand next to the window
And some are without words for entire weeks
And for others, they have nothing to say
Of the time that remains.
But the television said that the new year
Will bring a transformation
And we are all already in expectation
There will be 3 Christmases and people will celebrate all day
Every Christ will descend from the cross
Even the birds will make their return.
There will be enough to eat and it will be bright for the entire year
Even the mute will be able to speak
While the voiceless already do so.
And people will make love every day as they please
Even the priests will be able to marry
But only at a certain age
And without a lot of pain will someone pass away,
They will be perhaps the people who are too clever
And those who are too foolish in each era.
Consider, dear friend, what I write and say to you
And how content I am
To be here in this moment
Consider, consider, consider, consider,
Consider, dear friend, what one must make up
In order to be able to laugh through it all
In order to continue to hope.
And if this year were to pass then in an instant
Consider, dear friend
How important it becomes
That in this instant you be by near me again
The year that is coming will pass after another year
I am preparing myself and this is the news
Riprodotto da Muzikum
L’anno che verra’ by Lucio Dalla
Caro amico ti scrivo così mi distraggo un po’
e siccome sei molto lontano più forte ti scriverò
da quando sei partito c’è una grossa novità
l’anno vecchio è finito ormai
ma qualcosa ancora qui non va.
Si esce poco la sera compreso quando è festa
e c’è chi ha messo dei sacchi di sabbia
vicino alla finestra
e si sta senza parlare per intere settimane
e a quelli che hanno niente da dire
del tempo ne rimane.
Ma la televisione ha detto che il nuovo anno
porterà una trasformazione
e tutti quanti stiamo già aspettando
sarà tre volte Natale e festa tutto il giorno
ogni Cristo scenderà dalla croce
anche gli uccelli faranno ritorno.
Ci sarà da mangiare e luce tutto l’anno
anche i muti potranno parlare
mentre i sordi già lo fanno.
E si farà l’amore ognuno come gli va
anche i preti potranno sposarsi
ma soltanto a una certa età
e senza grandi disturbi qualcuno sparirà
saranno forse i troppo furbi
e i cretini di ogni età.
Vedi caro amico cosa ti scrivo e ti dico
e come sono contento
di essere qui in questo momento
vedi, vedi, vedi, vedi
vedi caro amico cosa si deve inventare
per poterci ridere sopra
per continuare a sperare.
E se quest’anno poi passasse in un istante
vedi amico mio
come diventa importante
che in questo istante ci sia anch’io.
L’anno che sta arrivando tra un anno passerà
io mi sto preparando è questa la novità
Riprodotto da Muzikum