Fragment from the first Chapter

Each one of the card-players could have told us how to get to Via Garibaldi in their village. I am afraid that asked about Domenico Lopresti maybe a few of them would have answered that Domenico had a shop in Palmi where he sold fruit and vegetables. Lopresti has a number of first-hand experiences of how the construction of the South as a barbaric land to be tamed and civilised on the part of the Northern ‘conquerors’ is providing the North with a justification for endless acts of violence and abuse. I am even more afraid that almost all the card-players would know about Lopresti’s food and vegetable shop, and probably also about the Calabrian nobleman, because it needs just one engaged teacher to plant the seed of knowledge, but when asked, they would have remained silent. Knowing both Loprestis could lead to secondary questions and information about their movements and relations. Family ties and the lines they drew inside a contemporary web just as across generations, had created an impenetrable network. Would one walk back through the decades, be welcomed by one grandfather after another, he might arrive in Garibaldi’s time, and a young man who sat on a rock, resting from a long day’s march, could have looked up to the visitor. This young man might have been one of the deported ones, who ended his life in a detention camp way up north. He might have been a wanted man, who had to flee from the King’s agents, hide in the mountains and join the brigands. He might have joined others who emigrated to the Americas. His story would have travelled through generations. It would have become part of the identity, not only of his family, but also of the town and the region. And one thing each of the descendants would have learned was to not speak with strangers about personal matters. I think that is how the complete region became a personal matter.

Excerpt From: “Deep Poland.”

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