• the art of governing

    by Eloisa d’Orsi.

    Riace, a small village in Calabria, southern Italy, had its heyday when, along its coast, two pieces of excellent Greek art, known as the Riace Bronzes, were found. On that very coast arrived, in 1998, an old wooden boat crowded with 300 kurd refugees. A teacher of the village, seeing them on the beach, interpreted that as a sign and decided to welcome them to the village and give them food and shelter. Since then he has been known as “Mimmo The Kurd”. He set up an association, Cittá Futura (Future City), in order to make a  dream come true: a global village in one of the most remote and poorest spots of Italy. Thanks to him Riace joined the SPRAR (Protection System for Asylum Seekers and Refugees) and he also managed, through the immigrants’ integration, to bring back to life a village on the verge of becoming a ghost town due to emigration.

    The refugees now have a home and they are all learning Italian. Some of them joined a special program to recover traditional techniques, thus learning to craft local traditional products, now sold in the town shops.

    Incredibly enough, solidarity tourism seems to work. Schools and tourists now come to visit this model of integration and local area management, where it’s possible seeing a Kurdish woman weaving traditional Calabrian fabrics or a Palestinian man selling jeans on the local market without anyone feeling threatened but, on the contrary, being proud to be helped and helpful at the same time.

    What makes Mimmo’s story so exceptional is its normality. The normality of these persons receiving and others who are received. The normality of human relationships unbiased by prejudice and racism. The naturality with which Domenico Lucano, mayor since 2004, managed to make his citizens getting hold of politics in its real meaning: the art of governing.

Pubblicato in: Eloisa d'Orsi, Photo