CORTINA D’AMPEZZO HA UN NUOVO ASILO SULLA NEVE IN ALTA QUOTA: BABY TOFANA LAND A RA VALLES NELLA (SKI AREA TOFANA-FRECCIA NEL CIELO)

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C’è una grande novità per le famiglie in vacanza a Cortina d’Ampezzo: la ski area Tofana-Freccia nel Cielo diventa #familyfriendly e dal periodo natalizio sarà in funzione a Ra Valles (2475 m) il nuovo asilo neve Baby Tofana Land!

Il servizio si rivolge ai bambini dai 3 ai 10 anni che vengono accolti da due operatrici delll’infanzia in uno spazio dedicato e protetto all’interno di Capanna Ra Valles mentre i genitori possono sciare liberamente e godersi piacevoli momenti di relax. Ai piccoli ospiti sono proposti diversi momenti di svago, divertimento e rilassamento oltre ad attività ludico ricreative utili a favorire l’ integrazione nel gruppo, la creatività e la socializzazione. Divertimento assicurato tra giochi di società, costruzioni, libri, colori, strumenti musicali e tanto altro ancora. Baby Tofana Land dispone anche di un’area esterna attrezzata per giocare sulla neve.

Non si somministrano pasti, ma le famiglie possono mangiare insieme aCapanna Ra Valles, con un menù ricco di prelibatezze a misura di bambino, dai primi e secondi piatti alla pizza più alta delle Dolomiti, ampia selezione di hamburger e dolci.

Come arrivare
L’asilo sulla neve Baby Tofana Land è situato dentro Capanna Ra Valles, al secondo tronco della funivia Tofana – Freccia nel Cielo a 2475 m. Parcheggio gratuito in via Stadio 12, vicino alla partenza dell’impianto di risalita.

Orari e Costo
Il servizio viene offerto durante il periodo invernale, in concomitanza con l’apertura degli impianti di sciistici, fino a Pasqua, da lunedì a domenica, festività incluse, con il seguente orario d’apertura: dalle ore 09,00 alle 16,00. Il costo è di €. 12,00/ora.

CORTINA D’AMPEZZO HAS A NEW KINDERGARTEN AT HIGH ALTITUDE: TOFANA BABY LAND IN RA VALLES (TOFANA-FRECCIA NEL CIELO SKI AREA)

The Tofana-Freccia nel Cielo ski area becomes #familyfriendly, and there is great news for families vacationing in Cortina d’Ampezzo: starting in the Christmas period, Ra Valles will feature a kindergarten school on the snow called Baby Tofana Land, at 2475 m!

Childcare services are provided for children ages 3 to 10 years old, who will be welcomed by two child educational professionals in a special, protected space inside Capanna Ra Valles, so their parents can ski and enjoy some free time relaxing. Young guests will be entertained with play time, fun and relaxation, in addition to recreational learning activities useful in building group interaction, creativity and socialization skills. Good times will be guaranteed by board games, books, colouring, musical instruments and much more. Furthermore, Baby Tofana Land also offers an outdoor park area so kids can play on the snow.

Meals are not provided, but parents with children can share a meal at Capanna Ra Valles with a recently updated and good menu so as to satisfy a wider range of tastes, from pizza to different kind of dishes and desserts.

How to get there
The Baby Tofana Land childcare centre on the snow is located in Capanna Ra Valles, at the second station of the Tofana – Freccia nel Cielo cabin lift, at 2475 m. Free parking is available in via Stadio 12, next to the bottom of the lift.

Operating hours and costs

This service is offered during the winter months, in conjunction with the opening of the ski lifts, until Easter, from Monday to Sunday, including holidays, with the following operating hours: from 09:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. It costs € 12.00/hour.

BackStage with Isabel Russinova

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Interview with Isabel Russinova, testimonial for Amnesty International, authoress of “Queens” and “On the steps of the sky”. Her long standing social commitment through the theatre against violence of every type around the world because knowing helps to educate and to evolve.

Di Tiziana Primozich
Fotografia di Carlo Bellincampi

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What strikes you as soon as you meet her is her posture and her old style beauty, she is without makeup, her moves are elegant, she is never exaggerated and has an acute intelligent look that comes from two green Asian style eyes. She is beautify and authoritative, but above all determined to fight for what she believes. It is with due cause that Isabel Russinova is one of the protagonists of the 2017 Women of Solidarity Calendar, a work of Art born from the fruitful collaboration between Ezio Alessio Gensini who wrote the texts and cinema photographer Carlo Bellincampi. It was thanks to Bellincampi that we got in contact with Isabel Russinova who, in front of a cup of coffee, told us of the commitment and passion of a great woman of the cinema and Italian television and of the great themes of Human Rights.

Isabel you were recently on stage at Rome’s Palladium with a piece written you and where you were the protagonist together with the young Camilla Coscarella inspired by one of the many stories that have come to light about child brides in the Western world.

In fact it was a choice aimed at educating and inspiring reflection and change. The theatre is an instrument of Culture and, in the field of protests against violence to women that sees me on the front line for Amnesty International, I wanted to deal with a thorny subject with a difficult solution because I am convinced that talking about it is already useful and a way to help the many young girls into premature and forced marriages who often die on the wedding night, or on giving birth later. “Safa and the child bride” produced by Rodolfo Martinelli Carraresi’s Ars Millennia Production is certainly a theatrical act of accusation of the tragic destiny of young girls forced to marry at a very young age and victims of violence, but is also an invitation for hope. The show is divided into two parts, that of the horrible reality and one of the imagination, of the fable through which Safa, a Syrian refugee who had lost her children and husband, tries to find herself once more and that of the little Awa who is only 10 years of age who became a slave after being forced into a horrible marriage with a man much older than her, in an ideal place where there is still the hope for salvation. When I thought of this piece for the theatre I asked myself how could a woman, a mother, who lost everything as Safa did continue to live. Only the love for Awa will save her and so it happens in my text for Dafi and Paki, the rose feathered heron and the silver fish which which Safa’s imagination created a means to exorcise the tragedy of manmade war and horrors committed. Safi and Paki become the dimension of Safa and Awa’s dream to which they are connected by pain. The fable is the means to give back the chance for a dream of love after the violent reality that little Awa had suffered in her short life.

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Yours is a social commitment that gathers together every aspect of the world of women. It could be said that as a woman you are the Paladin of the rights of all women that in very way reminds the world of the importance of the feminine presence and the respect of the dignity to which women have the right, just as men do. Thus, there is also the leap in the story as happens in Reinas that glorifies the figure of women that have left so much with the example of their lives.

In effect Queens was the chance to bring back to the collective memory of stories about women that flow through centuries of History. Tanaquilla the noble Etruscan bride of Lucumon who would become Tarquinias, King of Rome. Galla Placidia the Roman Empress kidnapped by Alaric who loved Ataulfus and who wanted to unite the barbarians and the Romans under her own Christian faith. The Judean Princess Berenix, daughter of Herod the Great, who tried to make peace between the Romans and the Jews. Rosina Crocco the “brigand”, protagonist of the great feminist movement on 19th Century Southern Italy. Finally Agatha, the first female President of the Republic of Malta and in Europe in the 20th century. They all have one common denominator, that of choosing a difficult path for achieving the common good. They are women who with their courage gave strength to other women that spurred others and did good and gave added worth that few know and that I wanted to put under the spotlight so they could be an example for all the other committed women. Queens was truly a work of research of everything that History handed down by men did not tell.

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An idealistic common thread that then brought you to write “On the steps to the sky” in which you denounce the violence committed on women in the modern world, a violence which worryingly is growing and that shows the male fragility that does not seem to have learnt anything from History.

I have often stated that the world in which we live is in a crisis of values and morals that represents the worst obstacle for the evolution of Men. I also add that Men as such are surely more fragile than women and in fact when women manage through education, training and knowledge to become more autonomous and independent that men often enter into conflict with them. They do not accept and try to destroy she who had hurt his his ego. They suffer a form of envy and confuse possession for love, regresse and become violent. Such is the case of poor Sara, the protagonists of “On the steps of the sky” which tells the true story of Sara Di Pietrantonio, a Roman student barbarously murdered by her ex boyfriend last year in one of the most horrifying cases of recent times. It left me in deep pain also because I knew her and we would catch up during my work at Rome University 3. The theatre production was born together with my partner Rodolfo Martinelli Carraresi and produced by Ars Millennia Production and gives voice to many women who were suffered violence and who have much in common whether they are from the East or the West. Each one of them, it does not matter where they live, often suffers in silence. On the other hand, talking about it, confronting each other, starting debates are the starting points for building a culture of respect and the theater, as well as film and audiovisual communication in general, have a great role to this end. Knowledge, memory, teaching proper behaviour between men and women to the new generations are the proper ingredients for fighting the ignorance that makes men fragile and stops them from growing and evolving.

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In Isabel Russinova’s life, what were the circumstances that gave her the strength to defend other women?

My parents were fundamental in my life, they gave me the sense of duty and the importance of contents and choices. Above all my father was a great example for me, he was a doctor who with his taciturn nature and was foreign to any form of vanity. He was born and lived in a border territory that saw one of the great human tragedies of the last world war, the mass migration of the people of Istria from Yugoslavia into Italy He did not like talking about it and he always carried inside the pain of those inevitable episodes of war time. Despite this he was a righteous man, dedicated to others, a true missionary committed to the staff of life and not at all interested in appearances. I miss him a lot, even though I am convinced that he is always at my side in total harmony with my social commitment with which I decided to dedicate the better part of my artistic activities. In his memory and to remember my roots, I am considering a new tale to run through the places of my childhood which tells the story of my family’s origins. To remember not only the unique territory with its legends, but also the evil suffered by its people in the course of the various foreign conquerors. Istria was a land of conquest for many foreign regimes, in reality it was and remains Istria with its own well defined identity.

BackStage with Maria Rosaria Omaggio

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Maria Rosaria Omaggio, the solo artist from “Oriana’s words”

For many years Goodwill ambassador for Unicef, she is the greatest interpreter of Oriana Fallaci’s work. We will see her again on October 27th at Rome’s Auditorium in the concert recital that will put on stage the writings and the life of the great writer.

By Tiziana Primozich
Photos by Carlo Bellincampi

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Maria Rosaria Omaggio’s  artistic talent that was born at a very young age and in her long career she knew how to face confront the small screen with the right amount of rigor and elegance from which her commitment to work took the steps that took her intense presence on the stage of many theatres. She then went to the grand cinema with Oscar winner Andrzej Wajda that ordained her forever as an actress of great interpretive worth for her astounding capacity to give the public an Oriana Fallaci who is so real that we cannot separate her from the original. A few days before “Oriana’s words”, a concert tribute to Fallaci that once again sees Maria Rosaria Omaggio as the solo artist who is able to adeptly remember the great writer who changed the face of contemporary Italian literature. We were able to reach her on the telephone for an interview. The tone is friendly and welcoming, but what struck us was her beautiful voice that is so similar to Fallaci’s.

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Maria Rosaria Omaggio once again brings Oriana Fallaci on stage. From the superb interpretation in Oscar winner Andrzej Wajda’s “Walesa, Man of hope” you never left each other what makes you two so similar and why is Oriana Fallaci a constant part of Maria Rosaria’s artistic life?

I should have played her for the first time at the Benevento Città Spettacolo in 2003, when she was still alive, in a reading from “The rage and the pride” written in the wake of the terrible events of 9/11. Unfortunately, for a number of reasons and even though she had given her consent for the first time, everything fell through. However, even after having chosen to put on stage some scenes from Italo Calvino I dedicated the section  entitled “Who loves life” to her as it is also her running pun. The same recital that had been presented at the “Benevento Città Spettacolo 2003” was then requested and went on stage at the DHL Auditorium of the United Nations Building in New York on November 11th, 2005, a project that, due to the strength of the pieces chosen came about with the support of UNICEF for the children who are victims of armed conflict. A title that can be interpreted in many ways, but in this case the phrase means No to war and particularly to those who arm children. After Fallaci’s death I was invited by her nephew Edoardo Perazzi to read excerpts from her posthumously published book “A hatful of cherries” on the occasion of the event held on September 8th 2008 promoted by Rizzoli publishers “Remembering Oriana Fallaci” that was held in an overflowing Buzzati room in Milan. A tribute that was truly due to the great, but controversial authoress of our literature. It was this very interpretation that convinced Oscar winner Andrzej Wajda that the role of the great Oriana fitted me perfectly for his film on Walesa. Mine should have been a cameo role and instead it become that the film’s central theme.

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Oriana Fallaci and Maria Rosaria Omaggio are two different women, but you can say they are on the same wavelength. Two lives that incredibly follow one another becoming one the extension of the other, also because the film “Walesa, Man of hope” of Polish Oscar winner Andrzej Wajda

The film was really the crowning moment of my career with the Pasinetti Prize at the 70th Venice Film Festival for my role as Oriana Fallaci. The first time that Fallaci’s secretary heard me on the radio as I read a piece from “A letter to a child never born” she confused me with her, my voice had left no doubt. What we have in common is a deep sense for research, care with words and it is no coincidence that the show to be staged at Rome’s Auditorium is called “Oriana’s words”. I have great respect for literature, what the great authors have written and left for us is important, it is a great patrimony that enriches our soul. I consider myself lucky and my luck was to have been able to narrate stories of great spirituality on the movie screen, such as that of Oriana. What have we in common in our everyday life? Like her I made mistakes in choosing my life partners. I can certainly say from having studied her texts and personality at length that she had a testy personality, sometimes intransigent, but her apparent hardness came about from the from the predicaments with her great loves that hurt and disappointed her so much.  Her anarchy was also misunderstood, she dreamed of a utopian State in which citizens governed themselves and would do nothing to intrude on the freedom of others, a vision of a cultured and sensitive society and certainly not anarchy, which eliminates the rights of the individual.

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On October 27th in the Petrassi chamber of Rome’s Auditorium Maria Rosario Omaggio will once more give life to Oriana Fallaci. What more will this concert recital give us?

As usual, I will narrate Oriana with her own words and her nephew Edoardo Perazzi has printed an anthology of the texts entitled “Only I can write my story”. The show begins from there. To know Oriana you must read her and I want to unmask a false myth, it is not true that there is an Oriana before 9/11 and one after. Then the something more is the music of pianist Oriana Pegoraro as well as the images developed by the great artist Carlo Fatigoni that will accompany the text with a play of light that narrates 77 years of life and 60 of work, a frenetic activity and full of incidents. A life marked by a long illness during which her loneliness grew even worse.

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Oriana Fallaci left a great legacy, to you especially she left honours and duties.

On September 15th Florence’s mayor Dario Nardella invited me to the inauguration of the square that bears her name, as does the bus stop in the square. It was a great honour to have been the sponsor of the reconciliation with her city.

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Maria Rosaria, you have had and continue to have great success in Spain. What is the difference between Italian and Spanish cinema? And why Spain?

When the productions are important there is no difference between Italian and Spanish cinema. My grandmother was a Fonseca Albarez de Toledo, so my blood is partly Spanish. Anyway, many years ago I was chosen by Warner Brothers for ‘El virgo de Visanteta’, the first film in the dialect of Valencia and not in Castilian which was rigorously the national language and the only one that was authorized. Also in Spain, which is in my DNA I consider my second home land, I am playing in “Edera”, the first long television fiction of 22 episodes. The latest work I have done, but of great quality is ‘La sonata del silencio’ from the novel by Paloma Sanchéz-Garnica set in the 1940 in which I play Roberta Moretti Rothschild.

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You have often said that you destiny sadly intersects with that of Fallaci due to the failures of your romantic relationships. Do you think that Prince Charming exists in today’s world?

I can certainly say that all my men, never anyone from my work, have always been bad choices. I loved with great sincerity and sometimes at risk to my career. Prince Charming does not exist, but the possibility of a life partner that goes beyond the passionate phase, that goes further and shares their life with you is not a dream. I believe that love is real when you become like brother and sister, when you share, when there is understanding and a love that goes beyond the initial falling in love. Unfortunately in the evolution of our society we have abandoned masculinity, we have forgotten that some aspects of virility must be garnered in other ways. I remember one time at a friend’s house and after lunch my friend, the mother of a boy and a girl, asked her daughter to clear the table. This outraged me and I remember rebuking the mother for the different messages she gave her children. So, I think that the messages and the examples we give our male children guarantee that they are aware of the differences in gender. The role of the male is that of protecting and staying besides the female. We teach them how to do it, even in the minute details of our lives.

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For many years you have been a Goodwill Ambassador for Unicef, how do you describe your involvement in the world’s greatest humanitarian organization for children?

Being a Goodwill Ambassador means being one on every occasion and to always remember that it is no good complaining all the time that things are not good in the world. Even in the performance of “Oriana’s words” on October 27th I expect donations for the children in Syria who have been denied the right to being children, devastated by a war they cannot understand and which harvests young lives every day. I will repeat on every opportunity that today’s children are tomorrow’s adults. We must bear this in mind at very moment of our lives. It is no coincidence that the four words chosen by Unicef for the defence of the world’s children are: health, education, protection and equality. Guaranteeing these four certainties to children around the world means giving them the opportunity to become better, more knowledgeable adults. I want to remind those who are reading this article of the story of Ishmael Beah of Sierra Leone who wrote “Memories of a child soldier”. With him we learnt the inhumane tragedy of those who turned children into instruments of war. But there is also the chance for redemption when the right message from the world of adults, in this case thanks to Unicef, reaches the children who are victims of unscrupulous adults and they are “nurtured” with what is right for their age: health, education, protection and equality. In this difficult historical moment the children of Aleppo and the children of Haiti who are dying of simply of dysentery are in my heart. Sometimes it is enough to protect them, in impoverished areas sometimes a mosquito net is enough to save innocent children. Unicef knows how to achieve the great small objectives throughout the world and it is the only organization of the United Nations included in the treaty for the rights of children and adolescents.  The presence of their representatives almost everywhere allows quicker interventions than those by any other small humanitarian organization. If a child already bears arms today, how can it sit at a peace table tomorrow? Maria Rosaria Omaggio’s social commitment is directed also in favour of women. In fact, this year she is a testimonial together with Beatrice Luzi, Giuliana De Sio, Carolina Rosi, Isabel Russinova, Eva Robin’s, Ilaria Borrelli, Lina Sastri, Alessandra Di Sanzo, Giusi Cataldo, Piera Degli Esposti, Marisa Laurito, Rosa Pianeta and Rossella Seno, of the Solidairy calendar  ‘Donne Impegnate’ (“Women involved”). The authors, Ezio Alessio Gensini, Leonardo Santoli and Carlo Bellincampi of the third edition this year also involve artists respected by the Italian, all are women involved in the world of solidarity.

Backstage with Ilaria Borrelli

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On November 16th at Rome’s Theatre Adriana, Ilaria Borrelli’s “Talking to the Trees”

Interview with Ilaria Borrelli, director, writer and actress who in the film tells the terrible story of a child forced into prostitution and becomes a slave of an infernal bordello in Cambodia. An act of protest that comes to Italy with the aim of putting an end to the exploitation of minors and to sex tourism.

By Tiziana Primozich
Photos by Carlo Bellincampi

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Writer, director and actress, but also a woman and mother, Ilaria Borrelli is about to come to cinema screens in Italy with Talking to the Trees, a film that has the blessing of the United Nations and the full support of Unicef for the delicate theme that it handles without a false sense of shame. A real slap in the face that takes us from our lives of well being in the western world that we are fortunate to have and takes us directly into the hellhole of a Cambodian brothel where the prostitutes are children of barely 11 years of age, taken from their families and forced to live the daily horror that sees them victims of every form of sexual abuse and with no means of escape. Talking to the trees is a film of protest that touches the conscience of each one of us and since Ilaria Borrelli is both the director and actress together with the young Seta Monyroth. She intends continuing this theme, thus exposing the conditions of women and young girls in the poorest areas of the world. We met her in her home in Rome. A sweet face and smile with two enchanting dark eyes that betray her Neapolitan origins with an allure that captures our attention and which quickly put into light the fact that behind her feminine and courteous appearance there is a determined woman who is convinced that she will take this heartfelt battle to its conclusion.

Why make a film on such a hot, almost scandalous subject?

In Talking to the trees I tell the true story of a Cambodian child forced into prostitution to ensure the survival of her and her youngest brother. But a European wife who goes there to find her husband discovers that he is a regular customer of the brothel and finds him as he abuses the young girl. Horrified at what she sees she renounces her fake married life and tries to save the child. The choice of such an unconventional subject comes from my love for my children.  Since I became a mother I became even more sensitive to the issue of sexual violence to children and particularly young girls. The young girls of poor societies quickly become objects, the first cog of a society that in poor countries must give up healthcare and education and who is sold to make money with nobody who cares for her fate. The film tells the story in the raw way of what these babies must deal with and which, unfortunately, is all true. It was filmed for only 50,000 dollars in Cambodia and provides for profit sharing by all those who agreed to share this adventure with me. They tried to stop us during filming with threats because of the delicate nature of its subject and even an unexploded bomb put in our way. But we made it till the end due to our conviction that the problem of child prostitution exists everywhere in the world. We must talk about it, as it is the only way to ensure that these criminal organizations are taken apart. The children alone have no voice and they don’t know how to defend themselves. It is a form of slavery of defenseless young people who are imprisoned without papers. There are children out there who will never be able to escape on their own, even if it is around the corner from our home. There are 600,000 child prostitutes in North America, babies taken from their mother in supermarkets, our children risk kidnapping because nothing makes as much money as this, not even arms sales. In the field of crimes against human beings child prostitution takes the highest position, easier and less dangerous than the sale of drugs or arms.

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The film will be shown in Italy at Rome’s Adriano Theatre on November 16th. But it has already been shown around the world.

This film has the support of Unicef and Amnesty International and has been shown at the European Parliament at Brussels as a symbol of the International Day against the sexual exploitation of children. It won Best Film awards at Los Angeles, best film of the Miami International Women’s film Festival, 5 nominations at the Madrid International Film Festival and it was shown in 160 cinemas in France, but unfortunately it has never been distributed in Italy. Despite Italian reluctance to distribute it, we have managed to have a premiere at the Adriano in Rome on November 16th, then at the Cinema Modernissimo at Naples on the 23rd and at Florence’s Alfieri Cinema on the 25th. We already know it will be presented at Pesaro, Milan, Perugia, Genoa and Turin. It was a self financed film and who wants to helps us make a presentation in their city can do so. It only needs a contact with a cinema, or with someone who programmes one to set a date and then it is very easy. We simply send a file via the internet. I am convinced that even in this way this film will be shown in my home country and I wish to remind people that 250,000 children disappear in Europe every year and we pretend nothing is happening in relation to a tragedy that involves our children. We will then be present at each screening and with us there will also be representatives of the local Unicef and Caritas. It is a message that must reach the most places possible. Soon after we will begin working on a protest film about child brides and we have also programmed a third film about the state of the young girls in the war in Syria.

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In her artistic career Ilaria Borrelli was first an actress and then a writer and director. How did these changes come about?

Even though I had been the star of films and television programmes, I was very unhappy when I was an actress. I was very unhappy with the superficiality of the characters that were offered to me and I had the natural tendency to change the punch lines, or the words I had to recite until one day a director told me – “Ilaria, this time make my film, the next time make yours”. And in that moment something clicked inside of me and I truly began thinking about making a film of my own, but Italy 20 years ago was no place for female directors. I was acting at the time because I had attended the Silvio D’Amico Academy of Dramatic Arts and I had lived in New York to take a course at the Actors Studio. There I saw friends making short films and studying directing and script writing at New York University. So I made up my mind, I gave up everything and I too enrolled into New York University where for two years I studied directing and screen writing. At that point I even managed to direct my first film in New York. It took three years to find the money and so was born “Our Italian Husband” with Brooke Shields, Mariagrazia Cucinotta, Pierfrancesco Favino and Chevy Chase. In those years I also wrote my novels “Scosse”, “Look at me”, “Domani si gira” and “Tanto rumore per Tullia” which are available on Amazon. They are very autobiographical novels where I protest against sexual discrimination, in Italy if you are a woman you have to be horizontal, without the backing of a powerful man you can do nothing important, there is no interest in hearing the voice of women.

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Why is there so much discrimination in Italian artistic life?

I believe that when we came out of the war we saw a moment of cultural development beyond the economic advances which was full of ideas and plans. In the past I had the pleasure of knowing the great screen writer Fulvio Scarpelli and I remember being invited to eat with him at a restaurant that was a haunt for directors and screen writers who had come out of the war who told stories of moments lived at the end of the war, it was abuzz with projects built on a great sense of solidarity, they all helped each other. Italian cinema taught the world and masterpieces came out of that period. At the time even feminism contributed to the growth and the knowledge of the potential for women. Then came the twenty years of Berlusconi when women were relegated to the role of objects, they had to be show seminude and this was the maximum that could be done by art. We have gone backwards. I see it at the cinema, the roles in the past were incredible, they were scientists and they made war. Today the female roles stop at wives, lovers and sometimes only mothers and in any case secondary and subordinate to the male leads. Even today the only film in many years that was truly feminist is “Erin Brokovich”. Even “Thelma and Louise” that was celebrated as the film that symbolizes feminine independence is not so in reality since at the end they are forced to commit suicide. Today there is no interest in women’s ideas. At the same time, since they do not see any examples to follow, they struggle to understand who they are. I, a woman of 48 years of age who has written novels struggle to recognize myself in these characters. I am disoriented and I have no desire to go to the cinema. In France I see some differences from Italy, there are directors there that make good movies, for example Mustang by Deniz Gamze comes to mind, it was chosen to represent France at the Oscars in 2016 and tells the story of five young sisters who fight for their freedom against an overpowering religious and patriarchal hierarchy.

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Don’t you think that deep down this need for male supremacy hides a weakness of theirs?

I can say without fear that I am a feminist, even if today it almost seems a swear word. However, we women have spoken a lot amongst ourselves, but we have not spoken with men. Today I have a son and I came to understand that those who educate the boys have a lot of responsibility. You have to speak to them as they grow up; it is a social fault not knowing how to speak with young people. It is a serious matter for me that we do not talk about sexuality in our schools, whereas as they do in Germany. Young people often have their first experiences via the Web, without the supervision and explanation of an adult. Even sexual tourism, if we could talk about it without taboos, we could surely save more children who would otherwise become victims, knowledge equals salvation.

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What meaning does the word love have for Ilaria?

Love is something that is given, and it does not mean that it is reciprocated; it is given and nothing else. The effect you get from giving is to improve yourself, who gives does not feel sorry for themselves, who cries constantly is destined to never be happy. Amongst the examples of love given to me are my mother and my husband in a period of my life. Other great persons in our History, such as Mother Teresa, have left their sign in me. I am struck by those who give without expecting anything in return, as did a woman with a serious handicap some days ago who, even though she grew up as an orphan in institutions, told me she had had a happy childhood, this woman transmitted much love and amazed me. Despite her sad story she told her life with love. Doing things for love is surely the key to a happy life.

Migration is a recurring theme in human history. Building walls is useless and damaging.

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A lucid analysis by Italo-Australian historian Gianni Pezzano which shows that the phenomenon of migration has always existed and over time has changed the face of the world. In ancient, but better organized societies migrants were the key to the development of territories.

By Gianni Pezzano

 

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Modern day Italy is not just the result of thousands of years of wars and great artists, but a large part of its history over the last century is due to the role of millions of Italians forced to migrate due to wars. For this reason it was sad to see the non welcome of refugees in Gorina near Ferrara in recent days. We Italians should be the first to gather in those who are fleeing from disastrous wars and economic strife as our relatives and friends did for more than a century. We should be the ones who best understand the state of mind of those who leave their countries for the unknown because they left horror and war in their home countries.

Sadly the country has forgotten the huge price paid by migrants, as it has also forgotten their fundamental economic contribution during the 50s and 60s without which Italy’s economic Boom of those years would not have been possible. In addition these same migrants and their descendants created the market for many products that Italy now exports to the world and not only the ingredients for the Italian dishes that the entire world eats.

If we look back in History we see how Julius Caesar in his books of the Wars in Gaul describes that one of the reasons that led to the wars was the arrival of waves of tribes from Eastern Europe. According to historians this migration was huge, in the hundreds of thousands. Caesar did not know the reason, if it were to flee an invader, due to a natural disaster, or a plague or other sickness. In any case one thing is certain, this example from the classical period lets us understand very well that the phenomenon of migration is not at all new.

I began in the Roman period because the Romans practiced a very practical and targeted form of migration. The Australian historian Stephen Dando Collins wrote a series of books on individual Roman Legions and in the first of these, “Caesar’s Legions”, he narrates the history of the Tenth Legion and explains how the legions were enrolled and discharged the legionaries. Each legion had a recruiting ground and in the case of the Tenth it was in Spain where the legionaries enrolled for periods of 16 or 20 tears according to the period of history. We all know that when they were discharged they were given a tract of land, but Dando Collins explains how this land could have been in their home territories, or in military colonies.

These colonies were spread around the borders of the Empire and some retain references to their origins in their names, one obvious example is Cologne in Germany and another is Colchester in England, a country where the ending “chester” denotes roman origins. In the case of the legionaries of the Tenth who for four centuries were enrolled in Spain, served and then could decide whether to live in their military colony this city still exists and it does not have the English “chester”, nor reveal its origins such as the city in Germany, today this ex roman colony is called Beirut.

Always in the Middle East, there was another example of migration under another name which shows how human beings always look for new places to make a life for themselves. Although the Crusades were called by Pope Urban II for obvious religious reasons the occasion was greeted by many European aristocrats as the chance to make themselves new holdings in the Holy Land. A large part of the knights who took part in the Crusades were second and third sons who had little chance of inheriting the family lands and so the Pope’s appeal was particularly attractive for them. Unfortunately we are still feeling the effects of the ambitions these knights in the present day.

When we speak about Japan we think about a closed society and a genetically pure population with little overseas influence, but the reality of the Japanese population is very different. The very fact that Japan is made up of a series of islands should make us understand that a large population could not have originated on the islands.   According to recent DNA analysis those which we call Japanese are descendants of Korean migrants and the ethnic minority known as the Ainu is made up of the descendants with the closest links to the population before the arrival of the Koreans.

The country with the greatest ethnic diversity and is proud of this record is the United States. We know that it is a country where the only indigenous population is composed of the descendants of the Indians, but few know that the Pilgrim Fathers came to the New World to flee religious persecution in Europe. The country continues to accept refugees from wars but, as we are seeing during the current presidential campaign, too many Americans have forgotten the origins of their country.

The case of Irish migration is unique. The English had decided that the potato would have been the perfect solution to feed the population, especially the Catholics under the Protestant conquerors. It was accepted so widely by the population that in a short space of time it became their staple food and so much so that when the crop was hit by a disease a huge famine followed that killed many and led to a major migration, principally to the United States.

Few today remember the Saint Louis, the so called “Ship of Shame” that in 1939 carried a thousand German Jews fleeing from the Nazi Terror. These refugees were refused by the United States and Cuba and so its Captain had no choice but to take his passengers back to Europe where many were accepted in other countries, but the escape was futile. With the outbreak of war and the German invasions many of them died in the Nazi concentration camps.

The Nazis had a specific plan for migration for their population and this was the basis for their invasion of Eastern Europe. In his book Mein Kampf (My struggle) Adolf Hitler preached the concept of Lebensraum (Living space), a wide expanse where the German territory could expand into a new German Empire, or Reich, in which a part of the population would have formed its vassals and the others forced to leave. This aspect of the German dictatorship has been largely forgotten.

Today we see a reflection on today’s situation in the great French film Les jeux interdits (Forbidden Games) by director René Clément which tells story of the German invasion of France through the eyes of two children. The film begins with a mass of French refugees fleeing the German invaders and the German airplanes strafing the refugees, killing the mother of one of the children. The film uses apparently harmless games by the children to explain the human cost of war and we have only to read today’s papers and watch the news bulletins to see that these tragedies still occur.

Over the last few decades archeologists have been able to show unequivocally that the origin of Man are in Africa and the discovery of the remains of the Australipithicus afarensis “Lucy” in 1974 was the key to understanding where to direct research in the future. It takes little to understand that Lucy’s descendants are now in every continent and that they could only have reached there through migration. Basically the history of Man is the history of migration.

The decision to leave home for a new land is never easy and always involves enormous personal cost that only those who have felt it could understand. At the beginning it was on foot, maybe because home could no longer feed the population, possibly due to sickness, or maybe some natural disaster that has been forgotten over time. In any case, migration has led to the empires that have risen and fallen in the past and migration is some form has created every country we now see.

Those who try to block refugees and migrants, whether in Italy, or in any European country that talks about blocking their borders with walls, as does Trump in the United States with his proposal to build a wall between that country and Mexico, has not learned that migration, in all its forms whether pacific or belligerent is the history of Man. Stopping migration completely would be like King Canute who ordered the tide to stop and even now the world laughs at his naïveté. 

There has always been migration and it will always be with us. What the world must learn is not to demand that people remain in war zones, or where there is disease or famine. The solution begins by helping those who flee their countries to find refuge and even then this is not the true or ultimate solution.

The world must find the means to set in place definitive solutions to the situations we see around the world and the world’s heads of government have the duty to find resolutions that go beyond the conflicts. The international community must be able to find the means to intervene as quickly as possible in countries hit by natural disasters, by disease, wars and other tragedies. And the whole world must understand that the numbers of refugees and migrants are not cold impersonal figures, but that each number that makes up the statistics represents a human being with the same right to life and happiness that we have the fortune of enjoying in Europe.

As a world we must ensure that those who migrate do so because they decide to make a new life for themselves and not because they are forced to do so because of dictators, or fanatic groups. It is not a solution that can come quickly, it is a process which will take some time because the conditions that created this situation go back decades and in some cases centuries. Up till now the international community has refused to commit itself to finding definitive solutions and as long as heads of government do not find the courage and commitment to take the steps necessary we will continue to see refugees fleeing and dying in boats.

Must we truly wait for an enormous tragedy to understand once and for all that we have waited too long?

The rules of the game, leading up to the American elections the anomalies of Trump the candidate.

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Italo-Australian historian Gianni Pezzano reminds us that the important rules are not always written, but are those of the codes of behaviour that cannot be written because there are no words that regulate civil behaviour that is the very platform of Democracy, in any form.

By Gianni Pezzano

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In the film “The best of enemies” Italian actor Alberto Sordi plays Captain Blasi who commands a company of Italian soldiers battling an English company led by Major Richardson played by another great actor and personality David Niven. At the end of a series of skirmishes the two commanders no longer know if they are in Italian or British territory and therefore who are the prisoners and who the captors. In the course of the negotiations for surrender the Italian captain asks the English commander for the “honours of war”, the recognition of the brave and fair behaviour of the defeated troops by the victorious soldiers, a negotiation that forms part of the story of the film.

The honours of war form part of the behaviour of soldiers that cannot be found in the official military manuals. In spite of this the salute is given in many meritorious cases, such as that given to the Italian Folgore Division by the British troops at the end of the Battle of El Alamein. This unofficial code, yet one that is no less onerous for the soldiers, is important because it is in effect the first step towards the pacification of the relationship between the sides after the war without which a lasting peace would not be possible. History is full of cases of ex combatants who became close friends, or of others who committed acts of charity in the countries of their ex enemies.

In the same manner Rugby has the so-called “third half” which plays a very similar role because it allows the players to intermix amicably after a game and to be able to find once more the sense of fair play that sometimes is forgotten on the playing field. These interactions between ex protagonists are not required, or imposed by authorities. They are the concrete recognition that, deep down, all the participants in bitter conflict have points more in common than ideological, sporting or even political differences.

This is the measure by which to judge the developments in the American presidential campaign which will conclude on November 8th, next. In the course of time potential candidates and consequently the public have demanded a certain level of behaviour of their candidates appropriate to their potential role as the country’s President. Unfortunately, over the last few weeks we have seen one of the candidates, Republican Donald Trump, decide not to follow these unwritten rules.

Let us begin with the first refusal by the candidate, that of not making his tax returns public. Although the publication of the tax returns is not obligatory, this practice demonstrates the willingness of the candidates to subject themselves to public scrutiny. In addition, the tax return shows with cold and impersonal figures the truths and falsehoods of the candidate’s personal declarations. It had been more than forty years since a candidate refused to make their tax returns public and Trump’s refusal has put into doubt his credentials as a successful businessman. Worse still, his admission during one of the presidential debates with Hillary Clinton that he had not paid federal taxes in decades and that this was proof of his intelligence created disarray even amongst the leaders of his own party. In fact, his nominee for Vice President, Michael Pence, made his own tax returns public with a word of advice to his Trump to do the same. At this point of the campaign nobody expects the republican candidate for the White House to take this step.

However, there is another unwritten rule of presidential campaigns that Trump refuses to respect, at least up till now, that of the losing candidate to concede defeat when the result is clear to all and before the formal declaration of the new President. Worse still, he made the situation even bitterer by pointing the finger at presumed plots and electoral frauds without proof and even before the vote. The republican candidate did this despite the fact that that the tradition is not a simple act of sportsmanship such as the example of rugby, but an act that signals the end of the political hostilities and is therefore closer to the example of the honours of war.

To understand this difference we need to bear in mind some facts about American politics. The United States of America is a country with a violent political past, not only in the race for the White House, but also because it still feels the weight of the Civil War a century and a half ago and it has still not resolved all the paradoxes that led to it. The call for States’ rights in the United States, the official reason for the secession of the Southern States, is still felt deeply in the South and for this reason there is no federal electoral law in the country and therefore the States administer the presidential election according to their own rules. Naturally these differences make that presidential race even more bitter.

In some states, especially those that unleashed the war, the battle for the voting rights of the minorities such as the African-Americans and the Latinos is still being fought and these are at the centre of Trump’s accusations.  There are even now voting laws that try to limit access of the minorities to the polling booths with the pretence of literacy tests, and clean criminal records, false reasons to cause fear amongst potential voters. These laws are regularly challenged by the Supreme Court that annuls them. Then, just as regularly, the state authorities invent other regulations to reduce the electoral presence of the minorities.

In addition, the rise of extremist groups of a certain form of Christianity within its ranks has created a crisis in the Republican Party that now finds itself in the midst of an identity crisis such that some its leaders tied to the Evangelical churches have maintained their support for Trump even though his personal behaviour is not in line with the scriptures that many of them use in their political battles.

The active role of these churches should not surprise readers. The country was founded by a political class formed of descendants of Protestant sects that fled Europe to escape religious persecution, by Catholics and also other Protestants. For this reason there is a strong Protestant work ethic in the United States and explains why many American politicians are rich with entrepreneurial backgrounds. This Protestant work ethic explains the birth of the so-called “Tea Party” within the Republican Party eight years ago which fought against federal taxes in favour of lower state taxes. The presence of this group is now recognized as the beginning of the divisions within the Party which led to the candidature of Trump. These religious pressures are the basis of the fears of many within the party with the real risk of abandoning Trump in the last phase of the electoral campaign.

Next November 8th there will also be elections for the Congress and the Senate, currently controlled by the Republicans, which risks losing this control as a result of Trump’s terrible polls. In particular, the Republicans fear the loss of the Senate because it is the House of Parliament which approves the presidential nominations for the Supreme Court. Over the last few years the Senate has opposed any attempt at approving “liberal” nominations in the fear that the Supreme Court would then approve laws that are pro abortion, pro gun controls and equal marriage rights, all themes that are close to the evangelical wing of the Party. With a win by the Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton the Republicans see the possibility of a Supreme Court that will be hostile to their ultraconservative positions. These religious struggles are at the roots of some of the protests during the pro Trump rallies and which are up till now are only verbal.

And it is to avoid just this possibility of violent consequences to the electoral results that the unwritten rules of American politics require the concession by the defeated candidate. It is considered by almost everybody as the first step towards a peaceful transfer of power to the new President, no matter who it is. In fact, despite its defects and weak points of the American political system, it is normal for Presidents to choose Secretaries from those of the other party with important experience and credentials in their fields of work. By this means the new President shows that he will be of service to the country as a while and not only to his own party.

The sense of the ethical transfer of power is found within the American saying, “There is only one thing worse than a bad loser and that is a bad winner” The concession of defeat means two things. First of all he tells his voters to accept the electoral result and to recognize the legitimacy of the election of the new President. Secondly, it avoids the possibility that a rash President uses the occasion to denigrate the defeated candidate and so raise the ire of a part of the population against him. In a country which has seen the assassination of four Presidents, Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield, William McKinley and John F. Kennedy the consequences of such behaviour could be truly tragic.

The whole world is now watching the American presidential campaign with an eye that is more critical and worried than usual. For nearly a century the President of the United States has been considered the leader of the “free world” and therefore holds a key position in international politics. This year the presence of an unconventional candidate with no experience of the control room creates the risk of even further destabilization of the world stage. In any case, the behaviour of each candidate, in victory or in defeat, will determine what sort of presidency we will see for the next four years.

Let us bear these facts in mind as we watch the last two weeks of the American presidential campaign unfold. But above all, let us remember that the important rules are not always those that are written, but that code of behaviour that cannot be put on paper because there are no words which can regulate civil behaviour which is the very platform of Democracy, in any form.

The blindfolded Goddess and human systems

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Justice in centre stage of the reforms to be made: the end of the statute of limitations must be reconsidered. Examples from the rest of the world.

By Gianni Pezzano

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There are fundamental aspects of the Law that we try to follow within their essential limits, each country and every individual follow them according to their past. Three of these are truly vitally indispensable and are the basis for the system of government and law of each country, unfortunately often more in the breech than in the observance. In the case of the lack of respect and observance, or even disobedience to them, they then become the basis for the formation of dictatorships. These concepts are Liberty, Democracy and Justice. These themes are contained within the constitutions of modern democracies and we consider them important for out style of life. Naturally all three cannot be considered in one article, however there are some aspects of the third concept, that of Justice, that must be reconsidered in Italy and it may help to look at how they are applied overseas. One particular aspect of this concept is currently subject to review in parliament and over the years it has been the source of controversy in many trials and is the true theme to be tackled, the end of the Statute of limitations.

In English there is a saying, “Justice should not only be done, it must be seen to be done. In other words, decisions by the legal system must be clear, transparent and certain, which often do not occur within the Italian legal system and thus the attempts at modifying the court process. Each crime has a statute of limitations which defines the time within which a suspect must be identified, investigated, charged, put to trial and a definitive sentence handed down and this time limit varies according to the gravity of the crime. Unfortunately this is often not the case within the Italian legal system and we all know of trials that ended without a result as the time limit had expired.

We must recognize one fundamental fact before we proceed. A trial begins because there is sufficient evidence against a person under investigation to justify a trial. This does not mean that the person charged is automatically guilty and so it is up to the trial to establish the foundation of the accusations and the evidence. In other words, the trial should identify the guilty and the innocent and this does not happen when a trial ends due to the expiry of the time limit. This incapacity to end a trial in a clear manner has had two effects on the Italian legal system. Obviously the first is the mistrust of the public in its legal system. The second is seeing defense attorneys delay trials to reach the expiry of the time limit, delays which then cause more backlogs in trials further blocking the work of the courts. Nobody proposes the abolition of the time limits, but it would be useful to see what is done overseas in order to help find a solution.

In the English speaking countries the time limit applies only to the phase of investigations following a crime which means that at the moment a formal charge is laid against a suspect that the time limit no longer applies and the trial must proceed until a definitive sentence is handed down. In fact, in the case of the most serious crimes such as murder, kidnapping and high treason there is no time limit and therefore there is no problem of expiry. The fact that no time limit will be applied after the formal charges are laid, or after a first degree sentence as some suggest in Italy would guarantee that a trial could proceed to definitive sentence.

This would not be simply of reform of procedure, but of substance. Any person charged should be considered innocent until proved otherwise and a trial that finishes due to expiry of the time limit means that the person charged would always be followed by the doubt of guilt or innocence. And this too has a solution overseas, but we must remember that not all the foreign cases are applicable due to the limits set by the Italian constitution.

In other countries and in particular those English speaking countries often used as examples there exists the concept of “double jeopardy” which means that if a person is found innocent of a crime then he or she will no longer be charged for this crime. Effectively this means that the prosecutor has only one draw of the bow and if that fails it would not have the opportunity to proceed with the case, except for exceptional and very rare cases. The only true appeal possible is by the defence and the only appeal allowed the prosecution is in relation to those cases where the punishment given by the court does not suit the gravity of the crime. We must recognize that double jeopardy is not possible in Italy as the Constitutional right to “equity of treatment” extends to criminal cases.

At the same time this allows us to look at other cases and thus to understand what often happens in famous trials overseas. It is due to double jeopardy that we see investigations overseas that do not finish in court. In fact, often the police and the prosecutors announce the intention not to proceed to trial in certain cases because the evidence against the person under investigation is not sufficient to guarantee a conviction. Currently there is a famous trial in the United States that shows this situation quite well and it is the trial against the famous comedian Bill Cosby where there was not enough evidence against him. In the meantime the investigators continued their activities over the years because they knew that a formal charge within the statute of limitations would have guaranteed a trial in any case. 

Another trial that shows how to proceed in a trial within these limits is the case of the Italo-American gangster Al Capone. We often hear the joke that he was jailed for tax evasion and not for the murders that he had ordered, however if we bear in mind what was stated above the federal authorities seeking him had no other choice to be able to put him in jail. Capone was clever and never personally gave the orders to murder his rivals. This was always the responsibility of his accomplices, particularly of the infamous Frank Nitti. In addition, murder was the responsibility of the state police, particularly in Capone’s stronghold of Illinois where many were in his pocket and therefore any trial risked being sunk with the real risk that he would have become untouchable. So the federal authorities made the decision to investigate him for tax evasion well aware that they would have found sufficient proof to convict him, as they went on to do. Another interesting case was that of Lucky Luciano who met the same fate in the sense that he was not jailed for murder, but on charged in relation to a brothel, even though over time it became known that the charges against him had been faked.

Another interesting overseas example for finding a solution to the Italian situation is in the Scottish legal system where the juries have three possible decisions. Naturally the first two are guilty, or innocent, but the third avoids the possibility of double jeopardy because it leaves open the possibility of another trial and so the third possible decision is not proven.

As with any human invention the Justice system is not perfect, each system reflects the virtues and the imperfections of those who designed it and only the passage of time shows which aspects to modify to make them more efficient.

Unfortunately, we sometimes think that anything done in the past is untouchable, but this should not be so. In the course of our lives we have seen enormous social and technological changes that could not have been predicted by the legislators even only a few years ago. In effect, some of these changes linked to the identification of DNA have had consequences in the court system that could be the reason for some countries to revise the concept of double jeopardy that we have considered. But our natural conservatism must not stop us from amending those aspects of our systems that we know have defects. Justice, like Liberty and Democracy is one of the pillars that enshrine the equality that we demand as a guarantee that our lives are truly free.

Therefore, let’s not oppose any changes for the simple reason that anything from the past in sacrosanct. If the founding fathers had thought in this manner our constitution would never have been born.

 

Blockchain allows AI Bots to buy based on your values

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They claim Internet-of-Value, through Blockchain technology, will transform the retail world. The IoV Blockchain Alliance for Good wants to ensure this revolutionary idea will have a positive impact on the industry. The ability to transact in our shops using our feelings as a decision compass and our goodness as a discount currency is set to expand retail markets significantly

di Raisa Ambros

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October sees the launch of the Blockchain Alliance for Good (Bisgit.IoV) – a free membership organisation aimed at boosting the usage of blockchain technology to generate good social and environmental solutions. The Alliance unites blockchain enthusiasts in the retail sector and provides them with a springboard for “good” innovations.

Led by Barbara Mellish, a former senior banker, “Internet-of-Value Blockchain Alliance for Good promotes Total Value exchange which will revolutionise the retail sector. Total Value captures brand value, provenance, supply chain slavery and other intangible non-financial assets. Blockchain allows us to transact value based on our values”.

Emerging technologies are impacting retail today, and the retail store formats will change in the future as we integrate various digital technologies to the benefit of both the retailers and their customers. Technology like AI Bots will affect the customer experience and influence consumer behaviour, making shopping easier and exciting both in stores and on the Internet. Mobile applications will be programmed with the focused information for the consumer, following their values and sentiments, to make the right choice saving time and money. This technology, powered by blockchain, will enable shoppers to control their shopping experience. People could track their purchases, build the network of the favourite targeted shops, have access to price comparisons, the discounts, choose to buy from the most sustainable shop, with best transparency in supply chain, and pay using the same application. The consumer could use the social media for product reviews and instant feedback. Blockchain has the ability to capture customer values, and allow us to transact with them.

Based in the UK but operating internationally, Bisgit.IoV comes out of the not-for-profit Centre for Citizenship, Enterprise and Governance – the world’s leading Think Thank in the Movement of Value. Plans include a University of Cambridge conference (11th November), a free quarterly online specialist magazine (December 2016), and the appointment of the Blockchain Alliance for Good Advisory Board.
Every quarterly edition of Social Value and Intangibles Review (SVIR) will have a supplement on Blockchain for Good. Future editions will feature articles on applications in retail, customer loyalty cards, social media, micro payments, money laundering, supply chain transparency, NGO and charity markets. The Blockchain Alliance for Good is also keen to develop imagineering around what the 2020’s blockchain world will look like, including AI, bots and mobile apps.

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About IoV Blockchain Alliance for Good

Internet-of-Value Blockchain Initiative for Socially Good Integrated Transactions (Bisgit.Iov) can be found at www.bisgit.org. Official hashtag of the Alliance is #goodistrending.

About Centre for Citizenship, Enterprise and Governance
The Centre for Citizenship, Enterprise and Governance (CCEG), is the leading not-for-profit open source international Think Tank on the Movement of Value. With over 50,000 members, including 6900 of the largest companies in the world and 2000 politicians, CCEG has over 100 commissions at socialearningsratio.com and over 10 SaaS platforms at Seratio. CCEG’s blockchain focus is around the building of Phronesis World, with more detail of real world applications in Phronesis II (prezi, video), and AI/Bot applications.

The Pride and the language

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The Estates General of the Italian language commented by the Italo-Australian historian Gianni Pezzano: the Italian language is the means to transmit all the shades of our culture with the support of the 90 million Italians around the world

By Gianni Pezzano

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When an event is opened by the Prime Minister and closed by the President of Italy the theme must be important and so it was in Florence at the beginning of the week. For the second time the Estates General of the Italian language discussed the element that defines our very essence, our language. The event began well with the announcement by Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of an increase to the funds destined to teaching our language overseas and then the announcement by Mario Giro, the deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, who announced the result of the census of the students of our language around the world. In 2104 the figure was given as 300,000, but a precise study gave the number of students at over 2,000,000.

Reading the figures then shows that the biggest concentrations of these students are in those countries with a big presence of Italian migrants and their descendants, as well as the Balkans the Mediterranean and Chine which are source countries of migrants that now come to Italy. They are figures to be considered with calm, for their meaning, as well as for understanding how to deal with the differences between the two groups. Mario Giro recognized that the figures for the countries of Italian migration are low in comparison to the over ninety million Italians around the world made up of five million Italian citizens and the descendants of various generations of previous migrants.

However, like two years ago, there was an important absentee to the event in Florence’s Palazzo Vecchio, at least to the author. This was the Italian industry which should be the most interested in seeing an increase in the number of Italian speakers around the world, the Italian publishing industry. Italians around the world alone are one and a half times the population of Italy, without forgetting the effects of creating more international interest in our books, even if they are in translation, therefore creating more income for the publishers.

Then, once more like two years ago, those present in Florence for the two days are those who best know the glories of our language and of the Culture which springs from it. At one point it seemed like a gathering of converts listening to their preachers, without thinking that the problem in not with who already knows the language, but how to make it understood by those who direct the school systems around the world who often do not hold it in proper consideration. In his speech the Italian Prime Minister spoke about the importance of promoting “Made in Italy” and the “Italian system”, as well as the use of our language for the promotions. In one sense he was right, but in the course of the Estates General it became obvious that almost nobody thought of extending this logic to our language. If there is one thing that distinguishes “Made in Italy” this can be found in our language. This is the quality that gives worth to what we are and it keeps contact between the various Italian communities in five continents. An industrialist with a successful product does not look to promote it amongst his existing customers, but always seeks new customers interested in new products and this is exactly what was not done during the three sessions of the two days.

In the first session four important Italian industrial groups showed their use of Italian images in their advertising, yet despite the fact they contained elements of language the examples shown were composed in Italian stereotypes rather than the specific use of language. Nobody doubts the importance of Fiat Chrysler, Illy Coffee, San Pellegrino and Bulgari and their turnovers show this, but none of them gave proof that the images used in the advertising led to an increase in interest in the various faces of our Culture.

The presenters spoke about the glories of our artist and authors, yet as always the emphasis was in “High Culture”, instead of recognizing that there are other forms of Culture that are just as valid. Without forgetting that there are few overseas, especially amongst our fellow Italians, have the capacity to understand the language of Italian Opera and the Renaissance masterpieces in their original versions. As actor Pierfrancesco Favina read an extract from the Romanziere I wondered how many overseas understood the words despite the beautiful musical quality of the language.

In fact, this was the aspect of the Estates General that struck me in 2014 and since then nobody has managed to solve so that we will attract the descendants of Italian migrants to study our language. One reason is found within the educational systems of many countries and on the first afternoon two members of the CGIE (the General Council of Italians overseas) expressed the need to address the specifics of the Italian communities around the world which, despite their many points in common, also have important differences. These are all matters to be considered when planning how to best promote our language internationally.

As regards Italian Culture in Australia, proof can be given by those like the undersigned who passed through the Australian education system, in the private school and the university system of the country. I quickly learned that our culture and language were not considered on a par with those of the Anglo Saxons and the French. I went to a school that would be considered at the same level as the Classical Lyceum in Italy and the only non English texts we studied were ”The Outsider” by Camus and Stendhal’s “The Red and the Black”, both in English. Only later when I studied Italian outside the school system did I begin to truly know Italian authors, as well as the great figures of our country’s Culture and History.

The session that dealt with the Italian communities overseas was only assigned twenty minutes and naturally this brief time limited the number of matters treated seriously. Certainly an event of this sort does not come cheap, yet I wonder if it is not necessary having important contributions by those who know the finest details of the facts of the countries of residence of our relatives and friends overseas. At the same time, would it not be useful holding local versions of the Estates General in these countries, both before and after the event in Italy, initially to give important contributions to the organizers of the main event and after to put into effect practicable plans to increase the numbers of Italian speakers around the world?

There is no doubt that the Estates General have the potential to increase the knowledge of our language, Culture and eventually all the products of our peninsula. At the same time we must be aware that the serious and real intentions of the organizers and the participants are not sufficient on their own to achieve that place of honour on the world stage that our country deserves as the greatest and most important cultural heritage in the world. Language and Culture do not grow simply with good intentions, but with classes and teachers, they grow by making all the faces of our Culture known to the world and not only to those parts accessible only to who already possess a high level of Italian Culture.

Naturally the Estates General produced a book of results and proposals, but it would not be correct to judge them as an addendum to an article that only seeks to express the first reactions to the two days in the Chamber of the 500 in Palazzo Vecchio. It would be unfair to those who read them and to those who prepared them. Therefore they will be the subject of another more detailed article.

The two days in Florence expressed legitimate ideas, but they are not enough without the will and the commitment of the organizers and the participants to put into action the projects necessary to see an increase in the number of students learning our language. This would then have the effect of increasing interest in those facets of our Culture that up till now are not know sufficiently outside our national borders.

All the participants were well aware of the glories contained in all our regions and not only those recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage sites. The commitment must be to also make them known around the world. Fundamentally these efforts would not be merely cultural activities; they would be steps towards increasing knowledge of what Italy can offer the international public. The final outcome would not just be to sell a few more books and more Italian products. This knowledge would mean more jobs which would make the country richer, culturally and economically. It is possible to live and live well on Culture, as the French have shown us, but we need to do so as a country and not only for two days in Florence every two years.

Backstage with Rossella Seno

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Rossella Seno is “Milly” to reaffirm the strength of women

Venetian by birth but Roman by adoption, the singer and actor is once more on stage with “Dear Milly, words of war and love”. She has always been committed to the defense of the weakest and hers is one of the images of the  “Involved women” of the 2017 Solidarity Calendar.

By Tiziana Primozich
Photography by Carlo Bellincampi

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For the third straight year Giuseppe De Grassi’s “Dear Milly, words of war and love” directed by Fabio Crisafi will play at the Rome’s Teatro Tor Bella Monaca with Rossella Seno and Primiano Di Biase from October 28th to 30th. The show once more sets out to tell the story of the strength of women with music, a theme that is strongly linked to the social commitment of Rossella Seno, the venetian singer and actress who knew how to bring together theater and music for her messages in defense of the weakest categories of our society, a confluence that occurred thanks to Carlo Bellincampi’s sensitive use of his camera. He is an artist who knows how to use his camera to capture the spirit of the subject and produces portraits that manage to describe in full the sensitivity of those who entrust themselves to his skill. So it is in a very informal manner that Rossella Seno greeted us in her home in Rome’s quarter of Prati, to narrate her commitment and her being as a complete artist at the service of the common people. Slender, with two big green eyes framed within a sweet face that is surrounded by a mass of red curly hair, accompanied by her magnificent black cat, Rossella is almost the theatrical symbol of a modern Joan of Arc who uses song to improve the world.

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Rossella, you began your stage career as a singer, what moved you to also seek a role in the world of theater?

I began as a singer because I loved singing, but I never compromised with music. Then I married a music producer, but instead of settling down as almost always happens in these cases, I stopped singing for eight years. Then I felt the need to improve and to complete my training and so I moved to Rome and approached the theatre with Beatrice Bracco and Francesca De Sapio, as well as Carlo Merlo and Michel Margotta, who are all members of the Actors’ Studio. They were great teachers who put me in the condition of being able to work as an actress in televisions programmes such as “Un posto al sole” and “Il bello delle donne”. Yet my great love was always music and since I was already prepared in relation to acting I began to experiment with musical theatre. The word at centre stage which then gathers more force when it is accompanied by music, the sung word which reaches efficiently reaches the audience and is then able to “tell” the story.

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Such as Milly’s story, born Carla Mignone..

Dear Milly is a show we already staged three years ago and also the year after. Initially it was a project that Giuliano Valori, an extraordinary musician, and I produced ourselves. Unfortunately he left us when he was 41 years old. Our effort in the first draft was considerable, but when the passion hits nothing frightens me. We began from scratch, without a budget, nobody takes notice of you when you’re not famous, the formula I use as do many others who believe in the cultural wealth of theatre is that of working together and then sharing the costs and income. Then came the death of Valori on August 15th two years ago, the great pain of the loss of a friend whose soul was pure, healthy and happy to be involved. I found myself having to do everything, there were no texts or a song, what built this show was harmony between who sang and acted with the musician. Then came the lucky meeting with Primiano Di Biase. Stitching together everything once more we went on stage and the result was more than satisfying. The show pleased so much that in August 2015 the Spoltore Festival wanted it.

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Amongst all the figures of Italian music, why did you choose Milly?

Due to this woman’s dignity, she never used her beauty or connections, she always worked hard. We women think that everything is easier if a man makes a call and asks for you. In her long career Carla Mignone showed the world what a woman can do on her own, if she has talent, training and obstinacy. So much so that she returned to the stage at almost fifty years of age after being chosen by Giorgio Strehler to play Jenny delle Spelonche. The show that Milly gives tells a little about all women and wants to reaffirm their strength and place in society. In this sense it seems we have gone backwards over the years. Thanks to Marco Pannella we had made steps forward with the referenda on divorce and abortion. I am not a feminist and I think that there are roles that with the confusion of the years that have taken on all the defects of men and the men have taken ours. Men are no longer men, they are terrorized, they are scared of attachments, and there is a climate of incommunicability between the sexes, men angry with women. I have a better rapport with women because with men there is a type of confrontation to decide who is the stronger. Generally I understand that there is a lot of violence in every sense, we kill each other for a parking space. People are stressed and live running around paying the living expenses, taxes and bills. Life should not be having to run to pay. When we wake up our only thought is to survive, there is an anger and violence that leaves us breathless. If, instead of letting go of our anger at the stadium we went into the streets one voice together with other voices can form a choir , instead of taking it out with each other we should take it out on who is truly responsible.

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Rossella, recently you recorded a song in which you openly declared No to the upcoming referendum on constitutional reform. What are your reasons for your No?

The song “Good evening everybody” by Pino Pavone and Fabio Bianchini is also a video made with the collaboration of Francesco Felli and picked up in its entirety by the newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano (http://tv.ilfattoquotidiano.it/2016/10/08/referendum-la-carta-non-si-tocca-e-la-nostra-bandiera-il-no-arriva-anche-in-musica-con-a-tutti-buonasera/565262/). It was born from the idea shared by a group of artists with the intention of giving a creative contribution in support of all the initiatives that explain the reasons for the No to the constitutional referendum on December 4th next. “The charter is untouchable, it is our flag” is our means of reaffirming the centrality of the Constitution which in recent years has been disregarded on two fundamental points: the right to paid work and the sovereignty of the Italian people. In this pseudo reform there is nothing that could improve upon the choices made by the fathers of the Constitution. That does mean that there is no need for renewal, but it is a choice that must find its possible implementation in harmony with the widest agreement of the groups of the two houses of parliament. But there is more, as well as the No, the song is our accusation against everything that does not work. Ours is no longer a republic based on work, our country no longer guarantees work, in fact it is working for cash, little and badly.  We pay very high taxes useful only to cover a debt that, it must be stressed once and for all, that we did not make, it came about by the bad administration of our politicians. In the text there is the case of Stefano Cucchi who, beyond everything stated in the legal documentation was undoubtedly beaten up. How can they make us believe he died from an epileptic fit? I am against drug pushers and if there was a crime it would have been enough to condemn him. But you cannot kill him. It is an abuse of power, abuse of the uniform, Cucchi is a symbol, but there are many others. The Constitution is not respected, but population is not sovereign, even the sea is no longer “ours” and you need to pay to get into a factory. This summer I was asked to go away from a beach because behind us there was a lido and it was not allowed to stay on the so-called shoreline because you either paid, or you went to a free beach which are now only illusory because it is almost totality made up of the organized beach front resorts and they are expensive.nt resorts and they are expensive.

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At the present time many choose to become vegetarians of vegans, more for fashion than for conviction. What was the reason for your Rossella Seno’s veganism?

I became vegan at twenty years of age, but when I was younger I refused to eat anything I loved, the thought of what some poor animal had to go through for my eating pleasure used to stop me. We have always been driven towards a single aim, that of consumerism. The great marketing companies have contributed to the deterioration of our health, we see more and more tumors and other sicknesses, and even if you choose to become vegan it becomes difficult understanding what to eat, or not to eat. Even if I carefully read the label of foods I buy some things are deliberately hidden. And so I feel like a sort of “Alice in Wonderland” who does not know what to believe, what is real and what is evidently false, we are manipulated by inexorable consumerism and I understand that I am, if anything, “Alice in shittyland”! I have great respect for the lives of animals, that they are instinctive and do not have the aim of making money; we have much to learn from them. There is an industry of the multinational companies that makes us eat food that makes us sick thus making an advantage for the industries that must cure us and this is done intentionally.

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With Carlo Bellincampi’s photos you are one of the protagonists of the 2017 solidarity calendar

This year the solidarity calendar is in its third edition and all us protagonists are committed to social causes. As well as me there are Beatrice Luzi, Giuliana De Sio, Carolina Rosi, Isabel Russinova, Eva Robin’s, Ilaria Borrelli, Lina Sastri, Alessandra Di Sanzo, Giusi Cataldo, Piera Degli Esposti, Marisa Laurito, Maria Rosaria Omaggio and Rosa Pianeta.  The authors, Ezio Alessio Gensini, Leonardo Santoli e Carlo Bellincampi.

With the proceeds of the 2015 calendar we contributed to the acquisition of an ocular computer for a sufferer of motor neuron disease in Borgo San Loren and the proceeds of the 2016 calendar were given to the “Piccino Piccolo” (Small child), an organization for the parents of the newborn in Florence involved in premature births and assists the parents in their difficult task .

Rossella  is also a testimonial of ‘Ti Amo da Morire onlus’ a non-profit organization, which supports female victims of violence. As part of the campaign against gendered violence, the organization presented a musical play a few days ago along with Daniela Terreri , “I’m with the turtles” ( Io sto con le tartarughe). The play is based on the book by Simonetta Bumbi and published by Fabrizio Emigli and is committed to raise awareness on issues of gender-based violence that continues to claim victims every day.

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