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Firenze: European Social Forum


Picture by Matteo Nicoletti

Thank you Firenze...

This is what the crowds of demonstrators for peace cried on several occasions during their march through the city streets. But it is the Fiorentini who thanked those who came to the city, giving them the opportunity to remember that Firenze is not only an open air museum but the essence of civilisation.

The tomtom began in the city more then 15 days before the date of the start of the Social Forum. These were the phrases most heard and repeated among the citizens, They will invade; They will make things dirty; They will break the monuments; They will raid our shops; They will cause trouble; Like this the strategy of terror took the upper hand and almost nobody bothered to understand, rather than talk, oblivious to the fact that one does not necessarily need to agree, to listen to others.
Fateful the date of 6 November in Piazza Santa Croce. The opening ceremony will be held there. Who knows what mess they will make! I go to take a look the day after. It is beautiful and clean, maybe even more than normal. I begin to think… I see on TG3 (Telenews) our indoor stadium, which was expected to have to be totally remade, as it had been given to them as sleeping quarters. All wonderfully in order and above all, all clean. I carry on thinking... Tomorrow I will go the Fortezza, I want to see them at close quarters.


Picture by Sandro Santioli

I was as the Fortezza on November 8, a security man stopped me. If you don’t have a pass you cannot enter. OK. I get a pass. Enter and find myself in another world. At the beginning I am stunned I get lost among the stands. Then in the end I relax. All the fears absorbed during the past days leave me. I am free to see with my own eyes and hear with my own ears, and I like it. It is like taking a step backwards. I find myself young amongst the young. I listen to the sincere call for peace by the American who lost her brother in the Twin Tower crash, listen to who battles for a more just world, listen to those who explain how to preserve and distribute to everyone essential resources like water.
Eager with good proposals I took away lots of leaflets from various stands. But what really counts is that I understand that these, whom I feared, are internally beautiful people, who not only think, but who actively operate to make this a better world. They do this for us as well. I feel useless and a guilty feeling comes over me for the momentary lack of thought. I breath out. Youngsters, I feel for you, tomorrow I will be in the march with you.
Saturday November 9, much feared and much awaited. The city is no longer afraid. The march was never menacing. The march is a triumph of joy. The colours of the different delegations mix in a hubbub of sounds and voices. Seven kilometres of pure hearted crowds who ask the powerful of the world to listen to the word PEACE. Windows open, the Fiorentini humbly salute the festive march with a Grazie ragazzi (thanks guys).

After this brief introduction, Terraditoscana, gives those who were not able to participate in the event, the opportunity to see, through the eyes of Sandro Santioli, the joyous images which describe better than many words, the people of the European Social Forum.

 
 
 
   
 
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