Free for all women told by Omizzolo

Free for all women told by Omizzolo
Free for all women told by Omizzolo
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The latest book by Marco Omizzolopublished by the Feltrinelli Foundation and available since 12 July, the title already resonates like a programmatic manifesto: “Free for all. The courage to fight for oneself and for others “. In spite of the etymology (from the Latin dominatesthat is mistress, lady), the word “woman” has had to travel through centuries of history, through long battles for emancipation in the world of culture, art, work, politics, science, religion, to enter number of a vocabulary of values ​​which society recognizes equal dignity and opportunity for man, although not always and not everywhere.

Free for all: a freedom won with great sacrifice and through pain

Free for all: a freedom conquered with great sacrifice and going through pain, that of Italy, Manpreet and Anna, the protagonists of the three stories collected and told by Omizzolo, with “a passage from the human to the human”, as the sociologist says Franco Ferrarotti about the task of sociology when analyzing life stories. Theirs is not a circumscribed, perimeter, self-referential freedom. In reverse: the freedom achieved by the three women, reborn from their own ashes, is a harbinger of hope, of trust, of horizons and mirages; it acts as a warning for all women, even for those who are not yet free. But free from what? From forms of oppression, prevarication and patriarchy in the world of work, in the family, in the society that labels, prejudices and subdues.

Italy, Manpreet and Anna are the protagonists of the three stories collected and told by Omizzolo

The arrogance of a racist superior – moreover of the same sex – for Italy, an Italian woman of Somali origin forced to live on the margins of a society that cages her in preordained roles and paths. And then the abuses of a husband / father-master, in a patriarchal cultural frame, for Manpreet, Indian laborer from the province of Latina; the illusory self-deception of respectability in Roman salons of the upper class for Anna: different phenomenological aspects, in a multiple social stratification, of the same reality of subordination of women to imposed social demands and expectations. The color of the skin – a concept dear to Omizzolo that takes up from the American Afro-descendant sociologist Du Bois – the country of origin, the social background, the cultural titles possessed do not become stigmas to differentiate Italy, Manpreet and Anna from each other. Far from it: the three women harmoniously hold hands, as in a new “Danse”By Matisse, praising together with redemption and a new life, finally free from violence, bullying, deviance. It is no coincidence that in his introduction Omizzolo explicitly refers to the studies and reflections of Bell Hooks, an American sociologist also of African origin, according to whom marginality must be understood as a “position and place of resistance for those who are oppressed, exploited and colonized “; it’s still, “[…]these margins are places of repression, but also of resistance, which is our critical response to domination ”.

The degree in political science, the singular cultural vivacity and the marked intellectual curiosity, for example, are not sufficient elements for Italy – a name chosen by her mother with the hope of guaranteeing her a future different from hers – not to jeopardize a life project suited to the its human, cultural and professional greatness. And, instead, his dream of becoming a journalist is shattered in front of doors locked with the bolts of prejudice, of predatory capitalisma concept that Omizzolo recalls and deepens in another of his books (For the sake of justice, People ed. 2022), racism and discrimination. His worn hands testify to an arduous job and the red T-shirt with his name clearly imprinted on it harnesses his personality, in a military setting, among the handfuls of workers exploited in a Milanese cleaning company. The evils, the fatigue, the physical and moral fatigue that Italy feels are well hidden from the leaders thanks to his dignity: they must know that he is invincible, indefatigable. Deeply disappointed by the “union shyness” as well as by ineffective policies to guarantee equality and equity in a “democratic” country like ours, Italy decides to go to France, not to escape but to seek freedom and dignity.

The freedom achieved by the three women, reborn from their own ashes, is a harbinger of hope

Manpreet, on the other hand, is tired of taking kicks and punches, together with her four children, from her abusive husband. A serious injury at work seriously endangers Manpreet’s life: the physical and inner laceration becomes, however, the kairos to become aware of the need for a “revolt” to a yoke that has now become intolerable. Thanks to the help of Mamta, also an Indian immigrant, and the support of professionals such as the lawyer Arturo Salerni and Silvia Calderoni of the Progetto Rights association, Manpreet finds the courage to denounce her husband, for the love of her children. And the owner of the company where the accident occurred, promptly manipulated to conceal its dynamics? Once again, love for children prevails: for fear of no longer finding work and not having to feed them, he decides not to report the company. In the meantime, Manpreet has decided to move house. The room-hovel she shared with her children, in a house where seventeen lived, all Indians, all laborers, with a single kitchen and a bathroom, was indeed the scene of violence, but also a free zone for a new beginning. Those drawings of the children on the walls, with their colors and their shapes will have contributed, together with the meeting and taking care of Omizzolo himself, to outline in the mind and heart of Manpreet a new future for their livesno longer to the sound of blows, insults and threats, but characterized by a new music whose notes were respect, dignity, love.

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The pandemic represented an opportunity for Anna to regain control of her life

In the new “Danse” by Matisse, with Italia and Manpreet we also find Anna: Italian, doc Roman, very beautiful, well-kept, sociable, cultured. Graduated with honors in Marine Biology at the Sapienza University of Rome, Anna speaks three languages ​​and has traveled half the world for work. But so much wealth, so much beauty, so much luxury do not coincide for her with happiness, luck, authentic well-being. This apparently idyllic world actually conceals a profound malaise, a great fragility, discomfort, deviance: addiction to gambling, alcoholism, up to the abyss of prostitution in the most squalid bars of the Roman suburbs. In the throes of loneliness, Anna at one point wanted to deny her being a good woman, wife, mother and biologist. In fact, she even quit her job. He no longer felt up to anything, on the contrary, he considered himself responsible and guilty for the separation of his parents, the failure of his marriage, the lack of care and attention towards his son Jonathan. But, as happened for Manpreet, for Anna too, her love for her son was the engine of change. The intense pain, physical and internal, that she felt when hearing a sentence-boulder from one of the many men who was exploiting her body “has short-circuited her brain” – as she herself says. She got out of that bar, she got in the car and ran away. The shower she took when she returned home that day, before going to sleep on the sofa, is almost a purification ritual. The pandemicwhich for many of us was a disorienting, in some cases tragic, period, for Anna it represented an opportunity to regain control of her own lifeto look within, to prove that he is other than that deviant experience.

Free for allthree stories told with great transport and sociological accuracy

“How much beauty can be born from the ashes! The harder the fight, the more glorious the triumph! “: What great truth are contained in the words spoken by the director of the Circus of the Butterfly, Mr. Méndez, to Will. And Italy, Manpreet, Annathanks to stories told with great enthusiasm and, at the same time, with sociological accuracy by Marco Omizzolo we confirm this by reading every word, by scrolling through every line, by leafing through every page. To Italy, Manpreet, Anna – in the words of Pope John Paul IIfrom the Letter To women of 29 June 1995 – we say: Thank you, woman, for the very fact that you are a woman. With the perception that is proper to your femininity, you enrich the understanding of the world and contribute to the full truth of human relationships.

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The article is in Italian

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