Essay: The small tragedies of the economic crisis have begun to creep into the daily headlines. Reading about a business owner's suicide, an Italian columnist learns it's not always easy to find the right way to speak -- and write -- abo
A motorcycle dealer hangs himself because he can no longer pay his employees. A retiree throws himself off a balcony after receiving a 5,000-euro claim against him from the national insurance board. These are tales from the daily Spoon River of a crisis that seems to fall harder on the newly impoverished than the perennially poor, creating fear and panic among those suddenly thrust into uncertainty: a lost job, company, home, status.
I must admit that I too am at fault. In my writings I deal with this fear far too casually. Every story of the ongoing breakdown, though legitimate, becomes a brick in that wall of anguish against which the most desperate minds are bound to crash.
Too many years of falsely joyful and ever foolish optimism have created a counter-reaction of dark and hopeless realism. Right now, beyond the accountants, we would need to find the poets. (Preferably not the apocalyptical ones.) By now the news reports are war bulletins: taxes, firings, recession. It is, in the end, an X-ray of our reality. But X-rays alone have never healed anyone. We need prescriptions instead; and the best prescriptions are stories of the ones who have healed.
It is better to become indignant than fall into depression. Better still are those who keep pressing on, and evolve. "This society eats everyone up" said the priest during the funeral of the motorcycle dealer. It is the fear that consumes us. And so from here on, whenever I sit down to write something on the topic, the implicit message of each article will be: Let's not get eaten.
Read the original article in Italian
photo - Curran Kelleher