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LA STAMPA

A Writer's Ode To The Victims Of A Pitiless Economy

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

In Florence, everything must go (Curran Kelleher)
In Florence, everything must go (Curran Kelleher)
Massimo Gramellini

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

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Searching For Marianna, A Pregnant Doctor From Mariupol Held Captive By The Russians

We’ve heard about the plight of the soldiers-turned-prisoners from Mariupol. Here are some traces of the disturbing fate of a young female doctor who’s been taken away.

A paper dove reads "Mariupol" at a shelter for displaced children in Uzhhorod, western Ukraine.

Paweł Smoleński

"Wait for me, because I will return…"

Marianna Mamonova wrote these words to her family, among the text messages and short phone calls that are the only remaining fragments used to piece together her recent past. We also have a photo of her, posted on Russian websites, where she looks into the lens, gaunt and exhausted, signed with a number like a concentration camp prisoner.

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Until the Russian-Ukrainian war, Mamonova’s biography was available to anyone who wanted to know. She was born in 1991, studied at the Ternopil Medical University, and later at the Kyiv Military Academy. After completing her studies, she was sent to work in the coastal city of Berdiansk. Her mother says that this is where her daughter's dream came true: She’d always wanted to be a military doctor, and worked in Berdiansk for three years, receiving the rank of officer in the Ukrainian army.

Beginning in 2014, she’d worked stints as a front-line doctor in the Donbas region, and when Russia invaded Ukraine in February she went to war again. This time in Mariupol.

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