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Old local languages stuck in the shadows
Old local languages stuck in the shadows
Davide Sacco

TURIN - It’s a little like Babel. In Italy, words can have one meaning on one side of the street and something entirely different on the other. From the mountains to the sea, from the north to the south, this is the land of endless dialects.

But because families are using these local languages less and less, there is a danger that they will slowly disappear. That's why, both to celebrate linguistic pride and to preserve Italian culture, the National Union of Pro Loco is dedicating a specific day (January 17) to celebrate the country's dialects every year.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Inside Russia’s Revival Of Stalinist “Filtration Camps”

Though different than concentration camps constructed by Nazis, the “filtration” facilities nevertheless recalls a brutal history, and have been reopened under Putin, and ramped up since the invasion of Ukraine.

Civilians leaving Mariupol on foot

Anna Akage

"It was like a true concentration camp."

This is how Oleksandr, a 49-year-old man from Mariupol, described where he and his wife Olena were taken in by Russian security officers. Speaking to a reporter for the BBC, the couple was fingerprinted, photographed and interrogated for hours, and their phones searched for material that could somehow identify them as “Nazis.”

But there is another name given to that these locations, and the process, that have been set up to handle Ukrainians taken into custody in areas occupied by pro-Russian separatists: They’re called: “filtration camps.”

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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