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LA STAMPA

Roberto Saviano On The Importance Of Airing Dirty Laundry

Sure, Naples has sun, sea and amazing pizza. But it's also violent and corrupt, and there's no point in pretending otherwise. A look from Italian city's celebrated author.

Close up portrait of Roberto Saviano, during the rehearsals of Quello che (non) in Milan in May 2012
Close up portrait of Roberto Saviano, during the rehearsals of Quello che (non) in Milan in May 2012
Roberto Saviano

Roberto Saviano has been under 24-hour police escort since 2006, when Gomorrah, his non-fiction book about the Neapolitan mafia, shined a spotlight on the Camorra crime syndicate. Just 27 when the book was released, the young writer has received repeated death threats and now lives in hiding. But while Saviano's work has been seen as eye-opening outside of Naples, back home he has many detractors, people who think he is painting the wrong picture of the city. The mayor's office even set up an anti-slander office.

In this piece in La Stampa, Saviano refers to two Italian films to illustrate his position. Bicycle Thieves is the 1948 neorealism classic by Vittorio De Sica that tells the story of Antonio Ricci, who is desperate for work. The other film is We All Loved Each Other So Much, in which one of the characters lives in the town of Nocera Inferiore, only half an hour away from Naples.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Hide-And-Seek Of Drone Warfare, A Letter From Ukraine's Front Line

A member of the Ukrainian Armed Forces writes his account of the new dynamic of targeting, and being targeted by, the invading Russian troops, as drones circle above and trenches get left behind.

A Ukrainian military drone operator during a testing of anti-drone rifle in Kyiv.

Igor Lutsenko*

KYIV — The current war in Ukraine is a game of hide-and-seek. Both sides are very well-stocked with artillery, enough to destroy the enemy along many kilometers. Swarms of drones fly through the air day and night, keeping a close eye on the earth's surface below. If they notice something interesting, it immediately becomes a target. Depending on the priority, they put it in line for destruction by artillery.

Therefore, the only effective way to survive is to hide, or at least somehow prove to the drones your non-priority status — and avoid moving to the front of the 'queue of death.'

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In general, the nature of this queue is a particular thing. It may seem to be a god, but is instead a simple artillery captain's decision of when to have lunch, and when to fire on the house where several enemy soldiers are staying. It's just a handful of ordinary people (observers, artillerymen) deciding how long their enemies will live depending on their own schedule or the weather, the availability of ammunition or if they're feeling tired.

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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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