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Dottoré!

A Cave Of One's Own

"Who am I to be horrified by poverty while I have no means to offer relief, no alternative to show these people?"

Photo of a man holding a smoking cigarette

No place like home ...

Mariateresa Fichele

Picture a cave, complete with a vault and yellowed walls. Inside, a single room with a small table, a double bed and a bunk bed. And there, imagine three brothers living together.

"Excuse me," I said, "but where is the bathroom?"

"Outside, Dottoré.”

"And the three of you live here?”

"Of course. This is our house. Mom and Dad raised six children here."


"But couldn't you rent a bigger and brighter house? It's humid here, it's bad for you!"

"Humid? No, no, the air is gray because of cigarette smoke. And during the day it's full of sunlight — in the summer it gets really hot!"

"You could put an air conditioner on, at least!"

"We did, but then it stopped working because of the smoke."

Home sweet home

At a certain point I looked at the three brothers’ faces. God knows what history of deprivation and suffering they carried with them. Their place was in a shocking state.

But for them it was home, and I could hints of mockery in their answers.

This place belonged to them, it was their world.

Who am I to be horrified by poverty while I have no means to offer relief, no alternative to show these people?

The state to the rescue

On my way back to the hospital, caught up in my own dilemmas, I noticed unusual movements from a number of law enforcement officials.

I asked what was going on, and was told that they were preparing for arrivals from Rome.

I then looked it up online and read something that calmed me down — an epiphany of sorts, an answer to my worries. "Tomorrow, Prime Minister Mario Draghi and Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese will be in Naples. It sends a strong message that the State is present."

Now that I know this, I can go home in peace ...

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Europe's Winter Energy Crisis Has Already Begun

in the face of Russia's stranglehold over supplies, the European Commission has proposed support packages and price caps. But across Europe, fears about the cost of living are spreading – and with it, doubts about support for Ukraine.

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Martin Schutt/dpa via ZUMA
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In her State of the Union address on September 14, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, issued an urgent appeal for solidarity between EU member states in tackling the energy crisis, and towards Ukraine. Von der Leyen need only look out her window to see that tensions are growing in capital cities across Europe due to the sharp rise in energy prices.

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With winter approaching, Europe is facing a true test of both its mettle, and imagination.

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