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Dottoré!

From Nigeria To Ukraine To Naples, Childhood Words We Can't Forget

From Nigeria To Ukraine To Naples, Childhood Words We Can't Forget
Kindred Hues / Worldcrunch
Mariateresa Fichele

The scenes of the welcoming of Ukrainian refugees in Italy have been deeply moving.

I was particularly struck by the choral embrace in a Naples elementary school classroom of a beautiful child, happy but also embarrassed because he did not speak Italian.

It brought me back to a story that Chiara, a young patient of mind born in Naples to Nigerian parents, once told me:

"On the first day of school, the mothers of the other children looked at me strangely. One of them said to her son, ‘If she's in your class, make sure you sit far away and don't bring any illnesses home, because these must be people who just got off the boats.’


“That child ended up in my class. I remember approaching him and saying: ‘Hi, I'm Chiara and I have never set foot on a boat’. The child looked at me. ‘How’s this possible? You're black and you can even speak Italian?’

“I've seen that look on many other faces since then, but I'll never forget that very first time — the first time I wished I was blonde and had white skin."

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Geopolitics

The Trumpian Virus Undermining Democracy Is Now Spreading Through South America

Taking inspiration from events in the United States over the past four years, rejection of election results and established state institutions is on the rise in Latin America.

Two supporters of far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro dressed in Brazilian flags during a demonstration in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Bolsonaro supporters dressed in national colours with flags in a demonstration in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on November 4, 2022.

Ivan Abreu / ZUMA
Carlos Ruckauf*

-Analysis-

BUENOS AIRES — South Africa's Nelson Mandela used to say it was "so easy to break down and destroy. The heroes are those who make peace and build."

Intolerance toward those who think differently, even inside the same political space, is corroding the bases of representative democracy, which is the only system we know that allows us to live and grow in freedom, in spite of its flaws.

Recent events in South America and elsewhere are precisely alerting us to that danger. The most explosive example was in Brazil, where a crowd of thousands managed to storm key institutional premises like the presidential palace, parliament and the Supreme Court.

In Peru, the country's Marxist (now former) president, Pedro Castillo, sought to use the armed and security forces to shut down parliament and halt the Supreme Court and state prosecutors from investigating corruption allegations against him.

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