DON’T LOOK BACK INTO THE SUN
Or how a punk rocker known for sharp sarcasm and for being politically “incorrect” found a place in the No Hate Movement.
by Angela Maddalena
In Italy, where sarcasm is a way to measure intelligence, they always said I was quite clever.
Sadly, my intelligence was made for “joining the dark side” of philosophy, literature and black humor. I never had the silly idea of using it, intelligence, to spread motivational thoughts or what my mum would have called cuddling nonsense chatts. My guilty pleasure was using quotes from the Bible to justify my natural despice for commercial music, just to give you an idea.
Also, I grown up with the feeling that, no matter what happens, you need to fight and, if possible, to win. Alone.
After this brief intro, you may be able to picture it, in the back of your eyes: a small and naturally mean young lady, almost covered by massive glasses (I am basically blind), dressed in total black in August (style is more important that climatic summer), used to think that if you say “I would kill for a Coca-cola” people around will understand this is just a manner of speaking.
Now, imagine this person, me, in a contest in which nobody thinks that you can actually make a joke about World War II and not feel guilty.
I knew nothing about the No Hate Movement, or platform or whatever.
I knew nothing about politically-correct statements in media and private communication. I didn’t know people react badly to sarcasm. Or that you need to explain it clearly, BEFORE making a joke, that you are gonna be sarcastic.
I totally, absolutely, never thought people take what you say in a literal sense, or that -in other countries outside Italian fronteer- if you are mad at someone, or even excited, you can’t just scream in the other person’s face: they will not feel comfortable.
(ok, now I need to say this: if I am mad, I really DON’T want you to feel comfortable. You see? this is the point. I want you to yell back or to shut the hell up and admit you are WRONG. those are the only two ways around, no middle point admitted.)
Is also true that I never ever had been very diplomatic.
But, I can feel You people thinking this, if you knew you are something in between Iggy Pop’s Raw power and a salesman, why? Why, in the name of Almighty Logic, you took part in a project against hate speech?
In Italy, here again the topic of Lost in Translation occurs, we don’t have this word: “Hate speech”. We have hate crimes, surely (I actually think that every crime is an hate related crime), but no way to translate, and so to understand, this “hate speech” sentence. I was curious. I have the soul of a journalist. And I always have been an activist, in my own way: screaming and “hate speeching” fascists and homophobes. To hate is bad, off course. And by no mean we humans should hate some other human because of our differences… In which Universe you live into?
The most intolerant people I have met in my life, where driven by the “Love all, serve all” motto that, and this is not a case, U.S.A. police forces and hippies share. I feel no need to shoot on the U.S.A. police, because everybody knows what kind of people “serve” there lately, but hippies…
If you are not ready to listen and nod to a full truck of things that they Really Believe, and to Respect Mother Nature in the exact way they see fit, you are basically a hater. On the other hand, is very rare to find some of them ready to listen to you. Or to try to accept you the way you are. It seems to me that they basically think they are the ones that shall be accepted by society, reserving themselves the right not to accept anyone else that is not willing to copy them. Oh, yes, is because They Know How You Shall Express Love, and you, human, you don’t.
I remember a girl calling me something like the daughter of Attila (or was it the end of the civilization? whatever it was, she went on for forever, making it impossible for me to even answer. Like she was a bazooka of strange hippie like insults regarding my supposed lack in civilization), because of a cigaret I threw in the streets. Out of nothing. And in public.
Yeah, mine is a very bad and very Italian habit, which I am not proud of. But to insult in public someone you just meet, someone that you don’t even know by full name, is nasty as well. Maybe, parents in Italy are more lassist about throwing cigarettes on the streets, but are kind of stickelers for manners. I had a crisis. -What in the Hell am I doing here?- I was asking myself, -I don’t belong here-. This, because, for the first time in more than ten years (when someone tried to insult me by calling me “an Albanian” and giving me the exact definition of “hater”), I felt insulted in an hateful way. I have been called lots of things, but it was not because political, philosophical or cultural differences, it was not because of hate in the meaning this project gives to the term: I just and simply was on those people’s nerves. Yeah, they insulted me, they fought with me, but they were not hating me. I was not hating them. I never felt degraded by their words, I just answered them. This time, it was different. And it was just at the beginning of a project against hate!
I was considering the idea of giving up. Basically, I was thinking, I can’t express myself because I don’t fit in this “Love, love, love” thing and I am a bad person, but they (the good ones that love everything) can insult me in this way. I only see contradictions.
But I am not a quitter.
I prefer to talk and try to understand before doing or saying things. I spoke to lots of different people. People that are working in this field from a long time (someone from the beginning, I think) people I was working with. And they made me see: like in every group, like in every thing in life, in this movement you find lots of different types of people, behaviours, motivations.
Someone is just driven by words, someone is not able to see his own contradictions, someone is just basically stupid.
But one can also find that type of people which I love the most, people that can take a joke and, in the same time, be very strict against hate in every form. People that are not just talking, but actually trying, in their own ways, to change something that they don’t like. People that are trying, in their ways, to make a small difference. I have met people that don’t repeat silly mottos like parrots: I have met effective, practical persons.
Dealing with an incredible amount of not pleasant paperwork or running the city to make it more comfortable for me and volunteers like me to enjoy this experience, I have met the kind of people I want to have in my life, real ones. And, in the end, after crisis and moments of despair, asking myself why I was not running to catch the first plane back to “Mammaland”, I found out what I was doing here: my job.
Because I am good at it and because, now, I am pretty sure this is what I want to be: a practical, effettive person, making my best to help small changes.
Without raping the word “Love”, but understanding that the opposite for HATE is OPEN MINDED.
The “Angie’s Blog” is a rubric led by Angela Madalena (Italy)
and is part of the project “Freedom of (Hate) Speech“. It is funded under European program “Erasmus+”,
KA 1: European Voluntary Service and Training Course for Youth Workers.
National Agenda for Bulgaria: Center for Human Resource Development