slower, deeper, kinder
A donkeyish manifesto for interculture

Asinitas onlus

It’s a kind of swearword, born to create a hole and then build a bridge of fragile sticks over it.
It’s a word each one of us interprets in the way he likes, wearing a sari over sneakers, eating out at a Chinese restaurant, listening to African music.
It’is a word that needs at least four others to explain it.
Culture: it’s life unfolding in all its aspects
Respect: it’s the splendid perfect distance where one can gently look at the world from.
Curiosity: it draws you towards something you want to understand, touch, taste, get to know, try.
Discovery: it’s not finding something you didnt’t know about before, but finding yourself somewhere unexpected, it’s a sudden familiarity when you say “oh, look. that thing, that person, who really appeared to be totally different, is like me, has something to do with me”

Interculture is not a what, but a how
You look at me, like I look at you
You listen to me, like I listen to you
You come closer, like I get closer
It works like a mirror
Being the same life in different bodies.

I speak, therefore I am
We have many languages:
one that whispers about love, the direct and lighthearted words of friendship,
the open words when one laughs, the few words that accompany silence, the pompous language of important occasions, the words which matter, hurt, caress, inflame, evaporate.
In every language words do this,
so, if we consider closely there is only one language for the humans
Where has the condition before Babel gone?
There are foreign words, not understandable
Words of immigration that remain prisoners,
Words swallowed because they are worth nothing in a country that is not your own,
they don’t reach, don’t meet, don’t explain

I’ve crossed the Ocean and my language was lost
From the ancient root a new one has blossomed
(Epilogue-Grace Nichols)

Who knows how much this strong but delicate blooming hurts and how much toil it causes?

Listening is the rope that pulls up the words from the well
We like donkeys, especially their ears
one needs to listen and wait for the words to come forth
they stretch, they fall into place, they connect to each other
One needs to listen for the stuttering, the unfinished phrases, the wrong words
The astounding words stretched between two languages, that walk on a tight rope between here and somewhere else.
the uncertain steps and the unstable balance of those suspended between two worlds

If any of my poor words
pleases you
and you tell me
even only with your eyes
I burst out
in blessed laughter
but I shake
like a small young mother
who blushes even
if a passerby tells her
that her baby is beautiful.
(Modesty – Antonia Pozzi)

Listening is tiring, your ears alone are not enough, first of all you need to breathe , your eyes need to watch and your hands need to touch, and also a few dancing steps
Languages, like everything else, have a rhythm and everybody’s heart, nobody excluded, beats at the same rate, even when we are still.

Before a word there was a thought and before that an image
Can we reverse this? Starting from the image
This is what art gives us: being inside the very image
The symbol is the common experience of a secret
Art hurts, moves, leaves one without words, entertains, uplifts,
it’s a deeply transforming experience
it makes us human

We cannot say we
Without saying you, you, you, you and you
We is either everyone or it does not exist

We where everyone is equal, where everyone disappears, like a platoon,
does not make anyone happy
If we then, looking carefully, is made up of: us and them, you and us
at the very best it makes us happy in turns
More often somebody is on top and others are left below

If each person can be I instead
The gratitude is so much that naturally we become we
We is a happy circle
Maybe haywire but happy

……… we come from the same country
……… we live in the same street
………. we are the same age
……. we pray to the same God
…….. we follow the same program at the gym
…….. we use the same App
…….. we go to the same school
But it could come about exactly because we like the oddity of beginning pretending to have nothing or little in common
Because we are here, now, doing our best to try to be different instead
The community of different people is transversal to the community

Mixed race
Mixed race is beautiful
Mixed race is unaware of being mixed or beautiful
It is you who looking at them recognize where each piece comes from, but they do not know, they do not care
They feel themselves a symphony.

Presence and conspiracy
Being in the same space continually

to be found by those who return, to keep conflicts together, to soften the boundaries, to contain rites of passage, to resist

Solid as a house, recognisable, open, that allows the presence of everyone because   

only the physical presence creates co-inspiration

Virtual presence is always a little put off, I don’t know what the other person is feeling while I’m speaking, or while I’m doing something

A doubt remains

Sharing the same space at the same time is a kind of communication that cannot be substituted

We can say lots of things writing to each other, making video calls, we can even get emotional, sometimes more, because that distance between our bodies makes us more vulnerable and therefore open and hearing each other at the most comforts us, however co-inspiration is not possible

When you turn off that computer, you turn of that App, you look around and solitude makes everything you exchanged, you said, you shared, real: yes, but only half real

Citizenship to bad feelings
If we want to make the racist within ourselves harmless, we first of all need to meet it and get to know it well, even give it a little satisfaction

Otherwise we run the risk of falling into a type of self righteous preaching, which mostly produces counterproductive effects: an excessive production of bad feelings, or an emotional aphasia like the one a young patient of Bruno Bettelheim had:

“My mother washed my mouth with soap to get rid of all the bad words I used to say, and I admit they were really bad words. What she didn’t know was that washing my mouth of all the bad words she washed away the good ones too”.
(B. Bettelheim, Le fiabe e le paure dei bambini) (Fairytales and children’s fears)

The ethics of fragility
Alexander Langer came up with the ethics of fragility
There is only one way to proceed, thinking of it today it is really subversive:
more slowly, more deeply, more kindly

Asinitas Onlus is a not-for-profit organization founded in 2005. It is active in the field of education and social work. Its mission is to promote the care, education, training, sheltering and testimony of Italian and foreign adults and minors. Its primary work focuses on promoting processes of inclusion for subjects perceived by society as non-equals, in order to bolster their social presence. Active education, person-centered care, story-telling, and gathering of biographies and testimony are the privileged methodologies.
As an interdisciplinary working group, it focuses on researching the acquisition of a second language with students who have a low level of literacy in their L1, by adapting several methods, from M. Montessori to Freinet, to the Italian experience of active learning with Cemea and the Movement for cooperative learning.
The organization coordinates two schools of Italian as a second language for foreign women and mothers, refugees and asylum seekers, and migrants In Rome. The schools also include workshops on manual expression; listening spaces for Italian and foreign women and families; theatre workshops; orientation on health services, culture, education and training; training courses for teachers, educators, socio-cultural operators. The association promotes community participation through different activities and social labs in cooperation with local institutions, local NGOs and population to raise awareness on the issue of international migration and inter-cultural exchange.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Quarterly articles

In harmony Editorial

A Manifesto is the power behind the desire to change A Manifesto is written to affirm people’s rights, an idea, a vision of the world: to show a perspective we are aiming for a manifesto is for something and against something a manifesto is an agit prop a manifesto is...

For a learning community in Quarticciolo

“To get free, escaping is not enoughwe have to build togethera world with no masters,either good or bad.A happy and honest worldwhere nobody is bossed.If this world does not existyou and I will create it!”. Gianni Rodari   We intend to carry out an educational...

Art is not an innocent field

Art is not an innocent field. Are you working at the moment? Are you fighting?Do you manage to do both actions, or does one exclude the other?What fascinates you? What gives you relief?Do reasonable working relations exist inside the variegated world of...

The two images

Double is a present concept, to be understood as a doubling of reality.It is not a thought of multiplying, instead, not being exponential, it remains a more intimate movement.The two faces understood not as one the substitute of the other, but as a plurality of...

Mysterious forces manifested

For sure, I don’t feel at home with manifestoes Perhaps because it’s not easy for me to agree to, or to compose slogans In any case I feel this time is already very declarative, communicative The only kind of manifesto that I have practised regularly is the one of...

‘this side’ and ‘that side’: A manifesto

“There is a wall,” we said, “and therefore there is a ‘this side’ and a ‘that side’.” [The use of the word ‘side’ relates to an untranslatable pun: the name of the association is Al Di Qua, which is an abbreviation of Alternative Disability Qualities. However, in...

slower, deeper, kinder
A donkeyish manifesto for interculture

IntercultureIt’s a kind of swearword, born to create a hole and then build a bridge of fragile sticks over it.It’s a word each one of us interprets in the way he likes, wearing a sari over sneakers, eating out at a Chinese restaurant, listening to African music.It’is...

Gender Variant

Leaving aside the kaleidescopic meaning of identity, in the present manifesto we will try to concentrate on the identity of gender, searching for its significance and meaning including all its reflections on culture and on the individual. The transexual or transgender...

For A New Musical Education

The deepest joy of playing music is not the clapping, the money, the glory (or, not only) but learning to breathe with others, feel the silence that comes before and after every musical event, listen together with others. Once more we learn that without our body,...