In the 16th year after Genoa: escaping the prison of memory


“We did not ponder enough in these sixteen years”, such is the beginning of a police chief Gabrielli interview headlining the Repubblica newspaper, which then follows in the first two inner pages of the daily: “the Genoa G8 Genova was a catastrophe”.

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The cop goes for broke. He singles out the value of self-criticism pursuing common sense. How to say that? “Look, a man of power is on top of his role if he admits his errors”,”if there is a resignation in regards to bad management, it is the credibility of the institutions which is at stake”…”If I was [former police chief - TN] De Gennaro I would have resigned”, Gabrielli echoes the vox populi.

The more earnest will burst out against hypocrisy, the most naive will appreciate. We would like to say that we are tired of their obsession. Genoa was a collective challenge, which was decided by a battle and a defeat. It was not a slaughterfest on helpless victims. 16 years later the wound which is still open is that of the split between Italian police and democratic compatibility. This worries the guardians of the institutions or who believes the political dialectics they are framing. Therefore that torn veil has to be mended by fueling the bleakness of the carnage, the condemnation of the “improper” behaviors of the crazy police, the condemnation of the catastrophe. Sure, there was violence and cruelty, but more than all as a revealed truth within a conflict, that of the clash of the Genoa days. This is what has to be removed in order to mend the split: the resistance, the answer, the battle that unfolded around the police reprisal.

It is the labyrinth of memory where the run to restore a credibility of the democratic play protecting the daily routine of the present balance of power is matched by the construction of the victims of police excesses and of their (and ours) impotence as heirs of a defeat. Many police chiefs made a career on Genoa. We do not insist that much on this given, that ratifies a normal mechanism in any service corp: he who risks deserves the promotion. Because in the end it is this the other side of the police violences in Genoa: beyond the abuse, there was its employment in order to overturn a broken balance. They took the risk of blow it out of proportion, but in order to win. At the end of the day also Gabrielli says that: “in Genoa everything fell through, starting from the ability - also from the Movement side, the police chief complains - to govern in some way and vouch for the entire demonstration. This faculty had to be restored.

The ghost of Genoa for the guardians of the order is the fear of the comeback of this lost threat, the eventuality that a management of that and of every protest would fall through. In order to chase away the ghosts of ours we must start again to conquer back the flesh of their ghosts, starting from being not the stickers of the victims in Gabrielli’s memories’ box. The rest is collective memory, unquenched rage, will to renew the challenge.

To Carlo and to all the resisters of that battle

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