Turin and Marseille are two sides of the same coin: here new forms of citizenship are experimented

Those who want to see how we will be in twenty years look to the USA, they offer illuminating flashes of the future (there is not always something to be cheerful about) or to Marseille, the capital of the French Midi. I go there often, it’s a sliver of Africa a stone’s throw from the Cote d’Azur, metropolis that overflows with energy, with the dark and glittering sides of a multicultural city, in a precarious balance between the Western world and the African-North African one. It has many similarities with the northern districts of Turin, with “my” Barrier in Milan and the Aurora district of the recent machete duel on the street. In the suburbs, “deserts” with millions of people, we find the conscience of the city.

In Marseille there are areas off-limitsa movie like Bac Nord tells the infamous Quartiers north, another, Les Misérablesdescribes the analogues banlieues Parisian. Both say how our suburbs will become, if the administrations continue to leave them without structural interventions (other than artistic installations!) And without politics, at the mercy of hairy pietism and rhetoric. We need shared neighborhoods and schools, fight against appalling economic differences. What response do we give to material and moral misery? Spritz and nightlife? Ronaldate, designer windows? The “tecteculism” of Tiktok, masses and concerts in the courtly parks?

In Turin there is a lot of talk about suburbs, but little is done: Giordano Bruno did more, moving the center of the universe to the periphery; our sun are Piazza Vittorio, Murazzi and the historic center, local and binge drinking. Why not organize “fun factories” also on the belt, in Barriera di Milano (hateful the fashionist “a Barriera”, motorcycle in place), Borgata Vittoria, Borgo San Paolo, Mirafiori? Without “gentrifying” the neighborhoods (it also happens in Marseille: in the Panier, more and more for jocks and “bo-bo”, bohemian bourgeoisor the Plaine), preventing building speculation from rejecting the lowest segments of the population.

Whenever you hear the sound of weapons and knives, you have to put your hand to culture, education, without doing good or rhetoric. You have to stay there, in the suburbs. It is not enough to “be close” to the people, you have to be a people, we Turin natives of the Barrier of Milan know what it means. Those arriving from the peripheries of the world must not be left to drown in the swamp of ignorance and violence: what has become of social justice? In Marseille and Turin we experiment new forms of citizenship: to be Maghrebi and French at the same time, and Italians; like the Franco-Algerian boys who fly the flag of France and Algeria for the matches of the national team. The alternative? I sink it. Speaking of depth, at the Mucem in Marseille they inaugurated the reproduction of the cave of Cosquer: an ancient Sistine chapel available to all.

Marseille belongs to those who get there, Izzo said, like the cities of the world. Marseille can be as rocky as Saint Victor, a church-fortress that also appears in it The sun of the dying, the masterpiece of Jean Claude Izzo (he had Neapolitan origins) on homeless people. Marseille is hospitality. It is the city of Simone Weil and Varian Fry, who rescued hundreds of Jews and exiles during World War II. It is the city of first “solidarity” restaurant in Europe, opened a few months ago, which offers homeless people a meal for one euro, the same menu and tables as the other customers. In the age of barriers, exclusion, the “exclusive” and narcissism, this is good news.

Exploitation, material and moral misery on the outskirts of the world, from downtown from Los Angeles to the hotspots of Lyon and Saint Étienne to Porta Palazzo, are the plagues on which the fanatics of religion have a good game. Of course “Racaille”the scum of Sarkozy. We need real culture, not the elitist and snobbish one of four cats talking to each other. The future, valid for Italians and French, Americans, Chinese and Mexicans, will belong to those who are something more, not “less”. Of “both-be”: Sino-Italians, Italosenegalese, Franco-Algerians… This is it globalization that we like.

Maybe I have the trivia, maybe I drank too many pastis (liked the Holy drinker by Joseph Roth). One of the most popular brands in France, the Ricard of Marseilles. Roth drank and wrote, perhaps the nightlife of binge drinking will produce something, I know, Total Casino by Izzo (original title: Total KhéopsI think of Massillia Sound System and ai IAM), or a song by Gianmaria Testa (he was my cousin!), Ritals for example…

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