So what is the project about?

It is more a platform than a single project that includes videos, photos, posters, historical archive materials, zine and other various materials.

The videos presented on the monitors document interviews with some of the most prominent figures in my research for this project, which are: Antar Mohamed Marincola and Igiaba Scego. They talk and elaborate on colonialism, in particular Italian colonialism in Somalia and its repercussion in contemporary racist Italy.

Antar Mohamed Marincola is a writer, teacher, actor and intercultural mediator. He works and lives in Bologna. He was born in Mogadishu (Somalia) in 1963 and he grew up during the Siad Barre regime. Antar moved to Italy in 1983 because of an academic fellowship awarded to him by the Somali Ministry of Education and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  His last publication was Timira. Mestizo Novel, initially written through collaboration between Wu Ming[1] 2 and Timira Hassan Yere (Isabella Marincola), who was Antar’s mother. During the process of writing, Timira died, and so Antar took over the role of co-author. The book is a sort of biography of Timira Hassan Yere that has many historical references to the political context of her time: Italian colonialism, fascism and (post) colonialism. In the book Giorgio Marincola, Timira’s brother is also mentioned; he was a Black Italian partisan, who was murdered by Nazi troops in May 1945, only few days after the “Italian Liberation Day” (25 April 1945).

Igiaba Scego is an Italian writer, editor and journalist of Somali origin. She works and lives in Rome. Her parents migrated to Italy in 1969, after Siad Barre state coup.  After graduating in Foreign Literature at the La Sapienza University in Rome she obtained her doctorate in pedagogy. In actual fact she is dedicated to novel writing, journalism and research which focus on intercultural dialogue, transcultural understanding and migration. In her last book, La Mia Casa è Dove Sono, remembers the first twenty years of her life; it is the story of a black child who was born in a white dominating culture and country; the story of an Italian treated as a stranger, about her being Somali and her parent’s roots.

In this text I will quote Antar and Igiaba from excerpts of the the interviews. Their contribution has been a solid tool to deepen and insist on various discourses analysed throughout the research.

The challenge is to go along with the project while continuously questioning my position of white European.

In the future I would like to record testimonies of survivors, witnesses and partisans from the former colonised and occupied territories, as this is a generation that is rapidly disappearing and such documents are not so available or easy to access.

We whites have canonized history with a Eurocentric point of view whilst oral and written history and cultural traditions from the colonized country has been dismissed for ages. This is now changing with the contribution of colonies descendant’s cultural works that counteract dominant narratives. They are giving strong signs of hegemonic epistemic disruption.

These topics have been completely removed from history books; there is a big lack of knowledge amongst the youth and adults. Most likely, in the last year of the high school, when you are supposed to focus on modern history, the time given to engage seriously and deeply with the subject never seems to be enough. History is presented as a list of names and dates to remember, mostly without the names from those being colonized. There is no chance to push for self-reflection and critical thinking.

In order to let the work not only circulate exclusively in academic communities, among related professionals or people interested in the matter, one of the future steps would be to start to present the work in schools in Italy and enable a discussion with the students on the topic. In this time when violent racist episodes occur again and again it is our own responsibility to gain awareness on what is going on and to sensitize people on anti-racist practices.

The Lampedusa tragedy in 2013 where more then 350 people died, and are today taken as an emblematic sign of the situation, is just one of the cases in this terrible history of necropolitics in the relationship between the EU and the postcolony, as it was named the status of Africa by Achille Mbembe, yet to be written. Though the fact that the Lampedusa’s dead drowned bodies will be granted Italian citizenship in order to be buried in Italy cannot mislead us, as on the same ground the others who escaped death will be charged and expulsed from Italy. This shows the perversity of the situation in the present moment.

On the 14th October, the Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, announced a “humanitarian military” mission to “solve the problem” of undocumented immigrants landings in the Mediterranean. The plan is called Mare Nostrum and will be implemented in collaboration with the Navy.

Mare Nostrum (from Latin Our Sea) is the name that Romans gave to the Mediterranean Sea.  References to Roman History were used also during Italian imperialistic aggression toward the colonies. It is not by chance if many of the people that are trying to reach the Mediterranean coasts are coming from those countries, such as Lybia, Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia, that in former days, not so long ago, were appropriated by force and become to be part of the Colonial Italian Empire.

The word fascism in the title doesn’t refer exclusively to the fascist dictatorship of Benito Mussolini, but it denotes here a supremacist and repressive dispositive that operated historically and continues to operate in various forms, more or less visible, in contemporary European societies.

What you will see and read is not conceived as a finished product. A project should not be a mere product to be consumed but a dialogical on-going process. A process of being together, a process that gives a possibility to be together, corpo a corpo, (body with body) a process of talking, a process of thinking and a process of acting. This project should never have an end, it should be developed and hopefully multiply through others people mind and activities.

[1] Wu Ming (“anonymous” in Mandarin) is a militant collective of Italian authors formed in 2000. They are all coming from the previous community project called with the pseudonym Luther Blissett where they engaged in cultural guerrilla, semiotic sabotage and urban/media pranks.