Roberto Saviano is a very brave Italian author who wrote “Gomorrah” a very successful nonfiction exposé about the Neapolitan mafia (or “camorra”) and was threatened of death, so he’s been living in hiding and with 24-hours police protection since 2006, when the book was published.
He gave a speech yesterday morning in Zuccotti Park. It was cold and empty, although some maintenance workers were wrapping Christmas lights around the trees. Not a tent was left after the eviction on Tuesday, but Alex, a high school student from Boston I spoke to, said he had slept in the park for the last three nights, and that it was freezing.
Saviano came to the park around 12 in a hoodie and leather jacket, with his two or three printed pages of sentences he wasn’t very comfortable reading in English. The speech was good, nothing new for Italians that know him, but I’m sure that the few Americans that were in the square found his points interesting. Too bad they were very very few.
UBERnumerous were the Italian TV networks, occupying — appropriately so, given the location — every bit of space around the stone bench Roberto had stepped on to give his speech. I didn’t like that.
I believe that Saviano’s speech was too well advertised to the Italian media, so that they could benefit from the juicy news-op. As in — the purpose of it was mainly publicity towards the Italian audience, not a way to bring something to OWS other than the Italian camera crews. I saw no actual participation or endorsement of the OWS movement, even if Saviano’s words were really fitting and interesting in the context of the topics the movement insists on and tries to educate the world’s public opinion to.
Maybe, I wouldn’t have felt the same way about the whole thing if the tents were still there, the people doing the mic-check were more than 5 and the TV networks weren’t the only crowd at Zuccotti Park.
Here is my recording of the speech — bad quality, I had an iPhone and it’s a lame 3gs too.
Here is my article on the event for i-Italy.org