Mondiali in Riace: it was the wind…

Describing what happened in these days in Riace “Non è possibile” (It is not possible). The words bounce off the blank page, because each one is too small or trivial to make the thousands of emotions that have overwhelmed us these days explode. For days we have been reviewing videos and photos, we arrange everything to try to give it back to you in an orderly way, but we can’t do it. Because these Mondiali Antirazzisti have declined within a colourful kaleidoscope, as you turn it you find something different. Trying to synthesize, we realize that these Mondiali can be told starting from a thousand different paths, each of them carries with it a meaning that refers to personal and collective stories completely different from each other, each expresses a sense in itself, but when it goes to compose with the others, different values and meanings emerge …

Here is the kaleidoscope that we turn and with each new image we open our eyes with wonder. We could start with the new teams and people we met, many teams from the south: Cosenza, Catanzaro, Naples, Palermo, Villa San Giovanni, Riace, Lamezia Terme, Caserta, Palagiano, Camini, Matera, Brindisi, Squillace … Welcome center, youth associations , local UISP committees, anti-racist associations, popular football teams. Stories that tell of resistance against local crime, which bring to the fore the boys of the most popular and marginalized neighbourhoods of the big cities, stories of welcoming people from the sea, but also of those who return to their land to rebuild. We would like to quote you all one by one, but allow us a hug for all of our friends and friends of the UISP Catanzaro.

We could start the story from Bologna, from the 3 buses organized thanks to the commitment of the cooperatives, the reception centres, the girls and boys of Làbas and Hic Sunt Leones, who stubbornly wanted to come up to Riace. 160 people who have chosen to make this long journey to support Mimmo Lucano and his idea of ​​hospitality, to talk with the newborn Foundation and meet the people of Riace who still believe in it. And that they lived a double experience, because they slept in migrant homes and reception centres, those houses that we would like to be inhabited again by migrants and tourists. We could also start by talking about the beautiful return of Mediterraneo Antirazzista to Mondiali, a circle that closes and embraces, but which in turn does not end and produces new ideas and new bets. Thanks to Mediterraneo on the Road they brought us a team from Scampia and 20 small children from Spaccanapoli, for the first time outside the neighbourhood. A circle that also encompasses Mediterranea Saving Human that with the boats Mar Ionio and Alex continue to save lives, snatching them from Libya’s detention centres, rekindling the hope of a better life starting from a welcome made by the smile of the volunteers and by the stubbornness of captains and captains, not only of Mediterranea, but of all the NGOs that help those who run away by sea and by land.

But we could also quietly begin to thank the teams that have faced the longest journey of all: from Marseille, Innsbruck, Vienna, Leipzig, London. They looked on the map and saw that it was really far away and they wondered how crazy we were to ask them  such a thing and why! But then they read and understood that it was too important a bet to miss and they were on our side. Surely we could begin to tell the Mondiali starting from Mimmo Lucano, from his excited and passionate words in the encounter with the people of the Mondiali, from his exile in Caulonia Marina: “I found myself in a position to build this small global community with the services, also from the point of view of urban regeneration. Being together, being a community participating in social processes, means developing a community that keeps away the most dangerous forms of conditioning of our realities and that are the families of the mafia. I did the mayor as a militant. Widespread reception meant the use of the homes of our emigrants, each refugee had his home, having the opportunity to interact with the local community. It was an indication of how the human relationship with people should be, normal and respectful of an idea that we all perceived, that is that together it is possible. Together they connect these anxieties of social redemption, redemption of our territory and their redemption, of people who are fleeing from wars and whose last alternative is to undertake these journeys of hope, which in reality are of desperation. They come for our responsibility and as if we had forced them. Riace represented a political idea, because it was not just a matter of pity or doing good, but also a matter of justice, the welcome was the revolt of the oppressed.”

If we wanted to start from the beginning then the story should start from Riace, from this wonderful country perched on a hill. Seeing it so empty in the days leading up to the Mondiali is a blow to the heart for those who have heard laughter, music, chatter coming from the different alleys. The Calabrese who refined with French, or who changed in accent with Arabic and in his thousand variations depending on the origin. A Riace that wants to be reborn and feel it in the words and faces of those who have strongly wanted to set up a Foundation that looks to the future of Riace: E’ stato il vento (It was the wind). A Riace that gets excited on the soccer fields with the boys who played in the Riace FC and in those who have been mixing in the other teams. A Riace that is reflected in the families that are rooting for their kids and for a new hope of rebirth. On all we want to greet and embrace those who in these days have helped us and supported original people from Riace and adopted: Gianfranco, Chiara, Alex, Barbara and Valentina and then again Antonio, Alessio, Annamaria, Ernesto, Cosimo.

We could also start this last story as always, from the winners of the cups, which were particularly appreciated this year: wooden statues made in the Riace laboratories, which are currently closed, but which we hope will soon be able to reopen. The team of the San Giovanni Apostolo of Palermo wins the football tournament on penalties. In the volleyball all the participating teams win, which despite the heat have alternated on the field, also dividing in the soccer tournament. Eurocoop Camini, countries near Riace, obtains the Hospitality Cup, for the great work carried out in these years of hospitality towards the marginalized and those who needed a home. The Fair Play Cup goes to the Loko-motiv Innsbruck team for the festive way in which they participated every day in the tournament. The Kilometer Cup for the 2,000 km route by bus goes to Roter Stern Leipzig. A Special Cup for bringing the largest number of children goes to LazioNet in Rome, while the one for having involved the largest number of people in the social cooperatives of Bologna, which have organized three buses to bring everyone. We could not miss a Saving Human Cup which obviously goes to Mediterranea. Mondiali t-shirts and notes for the Riace FC youth team, which is a message of hope for the future, so that they are able to start again.

But in retrospect, we could also start from the end, from that liberating dive into the sea where the most important cup was delivered to the Mondiali Antirazzisti Cup, which this year is won by all those who have come this far, who believed in this crazy bet . And it was a bath made of sketches, laughter, hugs and tears, black eyes that finally regain a relationship with water that is joy and freedom. That wonderfully coloured water that recalls the many dead, but also the saved and those who arrived just on these shores years ago, “it was the wind” that brought them.

And it was still the wind that will take us to new ports and new locations to reaffirm the value of anti-racism and social inclusion, including through sport.