A man and community of former Magna Graecia, with the sense of hospitality of poet Homer, open a path of hope.
They give life to a paradigmatic experience of welcome and inclusion. Meanwhile in the Western world, we build walls and close ports. Nationalism and xenophobia rise to block the migration flows of poor people from the South of the world.
Helping most vulnerable regardless of ethnic considerations
In this context, a dreamer mayor and a small, almost extinct community, situated at the southern border of Europe, become the grain of sand that jams the machine of exclusion, rejection and fear.
Not “Italians first!”, but the most vulnerable, no matter what skin color, nationality, type of suffering or dream caused them to escape so desperately. It all starts in 1998, when a sailing ship carrying 220 Kurdish people reaches the beach of Riace. Domenico Lucano and some friends come across it and instinctively open their doors and houses to them. They imitate Badolato’s experience, a small town that found new life thanks to the work of migrants and to the support of ONGs CRIC and Longo Mai. Abandoned houses are rehabbed also using a loan provided by Banca Etica. Starting in 2005, workshops are activated with the constant, dedicated help of the network of supportive municipalities. A new social tourism flourishes and all kinds of activities are organized. Schools reopen and a multi-ethnic nursery opens. A medical clinic is set up and productive activities start up.
Regenerating a dying city thanks to migration
A town comes back to life, welcoming, including, renewing itself, blocking criminal activities, in the name of Humanity. It becomes a symbol of welcome and inclusion for all the world and actually shows that meeting, respecting and knowing each other are the best tools to create safety, well-being and joy for all.
Also, it demonstrates that migrants from the South of the world can contribute to give new life to abandoned areas in the hills and mountains, in Italy as in the rest of Europe. There have been many international recognitions and Italian prizes, which we can list accurately, and they have multiplied throughout the last two years, since an unprecedented political attack has been trying to destroy a model of encounter, welcome, inclusion and cultural hybridization that has become a flag of Humanity and Peace for the Europe of civil rights, of human and legal culture.A mayor and a model that resist and spread their influence deserve the 2019 Nobel Prize for Peace.
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