eat and shut up

text and illustration by Sonia Maria Luce Possentini

“Once upon a time there was a town of children that used to fish, perched on mussel poles.
A poor town, a ripped vessel … ”  Tommaso Fiore wrote.

Taranto appears, from the Plateau, full of grace and violence.
Wrapped in the thick red cloud of the steel cathedral that holds it tightly and corrodes it every day.
I have been coming down from North to South for several years in order to get to a part of sea that brings dreams and amazement.

At the end of the highway, I already see it: the big ILVA, the big steel plant, formerly called ITALSIDER, that was meant to bring progress but only served to rewrite Medea’s tragedy.

ILVA, the Monster that spits poisons and fire.
ILVA, the tentacular Octopus that holds the town tight.
It devours the lives of workers and people who live there.
Ghostly theatre of this piece of world that swallows everything.

Apocalypse of a land that we couldn’t protect.

Here the green is no longer green and the blue is no longer blue.
The red dust eats away air, plants, flowers, lungs.
But Ilva is not only steel, Ilva is living flesh.
Of men with tired faces, commuter workers, families.
Ilva, solidarity and lies.
Silence and screams.
Shifts and scratch-and-win.
Hopes and illusions.
Dreams of luxury cars and backbreaking shifts.
Ilva is nosebleed and poisoned breast milk.
Stories of men carried away from the land and sea, with the promise of a great industrialization of Southern Italy.

Ilva was hope, silence and compromise.  “Mange e citt”. Eat and shut up.