di Raffaele Aragona
Years ago, it was 2009, three "boys" from Umberto, the Lyceum of Chiaja attended in the Thirties, met the students of that same Institute for a friendly chat about the things of Naples, about its always unsolved problems, about staying there looking for good job prospects. One writer, the other director, journalist the third, talked with the students in a cinema in Chiaja, a stone's throw from their Lyceum, and the meeting ended with the peremptory and heartfelt invitation of the three illustrious "Umbertines" to boys in the audience not to leave the city: «Stay here!», in stark contrast to Eduardo de Filippo's “Fuitevenne”.
It is a pity, however, that the three "boys", now in their eighties, were none other than Raffaele La Capria, Francesco Rosi and Antonio Ghirelli, three famous "Neapolitans", proud of their "Neapolitan character", but who had preferred to live for a long time in Rome; they had chosen to leave, moreover in moments of less grayness in the city.
This is a story that has continued to repeat itself with other protagonists, with Luciano de Crescenzo, for example, whose fame has grown on the things of the city and built far from it, in his Roman residence; something similar happened with Pino Daniele, who kept his songs immersed in the heart of Naples but, as soon as possible, did not hesitate to abandon it by going to live elsewhere.
Naples, however, is good and generous and, in spite of everything, both for one and the other, has shown itself ready to pay them honors and grateful memories.
All this came to mind when reading the recent interviews released by Erri De Luca. The writer's words leave speechless when he pronounces appreciation of the current Mayor of Naples: «I believe that de Magistris was the best Mayor of Naples that I have known in the course of my already long enough life. I don't imagine the successor. Not even if it was still him. Pure water no longer grinds. We need a new source ».
De Luca seems to ignore the collapse on many fronts that the former magistrate leaves to the city after his double mandate.
And it is not a little surprising to note how confidently and courageously the writer indulges in considerations that are based on a sort of elective and ideological affinity with de Magistris (perhaps also friendship and confidence) that is so radical chic. They are also considerations imbued with the Neapolitan cliché that makes the writer say: "The Neapolitan origin decides on my human consistency, because of my mother tongue which is Neapolitan, for my nervous system compressed like that of the Neapolitans, for my feelings of compassion, of anger, of shame that were formed by friction with the conditions of the place. I am the son of Neapolitans, from the childhood of Montedidio. My ear was formed in listening to stories and voices received inside tuff walls and badly closed doors. But I don't define myself as the son of Naples, I say instead the effect of Naples, which is the cause of what I am ».
An intellectual, however, cannot make fun of Neapolitans who continue to suffer from neglect and endure the pain of living in Naples, unlike De Luca who spent most of his life away from the city for having left it at the age of eighteen years. De Luca himself does not fail to say that "If I do not have the right to define myself as stateless, I can define myself as a napolid, one who has scraped the origin from his body to deliver himself to the world".
It is not the case here to enter into political and ideological refutations and in the writer's considerations regarding the administration of the Magistris, but it is the case to reiterate how Naples continues to be praised by personalities who have taken what belonged to them liking and comfortable, continuing to praise it, but still staying away from it. And Naples, always good and generous, reciprocates this "dedication" sometimes even with the pretense of naming streets or other to its "fellow citizens", without even the minimum time prescribed for their disappearance having elapsed.