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martedì 26 Gennaio 2021

And if tomorrow, and I stress if... The soul of a people around a pot

The soul of a people around a pot

Leggi l’articolo in italiano “L’anima di un popolo intorno ad un tavolo

I return to you, looking for this little space of mine in Moondo, and I think, what initially opened this window for me, turns out to be the same reason that makes me return now, the digitalization of my emotions, the need to share. I write from a Latin brother country, from the land of good stews and conventual sweets, from a UNESCO creative city in the center of Portugal, Caldas da Rainha, where conviviality in the street, socialization around a table with family and friends, are the basis of a matriarchal society, with all the social values of conviviality and enormous tolerance to others.

Here, as in all Latin Europe, physical contact such as hugging and kissing is restricted to those in whom we trust. We no longer have the social hug, nor the easy kiss, and at this moment the need to exclude the conviviality at the table arises again, either at home in private parties or mainly in restaurants.

I walk the streets of my city and talk to the community. I am interested in the business of my street, urban friends who in a small town, are the balance of a community that is known for living in one of the most relaxing cities in Portugal. Perhaps it is the oldest Thermal Hospital in the world, or the Park in the center of the city, however here, as in the whole world, the urban environment lives one of the most serious threats of the last 70 years. Threats to justice and freedom, threats to the healthy coexistence among the community, but above all the threat is to the businesses that are the base of societies, where war and peace are discussed around a plate of food and a good glass of wine. The threat of deciding unilaterally without an exchange of glances or sharing a meal frightens me, in a society where drinking a cup of coffee is a reason for all the encounters and disagreements of an entire generation.

The truth is that all over the world the micro family businesses of southern Europe, the cafes and restaurants, considered one of the potential focus of infection in this new context, are experiencing one of its most dramatic moments, with lack of customers and additional restrictions to its operation, and what is considered the soul of a people, the gastronomic heritage, probably in a little over than two months, may close due to lack of solvency and with it the sustainability of the world as we know it.

The pleasure of sharing a meal around a table, where ideas are exchanged, where one cries or laughs, and where deals are closed based on trust, make this urgency not only a matter of sustainability for thousands of European citizens, but also the soul of an entire people who are in the habit of obeying their most primitive instinct based on the wise magic of the palate.

A new section

Among the many doubts that plague my mind, just like yours these days, I have only one certainty: when we return to everyday life, nothing will be the same as before. We are facing a challenge that is reductive to call it organizational, it is a philosophical challenge, it is the vision of the world that will change and on which we will have to build the new. And if tomorrow… and I stress “if” is a new column (the title is taken from the verses of a song very popular in Italy) that is open to contributions from intellectuals, scientists, artists, from all over Europe. Follow us and send us your impressions which we will publish periodically with the intention of creating an anthology of ideas.

Giampaolo Sodano

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