Pierpaolo Piccioli’s Pasolini quote. Protests of Italian senate’s controversial “no” vote on LGBTQ civil rights bill.

In a closed-door vote last week, the Italian senate blocked a bill that would have expanded existing Italian anti-discrimination laws to include the LGBTQ community.

The controversial vote over DDL Zan (named after its author, Alessandro Zan, an Italian LGBTQ rights activist) has sparked protests across the country.

“Thousands of people gathered in Milan and Rome on Thursday,” writes Sandra Salibian for Women’s Wear Daily, “to protest against the decision of Italy’s Senate to block the ‘DDL Zan,’ a bill against homotransphobia, which would have extended passages of the penal code that already punishes discrimination and violence based on racial, ethical and religious beliefs to also include sex, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as disability.”

In the image from Instagram above, fashion designer Pierpaolo Piccioli poses with “DDL Zan” written on the palm of his hand as a neon sign hovers above him.

The line in neon is from Italian critical theorist and writer Pier Paolo Pasolini (it comes from one of the three sonnets he composed as a post-script to his landmark collection of essays, Lettere luterane, or Lutheran Letters, first published in 1976).

Non vogliamo essere subito già così senza sogni.

Translated slavishly, it reads:

We don’t want to be suddenly, so abruptly, without dreams.

I’ve translated the entire sonnet below. In my “performative” rendering, where I’m trying to maintain the rhythmic and prosodic spirit of the poem, I have translated the line as follows:

We don’t want our dreams so suddenly taken away.

Note the use of Agape (unconditional love for G-d) and Ananke (the personification of destiny) in the first stanza. See the Wiki links I’ve included.

I was honestly stumped by Pasolini’s “Devil of the Angel black” like “Luciano ‘o Sarracino.”

‘o Sarracino is Neapolitan. It means the Saracen. Perhaps a playful allusion to the Renato Carasone song?

Luciano: maybe Luciano Serra, his schoolmate and close friend from his years at the University of Bologna?

In the image below, you’ll see piazzas filled with citizens gathered in protest in the city of Brescia. Photo by my friend Laura Castelletti, an activist and politician there. As far as I can find on the internets, all of Italy’s major cities were backdrops for similar protests.

Here’s the sonnet, translation mine:

Signor Teacher, we have seen the Devil of the Angel
so black like Luciano the Saracen. “Yell long live
Benjamin Spock
” he told us. He’s going to need a cane.
Enough of the Agape. We want the Ananke.

We are tired of becoming serious young adults.
tired of being forced to be happy, criminal or neurotic:
we want to laugh, we want to be innocent, we want to expect
something from life. We want to ask, we want to ignore.

We don’t want so suddenly to feel safe.
We don’t want our dreams so suddenly taken away.
Strike, strike, comrades! For our rights.

Signor Teacher, stop treating us like idiots
for one must never offend, wound,
or touch. Do not fawn over us, for we are men, Signor Teacher!

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