As I wrote here (in Italian), though I’ve left Italy more than two years ago, I always keep an eye on what’s going on in my homeland, especially in Salerno, my hometown. I’m an active member of a FB group opposing the policies of the council (we have a mayor who’s dominated the town for twenty years now) and, in general, of those local authorities which seem to care more about their members’ interests than citizens’.
I write my opinions regularly, carrying out investigations every now and again, along with displaying my satirical artwork. Over the time, my writings have been noticed by the columnist of a respected local newspaper, La Città di Salerno. He asked me if I could be interested in writing for them. I accepted with pleasure, since I was left free to choose the subject of my articles, the only constraint being a limit of 600 words (which is no small thing, considering I tend to write a lot!). I started off with two articles published on the same day, in which I compared Salerno’s public transport system to Brighton’s (the latter is also available online here).
My third article is about a sort of ghost research institute on digestive diseases, whose headquarters were inaugurated in grand style one and a half year ago, but are still sadly inactive.
In all these articles I highlighted all the inefficiency, the contradictions, half-truths and patent lies inflicted to my negletful fellow citizens, hoping at least a few of them will realize they are probably not living in the best possible town, as the mayor would like them to believe.
You may be wondering how can you effectively write about a place if you live far away. Well, it’s easier than you think! I gather most information from the internet and from my friends in situ. When this is not enough, I get in touch with the relevant people and interview them either on the phone or via email. If you knew how inconsistent certain statements made by our politicians are, you would realise how easy it is to expose them. The big problem is to transform the knowledge of a few people into common sense. This is made difficult by a widespread laziness and conformism among many journalists and professed intellectuals, and by a broader area of connivance feeded through an effective patronage system…
PS I’ve got a few more ideas for new articles (there’s always plenty of stuff to write about!), I’ll keep you posted 😉