Page 11 - November 2020
P. 11

                                                                                       November 2020


              Each of my parents, my siblings, and now even
              my  daughter,  have  different  sets  of  histories
               in their relation to social class, language, Italy
              and  the  US,  different  experiences  of  trying  to
              move back and forth between them, different
              degrees  of  attachment  to  the  languages  and
              cultures.  This  has  helped  me  shape  a  non-
              monolithic  view  of  nations,  something  useful
              these  days  of  nationalisms  and  excess
              identitarianisms.  But  all  this  moving  around,
              between  Italy  and  the  US  also  entailed
              estrangement  and  forced  me  to  develop  the
              ability  to  withstand  solitude.  Reading  and
              writing     became       some      of    the     coping
              mechanisms,  nothing  glamorous  about  that.
              Being  in  between,  comparing  experiences  in
              the two countries promoted a critical sense in                        A mural relating
                                                                                   to the struggle for
              me,  and,  frankly,  an  antipathy  towards                       People's Park in Berkeley,
              monolithic systems of authority.                                     in the early 1970's

              For my part, I am lucky because my background always exposed me to multiple
              languages, forced me to deal with people from different parts of the world, and
              in the  mid 1970’s, at the tail end of the movement against the Vietnam war,  I
              was  fortunate  to  have  an  older  sister  who  encouraged  me  to  enroll  at  UC
              Berkeley and thus be in a cosmopolitan environment. At the end of the years
              concentrated  on  anti-Vietnam  War  activities,  students  in  Berkeley  were
              focused on solidarity with the liberation struggles in Africa, the international
              student movement against the Shah of Iran, the struggle against apartheid and
              for divestment of US universities from stocks that supported the South African
              apartheid  regime.    It  was  a  time  for  the  creation  consolidation  of  African
              American  studies,  Native  American  Studies,  Chicano  Studies  and  various
              antiracism  activities.  On  campus  we  still  had  the  Black  Panthers  and  the

              Vietnam  Veterans  against  the  war,  as  well  as  representatives  from  ZAPU,
              ZANU, MPLA,  ANC, ELF, EPLF, all the competing Iranian student organizations,
               students from Africa who represented  all the anticolonial movements (a few
              years  later  much  of  the  activity  would  shift  to  solidarity  with  the  resistance
              movements in Central and Latin America).
   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16