In five days the Italian national football team will make its debut at the European Championships. He gets there with great enthusiasm, after a flashy victory against the Czech Republic. He gets there as he never got used to, with few controversies and problems and I would love to talk about these things. To lighten the wait for the debut, I could talk about the call-ups, the injury of Stefano Sensi, the friendly match with the Czech Republic won 4-0. How much could be the European of the international consecration of Ciro Immobile, or of that of Jorginho, of Barella; how happy I am that, in addition to individual talent, Italy is a real, organized, prepared team.
But I can’t do it. This time there is nothing that can lighten me.
I can’t help but think of Seid Visin’s death and those words, that letter that doesn’t even look like a letter, but rather a piece of diary in turn, which has become public and viral in these hours.
Seid Visin was a twenty year old from Nocera Inferiore and a few days ago he had been talked about when it was still thought he died of a “sudden illness” at home. Since he had made the youth academy of Milan, in the newspapers he was described as “former roommate of Gigio Donnarumma”. And the first thing I can’t help thinking about is that, probably, if he hadn’t been a former partner of someone important, no one would have talked about it today.
Then it became known that it was suicide and that letter started circulating. I don’t report it because I don’t know who has decided to spread it publicly, I don’t know if Seid Visin wanted this, but I can’t get its content out of my head. It seems that it is a letter from a few years ago, which is why some think it was exploited. And maybe it’s true, but those words burn as if someone had branded them on the flesh of our country and now we can’t do anything about it.
I’m there. We can’t get them back to where they came from. It is above all those words that I can’t help thinking about.
Seid Visin was Italian like me and most of the readers of these lines. He was adopted and had black skin. He was not an immigrant but, he wrote, he had been treated with racist aggression. He lost a job because customers refused to be served by him. He spoke of an altered cultural climate, worse than when he was little. There is nothing rhetorical or ideological in his words, he spoke from experience, if anything he spoke of the real consequences of the rhetoric of some political forces. And who knows, maybe it also depends on the fact that children with black skin do not bother anyone, while for men and women with black skin the situation is different.
If there is one thing that we Italians know how to do very well it is to deny every problem with cheap irony or with fallacious justifications. Salvini sees no contradiction in expressing sadness for the death of a boy who brings him up in the first person, of a boy who at most a few years ago was offended in his name, and suffered to the point of wanting to put him down. white – this is also a fact, except to question the veracity of those words which, in theory, were not even intended for us.
We Italians are very good at not being touched by the things that concern us. Today someone is focusing on the fact that Seid Visin may have mental disorders to downplay the problem of racism. But the two things, unfortunately, are not mutually exclusive. Just as you have to be very naive, or in bad faith, to look for a specific reason why a person may decide to take their own life. And that we can determine that reason post-mortem.
The least that could be done, reading the first and last words of a human being that we do not know, that we have not known and will not know, would be to take them for real. But apparently even the “Italians” – I generalize, I know – are not capable of this either.
The issue of mental disorders in minorities, refugees, as well as the homeless and all those who have less social protection, is highly topical. If you want, you can pretend that this is not the case on Twitter, but there is a reason if, as various testimonies report, in the Repatriation Detention Centers there is a lack of every type of service but what is in abundance are psychotropic drugs.
But in this case it’s not really necessary that that was “the reason” he thought he was going to die: those are the only words of his that have reached us. There will be no others. And these are the only words of a 20-year-old who killed himself. No one, not even armed with the coldest cynicism, will ever be able to separate these two things. No one, not even with the most violent and self-absolving rhetoric, will be able to make me stop thinking about these two facts at the same time.
The words of Seid Visin, yes, they represent who knows how many other boys and girls in the same situation that the newspapers do not talk about. Or they speak little, as in the case of Moussa Balde, who died at the age of twenty-three in the Turin Repatriation Center. There is one thing that is almost never said about suicide, but that is often true. Most suicides are done against oneself but also against others. It can be someone close to you, someone you want to punish, or someone more abstract. These suicides, these deaths, are against us. And only a blind man could not see it.
This is why Seid Visin’s mourning affects all Italians. Italy is about to start the European Championship and has been hit by a terrible mourning, and when such a thing happens, it is played with mourning on the arm.
It is not a question that can be resolved on a symbolic or purely representative level. But it is also a symbolic problem, it is also a representative problem. It is not resolved by wearing mourning on the arm during the European Championship, I realize. But it would be a start.
It would serve to remind us, game after game, of Seid Visin’s suffering. In the event that we manage not to think about it – and it would not be fair – it would serve to remind us that right here, near us, an injustice has occurred that somehow we could have avoided.