Ezio Mauro
L'uomo bianco (The White Man)
An essay, Feltrinelli, Octobre 2018, 144 pages

“The right book at the right time.” Il Fatto Quotidiano

“Mauro intercepts the mutation that is subverting the face of democracy.” La Repubblica

“We are the ones who have allowed ourselves to be locked up in a shell of our own making and of others’ fears. We have allowed ourselves to be transformed into mutants to the point of wanting to go back to distinguishing ourselves on the basis of skin and blood. This is the white man’s last ghost.”

On February 3, 2018, in the central Italian town of Macerata, a man took a gun and shot at random against all the black people he saw. It wasn’t an isolated gesture, it wasn’t spontaneous, and didn’t come from nothing. On the contrary, it was fostered by a climate of creeping legitimacy that appears to be moving in the same direction as our democracy, often respecting its institutions, although increasingly alien to the values of the West. And yet, we are defeated once and for all when the fate of others no longer matters to us.

Where does it begin and where does it end, how does the normality of a country and its people change?

The bad feelings, “go back to where you come from,” the kicks, the fists, the shots fired meant to kill: “What are you doing here, you piece-of-shit nigger?” We think we’ve remained the same, but we’re becoming individual actors of a collective change. We see our fears flare up, but we can’t see how they act on us. It’s a private, invisible ladder that we descend step by step, day after day, craven act after craven act, connivance after connivance, until we all share a new social environment. It wasn’t always like that, we never used to allow this.

But how did we end up in this nightmare of closures, barriers, violence? How was it possible that by letting ourselves be locked up in the shell of our solitude, we’ve regressed to our biological identity? Why have we become so paralyzed by inertia and so accustomed to the convenience of blaming everything on politics that we aren’t even able to see our defeat in all this, the demise of civil society? And what about democracy? And the West?

These are the questions Ezio Mauro tries to answer in a book that digs down to the bone of our mutation, leaving us naked and terrified in front of the fragility of our civil society. A poignant reflection on the contradictions of a democracy that cannot find solutions, neither for the safety of some nor for the desperation of others, and on the dissolution of politics, capable only of renouncing itself as it feeds off fear and anger.

Ezio Mauro

Ezio Mauro

Ezio Mauro started his career in journalism in 1972 at the newspaper Gazzetta del Popolo in Turin. Then, he became a political reporter in Rome for La Stampa, for which he was also a foreign correspondent, writing stories and conducting investigative reports in the United States. In 1988, he started contributing to the newspaper la Repubblica, writing from Moscow. On June 26, 1990 he re-joined La Stampa, becoming its editor-in-chief two years later. On May 6, 1996 he became the editor-in-chief of la Repubblica. In 2011, he published La felicità della democrazia. Un dialogo, with Gustavo Zagrebelsky, and in 2015 Babel, his dialogue on democracy with Zygmunt Bauman. He has written L’anno del ferro e del fuoco. Cronache di una rivoluzione (2017), L’uomo bianco (2018), Anime prigioniere. Cronache dal muro di Berlino (2019), Liberi dal male (2020), La dannazione (2020)His most recent book is Lo scrittore senza nome (2021). In 2016 he left his place as editor-in-chief of la Repubblica, but he still contributes to it.





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