In Porta Pia, there is no tombstone. To find one, you have to go to the Chieri cemetery, in Piedmont, in the Jewish area. Giacomo Segre was a captain (1839 – 1894); that day, he was 31 years old: he commanded the 5th heavy battery of the 9th artillery regiment. At 5.20 on the fateful September 20, 1870, he orders to open fire against Porta Pia. Immediately afterwards, the second and eighth battery of the VII regiment also fired, directed by captains Buttafuochi and Malpassuti. Their 888 shots create the breach from which the Bersaglieri break into the capital of the popes, transforming it into that of United Italy.

For Roman and Italian Jews a decisive event, which opened a season of full integration. An era, however, which unfortunately was short-lived, the cannon fire of Captain Segre redeemed and deluded the Jews.

In Chieri the Jews have disappeared. Until 1931 it was one of the strongest communities in Piedmont: from the 15th century. In 1724, the 73 Jewish inhabitants, locked up in the new ghetto. In 1937, the synagogue was dismantled: the furnishings moved to the underground temple of that of Turin; only the monumental staircase remains, at Palazzo Villa. In the cemetery there is a tombstone with two crossed cannons and the memory of Porta Pia; since 2008, on the outer wall, another is dedicated to him. Few remember it; every 20 September, the Turin Council for the secular nature of the institutions pays homage to him. The most authoritative witness of September 20 was a 24-year-old officer, former director of “L’Italia militare”, who wrote about the “Nation”: Edmondo De Amicis. But he was in the rear: “I don’t remember what time it was when we were told that a large breach had been opened near Porta Pia.” It was totally in ruins; only an image of the Madonna remained standing intact behind it. A united Italy was born: thanks also to this Jew, who did not fear the solemn papal excommunication.

In France, the news that the Macron government has decided to ban the practice of virginity certificates has become a real case of state. This certificate is a barbaric, retrograde and totally sexist practice. In an ideal world it wouldn’t exist. In the real world the situation is different, there are girls who risk being killed or repudiated if they do not present it. The solution to the problem is not a law, it would mean attacking the effects while neglecting the cause that has its roots in ignorance and fear. Only education can lead to emancipation, explain and dismantle prejudices.

“To get out of a pandemic, we need to heal and heal each other. And we must support those who take care of the weakest, the sick and the elderly. There is a habit of abandoning the elderly and this is ugly. When you don’t learn to stop and admire and appreciate beauty, it is not strange that everything is transformed into an object of unscrupulous use and abuse “, while” our common home, creation, is not a mere ‘resource’. Creatures have a value in themselves and reflect, each in its own way, a ray of the infinite wisdom and goodness of God.

This value and this ray of divine light must be discovered and, to discover it, we need to be silent, to listen and contemplate. Of course, we can and must work the land to live and develop. But work is not synonymous with exploitation, and is always accompanied by care: plowing and protecting, working and caring… This is our mission. We cannot expect to continue to grow on a material level, without taking care of the common home that welcomes us. Our poorest brothers and our mother earth groan for the damage and injustice we have caused, and are demanding another route.




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