Good morning to you all. For the past few days we have been pondering whether to go ahead with the publication of our new book “Emotional Frustration – the hushed plague” or not, considering the dire social circumstances and the stoppage of publishing venues.
After much discussion with our family and our publishing house, we finally decided to go ahead, in spite of the difficult logistic and community challenges that move implies. We believe that people forcibly cloistered at home due to the social distancing (like we presently are too) must have a varied choice of reading material in their residences.
This is a transcription of If Only One, our essay’s first page that we recently completed.
“If only one person reads this book…we would feel very satisfied.
If only one person gets the message…our mission would be done.
If only one man treats women better…the effort was not for naught.
If only one woman gets respect…our misdeeds might be redeemed.
If only one person is distracted from the Horror…we would be happy.
We were about to deliver the final edited version of this book manuscript for its publication when the Coronavirus pandemic brutally arrived in the United States.
Initially shocked like the rest of the population, we went into strict social isolation. However, as a practicing physician, we had to continue our duties as best we could.
In the relative safety of our desk, we pondered whether we should publish it or not. We know that there has been a complete shutdown of most publishing initiatives.
But people cloistered in their homes deserve the possibility of substantive reading. Terrified by the darkness swirling around, they might like this little piece of light.
Emulating the heroic example of, we should garner our moral strength. Dismissing any commercial considerations, we will go ahead with its publication.
In one of the poor quarters of Napule—where many of our relatives had lived in the past—a neighbor lowered, with a little rope, a big basket with a sign from the balcony: inside passers-by could leave any food item they wanted to donate for others to pick it up.
Chi può, metta…Chi non può, prenda
Whomever can, put…Whomever cannot, take
We are lowering our most humble basket to offer you our latest writings
We sincerely hope that it might distract you, temporarily at the very least.
And, prodding you to ponder about the daily plight of our devoted women,
engage you in the civic fight for their equality of rights in our societies.
The world coming out of this terrible calamity must be better than this one”
“L’Historia si può veramente definire una guerra illustre contro il Tempo, perché togliendoli di mano gl’anni suoi prigionieri, anzi già fatti cadaveri, li richiama in vita, li passa in rassegna, e li schiera di nuovo in battaglia.” [i]
With those prophetic words, Alessando Manzone introduced his seminal novel titled The Betrothal in the early part of the 19th century; it is considered the first—and for many still the most important—literary work in the modern Italian Language. This novel was set in Northern Italy—where the brunt of the Coronavirus infestation is underway in the Italian peninsula—in 1628, during the Bourbon occupation of Italy. The central theme is the love story of Lucia and Renzo and their unwavering faith in the redeeming value of strong emotional bonding; after many, varied vicissitudes (spoiler alert) they eventually marry at the end. In fact our dear Pope Francis has recommended the novel to the couples that were entertaining the idea of marriage.
Lucia and Renzo were a couple living in a small Lombard village that were planning their wedding for November 8, 1628. On the eve of that ceremony the parish priest was cornered by two goons sent by Don Rodrigo—a powerful padrone padrinowho covets the affection of Lucia—that ordered him to suspend it. Fearful of them, the priest does suspend it and recommends that the two lovers should leave the village. Agnese, Renzo’s mother, warned the couple not to return home and escorted them to a monastery; the friar gave a letter of introduction for a Milanese friar to Renzo and another one to the two women for a monastery in Monza. They fled right away.
When Renzo arrived in Milano, the city was in turmoil due to a grave famine, which was aggravated by the end of the Thirty Years Waras German Armies engaged in a devastating looting campaign across the peninsula. In 1630 a plague ravaged Northern Italy and three chapters of the book are dedicated to that human drama. Eventually Renzo can return to his village and meet again for his beloved bride. This love story is surrounded by the social and political mayhem of the times, especially the deep hatred of the local population against the invading armies and their puppets.
In this novel and similar ones that put a quasi-biblical catastrophe like a pandemic in their plots, the same question arises again and again: Is this God’s punishment? We must unequivocally answer that this and other pandemics were not provoked by divine intervention as a form of brutal punishment for our sins (real and imaginary) They were provoked by the ignorance and arrogance of humans in their interactions with Nature. This pandemic in particular was provoked by the negligence of Chinese officials.
In Ancient Times, the population of Central China could afford the ingestion and/or use of some abhorrent creatures like rats, serpents, bats, pangolins, etc.; if they contracted any of these diseases, the contagion was limited to their geographic area. There was not a ready access to all the points of the planet with aerial connections. And let us talk clearly: life was extremely cheap for the peasant masses at the time.
When you encroach in the natural habitat of wild animals and you put them in cages in a market located in an extremely dense city with superb connections to the World, you have to consider the real possibility that there could be a Public Health threat. Any of those isolated agents will readily jump from one animal to the other in close proximity and eventually attack the human handlers that so carelessly caged them. This human tragedy has been produced by the sheer stupidity of human traffickers and the irresponsible supervision of the sanitary authorities in the city of Wuhan.
Will the government of Premier Xi finally close down these “live animals” markets? The Chinese leadership should not pander to the superstitious beliefs of hinterland people—who use material from these creatures for amulets and the like—and do the right thing for the millions of innocent citizens that are living with proper sanitary standards.
As Italian citizens, we are very grateful for the generous sanitary help that the Chinese government has given us to combat the grave epidemic in Lombardy. Unlike the rest of Europe—that has largely ignored the Italian plight—the Chinese have sent, not only protective materials, but also Public Health experts and medical personnel in the past few days. Moreover they are sharing their epidemiological data with other governments, including the American one and its many specialized agencies. Thank you very much.
In these terrible times we must snatch our dear dead ancestors from the jaws of Time and “resuscitate them” so we can recruit them in our fight against this deadly enemy. We must listen to their experiences and how they managed to survive those terrible plagues. Strict social distancing and meticulous personal hygiene are of paramount importance.
The featured image of this article is a reproduction of the tableau La Peste by the Uruguayan painter Juan Manuel Blanes; it depicts a scene of the Yellow Fever of 1871 in the city of Buenos Aires. A police report of that time stated that the victim was an Italian woman called Ana Brisitiani that lived in a large tenement in the Balcarce street of the city center. The two depicted gentlemen that enter her room were Dr. Roque Perez, a lawyer, and Dr. Manuel Argerich, a physician. They found her long dead with her baby at her side, trying to get a response. A few weeks later these two Good Samaritans would fall victim to the plague too. In only ten months, 10% of the city population (16,000 people) died of Yellow Fever. After that pandemic, the Argentine authorities decided to modernize the city by building an efficient waste disposal system for all quarters.
That is the crux of the matter. The native ruling classes (the landed gentry, the business owners and the politicians) had found out that their relative distance from the city center (they lived mostly in the then southern suburb of Montserrat) had not spared them from the disease. Then and now the only way to protect us from this kind of Public Health tragedy is to benefit everybody in the process of modern public infrastructure. This must ring especially true for countries with a great rich-poor disparity like Brazil and India that should invest more heavily to pull more millions of people out of misery.
We salute all our Health Care professionals and First Responders that are fulfilling their great duty to take care of the population, especially in the hard-stricken Italy and USA.
Gli ringraziamo per vostro sacrificio, Thank you very much for your sacrifice.
What do you think?
Please tell us. Don’t leave me alone.
[i] “History can really be defined as an enlightened war against Time, snatching from its hands all those that were taken prisoner, in fact corpses already, to reclaim them for life, pass them in review and then send them in formation to the battlefield.”
 Alessandro Manzoni, I promessi sposi, 1840, Edita da guidaebook.com, 2010.
 In the Italian language “padrone” refers to an authoritarian boss and “padrino” to a godfather for the christening ceremony. Of course the latter has been extended to the chief and mastermind of a Cosa Nostra organization.
Good morning and Happy Sunday to you all. Last Friday we had to visit a US Postal Service office in Miami to send some documents and we were promptly, kindly taken care of by Ms. Tijuana, the lovely lady you are seeing in the feature image of this article. She is one of the thousands of Federal and State workers that keep this nation going.
We would like to thank the millions of similar state employees worldwide that have reported to their duties in spite of all the mayhem swirling around them, including the dire “social distancing” that forbids one of the most basic human functions: touching. Moreover many grieving relatives of gravely infected persons have not even had the opportunity to say the ultimate adieu to them, another strong cultural feature of us.
Without these brave men and women, there could not be a functioning society for us.
Good morning. In these tragic times for Mankind, comparable to the decimating epidemics of the Middle Ages where the majority of the world population was affected and thousands perished, we would like to send a word of encouragement to all those who are cloistered at home. It is very tough but we must carry on with our civic duty.
Even though we are blissfully healthy, both my son Gian Luca and I have decided to stay at home, except to fulfill my duties as an active medical practitioner and some necessary errands for supplies. In this picture you can see my son spontaneously embracing me for a selfie.
In the USA, large states like New York and California have sagely instituted strict orders for “social distancing” to avoid close contacts for the next few days by staying at home. In spite of having one of the largest concentration of elderly Americans, the state of Florida has not yet clearly commanded residents to avoid social contacts to flatten the curve. However, the county mayors and local elected officials have wisely agreed lately to gently expel all the careless spring-breakers that invaded our beaches “to party wildly.”
Please stay at home if you do not have any urgent or professional reason to go out. Until there are good medications for this disease and a much-needed vaccine, which is still months away, we must cooperate by doing nothing outside. That will help all of society. In order to meaningfully use the extra time allotted, we will continue to write in earnest. Maybe this is a great opportunity for Mankind to learn how to pitch together in a crisis. And to bond more tightly with our family members and loved ones, with plenty of chat.
Good morning and Happy Sunday. Today Mankind at large is experiencing one of the worst tragedies in our modern history, comparable only to some of the Middle Ages. The pandemia of Covid-19 infection that is gripping most nations of the planet has produced millions of infected people and thousands of deaths in just the lapse of a few weeks.
The image you can see in this blog was taken by my dear friend Wilson when he picked me up a few days ago after an exhausting tour of duty in a Miami care facility. You can only see my eyes but I am sure most of you can discern the extreme sense of urgency that I, as well as thousands and thousands of other indefatigable health care providers, carry around to stimulate us in our daily grind. This is a time when those that are committed for patient care should step up their efforts, setting aside all other personal and professional concerns. We should all pitch in for this extreme world crisis.
For all those of you that are cloistered in their homes for precaution or even under the harsh parameters of a quarantine, we warmly extend our most sincere solidarity. Moreover, please rest assured that we will eventually overcome this dire situation. With the continued effort of all the devoted health care professionals, the pharmaceutical and technological assets at our disposition and the sustained cooperation of the population at large to observe the social distancing, we will stem the tide of this threatening disease.
May God Almighty continue to protect our families and ourselves in these dark times.
Good morning. We would like to wish all our lady readers a Happy International Women’s day. Not only we owe women our very existence but also the survival of our species in this planet. Life could not exist without their caring affection for all of us.
There is much to be done in order to assure the Equality of Rights for all women in our societies. We hope that our upcoming book “Emotional Frustration – the hushed plague” will contribute its tiny grain of sand to the larger dune of female empowerment. Right this moment we are doing its very last editing before its publication next month.
Thank you very much for existing and taking care of us so diligently. A big kiss.
We wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2020. Thank you very much for patiently and loyally following our writings during the past few months. After we take a much-needed vacation to rest, read, travel and cook, we will resume our regular blogging.
May God Almighty continue blessing you and family with happiness, health and work.
Thank you very much for using your outstanding skills to prepare a fabulous cover, dear. This endeavor has been only possible due to the sustained, precious support of you and your brother Gian Luca who have infallibly came to my rescue every time I momentarily wavered in this long, arduous quest. Thank you God Almighty for gifting us our children.
Good afternoon and Happy Sunday to you all. We were in the focused process of cooking the Sunday meal when something we heard in the TG1 news program stopped us in our track and made us drop the utensil we were holding into the sink. Today we celebrate the 80th anniversary of the film premiere of Gone with the wind in a movie theater in Atlanta, Georgia, which honored the Southern setting of the trendsetting dramatic saga.
That movie has influenced the tastes and preferences of millions of moviegoers all around the globe, including prominent writers, actors, technicians and directors. In ways big and small, many film enthusiasts have followed some of the trendy novelties it had introduced; when we decided to write a film scrip about a savage prison riot with my son Gian Luca, we envisioned that the opening scene would be a panoramic view of the prison yard after the prisoners’ riot had been brutally quashed by the SWAT team, with all the gore and mayhem reminiscent of the famous scene in the Atlanta train station.
This film was conceived right when the rumblings of Fascism were getting stronger in Europe and all the moviegoers knew that something terribly wrong was already afoot. However, human beings need the consolation of a brighter future, even, or especially, in the midst of disgrace and doom in order to carry along to arrive to a propitious ending. The film provided countless lines that will be remembered by moviegoers, including when Rhett Butler (played by Clark Gable) said with a unique panache to a manipulative Scarlett O’Hara ( played by Vivien Leigh): “frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
In these turbulent times let us keep some clarity of mind and determination of spirit to do better. Now back to our duties as our children are insolently asking us: “when will it be ready, Dad?”