I am a thief! Yes. Because I steal from life, from the people I meet, from what happens to me every day, from art, from history.
A few days ago I chose a text to be read by one of my patients who had to exercise memory; the story described the life and story of activist Rosa Parks. In the 1950s, the woman fought at the forefront for the civil rights of the community of black people. Famous is the story of her refusal to get up from the seat of a bus to give way to a white man. She did not do it because she was tired (which she was accused of) but because with that refusal she was going to claim the sacrosanct right to be considered a human being like everyone else. She was tired, yes! She stated, “I was not physically tired, any more than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although many have an image of me from old then. I was 42 years old. No, the only thing I was tired of was suffering! “
She was arrested following this event, accused of “improper conduct”; that same evening she was released thanks to the bail paid by a white lawyer who, like her, considered absurd what was then a law recognized and respected by most.
This reminded me of more recent facts about people persecuted by the law, such as Mimmo Lucano who had created a model of welcoming migrants for the country of which he was mayor; accused of “having exploited the reception system for the benefit of his political image”.
I also think of Carola Rackete who was charged with offenses of aiding and abetting illegal immigration and resisting warships.
These people have in common that they went against the law, that’s true. But I wonder: the laws are made by men and in every courtroom a sign reminds us that this is the same for everyone.
All true so far, but if men can make mistakes in breaking them, it is legitimate to wonder if they can also make mistakes in formulating them?
Between 1870 and 1960, for example, the Jim Crow laws created racial segregation which consisted of the restriction of civil rights on a racist basis. Just to give a few examples, these laws prevented black people from attending places in the presence of whites people and this applied to different environments, such as schools, cinemas, restaurants.
Racial segregation in schools was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1954 and only in 1964 were the remaining Jim Crow laws repealed. If we think about it, we are not talking about such a “past” past and I often wonder how long certain ideas are still rooted in a certain culture that still discriminates some categories, in a more or less evident way.
All this to return to the initial argument that perhaps sometimes not all laws are fair or infallible. I’m certainly not in the trade but in life I always ask myself questions when something doesn’t come back to me deeply. As in the affair of Lucano and Rackete mentioned above.
To return to the story of Mrs. Parks who inspired me, Martin Luther King also expressed himself on the story, commenting on the episode as “the expression of an infinite longing for human dignity and freedom … she sat in that place in the name of the abuses accumulated the next day by day and the boundless aspiration of future generations “.
By M.L. King the beautiful phrase that presents this blog on the home page, accompanied by a beautiful black woman.
In 1999 Bill Clinton gave Parks an honor and said, “Sitting up, she stood up to defend the rights of all and the dignity of America.” These words well describe the difference between the movement of the body and that of thought.
In recent days, the Supreme Court has decided to review the law on abortion to prohibit it in many countries and honestly it seems to me a very dangerous step backwards towards women’s freedom. We will see what happens but I feel a strong need not to stand still and watch.
Every time I venture leaving my thoughts free, I realize that I open the way to many other reflections. You may wonder, for example, why a speech therapist who has so far written about her work or in any case about issues related to her profession, is now facing other kinds of issues.
I tried to give an answer:
Our work is what we do, the rest, which is the meaning of our being in the world, is given by what we are.
I feel free to write what I do and to do it also expressing who I am. I think that freedom, when it doesn’t affect others, is really the most important thing to fight for. And maybe the people I told you about in this article thought so too.
Maybe thieves like me don’t risk jail thinking about it. There is no risk of stealing other people’s stories if they push us to be better. Or at least try!