These days, among the school desks, with some teachers we are addressing the issue of refusal, that is, the possibility that people have at a certain point of saying “no” in front of something that does not correspond to them. It is an intriguing, but also difficult, topic and so we thought of starting from some stories. The first is the story of Apollo and Daphne told in the Metamorphosis of Ovid. Here is a god, Apollo, who, struck by Cupid’s arrow, falls madly in love with the beautiful Daphne.
Today I want to tell you about something that happened to me last week that made me think a lot about prejudice, fear of the other different and unknown, and the alertness in which we live on a daily basis that makes it difficult to trust the other and to be open to the other.
Days ago I came across an article on Repubblica on gaslighting that is defined as “psychological manipulation that during a prolonged period of time causes the victim to question the validity of their thoughts, their perception of reality or memories, and leads to confusion, loss of security and self-esteem, uncertainty of their emotions and mental health”.
With the arrival of the new year, more or less, we find ourselves taking stock of what we have done and what we intend to do in the days to come.
It is the evening of January 1st as I write what you are reading and just before starting to tick my fingers on my pc I thought: “The first article of 2023 is a responsibility”, not that it isn’t for all of us in any other day of the year, but the thought went by itself and I said to myself “do well, do better”.
Ferdinand is an Albanian army officer, we are in January 1997 and his life up to that moment is an open window on the future: youth, a promising career, a girlfriend, a homeland …. but Albania is a country in turmoil, exhausted in 1991 from half a century of Communism opens wildly to neoliberal economic policies made of privatizations and free market that, After a few years, they lead to the bankruptcy of the main financial companies and the risk of a civil wa . It is January 16, 1997 and begins a period consigned to the annals as “Albanian anarchy”. It’s winter, the cold wind freezes the bones and yet the revolt spreads throughout the country, in the streets you can breathe smoke and gunpowder, blood begins to flow.
The young people asked us….
A group of young people, a listening desk, a box. These are the ingredients of a small experiment carried out in a school. As managers of the listening desk we wanted to do something different, something that sometimes seems impossible for both adults and young people. Ask and receive an answer.
A class of teenagers asked to talk about sexuality. How to do that? How to actually talk about what they wanted to know? We thought we’d get the questions on paper cards and collect them anonymously and freely in a box.
Here are some of their questions… Here are some of our answers…