70 years of faces and stories. Italy is still alive

by Massimo Bernardini

Let’s be honest. Lately the idea has spread that Italy, a republic born after the terrible consequences of World War II coming to an end in spring 1945 – given the uncertainty of our memory it’s important to bear this in mind – has a pathological and ambiguous history of dishonesty and alternating power between different parties.
These seventy years (two entire generations, to be precise) have surely gone through bright and dark moments, to use a euphemism. Through conflicts and harsh struggle for power inside society. Through violent explosions, not only metaphorically. They have left in-depth wounds. And this situation has always been open to controversial, and often divisive, interpretations. But as usual, if a plant stays standing despite heavy rain and wind, it owes it to its strong roots. And we should be proud to say that our republic was founded with a certain degree of solidity.
But since this statement may sound reckless and biased, we and some friends who previously worked on the exhibition at the Rimini Meeting “Meeting with the other people: the genius of the Republic 1946-2016”, welcomed the invitation of president Lucio Violante, the core figure of the exhibition along with the history consultant and professor Agostino Giovagnoli: we tried to create a website where the result of our work could be available to everyone. You can find the website at the following link: "immaginidellarepubblica.it".
It was officially launched a few days ago in Milan and it gives permanent access to the content of the exhibition (mostly taken from the Italian TV archive “Teche Rai” and from the library of the Italian Chamber of Deputies) as well as to other important contributions like the video recordings of conferences with several scholars held in Rimini during the exhibition. This is only the beginning, because the site is expected to be home to new contents and discoveries, memories and testimonies, and a place to promote upcoming exhibitions and events. Because since the beginning of this adventure, we have told ourselves that it was not important to refute any of the prejudices against the history of the republic mentioned in the first lines, or to counter them with a more accurate analysis. Instead we would like to show faces, to keep on listening, to tell facts, to retrace individual and social stories. It is not an ideological counter-analysis, but rather a living passion, a tendency to build and persist in doing it, a constant new beginning for men and women who never ceased to find reasons to start anew, even when their country was devastated in 1945. This is why it is useful to look at pictures of our Republic again and again, because if we erase from our memory these seventy years of history still going on in our century, we have no chance of a future path. A path among past and future mistakes, of course, but most of all, among passionate attempts that never stop flourishing in this beautiful country we call Italy, after all.