It all started with a little tiff on a Sardinian beach. Someone made a video of a Sardinian man arguing with a tourist over his lunch, a can of tuna he consumed on the crowded beach. “Why don’t you eat at the hotel?” the man asked. The fight over the tourist’s apparent lack of spending in Sardinia went on and on. In the end, folks on the beach applauded. For the Sardinian. The video made waves on the island, as I understand it.
You see, Sardinia is an island in the Mediterranean composed of a ring of beaches around a mysterious, thumping heart of an interior. They are like two quite separate countries, one for the nomadic well-heeled to conspicuously consume the rays of sun and get in little pissing matches with tourists, and the other the kingdom of the rocky interior, where life isn’t easy and people cling to traditions that span nearly unimaginable time periods, where the art is thoughtful and profound, and the ancients have set everlasting bookmarks to their unwritten history by leaving conical towers nearly impossible to topple. This is the Sardinia I love.
But something profoundly awful has been brewing in the heart of Sardinia for while. The nature and scope of it, set against the “tempest in a tea pot” battle of the tuna tin, did not go unnoticed by Marco Pitzalis Piano, who recently spent some time in the hills around Ogosolo to observe bony, starving animals, many he felt wouldn’t last until Ferragosto, the 15th of August, when Sardinians hit the beaches. The last brutal winter transformed trees into tinder awaiting the spark. There hasn’t been significant rainfall since.
Piano observes in his Facebook post that this situation, as widespread in the interior as it it is, faces the indifference of the citizens, politicians, and the few journalists still working.
Piano’s parting shot reflects the emptiness of governments around the globe unwilling to spark the action needed during extraordinary social crisis, as he laments upon “the absence of a shared project with rural communities.”
When, I wonder, will the tide turn? When will we, the people, decide that the earth is an extraordinary place when you take care of it? Am I alone in thinking that a single hand-carved Sardinian mask born out of Paganism, a time long ago when we listened closely to the earth, is worth way more than an astronomic rise in corporate profit for a worthless (untaxed) corporation?
I cry for you, Sardinia. Let’s get together and work something out.
The photo at the top of this post is for you, especially if you don’t care. It’s the Valley of the Nuraghe, once a green and fecund place recognized as special for thousands of years by its inhabitants.