Neville Tencer, author of An Italian Oddysey, a book about walking Italy’s Via Francigena pilgrimage trail, passed along an interesting link today. The link was to a site called passodopopasso which is planning a group walk to Auschwitz from Borgo S.Dalmazzo in Piemonte from February 15 to the first of March. It follows the route 26 Borgo S. Dalmazzo Jews took toward deportation at Auschwitz.
The site is mostly in Italian, but the section called “Why This Walk” has been translated into English. It reflects the world’s increasing attention on the principal of slowness, of slowing down, of understanding before you progress.
An idea that attempts to restore meaning to “the Time of mankind” through a path where the slowness becomes the fundamental value: only slowly we can take time to care of ourselves and of others; proceeding step by step, we can aggregate and build an itinerant community that shares and participates; it is only slowly, on tiptoes, that we believe we must reach the dehumanization places, because it takes strength, respect and humbleness to face and share them; only through patience we can gain a new force able to create knowledge…
I like these words. I like the idea of wrestling time from the itinerant crackpots who would have us believe that saving it should be the highest priority of mankind. I like the idea of wrestling “personhood” from corporations wishing to cash in on the freedoms won by real people and turning them into cold cash.
These are moving words, describing the pilgrimage:
…a march that wants to be a lay pilgrimage where the physical and spiritual dimensions merge; a march made of road and fatigue and at the same time of concrete human and vital relationship with the surrounding environment. Following the stages of deportation, stopping, meeting the young, means recovering a history that belongs to us and that we can not afford to sterilize.
I love the use of the word “sterilize” here. It sounds wrong; it sounds as if the translation was haphazardly cobbled together. Yet it is the perfect word for a world pushing the idea of redemption based on forgetting the past and redefining its spiritual movers.
Today, I’ve just discovered, is Giorno della Memoria (Day of Memory), the day Auschwitz was liberated. See: Giorno della Memoria: Assisi remembers a heroic priest