Cinque Fotografie-Catania Day 5May 5 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C
Today marks our last day in Catania and the conclusion of the the 3rd week of our trip. Although we have been out of the United States since April 19th, the current events back home have been on my mind.
I have never authored a blog before or kept a journal of any kind in my nearly 64 years. In putting together reflections of our travels, it would be easy to just mark sights that we've seen or food that we've eaten with intermittent selfies and photos of one of our granddaughter's favorite storybook characters, Pete the Cat. Essentially I could keep this blog as benign as my Facebook posts have been the last few years because I've been worried about fomenting further separation in a very fractured country. I could just wrap myself in a semi-charmed privileged cocoon of denial for the next three months.
I can't do that.
Before we left Catania this afternoon, I was on a pilgrimage of sorts. I needed to find an old tree that I has read about in some different underground tour offerings. In Catania's history the tree is known as the "Arvuru Russu" or The Red Tree.
This old tree was the symbol of the largest gay community in Italy during the 30s. Under Mussolini, many gay men were killed here and 45 men were deported by the Fascist Army and exiled to an island where they were tortured and humiliated. Unlike Stonewall, no plaque commemorates the site of this offense. Instead, a long, deep fracture in the tree trunk is the only thing to bear witness to that tragedy and is considered a symbol of the unhealed wound left by Fascism.
This week, a leak of a pending SCOTUS ruling ostensibly uproots a nearly fifty year ruling of a woman's right to choose her own reproductive health and that the party of less government infringement is anything but that. Much of the speculation around this anticipated opinion also projects further erosion of other civil rights by a Court that no longer reflects the majority the society: protections of BIPOC, GLBT and other civil protections are all at stake. This week, it appears that the clock is rewound to 1972. Will America be Great Again when it's reset to Fascist 1939 times?
Before I found the tree this morning, we observed joyful preparations for a wedding in a nearby church. We toured the grounds of a beautiful Benedictine Monastery that is now home to college students. And this afternoon, we traveled along the beautiful Sicilian coastline, passing the strait barely separating Sicily from mainland Italy. We settled into a beautiful cliffside hotel in Cefalù and we enjoyed a marvelous Italian dinner.
I will continue to relish this experience and the luxury of learning as we travel. I will take photos and offer reflections of our travels.
But just for today, my five photos will be of a tree that reminds me that when we return, I will dedicate my privilege and time to make sure that there is legitimate meaning to "... and justice for all."Read more