There are news that are considered important just for one day, when the desperation makes someone do a “striking gesture”. Just enough time to attract media attention and the piety of politicians who continue to make promises. But then the spotlight turns off, the single story no longer matters … The din of international affairs is too loud to ignore, so the priorities change. And so it happens that a man from Lecce risks literally to die burned in the wreckage of his red “cabin-wheel”, three years after the eviction that “made the news”. Sometimes the “last ones” are not so classifiable, they do not have dark skin, they are not on the boats – and these are existing and devastating realities, prey to human trafficking – they are not disabled but are hidden under a veneer of ordinariness. Until you see them collapsing to the ground you do not notice them; and often even after, they “exist” just long enough to take them away. The protagonist of what we are talking about is one of the many “invisible” ones who not only cannot find solutions to his problems, but neither be heard by the institutions. An insult to human dignity.
This is exactly the story of Ugo Mennoni, 70, from Apulia. And from his van he appealed to the Prefect of Lecce and the mayor of the capital of Salento: “This is how an Italian risks to die with dignity”.
The story began a month before Christmas in 2012, when his family, made up of him, his wife and three children, suffered an executive eviction. His family was dismembered: on one side the father, on the other his 16-year-old son, and yet on another the mother, Jolanda, with the other two minor children, “parked” by her sister. The newspapers talked about them, and a solidarity match started. Until the 5th of January, 2013, when a private provided them with a roof, but in the meanwhile, the desperation’s echo was fading away. The routine took the interest’s place. After all, Ugo is nobody, and the law – because of a complicated bureaucratic affair – had forced the eviction for the apartment in Via Vecchia Surbo, furniture included.
Last winter, he almost died of cold, not it is this too hot weather that is becoming a killer. Even then, he had a collapse, which did not make him become disable. And maybe this is Ugo’s fault: not being catalogued in any kind of “unfortunate” stereotype that would make him more interesting. Except that, as the time goes by, he is getting older, and perhaps this – hopefully and paradoxically – will help him solve the problem. The fact is that these days he is risking his life because of this infernal heat, and in three years no government has been able to find a shred of solution.
For some time now on the desk of the Prosecutor’s office there has been a complaint about the inhuman conditions in which he is forced to live. Now the problem is even more evident, so that the “Door of Rights”, an association that protects the citizens, has submitted formal requests to competent bodies to figure out if the right to health is being respected.
While waiting for the bureaucracy to give answers, Ugo’s voice is getting more feeble. Only local media still talk about him, and his story is covered by the darkness of indifference. Too bad, however, that this cannot be useful neither to refresh his days…
Translation provided by Maria Rosaria Mastropaolo