Lorenzo & his humble friends

The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool

Not to do list

This is a list of all the policies of the current Italian government (1 June 2018 – ongoing) that I wish were not there.

  • In June, the government blocked all NGO rescue ships from entering into Italian ports. Critics of the NGOs boats say they are a pull factor for immigration, encouraging and helping people to make the dangerous sea journey; charities say that the NGO boats are a vital lifeline, rescuing more than 88,000 people in the past two years (link)
  • In September, the government abolished humanitarian protection for asylum seekers. This is a form of protection for those not eligible for refugee status but who for various reason cannot be sent home. Over the last years, about one-fourth of asylum seekers has been granted humanitarian protection status, allowing them to have a residency permit and enabling them to work (link)
  • In September, the government approved the annual budget for the country. In the words of my friend Fabio, “the problem with it is not the amount of money spent but the way in which the money is spent. The problem is that rather than forecasting productive expenditure, this budget gives alms to that part of South Italy that lives out of welfare assistance and provides large tax amnesties for tax evaders of the North. More than change, this is berlusconi-2001 reloaded” (link)
  • In October, prominent members of the government expressed their support for an administrative measure taken by the mayor of the town of Lodi, who moved to deny the children of non-European citizens the free school meals and school buses provided for “locals” : foreign parents are required to meet near-impossible thresholds to prove they do not have income abroad. Lega leader Matteo Salvini welcomed the move, falsely suggesting that many of these families had “two, three, or four houses in their own country” and thus ought to pay themselves (link)
  • In October, minister Matteo Salvini endorsed the house arrest of the mayor of Riace, who in the last years has played host to thousands of migrants though employment and training programmes. As the mayor was under accusation of “aiding and abetting illegal immigration”, Matteo Salvini publicly welcomed the arrest by saying it “would serve as an example for others” while also vowing to dismantle the Riace model (link)
  • In October, the government announced the approval of a large tax amnesty proposal. However, the minister of the economic development Luigi Di Maio announced that the tax amnesty had been secretly sweetened into the final proposal without his consent as a “fudge by a mysterious hand” (!) and said he would report the matter to prosecutors (!!)  (link)
  • In October, the government announced it would suspend the working on the tunnel of the Brenner Base Tunnel, a planned 55-kilometre-long railway tunnel at the border between Austria and Italy. The tunnel is aimed at reducing pollution and traffic congestion in the area as the motorway on the Brenner Pass, one of the most important traffic connections between northern and southern Europe, is infamous for its frequent traffic jams and pollution. The hope was to relieve this situation by improving the railway connection between North Tyrol and South Tyrol with the new tunnel, which will allow trains to cross the Alps much faster. Working on th (link)

Updated: 19 October 2018

Direction Istanbul à vélo

François came to Neuchâtel in the 1990s. He worked here and moved back and forth to Montpellier, although he likes Aix-en-Provence better. In 2016 he started looking for a new apartment and in the end he took the room I was about to leave.

When I came back, one year ago, we became part-time flatmates. He, like Jean Thomas, was away most of the time; but the few days we spent together were good. He is calm, thoughtful, youthful, curious, careful. When I think of him I think of expensive mattresses, verbena, sheeps, maps, and big white afro hair on a white man.

François left Neuchâtel in June last year. He has now embarked on new projects. One of these is a long ride from Montpellier to Istanbul. It began already a week ago and you can follow his steps on his new blog. Daje François.

 

Post scriptum. Before publishing this blogpost I asked him consent: Si il y a que des gentils comme Elie, Marco, Jean-Thomas, les filles allemandes, alors ça va!

Like a Karius pass

Okay, time to confess: between May and June I went to Cuba with Thomas. It was the first time we spent time together since our Tuscan farewell in 2015. Apart from the rain that escorted us for the first seventeen days, these are the words that I will remember from this experience: Casa particular, tabacco con miel, Malecón, Capitolio, El Nacional, arroz con frijoles, ron collins, mojito, daiquiri, cubanito, Floridita, finca la vigìa, coco, bucanero, montecristo, robusto, cochiba, Rom de Santiago. Comisión, yuma, jinetero, hustlers, scam, campesinos, todo está fresa, 26 julio, 1958, José Marti, Camilo Cienfuegos, René Portocarrero, realismo sucio, bloqueo, yoruba.

In bold characters the things I liked about my three-week vacations in Cuba. All the rest, we highly disliked. I do not feel like explaining why right now right here.

If only I could read the signs: I should have known better.

Who cares?

On June 29 I presented my Ph.D. thesis in 180 seconds as part of our nccr – on the move event entitled The Migratory Realities of Switzerland in 180 Seconds.

You can also watch the other presentations following this link on our nccr – on the move website.

Swissmaking, one year later

Jean Thomas and François, Rue de la Côte, the mattress. Unine, SUN. Escrime on Tuesday and Wednesday, tennis with Salomon on Thursday. Gruyere and freshly baked baguette at the Saturday market. Xamax with Elie and Raffaele. Genève. Giulia. Les Bains des Pâquis. Pasta fresca with Marco. The morning breakfast with le dinosaure at the Boulangerie de la Côte. Football with Michael and the ‘Savoir Faire a Manger‘ team. Santiago. Salsa, tango. Johanna. Mail. Dinner chez Maria, Damaso, Guido. Come si chiamano le tartarughe? Basel with Annique, carnival. Valais, Zinal. The lights of Zurich. Chasseron, alpine skying. La Fée verte ou absinthe du Val-de-Travers. Chasseral. La tartare a Yverdon. The Italian Consulate in Bern. Gaetan, Fribourg. Interlaken. The Aar from Thun to Bern. The Black Office and Cyclop. La Case à Chocs in Fall, le Chauffage Compris in Winter, Univers in Spring.

Territorial politics

I am very pleased to be among the contributors to the new Handbook of Territorial Politics with a chapter on Regional Citizenship in a System of Plural Memberships and Multilevel Rights.

Territorial politics

Our two editors, Eve Hepburn (whom I already spoke about here) and Klaus Detterbeck, did such a splendid job. You can read their introduction here and you can contact me to have a copy of the chapter I wrote.

Ladybirds

2014: Origins

Qualifier, Politricks: lost 6-0
Qualifier, Cinghialisti Gialli: lost 5-3
Qualifier, Montecarla: lost 3-2

2015: New brand and first victory

Qualifier, Rokkan Rawls: won 4-2
Qualifier, The Spirit of Capitalism: lost 2-1
Qualifier, Zampatistas: lost 2-1
Qualifier, Schumaniacs: lost 3-2

2016: Betrayed

Qualifier, First-order conditions: lost 4-2
Qualifier, Inglorious Ballstars: lost 2-0
Qualifier, Hurrikeyens: lost 4-2

2017: Bronze is the new gold

Qualifier, Salviateci: won 10-4
Qualifier, Inglorious Ballstars: tied 4-4
Qualifier, Flush Royale: won 7-0
Qualifier, New Team: lost 4-0
Quarterfinal, The Bee Team: won 2-1
Semifinal, Smash IT: lost
Final for bronze, Carmen and Rafa: won 2-1

2018: A team packed with doctors

Qualifier, Wolfpack: won 7-3
Qualifier, Buon Talentos: won 7-1
Qualifier, Turbocane: won 8-3
Quarterfinal, Farcelona: won 2-1 at the extra time
Semifinal, I buoni, i brutti, i cattivi: lost 4-2
Final for bronze, Salviateci: lost 3-1

 

Firenze a giugno

Peyragudes

The Tour arrives on the Pyrenees today and one year ago I was there to watch it together with Giallu en route from Marseilles.

IMG_1595

We did not know what to expect there. We found a colourful and enormous circus that cuts across national origin and social class. This was stage 12 of the Tour with the peloton arriving in Peyragudes at 1,590 m (5,217 ft) and below you will find my photos of the day.

Grosse Scheidegg

On July 12 I took the train at 6:00 and went to Interlaken (566 m). I rode up and down along the lake until I reached Brienz (also 566 m) and then gently up to Meiringen (595 m), where the actual climb begins. The road goes up nicely through the pines at first; and then brutally next to the Reichenbach falls where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle found inspiration and a death place for his hero Sherlock Holmes in the battle against Professor Moriarty. The climb then slows down for three or four kilometres, before getting pace again for a long final stretch, which I did not expect, with a steady percentage of 10 or more. The mountain pass is at 1,962 m and lies just in front of the legendary Eiger – to which I had paid an indirect tribute back in 2015. This is the Grosse Scheidegg, one of the hardest and most beautiful climbs in Switzerland.

From the top to Interlaken it is all goes down: Grindelwald (1,034 m) and Gündlischwand (660 m). I considered riding all the way back to Bern (540 m, about 50 km), but there was a strong wind and I did not have the legs.