The Voices of Silence

Dodge Palace, Venice
September 2nd, 2011


Presse release


Captions are missing
under the images of this exposition
not because of  forgetfulness,
but of a  hard-fought decision.

These images are merely voiceless observations,
simply  muzzled notes.

This is a complaint
against the censorship
of the Italian media
with respect to the Afghan people,
made of faceless,
men, women, and children.

Italy speaks about this war
only at funeral services,
just to give a round of applause
to the  coffins of our young soldiers,
or otherwise, at the State departments,
where only  gossip prevails,
such as wondering
what would be best
to wear for a state visit:
tie? uniform?

Afghanistan does not mean just war,
although we have been fighting
this war for ten years already,
on thousand-year-old silk roads,
destroying delicate balances
and feeding monsters.
The war is all over the place.
in every face, in every thought,
in everybody’s daily life.

The hard  task in Afghanistan
aimed at  collecting  human  stories
that are neither clichés
nor confirmations of our immoralities,
is nothing compared to the energy
one has to invest  in Italy to tell them.

I know:
speaking about the Afghan people
is awkward.
It is frightening.
It  is uncomfortable.
I know.
And yet  my responsibility
is to say this is morally wrong.

To tell what life is about
in those lands,
to tear the curtains
created by the media,
means to discard
those very  stereotypes
that cause the war.

Terrorism is eagerly fed by schemes,
rejoices whenever
it comes into the limelight.
Should  we wipe it away,
terrorism  all of a sudden
would disappear.
But our excuses to wage war
would disappear as well.
And this would be extremely uncomfortable
for the big game that overwhelms us.

Thank you very much for being here,
because by being here you bear witness
to the desire and will to understand.

Thank you very much
for giving hospitality to these images.

Thank you very much
for having let  me understand
how important it is to be among Afghans.

I am sure that  your sensitiveness
will help you to  read
these voiceless images
and all the uncountable stories
behind them.

One day, hopefully,
they will speak by themselves.