Resistance as friendship: Ada Gobetti’s Diario partigiano

I mentioned Ada Gobetti earlier on this blog and lately made her the topic of my contribution to the first issue of FIS, the magazine of Romance languages and cultures’ students at the University of Amsterdam.

The more I am faced with intolerant attitudes and gut feelings in the public discourse (in The Netherlands, in Italy and elsewhere), the more such books as Gobetti’s wonderful Diario partigiano (“Partisan diary”; available at the UvA Library) seem to become relevant today, and therefore – thinking of how just another celebrated woman, Judith Butler, commented the US Election 2016 also in terms of preparing «to be more like a resistance movement than a political party» – here follows the inspiring words which open Gobetti’s Diario (for a review of its recent English translation, quoted further below, see: Ian Thomson, Mother Courage, “Spectator”, november 7, 2014):

«Dedico questi ricordi ai miei amici vicini e lontani; di vent’anni e di un’ora sola. Perché proprio l’amicizia – legame di solidarietà, fondato non su comunanza di sangue, né di patria, né di tradizione intellettuale, ma sul semplice rapporto umano del sentirsi uno con uno tra molti – m’è parso il significato intimo, il segno della nostra battaglia. E forse lo è stato veramente. E soltanto se riusciremo a salvarla, a perfezionarla o a ricrearla al disopra di tanti errori e di tanti smarrimenti, se riusciremo a capire che questa unità, quest’amicizia non è stata e non dev’essere solo un mezzo per raggiungere qualche altra cosa, ma è un valore in se stessa, perché in essa forse è il senso dell’uomo – soltanto allora potremo ripensare al nostro passato e rivedere il volto dei nostri amici, vivi e morti, senza malinconia e senza disperazione» (Ada Gobetti, Diario partigiano, Einaudi, 2014, p. 1).

«I dedicate these memories to my friends, both near and far, to those of twenty years and to those of only an hour. Because friendship – a link of solidarity founded not on kinship nor homeland nor intellectual tradition, but on the simple human rapport of feeling close to one another in a crowd of many – appears to me to have been the profound significance, the symbol of our battle. Perhaps it truly was. Only if we are able to preserve it, perfect it, recreate it, after so many mistakes and so much disgrace, will we be able to understand that this unity, this friendship, was not and must not be only a means to achieving something else, but is a value in and of itself, because in it is perhaps the meaning of mankind. Only then will we be able to rethink our past and see again the faces of our friends, alive and dead, without melancholy and without despair» (transl. Jomarie Alano, Partisan Diary: A woman’s life in the Italian Resistance, Oxford University Press, 2014).

Young Ada Gobetti’s photo from the website Margutte.

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About blognostrumuva

blog voor de Collectie Romaanse Talen van de Universiteitsbibliotheek van de UvA (universiteit van Amsterdam)
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