Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Non dirmi che hai paura (Don't tell me you are afraid) by Giuseppe Catozzella

I just finished to read this book and I feel the need to share it with you. It has not been translated in English but I read it will soon, so keep an eye on it.

This is the true story of Samia Yusuf Omar born in a poor family in Mogadishu (Somalia) during the war and the Islamic regime. Since very young, 6-8 years old, she had just one dream and a great talent: running. She trained her self together with her best friend Ali in the street of  Mogadishu, or at night in the stadium to not be discovered by the regime. With lots of determination and sacrifice she partecipated to the Olympics game of Beijing 2008. Even if she arrived last, the all stadium started to cheer and support for her (as you can see here).

She wished to participate to London games in 2012 and to fulfil this dream she decided to start the "Trip", through Ethiopia and Libia to reach finally Italy and her sister in Helsinki.
She died, very close to her dream, near the Italian coast in a rescue operation.

Her story of courage and determination is so touching, I found myself crying many times during the reading.

She became  an icon of freedom and female liberation.

Here you can find the book description in English
Here a tribute to her

"We know that we are different from the other athletes. But we don’t want to show it. We try our best to look like the rest. We understand we are not anywhere near the level of the other competitors here. We understand that very, very well. But more than anything else, we would like to show the dignity of ourselves and our country."- Samia Yusuf Omar (2008)

Sunday, 28 September 2014

The Story of My Experiments With Truth-An Autobiography by Mahatma Gandhi

I have recently been to India, a wonderful country, and I was wondering which book to bring back that would somehow represent the country. Then I saw this book and I thought that nothing better could come home with me.

I feel kind of guilty in reviewing this book and that's why this post is coming after actually a week I had finished it.

What to say? And most of all where to start!

Being in India I had to face a weird truth that I was completely ignoring: not everybody likes Gandhi! As simple as that. This news kind of shocked me, how can you not love a person that freed your country from repression? I was told "read the book and you will understand!". So as soon as I came back I started it mostly for a principle of contradiction.
I was expecting to find the reasons behind the great peaceful battle, the principle of it, the portrait of a "holy man" that somehow was destined to become the Mahatma (big soul).
I disappointingly didn't find any of this in the book. From the first pages you find a troubled man that is looking for his way in life. A man in the constant look of the satya (truth) through tries and fails. I was shocked to realize Gandhi was very "human" and full of mistakes. He did not respect his wife, didn't find any God for many years, had prejudices and faults as any of us.
But what I really didn't like in the book was the "story" itself, I think it is wrong to call it an autobiography, 'cause it really isn't. And maybe the main title was suggesting it. I wanted to know more about his battle, his struggle but the book is more about his trials with food and medicine, his fight against civilization and western culture.

The writing was a bit (if it was not Gandhi, I would probably say, quite) boring and I really didn't like the way in all the book he was trying to preach his truth as a teacher.

Well, it was just not the book for me. And I am sorry.

Said that I still bring with me the emotions of when I visited the place where Gandhi was imprisoned in Pune, the Aga Khan Palace where I could see a bit of his daily life till finding the garden where his remains are kept. It was very touching...