Today is your 150th birthday. We know, your life hasn't always been easy and you have often been treated without the respect that you deserve, but you have been patient and forgiving. Trying to keep the family together, has not always been an easy task, especially with family members who have such different characters between them. You know that they have not yet given the best of themselves, but they will make it, together and united as a family should be. You'll see! Happy birthday, Italia, and...many happy returns.
The character of a nation comes always out in moments of need. The complex system of showing respect, which has been imposed on every single individual in Japan throughout centuries of discipline, is showing its fruits these days, with the strikingly silent composure of who is waiting for hours in endless lines to receive first-need assistance or only information. No scenes of understandable despair for the loss of loved ones, belongings or identity in this immense tragedy. Just terrified faces of adults and youngsters who would not know where to go, of smaller children who are waiting to hear a whisper of comfort . “We were all aware that “the big-one” would be coming”, says a lady with a sad smile. “And we cannot do anything else but bow to what Nature has decided for us” . She makes a small bow to whom has interviewed her briefly and steps back in line, to wait for the answers she hopes to receive. Centuries of self-discipline do not allow to shed tears onto this collectivity, therefore every individual sheds them in silence, in the darkness of an uncertain future, while making a small bow of encouragement to whom steps in line of the same queue. And I make a deep bow to them…with profound respect.
I met Ray Heffernan only recently when a mutual friend invited me to go and listen to this Irish singer, who writes and sings “what he feels and sees around him”. He lives on one of our beautiful lakes here in northern Italy and I now often attend the trial sessions with his newly created band composed of high-level musicians. His music is excellent, just like the texts he writes: vibrant, intense and elegant. He really deserves to find his place high up in the international musical firmament.
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