Italian Version >>> “Polemica sul cafone, bravissimo Galati”
TORONTO - Even if words like cafone and terrone may seem innocuous to people like you (at the Corriere), behind them hovers the sensibilities and sensitivities of those who utter them or who are their targets.
Galati’s courage in expressing his dismay, if not hurt, for the use of cafone prompted me to reflect on a book published in 2010, by Pino Aprile, titled Terroni – with a subtitle “All that has been put in place to ensure that Southern Italians become ‘Meridionali’”.
The denigrating vocabulary intended to give offense to those same meridionali were thereby release into the public domain. Today, as some may know, “Terroni” is [also] identified with a chain of restaurants (specializing in the cuisine of the South). However, the socio-political conditions that gave rise to the use of these words and the scars they created, are still present, even if 150 years have gone by.
I share Galati’s reaction. It is not dissimilar to that manifested by Neapolitans toward Matteo Salvini (Leader of the secessionist Lega Nord) when he visited Naples.
Yet instead of offering us, your readers, a background to help better understand the motivating factors behind his reaction, you opted to give us an article on the “use” of the word. It seems to me you missed an opportunity to demonstrate understanding and knowledge of the true impacts of the Risorgimento (unification of Italy). Italian Canadians [in general] like most Italians, particularly those from the North remain unaware of the true outcomes of the event.
Let me applaud [lawyer] Galati who broke open this debate. My reaction, like his own, is born out of the sufferings and endless social, moral and economic damages inflicted upon the Meridionali over the generations, the nuances of word notwithstanding.
If you do not have confidence in the scholarship of Pino Aprile because he may be Pugliese, read instead the work of a Northerner, Giordano Bruno Guerri, The Blood of the South, or Damned Savoiards, a text by Lorenzo Del Boca, president of the National Association of Journalists, 2001-2010, or the many other books published “ground-breaking” authors, then we can have a serious conversation.