Milton Fernàndez, writer, poet, director, editor who since 2011 is also artistic director of the Milan Literature Festival, has collected them in his volume Donne. Crazy, dreamers, revolutionaries published by Rayuela Edizioni.
I had the pleasure to attend to the book presentation at the sumptuous Sala Della Musica, located at second floor of the magnificent Ca’ Sagredo in Venice.
The author ranges from 17th century France to Mexico in 1910, from the mid-nineteenth-century slave-making America to Argentina in 1977, in an attempt to understand the many ways in which men have written and determined the history of women over time.
The stories are short and very intense, the lives of the protagonists are all real, those of women who silently or publicly have marked the history of all.
There is Clara de la Rocha, colonel and Mexican revolutionary; Martine De Bertereau pioneer of French mineralogy; Sojourner Truth, the first black woman in history to bring a white man to court and win the case; ; Azucena Villaflor, one of the Argentinean mothers of the Plaza de Mayo; Lilly Parr, English champion of a sport that has always been the exclusive preserve of men; Rose Mapendo, founder of Mapendo International, an organization that helps refugees from African wars and bring together broken families.
Fernàndez is a man who with deep respect seeks to enter the mystery of women, with eyes and pen full of amazement at what they have endured and overcome.
There is so much gratitude in these stories, as if the book were a way of thanking them for the moral and intellectual lesson they gave the world.
But there is also a lot of bitterness and pain; the stories of yesterday resemble tremendously those of today and the parable has not ended:
The Sabines are kidnapped by Romans led by Romulus, as they are necessary for the birth of a nation.
Innocent women assaulted, molested, victims.
I found astonishing example in the Ca’ Rezzonico Gallery, Venice , in the glorious painting Susanna and the elders by Stefano Ricci, where a young girl Susanna molested and blackmailed by two older liars.
In another room I found Felice Ficherelli’s painting picturing the horrible story of Lucretia, legendary heroine of ancient Rome .Her tragedy began when she was raped by Sextus Tarquinius, son the king of Rome. After exacting an oath of vengeance against the Tarquins from her father and her husband, she stabbed herself to death.What Boko Haram has done, recently in Nigeria, with the kidnapping of 20 girls. News that has been held for a few days on the Western news, but then take refuge among the inevitable facts of existence.
‘Rummaging in the memory we will always find an important woman, like my grandmother, strong temper, 14 boys to grow up, says Fernandez, who cites the movie Sliding Doors, where the fate of the protagonist could suddenly change and what could she become?
Dancers/Choreographers Pina Bausch and Isadora Duncan also appear in the book, as the first women who had the courage to stage dance as a form of freedom. The author underlines the importance of dance in his life, as a maestro d’ami , he was a master of weapons, like a choreographer of swords. ‘Leonardo Da Vinci, continues Fernandez, described life as a series of moving figures and even the tragic final act of Shakespear‘s Hamlet where all the characters die should be an example of a choreographed moment’.