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I miss Africa.

When I see racism spreading across the world, in Europe, America, and Asia, I tell myself that our inability to live together in peace in 2015 is unjustified and unacceptable! That’s what I think when I go to Turin or Alessandria or when I go out for a walk in Nizza Monferrato and I see black people with black people, Arabs with Arabs and white people with white people…I find it ridiculous!

I categorically reject this social closure and narrow-mindedness; I prefer learning from other cultures and from people’s diversity rather than foolishly withdrawing into myself because I unreasonably fear the unknown.

Recognizing each other for our cultural diversity in different countries, contexts and places helps us regain value and dignity. It helps us integrate and feel part of the society. I am proud of my African origins; however, your religion and the colour of your skin will not stop me from getting close to you or building a friendship with you. That’s because, in spite of everything, I have been living in Italy for 1 year and I have been taken in by an Italian family. I am Muslim and they have their own beliefs. Yet, we do exchange views and learn new things from each other and we live in peace waiting for the day we’ll all sit together with my family and my white friends and enjoy some attièké (dish from Cote d’Ivoire.)

by Yacob Fouiny


Photo by Francesco Malavolta who continues supporting our thoughts and made it possible for our dear friend Yacob to fly high with his first post.

Yacob sent me this text on 20th December 2015, in the middle of the night. While I was sleepless in Sicily, Yacob was sleepless in Piedmont. We had previously agreed that we would give him time to focus on his studies and on his many daily activities before asking him to write something for us. Nevertheless, when I received this unexpected piece, I remembered that plans are made to be changed.

The Italian version of this piece was published just before Christmas and it was our way to wish all of you a happy Christmas full of peace, tenderness and love. It was and it is our way to remind you that no religion causes wars, men do. We are all victims, no exceptions. Ultimately, we have to heal the wounds and comfort the heart of these tortured creatures. Just yesterday, I found myself teaching Jeremy the word nightmare; he couldn’t find a way to explain the agony he went through for several nights after studying the history of the colonization of his continent at school. Usually, after we talk and a new word comes up, I send it to him via text message so that he can read it anytime and memorize it. That night, I thought it was best not to. That night, I had nightmares.

by Maria Grazia Patania

Translation by Francesca Colantuoni

Qui il testo in italiano