Culture Democracy English Ethics Gender Equality Humanity Sociology

Step Zero in Freeing Up Half of the Human Race

“There can be no safe future without safe motherhood”
Women Deliver global conference (London, 18-20 October)

The very, very first step we need to do to provide at least the possibility of freedom for the whole of humanity, and not just men, is actually made up of two actions:

Step 0.1: diminish the chances of death during pregnancy
Step 0.2: increase the survival rate for children 0-5

In fact, as long as would-be mothers die at the enormous rates of 1 in 6 in places like Sierra Leone and Afghanistan, no wonder the relative value of each of those human beings is not considered that much.

Cynically one would ask why would anybody emotionally attach himself to a person that is quite as likely to die within a year (obviously, in reality things do not work out so simplistic, but still…).

Furthermore, if children die in large numbers (especially in their most vulnerable years, from birth to 5), the only way to nurture some possibility of leaving descendants in this world, is to conceive as many babies as possible.

Having women wait out their entire reproductive lives doing only house chores, with no time for business or political activities whilst going from one pregnancy to the next, becomes then a perfectly logical, if horrendous choice.

Given the fact that death-during-pregnancy and the need of a large number of children just to hope for one’s family not to die have both accompanied humanity for much of its existence, no wonder women have been set aside as virtual slaves for millennia.

And so there is simply no opportunity for “emancipation” if we don’t get mortality rates lower for mother and for young children.


Luckily but tragically, the solution is not that difficult.

It’s all very feasible stuff and so it is a real tragedy that we have not achieved yet that for all: just as abject poverty and “under-development” are still very widespread.

In truth, there is a precise correlation between those concepts, and the health of women and children is one of the best indicators of how truly “rich” a country is.


And so: let’s provide education to all the girls, and provide them with all the drugs and all the resources needed to mantain their health and the health of their children.

Otherwise, all efforts may as well go to nothing.

Germania Italiano Lingue Repubblica Tedesco

Come Imparare il Tedesco

Nella rubrica “Lettere al Direttore” su La Repubblica di oggi il lettore Carlo Bertonotti chiede a Vittorio Zucconi “qualche consiglio per imparare questa ‘maledetta’ lingua [tedesca]”.

Io il modo l’ho trovato (no, niente fidanzatina indigena).

Semplicemente, visto che ha il privilegio di vivere in Germania, Bertonotti si deve incaponire a parlare in tedesco in ogni momento della sua giornata (a parte quando lavora ovviamente almeno finche’ non arriva a un livello sufficiente per comunicare bene e in fretta).

Quando dico “in ogni momento” voglio proprio dire “in ogni momento”: quando si fa la spesa, quando si compra una camicia o un pantalone, quando uno e’ al ristorante (menu’ da leggere rigorosamente in tedesco). Al cinema, solo per vedere film in tedesco. Discussioni con gli amici, tutte in tedesco.

Due dettagli non trascurabili: un dizionario italiano-tedesco in tasca a ogni ora, e poi non dimenticarsi che bisogna imparare un tedesco grammaticalmente corretto, altrimenti i nativi storceranno i nasi e chiuderanno le orecchie a sentire la propria lingua storpiata impunemente (quindi, una buona scuola serale e’ obbligatoria).

Lo sforzo che uno fa di parlare invece sempre e bene in tedesco lo apprezzano molto, e aspettano anzi con pazienza che uno riesca a mettere assieme le frasi: perche’ evidentemente, per i primi sei mesi uno non potra’ che parlare molto, molto lentamente (con grande soddisfazione degli amici, naturalmente…)

Attenzione pero’ quando si parla con i medici. Una volta l’oculista mi ha detto che la mia vista era a posto, ma io ho capito che la cecita’ era incipiente…