Some of us were communists because …

A mostly strict translation of Qualcuno Era Comunista by Giorgio Gaber. More links welcome.

Huh? No, it’s not true, I’ve no regrets. I mean … I’ve done nothing serious.

My life? A normal life. I never stole, not even at home, I’ve killed nobody. Go figure! … The odd impure act, but that’s normal, no?

I work, I have a family, I pay my taxes. I don’t think I have many faults … I don’t even go hunting!

Huh? Ah, you were talking about before! Ah, … but before, before I was like everybody.

How did I dress? I dressed, I dressed like now … nah, not quite like now, a bit more … yes, jeans, sweater, donkey jacket. Why? A bit off? It was comfy.

What did I sing? Well now, you want to know what I sang. Yes, certainly, folk songs, yes, … “Ciao bella ciao”. Speak up? Yes, “Ciao bella ciao”, I sang it, sure, and the Internationale, but only the chorus!

Yes, I admit it, yes, I went, yes, I saw Inti Illimani … but they didn’t make me cry.

What? Have I photos? Such questions, sure, photos of my parents, my wife, my …

Posters? I don’t think … maybe one, really small … Che Guevara. But what is this, a trial?

No, no, no, no, never that, I never made a fist, a fist, never. Oh, well, once, but … , a little fist, really quickly.

What? If I was a communist? Heh. I like straight questions! You want to know if I was a communist? No, no, nobody talks about it anymore, they all make like it’s nothing but we should straighten these things out, once and for all!

Was I a communist? But! In what sense? No, I mean …

Some of us were communists because we were born in Emilia.

Some of us were communists because our grandfather, our uncle, our dad … our mum, no.

Some of us were communists because Russia was a promise, China was a poem, communism was Heaven on Earth.

Some of us were communists because we were lonely.

Some of us were communists because our education was too Catholic.

Some of us were communists because cinema said so, theatre said so, painting said so, literature too … everything said so.

Some of us were communists because “History is on our side!”

Some of us were communists because we were told.

Some of us were communists because we weren’t told everything.

Some of us were communists because before we were Fascist.

Some of us were communists because we understood that Russia went slowly but surely.

Some of us were communists because Berlinguer was a good man.

Some of us were communists because Andreotti was not a good man.

Some of us were communists because we were rich but we loved the people.

Some of us were communists because we drank wine and were moved to tears at the workers’ festivals.

Some of us were communists because we were so atheist we needed another God.

Some of us were communists because we so loved the workers we wanted to be one of them.

Some of us were communists because we couldn’t take being workers any more.

Some of us were communists because we wanted a pay rise.

Some of us were communists because the bourgeoisie, the proletariat, the class struggle. Simple no?

Some of us were communists because the revolution, today no, tomorrow maybe, but the day after certainly …

Some of us were communists because “Viva Marx, viva Lenin, viva Mao Tse Tung.”

Some of us were communists to wind up our fathers.

Some of us were communists because we only watched RAI Tre.

Some of us were communists for fashion, some for principle, some for frustration.

Some of us were communists because we wanted to nationalize everything.

Some of us were communists because we didn’t know state, semi-state or allied trades.

Some of us were communists because we had swapped dialectical materialism for the Gospel according to Lenin.

Some of us were communists because we were sure we had the working class behind us.

Some of us were communists because we were more communist than the rest.

Some of us were communists because there was a big Communist Party.

Some of us were communists even though there was a big Communist Party.

Some of us were communists because there was nothing better.

Some of us were communists because we had the worst socialist party in Europe.

Some of us were communists because the only state worse than ours was Uganda.

Some of us were communists because we couldn’t take another forty years of slick, crooked governments.

Some of us were communists because Piazza Fontana, Brescia, Bologna station, the Italicus, Ustica, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

Some of us were communists because whoever was against was communist.

Some of us were communists because we could no longer take this foul thing we kept calling democracy.

Some of us thought we were communists and maybe we were something else.

Some of us were communists because we dreamt of a freedom that wasn’t American.

Some of us were communists because we could live and be happy only if others could too.

Some of us were communists because we needed a drive towards something new, because we wanted to change everyday life, because we felt the need of a different morality, because maybe it was only a drive, a flight, a dream, it was only a shove, a desire to change things, to change life.

Some of us were communists because with this drive we were all better than ourselves, like two people in one. On one side the personal daily struggle and on the other the sense of belonging to a breed that could take flight to truly change our lives.

No, no regrets. Maybe many opened their wings without being able to fly, like newborn seagulls.

And now? Even now, we feel split in two: one half the man who crawls through his daily existence and the other the seagull, without even the intention of flying, because the dream has shrivelled.

Two miseries in only one body.

Advertisements


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s