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Themes:     Opinions & Politics (27)  
Tags:    Dolomites     Ethics     South Tyrol     Tourism
michil Thursday, 1 August 2013

Against Nature

Do we continue to snug up to the super protective mother of all mothers in the shape of the local political force ‘because they give us money’ or do we take some courageous choices?
Against Nature
I dream of a hotel association which speaks to the Italian and Ladin folk too, and which understands that emotions and sentiments in economical affairs are as important as statistics.
Both we Ladin and German speaking folk became part of Italy after the First World War, and after many tumultuous years in which rights were not recognised and there was a struggle to defend our identities we can now say to have reached a situation of harmony. However as my friend Massimo Cacciari points out, the perceived state of harmony is not a static thing, it is more a movement of forces to each other with a desire to know each other better. Applying this defintion in the context I write about is a difficult task for there is certainly some resistence in the air!
The reality is that here in South Tyrol there is a division not only in the school system and in the organisation of football leagues, but we are also categorised on the basis of ethnic origin in the hotel sector. Yes, it is true, for the hotel association here, named HGV, is resolute in its insistence on speaking only in the tongue of Goethe and treating all things in a like Germanic manner. There may be a spiralling crisis but it seems that its only concern is the promotion of a ‘home’ candidate for the forthcoming provincial elections. The candidate is naturally of SVP brotherhood, the SVP being the majority party which for now more than sixty years has been the dominant party and has more or less organised all to its own convenience.
As for myself, I being both Ladin and a hotelier, would prefer to be represented by a free association, and not by a single political arrangement. Certainly it is true to say that if it had not been for the SVP there would not have been the advent of tourism, and without the tourists in these valleys we Ladins would not have had a future and would not have survived as a community. And yet I begin in this instance to question the supposed fortune for we wealthy prisoners of the "SouthTyrol system".
To dominate the mountains first it is is necessary to domesticate the inhabitants and so it has been: in Val Badia the road tunnels were and are being built, considerable financial support generally has been allocated, and with the justification of quality development various constructions have sprung up everywhere. It is of course Pachamama, Mother Nature, to have paid the price for such. Do we need to continue to tow the line in obedience or has the time come to stand up against this perverse political presence at all levels? Do you not think that the hotel association and we Ladins should take this moment to instigate a little revolution and provide the stimulus to react against the political doctrine? Rest assured that I speak of a cultural revolution in the sense of presenting valid and innovative projects. Don’t you think so too?
Our politicians are taken up with a sort of lounge culture and there projects are not far reaching. We, on the contrary, need to think like a mountain and look to the future and fix long term objectives. Let’s rethink the Dolomites and transform them in a vast National Park, a patrimony of mankind, and not merely treat them solely as a marketing tool. Also on a cultural level let’s re-evaluate the dignity of the population who live there – a population to be respected for the economy which is still in good shape and also for the language which it speaks. Let’s look to put an end to the abuses the Dolomites suffer and propose the Dolomite Passes as great natural art galleries, as a perfect symbosis between the splendid mountain crests and those who visit the mountain heights demonstrating due respect and consideration, and in maintaining a suitable silence. Let’s look to diminish the traffic on our mountain roads, or at least to reduce the flow for some hours each day. A serious reflection on the impact capitalism has had on our old traditional farming community can no longer be deferred.
Once upon time here it was silence which ruled, the rhythm of life was slow, and times were hard. There was little money and many children. The first tourists started to arrive and they gave us the chance to improve our lot. Now we are in a much better state and perhaps we are even too well off for we are no longer able to listen to the pleas of our own land. Do we no longer hear the din caused by the motorbikes which invade our mountain home, the blast of music from the mountain huts? And are we ignorant to the clouds of dust caused by the moster SUVs which eat up and zoom up the ever increasing number of mountain roads?
We are at a crossroads. Do we continue to snug up to the super protective mother of all mothers in the shape of the local political force ‘because they give us money’ or do we take some courageous choices? As a Ladin hotelier I would wish to be part of a HGV which spoke of true cooperation and not of some servile imitation, which defined itself in terms of innovative ideas and not in terms of millions of bookings, of an organisation prepared to open its eyes in the face of horrors which are consuming it and all before it - this in our beloved Dolomites too. I dream of a hotel association which speaks to the Italians and Ladin folk too, and which understands that emotions and sentiments in economical affairs are as important as statistics. We need to think of alternative models so as to respect ourselves and our children too.
Do you think it is the right choice? I do not ask you the question in a theoretical sense for I really do wish to know what you think on the matter. And therefore my friends I impatiently await your comments.

Michil Costa
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