The same sorrows. The same will to persist. Nobody ever thought Gaza had so much in common with this little mafia-run town called Crosia. “We are both touched by the same sea, both isolated from the rest of the world, both victims of silence, yet both having a burning desire to sing and dream,” says Vincenzo Fullone, one of the founders of the Jasmine movement.
On April 15, 2011, the death of Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni in Gaza triggered a direct contact between the two realities. That day, Gaza and Crosia spoke to each other for the first time, and like a snowball effect, a peaceful revolution began.
A cultural movement with no partisan affiliations, Jasmine aims to forge ties of friendship across borders by promoting cultural exchanges through their Facebook page. “We call ourselves Jasmine like the Tunisian revolution, because we never believed in it: we’ve always maintained that the true revolution is the bridge forged by friendship,” says Sami Haven.
Today, over 200 people in South Italy and abroad take an active part in the group and over 8,300 followers join online. But Vincenzo rectifies me: “Jasmine is not a group, it’s a perfume that joins us people across the Mediterranean. We are not linked by credentials, we meet because we share the same will for redemption.” Their contact is not reduced to a mere exchange of information: they believe that cultural contamination among the two shores of the Mediterranean is the key of a human revolution. The whole group usually gathers around a laptop to talk face to face with their Gazan friends.
But between May and December 2013, the scent of jasmine and its spirited community swirled across the buildings of Gaza and became as much a part of the air as the buzzing sound of drones that dominate the strip. Now based in Amman, they dream of a reunion where Palestinians and Italians can sing together in a massive concert and exchange jasmine flowers, a symbol of their unity and their struggle.
For more information: Visit Jasmine Revolution’s Facebook page.