"I see a sorrowful and more and more sordid world in front of me ... The word 'hope' is cancelled entirely from my vocabulary". Pier Paolo Pasolini did not compromise. Poets cannot compromise. One hundred years after his birth, the words of the great intellectual and visionary are only not still relevant, but disturbing, because nothing seems to have changed. It is no use wondering what he would have written, because he has already written it: "Did you know, to sin does not mean to do harm. Not doing good, that's what sinning means".

Beyond the responsibilities, and the economic, political and geopolitical causes of the horror we are witnessing after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, what seems to be lacking are the intellectuals - the poets, writers, painters, and composers. Somebody who might use their abilities to say what they think, to look towards the future, into the human soul, or at least deep into their own. For example, as Quasimodo did: "You are still the one with the stone and the sling, man of my time. (…) I have seen you: it was you, with your exact science set on extermination, without love, without Christ. You have killed again, as always, as your fathers killed, as the animals that saw you for the first time killed". But there is no need to go so far back in time; we can go to our own times with the Syrian poet Maram al-Masri, who took refuge in Paris when fleeing from the horrors of the war that has tormented her country for years: "Have you seen him? Carrying his infant in his arms, advancing with magisterial step, head up, back straight … as if the infant should be happy and proud to be carried like this in his father's arms … if only he was alive."

This may all be completely useless; it will always be the same people who pay the price and we must resign ourselves to Bertolt Brecht's logic: "The war which is coming is not the first one. There were other wars before it. When the last one came to an end there were conquerors and conquered. Among the conquered the common people starved. Among the conquerors the common people starved too". Or we should stand and watch because, as Wisława Szymborska reminds us: "After every war someone has to clean up. Things won't straighten themselves up, after all. Someone has to push the rubble to the sides of the road, so the corpse-filled wagons can pass. Someone has to get mired in scum and ashes, sofa-springs, splintered glass, and bloody rags. (…) In the grass which has overgrown causes and effects, someone must be stretched out, blade of grass in his mouth, gazing at the clouds". Perhaps dear Wisława is right, but at least we can try and avoid the "blade of grass in the mouth". It is too painful.

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