The walker advocate marching to the Holy Land
The protagonists of this story are the places seen by Antonello Menne
Everyone should have a friend like Antonello Menne. But if you do not have this luck, to come to our aid - as the devourers of stories well know - it can be the written word that at times comforts us, at other times it overwhelms us, offers us solutions, insinuates right doubts or even contradicts us, , accompanies us in life as a good friend can do. In our libraries there are playmates of the first age, accomplices of adolescence, eternal masters. Their works have paved the way for us, books written with honesty and without arrogance. The author as a vehicle of experience (often personal), and not me bulimic who delights in himself. So at the end of the reading of "From Rome to Jerusalem. Diary of a Way" (Primiceri Editore), placing the book written by Antonello Menne on the shelf, we will have the awareness of having met not just one friend but a beautiful group of people.
The companionsof adventure
And yes, because this pilgrimage notebook, written with the touch of the novelist, is a multi-voiced narration where Virgil is the young student from Nuoro who has become an established civil lawyer in Milan over the years but, as in all comedies (divine or not) the protagonists are the travel companions, the almost passed wayfarers, the guests of the endless stages along the journey between the two eternal cities. Starting with a handful of thieves. Already, ugly beasts that a few hours after departure (August 2019) make a raid on the Menne house, upset it, leaving that deep sense of violation that every theft brings with it beyond the material damage. And these fools, however, do not touch the object that has the most value at that moment: the travel backpack, another supporting actor in this story. We go from Milan to Rome where fate crosses with two university colleagues, Raffaele and Antonio, the ones with whom we were planning to change the world and now we share the adventure, because adventure will be, at a mature age. And it will be much more, especially when Luca and Chiara, their children, join Antonello on August 16 in Tel Aviv. Here the envy is so great. Who wouldn't want their boys and girls with them as they set out on foot to Jerusalem? The journey becomes more intimate and familiar. Imagine in 50 years Chiara or Luca telling their grandchildren that they will hear with their mouths open: That time at the gates of Nazareth we thought we had lost Chiara ...
The protagonists of this story are the places seen with the gaze of the walker. Not the speedy driver. But of the man or woman who step by step look around even if exhausted by the heat, tried by some travel accidents, by blisters, by furious and sudden storms. First Lazio, Campania and Puglia through the Appia and the Via Traiana. And then boarding in Otranto and off to Tel Aviv, Akko, Nazareth, Mount Tabor, Lake Tiberias, the West Bank and its desert, Jericho and Jerusalem. Lands of peace and territories at war. The certainty of insecurity is part of the game, writes Menne.
Each of the places mentioned, touched, is a land of history, the great and shared one that is paired with the personal one. The fields of southern Italy where you have to walk with caution because there are still unexploded bombs, crazy. Akko which was known as Acre, port of massacres among Saladin's Crusaders and Muslims. Tiberias, the lake of Jesus and its miraculous gestures. Everything exudes epicness, legend, and the facts of the past lead to reflection on the present and the projection of the future. Especially when you pass the checkpoints, barbed wire that marks ongoing lacerations, present wars, peoples in struggle, tortured suffered and now poured into a mortal and endless spiral. Israel which must think of itself as a home and not as a fortress.
As the walkers, the wanderers know, proceeding leads to rebirth in general. Imagine this proceeding which (let's have a laugh) is not the journey from London to Ibiza on the places of club culture, which in any case would have its own reason. We are on a path between two cardinal points of Christianity. Antonello Menne's gaze is secular and, precisely for this reason, it breaks through the readers already routed on these issues and used to these reflections. Especially when it touches the banks marked by Jesus preaching on a waving small boat. Where, in Jerusalem, he offers us a key analysis precisely in these times: «In Jerusalem everything is in the hands of men. Women are absent, excluded, deliberately left out of the management, preservation and protection of memory, ”she writes. «I am speaking of the Christian communities, of all of them. Yet the women are the ones who never abandoned Jesus. It is they who followed him from Galilee to Judea, who remained faithful to his Word. It is they who welcomed him to Bethany when the days of the Passion began, they who challenged the Roman soldiers under the Cross ». End of this article, beginning of your reading.