Maria Edgarda Marcucci is an Italian writer, and she is known as ‘Eddi’ to many friends and people who have been following her political activism, myself included; for those with whom she visited Northern Syria, she is known as ‘Shilan’. The fundamental questions in her first, newly published book are: What if telling the story of something which is still happening falsifies it somehow? What if the very idea you choose to fight for is soiled, diminished, or harmed by telling it wrong – or to the wrong people?
I came here with a civilian delegation, then I chose to stay with the YPJ,’ was my quick reply to his question about how I’d made it here. He made no secret of his reasons, on the other hand: ‘I wanted to do something useful. I was a cook in Italy, a good restaurant mind you, I was doing pretty well for myself. But the idea of spending my life making food for people who pay 20 euro for one plate of pasta, while everything around us crumbles… well, it felt awful.’ I knew exactly what he was talking about. ‘I mean, there’s only one life, doesn’t matter how long you have but what you do with your time, right? Why else are we here, if not? As they say: add life to your days, not days to your life!’
I was struck by the ease with which he spoke of these huge topics, by the warmth of his eyes and his body language, welcoming, open. When it was time for goodbyes, we exchanged numbers so we could keep in touch. I saw he had that same sentence on his Whatsapp profile; a personal motto then, or at least something more than just a saying. I smiled. Yes, I liked that Tekosher guy. ‘Well, it’s been a pleasure! See you soon.’
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