Pisa Jail, 5 October 2001. A few weeks after 9/11.
In your latest script I was struck by the detail of the young pregnant woman standing in the line of prisoners, of detainees, who are trying surreptitiously to touch her belly. That life that moves inside […] I think that – earlier you used the word ‘to save’, I don’t know whether it was deliberate, the word ‘to save’ is perhaps a bit too ambitious – but I think that what temporarily redeems all those horrors are these details, the telling of things, that’s it. I envy people who have sufficient power to create illusions, or maybe not quite illusions, but to enable things really to be manipulated so as to limit the damage when this thing can no longer happen. I mean, for those of us to whom it cannot happen, the telling of things becomes life, becomes the most important thing.
Make-believe is always ready to ambush you, everywhere, but there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s like noticing there is one particular beautiful pebble on a pebbly beach. Stopping, bending down, picking it up and singling it out among all the others on the shingle. Therefore my position on the issue of Bosnia, or any other place where I may have been immersed up to my neck, probably depended on this, I loved being a listener and a spreader of tales, of things that were happening [but] I feared that fiction would somehow betray them, or it would be beneath – beneath also in artistic terms, if we want to use this word – the things one had been able to see and understand (Adriano Sofri, 2001).