Dissent against the Green Pass is like a karst river running through Italian society. It is extensive and still latent, although several rivulets have begun to overflow the surface: first the class action launched by school staff, then the now germinal protest of university students, and not least of all an online petition addressed to President Sergio Mattarella with the eloquent title Green Pass: The Reasons for No. At a time in history when there is a resurgence of divisions among Italians, this initiative represents a moment of transversal unity. Jurists, doctors, intellectuals, teachers, artists, entrepreneurs of various cultural orientations have joined the appeal launched by civil lawyer Olga Milanese and writer Carlo Cuppini. As we write, the signatures collected are now close to reaching 30,000.
As Milanese explained to iFamNews, “since the issuance of Decree 52 on April 22 in the last few days, it was clear that the Green Pass would be progressively applied in a wider and more invasive way, coming to compress the fundamental rights of citizens, in clear violation of the principles of equality and non-discrimination that are the cornerstones not only of our legal system, but also of the European Union.” The August 6 decree, the lawyer points out, only confirmed the fears. Hence the desire to stand up and do something. “With writer Carlo Cuppini”, she explains, “we decided to launch a series of initiatives to try to get these measures revoked.”
Milanese says she is pleased with the response the initiative is getting. “The online petition”, she says, “started as mere support to our protest document, we did not expect such a large response. We have reached almost 30.000 signatures in less than four days and despite the fact that signatures began to be collected on the weekend in August.” The lawyer pointed out that “unlike other similar petitions, this initiative was came from ordinary citizens”, but it soon gathered the support of many well-known personalities such as – to name a few – philosopher Giorgio Agamben, president emeritus of the Supreme Court Paolo Sceusa, former director of Raidue Carlo Freccero, poet Marco Guzzi, jurists Ugo Mattei, Fabrizia Bagnati, Augusto Sinagra, writers Vitaliano Trevisan and Franco Bifo Berardi, and surgeon Paolo Bellavite.
Delegitimization of dissent
One of the aims of the initiative is to open up a debate in civil society, which has so far been obstructed by a sort of conditioned reflex in public opinion towards critical voices. “It is clear that the label ’antivaxer’ attributed to anyone who expresses a critical position on the policies against COVID-19 aims at delegitimizing dissent and diverting attention from extremely important discourses,” Milanese reflects. “However, although the practice of ’labelling’ critical or even dubious voices in order to marginalize and isolate them may have some effect in those who are not used to delving into the topics, we are confident that we can succeed in awakening consciences by appealing to reason, seriousness, conscience and competence of those who support us”, she adds.
Milanese trusts that the petition can “put a stop to the path of disruption of our civilization of law and reason, restoring rights and freedoms that have been mutilated and that, far from being mere individual selfishness, are a painful conquest of humanity and for humanity”. The hope, she adds, is “that the various personalities from the world of literature, law, science, economics, art, and culture in general who have become involved in the petition can contribute to extending the legal discourse to the field of ethics, philosophy, and politics understood as the ’art’ of governing public ’life’ according to principles of equity and justice.”
The end does not justify the means
Milanese then observes: “We are well aware of the ongoing emergency, but we are also convinced that it must be faced with the utmost respect for the law and without prejudice to the unity of the national community”. Finally, she recalls that “in a democratic state founded on the recognition of intangible human rights, there is no end that can justify the use of any means, least of all the discrimination and social hatred that inevitably follow.”