On the occasion of the 47th anniversary of the Oglala events, which took place on June 26, 1975 in the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, numerous initiatives were held to remember the story of Leonard Peltier and demand his release.
There have been meetings in Monza, Milan, Turin (as happened in numerous cities in Germany, but also in Switzerland, France and will soon take place in Spain), but we want to focus on two of the most engaging moments: the meeting at the garrison of San Didero (Valsusa) in the presence of an important delegation of the Valsusa No HST movement and “the garrison”, in Piazza Duomo in Milan, on June 27th evening.
Friday 24 June at 6 pm in San Didero, in front of the fort where the police defend a phantom construction site for a hypothetical truck park. Some have arrived earlier to prepare everything, spread the banner as best as possible, arrange the chairs, many and many arrive, there are also well known faces: Nicoletta Dosio, Alberto Perino, Guido Fissore, Emilio Scalzo, Loredana Bellone, Gigi Richetto, we embrace as we can. Alessio Lega also came, who only learned about Leonard’s story recently, but was immediately involved in it; his songs project us into distant spaces and times.
The story of the repression of the American Indian Movement which took place in the US in the early 1970s by the government and the FBI is soon understood here in the Susa valley, similarities flood. What has been happening for 30 years in this valley, multiplied twenty times, is comparable to what has been happening for over 500 years in an entire continent: the logic and methods are identical. We feel close, in solidarity, united.
Emilio Scalzo wears a T-shirt dedicated to Leonard, he struggles to sit on the chair, it looks like he wants to stand up and go and open the cage that has kept a man closed for almost 47 years. Nicoletta Dosio (who feels her age very close to that of Peltier) invites us to continue the fight, to resist – and although indignation is okay, we need to know how to rebel.
And when someone asks how to lend a hand from here, Alberto Perino hypothesizes that “the garrison” could be named after Leonard Peltier … A big round of applause: this will have to be verified, but just the idea warms the heart of those who have come to tell the story of Native Americans.
On June 27, 6.30 pm, in the sweltering heat in Piazza Duomo in Milan, in the midst of so many barriers and a huge stage where various sound checks alternate, the long, old banner unrolls and for more than an hour the many passers-by and onlookers of the square discover for a moment this absurd story: that of a man who entered prison on February 6, 1976 at the age of 31, and is still being held under maximum security. Peltier is 77 years old and can’t take it anymore. We also remember Julian Assange who risks being a future Peltier case. This is why we shout, sing, play and do anything possible to break the blanket of silence that obscures these truths.
The “Ottoni a Scoppio” band are with us once again, in the sun. Their music accompanies us, makes us all feel less lonely. Silvia Zaru sings a couple of heartbreaking songs. The names of Nicola and Bart echo one hundred years later. They shout “FREE LEONARD PELTIER….” convinced that these words float and the wind carries them far away, until they cross the ocean and the bars of a cell in Florida.
Thanks to everyone who made possible all these days dedicated to Peltier and to all political prisoners