Saturday, 13 September 2014

Il Valore della Dignità,+The Value of Dignity

In the Italian daily paper La Repubblica the other day there was an article by Gustavo Zagrebelski called 'il valore della dignità, quella fragile barriera contro la barbarie.'

' The value of dignity, that fragile barrier against barbarity.' The article was subtitled 'I virtuosi sono piu fragile dei cattivi, perchè il bene è ricattabile dai suoi nemici, mentre il male non lo è'
The virtuous are the more fragile than the wicked, because the good can be blackmailed by its enemies, whereas evil cannot.'

You might wonder where all this is heading as it seems a long way from all the recipes and nature poems that I usually write about. What does the word dignity make you think of'?. My first thoughts are about my mum and anyone else in a similar position in a wheelchair or needing help to do all the things that most people take for granted. It was always so important for her to keep her dignity.  Sometimes just the effort of eating could cause distress in a public place. Come to that some people find breastfeeding offensive in a public place. It was essential to let my mother keep her dignity and she is the first person I think of when I hear that word. The definition of the word dignity in the Oxford dictionary is 'the state or quality of being worthy of honour or respect. Composed or serious manner or style. From the Latin dignus meaning worthy.'This would seem to imply that dignity has to be earned. In the article though the author used all those wonderful words like freedom, justice, equality and said that if there was dignity then there would automatically be all those too. When I'm thinking of my mum and vulnerable people it is more a physical quality. The same as if you fall down the stairs legs akimbo and show your underwear to all and sundry, you lose your dignity in a flash. The next thing that came to my mind reading the aricle was a song by Bob Dylan that was released in 1994 and like a lot of his songs is like a poem. Actually it is a poem, called 'Dignity' by Kees de Graaf. the poet is searching for dignity, just like Socrates before him. Here is the link to the song from youtube with Mark Knopfler, if you can hear it.

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