Statement of Alessandro Orio, Rototom Festival
Fighting against drugs produces thousands of victims every year: it does not simply makes people kill themselves, but also inexpressible sufferings in prisons, permanent damages to the environment and to economies in all the Countries.
‘War on drug’ is something insane; moreover it hurts the culture of our society in its deepness, trying to establish dominating models of values. A common way of thinking looking at drugs as something absolutely bad has been built.
The Rototom Sunsplash, a musical and cultural Festival whose 19th edition will take place also next summer in Benicassim (Spain), was one of the victims of this kind of foolishness. Shirin Ebadi, Vandana Shiva and Bernard Cassen were some of the hosts of our Festival, and last summer we had more than 230thousands people: I will no add anymore to let understand which are our ‘lines’ and how people have ‘supported’ the Rototom.
But something has to be added. As I told before, the Rototom Sunsplash will take place in Benicassim, in Spain, next summer; but it was born and grown up not so far from here, in a town near Udine, in Italy. It has been something precious for Osoppo – this is the name of the town – for almost twenty years –as it granted economical, cultural and media benefits to a place which has been ‘suburban’ in some way.
I will add another thing. For many years, Rototom represented the emblem of another possible world, a happy world, a multicultural and pacific isle, where there was a peaceful relationship with the so called ‘drugs’ (especially hemp). We always pacifically ‘fought’ against antiproibitionism.
As Enrico has just shown us, Italy is (so sadly!) vanguard in the War on Drugs, and it has one of the most terrible laws in all over Europe.
What has been still more violent has been the attack made by Italian political institutions to the Sunplash and its people. The Rototom’s area was militarized as never and several consumers were assaulted in different (and terrible!) ways. It was not enough for Italian politics, because a big judicial inquiry (for more than two years) involved the cultural association which promotes the Festival and the president himself, Filippo Giunta: the accusation was the one of « facilitating the cannabis’ consume because of its being a reggae Festival linked to the Rastafarian ideas (and so to marijuana)» (I am exactly quoting)
I always have in my mind when the ex-minster Giovanardi publically declared that neither Friuli Venezia Giulia (where Osoppo is) nor Italy could give us a place where to stay.
If the Rototom would have liked to survive (and still grow up, as it did), had to go into exile. We went to a more civil and tolerating county, Spain, but the hunting has not stopped yet, because just a few weeks ago we knew that the enquiry became a real process. Filippo Giunta looks at a period from three to nine years in prison. To know something more, you can read the article by Franco Corleone I am attaching here «Rototom ein absuder prozess».
The legal battle will be opened on the 31th may, and I will last yeas – as always in Italy! And it will be a real and great suffering, from many points of view.
But we will not lose our energy and we will not stop. It will be for us simply such a challenge to make our work be greater just to arrive to the ‘cessation of hostility’ and to the end of the shameful discrimination involving millions of people in all over the world. And, last but not least, we thank Encod and all the organization to have let us being with you here in Wien.
Rototom Sunsplash European Reggae Festival
Resp. Cultura y Relaciones Institucionales