4 aprile 1968 – Martin Luther King

Il 4 aprile 1968, dunque 40 anni fa, a Memphis nel Tennessee Martin Luther King fu assassinato con un colpo di fucile (da James Earl Ray).

King aveva cominciato la sua carriera di attivista dei diritti civili durante la lotta contro la segregazione sugli autobus di Montgomery, in Alabama, di cui abbiamo già parlato.

Nel 1963 King aveva guidato la grande marcia per i diritti civili che portò a Washington oltre 250.000 persone. Fu in quell’occasione che King, il 28 agosto, fece il famoso discorso “I have a dream”. Eccolo.

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation. [Applause]

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity.

But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God’s children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor’s lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ‘tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

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3 aprile 1948 – Il piano Marshall

Mi sembra abbastanza curioso che nessuno abbia commentato, sulla stampa italiana, l’importante anniversario di ieri. Eppure, ricorreva il sessantesimo anniversario della firma del presidente americano Harry Truman alla legge che – con l’istituzione dell’ECA (Economic Cooperation Administration) – dava il via ufficiale al programma d’aiuti. Sempre nel 1948, i 17 paesi coinvolti (Austria, Belgio, Danimarca, Francia, Germania, Grecia, Irlanda, Islanda, Italia, Lussemburgo, Norvegia, Paesi Bassi, Regno Unito, Stati Uniti, Svezia, Svizzera e Turchia) diedero vita all’Organisation for the European Economic Cooperation, che diventerà poi l’OCSE (Organizzazione per la Cooperazione e lo Sviluppo Economico).

Il silenzio è curioso, soprattutto in questa campagna elettorale, dal momento che molte volte Berlusconi ha parlato (in genere a sproposito) della necessità di un’iniziativa simile… forse perché una vulgata storiografica collega la vittoria di De Gasperi nelle elezioni del 1948 alla firma da parte del governo italiano di un trattato di amicizia, commercio e navigazione con gli Stati Uniti (2 febbraio 1948) che dava via libera, in sostanza, all’applicazione del piano Marshall in Italia.

L’idea del piano era stata lanciata da Marshall (ministro degli esteri statunitense) in un discorso tenuto ad Harvard il 5 giugno 1947:

It is logical that the United States should do whatever it is able to do to assist in the return of normal economic health to the world, without which there can be no political stability and no assured peace. Our policy is not directed against any country, but against hunger, poverty, desperation and chaos. Any government that is willing to assist in recovery will find full co-operation on the part of the U.S.A.

Il piano, bocciato dai sovietici (che in alternativa approvarono il piano Molotov per i loro satelliti), era molto generoso. Il 90% degli aiuti era erogato a fondo perduto e il restante 10% in prestiti a lunghissima scadenza (30-40 anni) e a basso tasso d’interesse (2,5%). Si trattava però, pressoché esclusivamente, di merci d’origine statunitense. I 22 miliardi di dollari originariamente stimati, a seguito della forte opposizione repubblicana in Congresso, furono ridotti a poco meno di 13 miliardi in 4 anni: 3,4 spesi per l’importazione di materie prime e semi-lavorati; 3,2 in aiuti alimentari, prodotti agricoli e fertilizzanti; 1,9 in mezzi di trasporto, macchinari e altri beni d’investimento e 1,6 in carburanti.

L’Italia non fu uno dei beneficiari più importanti, né in termini assoluti, né in termini pro capite.

Paese 1948/49
(milioni di $)
(milioni di $)
(milioni di $)
(milioni di $)
Regno Unito 1316 921 1060 3297
Francia 1085 691 520 2296
Germania 510 438 500 1448
Italia (incl. Trieste) 594 405 205 1204
Paesi Bassi 471 302 355 1128
Belgio e Lussemburgo 195 222 360 777
Austria 232 166 70 468
Danimarca 103 87 195 385
Norvegia 82 90 200 372
Grecia 175 156 45 366
Svezia 39 48 260 347
Svizzera 0 0 250 250
Turchia 28 59 50 137
Irlanda 88 45 0 133
Portogallo 0 0 70 70
Islanda 6 22 15 43
Totale 4924 3652 4155 12721

Per me, il piano Marshall è un solo ricordo, la serie dei francobolli che finì nella mia collezione agli inizi degli anni Sessanta.