Miracle in a taxi

There is no (good) news in August, as Umberto Eco would say if he saw the newscasts of the past few days: suicide attacks in the Middle East, thousands of deaths from the heat wave in France, five illegal immigrants (three of them children) drowned off the island of Mytilene, a bloodbath in Liberia. The only good news is that it was not worse – we hadn’t any major forest fires here, and no one died in the Lefkada earthquake. We’ve gradually become inured to bad news and used to the idea that the deaths of the innocent are part of the rules of the game. We’re used to not asking, not wondering any more, and not getting angry. And if we can’t stand too much reality, there is always the news on Alter or Star, where reality becomes a reality show and «optimistic» news is broadcast, such as Aegean beaches and nightlife. Optimism does not mean distorting or gilding the news, it means being aware of barbarity and ugliness but not accepting it. Condemning violence is easy: What is hard is to interpret it in political and historic, not sentimental, terms. We were hard put to find a news story that was light but not depressingly so, and that reminded us that the milk of human kindness had not run dry. One example was that of a young woman who gave birth in a taxi on the way to the hospital. What was moving was the pride and joy expressed by the taxi driver, who acted as if a falling star had landed in his back yard.