The work and the dignity of the individual

There's work, fine air and happiness for everyoneFor a piece of bread, for a spoonful of soupDeath at work

I have heard, more and more often, that there are workers who want to keep their jobs and their dignity as human beings. This implies that those who have lost their jobs have also lost their dignity as human beings; even more if the work – though sought with the utmost commitment – has not been found: therefore that person has lost the dignity forever. Of course, the most important thing is to lose livelihood: without work and without money you cannot get dressed, you cannot eat, you cannot have a home anymore. Which means, almost all the times, to go and sleep on the street, or in public dormitories, and to have meals at the soup kitchen. Even worse if one has a family to support. However, to lose the dignity means many other things: it means to lose one’s identity; it means to lose the courage of speaking, because you have no more rights to be among persons; it means you cannot stand the look of your spouse, of your children; it means to feel the humiliation, day after day, as you feel you are pushed aside, when you still have a lot to give. It has always been said that people who really want to work can find a job in any case. But this is not true. The doors close in your face and you feel powerless, helpless. You would like to shout, to scream “Let me work, please!” But they are all deaf. The people are an indecipherable mass, devoid of identity and humanity: they do not care if you are drowning, because this is none of their business. The only thing you have is to remember the past days, those few days of your life, when you felt useful, when you were productive: that is the point when you understand that ‘those’ days were the happy ones. But those days were short-lived. Too short-lived. So you can ask yourself: who will give me back the days of work that I have lost? Who will give me back that time when I could give the best of myself? Who will return to me the dignity and the age when I was so fruitful? The answer is obvious as well as sad: no one. Because time cannot go back and no one can give you back what you have lost forever. The work is the reason of living for a human being, for a man as well as for a woman: they both need to feel that they are doing their part. But when somebody takes away their ability to realize their potentials, this kills them. It kills them inside, and it is a lingering death, an unacceptable end. Many scholars, in remote and recent past, wrote many authoritative words relevant to the work and the importance that it has for the mankind: but I would like to talk about it from my personal point of view. There should always be some work available, for everyone; a reliable state system should care – and much – if one citizen is out of work, because if a single person is out of work the state has failed. The workplace should be the place where a man or a woman builds, creates; the place where they help to do something for the rest of the world. The workplace should be a safe, reliable space, where workers feel at ease, because this way they are able to give the best of themselves. But not always, or almost never, this is true. In most cases, the workplace is an unsafe site (despite all the laws and the regulations about safety): it is an unreliable spot, under all points of view. The workplace, then, becomes a location where the personality of the individual is debased, humiliated, and not only by those who manage them. Often, too often, the workers themselves hurt their colleagues: the mobbing, the use of bullying their fellow workers, has become a common practice. Many people say that mobbing has always existed, since the man was born: it is a part of human’s wilderness trying to destroy his likes. Yet (against all these currents of thought) I say that this is unfair, illegitimate, illicit, improper, unethical, dishonest, vicious and ruthless: you cannot mistreat another human being for fun; or just for the desire to excel and mortify the others. Humiliated by their managers, tormented by their own colleagues, work (which, at first, can be pleasant) turns into a torture: going to work becomes like going to war. Almost everyone agrees that this MUST be like that, and that work must always be unpleasant: I do not agree on this. Of course, workplace cannot be an Eden on earth, but it is supposed to be, at least, a place where people can operate without difficulty. Mobbing and boss’s outbursts can make it very hard to give the best at work. Those who cannot make it, eventually, give in and leave the job – thus letting tormenters overcome – or they resort to extreme measures. And in this there is a note which is deeply tragic and poignant: it should move to pity those who have mercy. Being out of work in your native Country forces you to consider the possibility of finding a job elsewhere. There are two ways to do this: the internal migration (from one place to another in your Country) or move abroad. In both cases you may get in touch with realities that you do not know, with customs and traditions a little different from yours, or even completely dissimilar. Those complications related to mobbing, to employment relationships with your bosses or colleagues, recur in an even higher form. And very often, just to keep on working, you accept all types of occupation: washing dishes, cleaning the stairs of buildings, loading and unloading the crates at the market. Every job has its value. There is no work, in the world, which is more or less humiliating: it is just work, and all works are important. But those who work as cleaners or workhands are often considered by people with contempt and disdain. And this is the situation of immigrants from far away Countries: Africa, Arabia, South America, Eastern Europe Countries. And what are the emigrants? Are they beasts? Are they pack animals? No, they are human beings, with their feelings and with a heart: a heart that can suffer. They also have a family, wife and children. They just want to bring the bread home. And if you do not want to give them love, because love DOES NOT EXIST in this world, then just stand them, tolerate them, at least: it would be, at any rate, a great step forward.

Below you can find the link to my play, ALPHA: it talks about the above mentioned issues and some other topics, in a narrative form. I wrote it a few years ago and I am publishing it for anyone who wants to read it. If there are associations or groups who want to perform the play on stage, then this drama is at their complete disposal, free of charge, without any additional request. The only thing I ask is: just tell me, and inform me about your decision. I will be, certainly, pleased to offer my work for a good cause.

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