Wednesday, 08 December 2021

Emilio Argiroffi, the doctor of the last who with culture and politics left an indelible mark on his Taurianova

“Calabrian, Italian, European poet; Hellenic and Futurist poet; poet of immediately classical poems; Post-Montalian poet destined to weigh ”.

It is with these words that the writer Leonida Repaci described Emilio Argiroffi, a man who from a small Sicilian town, Mandanici, arrived as soon as he graduated in Medicine in Taurianova, a town in the Piana di Gioia Tauro, where he left an indelible mark. The young doctor, who arrived in that land characterized by multiple social and cultural contradictions, immediately distinguished himself for his humanity, for his unstoppable desire to help others and fight for the rights of the weakest, so much so that he became mayor in 1993.  The doctor of the poor, laborers and peasants, he was also a senator of the Republic for four legislatures since 1968, and as such he made a significant contribution to the claim of human rights, with the manifesto of emancipation "The medical and human condition of female gatherers of olives in Calabria ". During the electoral campaign of Taurianova the "candidate of hope" was baptized, and it was a great celebration at the time of his election. Even today, after many years, the Taurianovesi remember him with deep affection and nostalgia because he knew how to be appreciated and loved. But he is not only remembered for his skill, or kindness or for having saved many lives, but also for the great cultural contribution of poetic and pictorial works  that he gave to the city.

Before being a doctor and politician, he was in fact a man of great cultural depth: journalist, painter, essayist and poet. Remarkable the lyric production of his that saw him winner of a prize at the Premio Strega and finalist at the Viareggio Prize. Two of his poems were set to music by Ennio Morricone in 1985. "Argiroffi represents a figure of whom the Calabrian and Italian culture must be proud and above all must constantly strive to re-evaluate him and keep his memory alive". It is with admiration that Luigi Mamone, councilor for culture of the Municipality of Taurianova, speaks of Emilio Argiroffi, describing him above all in the role of  intellectual. «He was a multifaceted character - he says - who came to Taurianova, a very young doctor, but with an impressive cultural and humanistic background, the result of his sensitivity. He began to dedicate himself immediately, with a passion that goes beyond the imaginable, to know what the realities of the 50s and 60s were, especially from  the peasant one, but not only with the attentive eye of the politician or the sensitive person, to the social issues of the discomfort of those laboring classes, but also with the eye of the lover of ancient languages. He was thus able to perceive the linguistic differences that divided contiguous communities, such as those of ancient Jatrinoli and Radicena (so Taurianova was once divided, ed) and other realities in turn belonging to the hinterland, managing with ease to reconstruct the glottological roots and carrying out a very in-depth analysis on the richness of some languages ​​and the poverty of others, without neglecting the expressive canons. Being a connoisseur of Greek myths, he also managed to create parallels that in the continuation of his poetic activity led him to write beautiful works ».

Mamone argues that Emilio Argiroffi, beyond the figure of the politician, has left "a very important cultural heritage and legacy that remains through his verses and his writings. In the 70s and 80s that bourgeois class of opponents, moderates, Christian Democrats, those people against whom they fought politically, turned up their noses and smiled at his first publications, as if proposing poetry or making culture were something boastful and unbecoming . In reality, with his writings, some of which were nothing more than pages written with his large, voluptuous, very elegant writing, and then photocopied, he gave us some very important testimonies which fortunately have remained today. The writings of Argiroffi are a heritage of the entire southern culture and of all humanity. It is only by rediscovering and re-evaluating it through his verses, which are of great relevance, that one becomes aware of how his vision was extremely far-sighted and how, at the same time, the progress of the world around it has been infinitely slower than was the speed with which he was able to project himself and interpret the future ». The Councilor for Culture defines him precisely as a "prophet of the future, who has left us this profound spiritual heritage and a great message of brotherhood, solidarity, inclusion and tolerance towards those who are or behave differently, where diversity is not only of custom or sexual tastes, but is a behavioral diversity, a way of being different in standing against the established power or against what one wants to pass as right, just because it is indicated as such. It is given as a law of men before the moral law, the law of God, the eternal laws of the universe. This is Argiroffi's great teaching, and our Administration, already last year, undertook to re-present it together with the “Reghium Julii” cultural circle, with which Argiroffi himself collaborated ». Mamone therefore describes Argiroffi as always committed to passing on culture, often using the television stations of the time. "In those years when television broadcasting was really free - he says - from the screens of a Reggio television, Telereggio, he made important contributions. He was often seen around with a cameraman  proposing his interpretations linked to cultural events, or simply participating in salons and cenacles, providing precious contributions of his knowledge or illustrating his research, including historical ones, which led to the rediscovery of particular stories of women of the late medieval age.

Hence one of his main poetic works was born, "Le pescatrici del Piano delle Fosse", which remains a beautiful work not only for the musicality, the stylistic features, the suggestions or the images it evokes, but for the fact of having recovered the awareness of an important page of history ". According to Mamone, however, it is Argiroffi's final work, published posthumously by the Reghium Julii circle, which fully describes its essence. "" The blue springs of the Acheron "- he explains - represents a sort of summation of his whole life. By now he understood that his existence was about to end, but even if he could not perceive the day, the hour or the way, he was aware that by now the parable of his life was about to end, and taken by an unstoppable compulsion he wrote  beautiful verses, wonderful pages. It is by reading this volume that one can understand the greatness of Argiroffi, a man whom many have intended to classify as the "communist senator", as if communism were synonymous with atheism. Instead, precisely with this work, he gives us proof of a great profession of faith and spirituality, concluding it with a strong message of hope: "we will meet again to resume the journey along the bitter torrent of life". A great and very important message - continues the commissioner - how great remains that wonderful "Epicedius for the Lady who goes away" that he wrote when his mother died, on September 30, 1984. This is another very beautiful moment that contains what was the enchantment of his life.

Although he spoke of the enchantment of the word, his whole life was nothing more than the concretization of the enchantment of beauty, nature, landscapes, the Strait of Messina, Sicily, Mandanici. Those views that he kept in his memory also thanks to the stories of his mother, who came from Povolaro, a village in Carnia, from which she fled a refugee due to the First World War, arriving in Sicily where she then married his father Argiroffi. In this work, written with the burning pain of the loss of his mother and which ends with "and suddenly I'm old", he gives us the dimension of the greatness of sentiment, of the passing of time, which Argiroffi at some moment exorcised in the 'immortality of the myth, in the search for beauty, in social commitment, but which suddenly makes him become acquainted, making him return to humanity, precisely because of that pain linked to the loss of his mother ». The Councilor for Culture of the Municipality of Taurianova concludes his journey in memory of Argiroffi arguing that "all of us, friends or political opponents that we were, must be grateful to Argiroffi for what he left us. The politician is dead but his verses, that are immortal remain ». Emilio Argiroffi's wit was so strong that the scholar Antonio Roselli from Oppido Mamertina (RC) decided to dedicate a Facebook page to him, choosing the most powerful means to pass on to the youngest, what his essence was.