"Our soul is just an urn where we close, once and for all, the ashes of our lost passions !"

sâmbătă, 2 ianuarie 2010

Proceedings of Dying and Death in 18th-21st century Europe, International Conference, first edition, Alba Iulia, Romania, 5-7 September 2008 - Book


Proceedings of Dying and Death in 18th-21st Century Europe, International Conference, first edition, Alba Iulia, Romania, 5-7 of September 2008, Marius Rotar, Marina Sozzi (eds), Cluj Napoca: Accent, 2009, 298 pages - ISBN 978-973-8951-80-0

Dialogue and friendship

"Death has always been just a joke to me; life is my weakness"
Anthony Quinn (1915-2001)

One of the most lucid protests against death as an event and personal reality is found in the autobiographical novel, A Man Finished written by Giovanni Papini and published in 1913, at the age of 31. Entitled as simple as Death, the essay gives a very suggestive description of the fundamental anxieties of the modern society and namely the fear of death. Death, a subject which invites reflection and analysis par excellence, through the many mutations it produces, is a particular subject matter, often wrongfully given a secondary place among the scientific research interests. For this reason in particular, death cannot be considered the prerogative of just one science, although some may take a special interest in the topic. We cannot describe, understand, explain or come up with solutions to the reality of death without the joint effort of History, Philosophy, Sociology, Psychology, Medicine or Literature. Thus, the idea on which this conference was based, and which we would like to become a regular event, was that of multidisciplinary and of an open dialogue between researchers who are fond of this subject and who come from various academic communities. At a first glance, a conference organized in Romania exclusively on dying and death does not seem to be such a special thing, if we are to consider the world developments on the subject. However, the conference Dying and Death in 18-21 Centuries Europe was the first scientific event of this kind ever organised in Romania. The idea of this event was born some time ago, through scientific and friendship relations. The conference was organized by the Iuliu Maniu Centre for Historical and Political Studies of ‘1 Decembrie 1918’ University of Alba Iulia, the National Unification Museum, Alba Iulia, Romania, Ariodante Fabretti Foundation, Turin, Italy and with the support of the Alba County Council, the Local Council of Alba Iulia and Alba Iulia County Direction for Culture, Cults and National Heritage. Other partners of this event were the Historical Anthropology Seminary of ‘Babeș Bolylai’ University of Cluj Napoca, the Alba County Hospital and One TV. The conference was attended by experts of world fame in the field, coming from Italy, Great Britain, the Czech Republic, Poland, the Netherlands, the Republic of Moldova, France and Romania. Also, the Romanian National Research Council, CNCSIS, granted some of the funding through the type AT project, code 47 "Atitudini în faţa morţii; perspective asupra vieţii în România secolelor XIX-XXI” (Attitudes in front of Death; Perspectives on Life in Romania from the Nineteenth to the Twenty-First Centuries), project manager: Marius Rotar. There 10 were positive echoes to this event. The Romanian local and national media spoke of it, proving that the scope of the conference was achieved. This is the conference proceedings, containing most of the papers presented at the conference. Unfortunately, due to objective reasons, the papers by Glennys Howarth, Enrico Cazzaniga, Liana Don, and Nicolae Mihai were not included here. There were six conference sessions as the present volume reveals. Each of these papers was intended to be an original contribution to the topic of the conference, highlighting sensitive subjects, which called forth debates and polemics. Therefore, sensitive subjects for the Romanian society were considered, related to death, such as euthanasia, suicide and especially crematories. From this point of view, we believe that our intentions have been achieved and that the second edition of this conference, planned for the end of September 2009, will further the discussions and enlarge upon the subject. The members of the organizing team were Marina Sozzi, Marius Rotar, Corina
Rotar, Luca Prestia, Victor Tudor Roşu, Paul Nanu, Liviu Zgârciu and Rareş Diodiu. It is said that death, as an event, equalizes that which life differentiates and from this perspective, our intent is to continue and strengthen the dialogue and friendship that connect us. Likewise, it is said that poetry, as a situation, begins where it ends on paper. Thus, the image of death as reality offered by the Romanian poet Horia Furtună can be one of the symbols of this conference:

«Death is a slowly moving carriage,
Its wood creaks, its bones crack,
Its wheels grind,
It comes for all of us, one at a time!
For many years it has been passing by,
On dusty and stony roads
And it leaves slowly through mud,
on a causeway
To another realm.
At the sound of its axles, its bones
Doors are closed, and houses and gates
Children stop flying their kites
The sky erases its rainbows
The laundry is gathered,
Singing and playing stop
Mothers and grandmothers cry
The death carriage passes by again today
Dogs stop barking behind the gates
On the quiet street
Grow fears, frost and cowbane
Sunflowers bend to the ground
Doves are gone with the wind
The carriage with no horses, no driver, no whip
Comes here
It has arrived on our street
There is no face at the window
There is no creak
It stopped
So be it!
The much awaited ghost has arrived
My heart has stopped beating
I’m waiting!
At last
My light has set
I will also leave
From God’s will
On the road that my mother and father
have taken

I am ready!!!»

Marius Rotar, Marina Sozzi
Alba Iulia - Turin, 2 March 2009

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