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Rome. Anna Politkovskaya Square
Written by Зоя Ерошок   
Четверг, 04 Октябрь 2007
In ‘Novaya Gazeta’
On Thursday, October 4th, 2007, at 3 pm local time, Mayor of Rome Walter Veltroni unveiled Anna Politkovskaya Square in a large and beautiful park in Villa Pamfili. The ceremony was formal, and very warm and personable. The mayor, an influential politician who enjoys the trust and respect of his citizens, spoke long and earnestly. There was no pathos or dutiful, formal phrases. It was his personal message to the inhabitants of the Italian capital.
Brodsky once said that the only thing poetry and politics have in common, is that both begin with the letters 'p' and 'o'. For our politicians, however, even those initials do not match, they generally avoid being human, but when the mayor of Rome spoke, it seemed that this was no politician speaking, but a poet. He said that Anna Politkovskaya was brave and free, that she wrote accurately and reliably, and did not like to add commentary, because she believed that the facts must speak for themselves.
The mayor said that Anya was able to watch and write. That is, to see reality for what it is, to see the truth and be able to describe it with the best words, and in the best manner. She wrote about the weak, the mayor said, about those who suffer, and she did not just write about them, she worked to reduce their pain: Chechnya, ‘Nord-Ost’, she was the first to fly to Beslan, but never reached it: she was poisoned on the way. She wrote about inhuman torture in the prisons, about the war and the curtain of silence. And she broke the rules, the rules that we find it hard to break. Hers was a life of passion, the mayor said, a difficult one, and full of risk. And after a pause, he continued: “When they kill a journalist, they do it just to be silence him, but we must not remain silent when they kill a journalist. So we will do everything so that the name of Anna Politkovskaya is inextricably linked to our city. We will talk about Anna, and remember her.”
The canvas is pulled away, and the square (which in Italian translates to a place or space) is open. Written there, in literal translation: Anna Politkovskaya Square. (1958 — 2006). Russian journalist. A witness to freedom, and an activist for human rights.
Journalists rush toward Anna Politkovskaya’s daughter, Vera. There are a many of them, very many.
Later Vera and I think about how difficult it is to translate Anna’s inscription there in the park, so we decide to leave a cribbed version. We do not try to find synonyms or replace ‘activist’ with ‘fighter’. Why bother? Anna really was an activist. In this sense, whatever she did, she did for the good of it. Incidentally, the etymology of the word ‘poetry’ is from the Greek ‘poiesis’, or ‘activity’. And Anna did not simply testify to what she witnessed, she really was a witness to freedom. She knew what it was that she saw, and she felt very strongly about freedom.
It is a very nice park, with large trees, and a lot of people.
Here comes the famous Italian actress Otávia Piccolo. On Saturday, October 6th, she will act in a play devoted to Anna.
People keep coming and coming, and everyone is quiet and solemn, and yet somehow delicate, and unobtrusive.
P.S.: Mayor Walter Veltroni handed Vera Politkovskaya and ‘Novaya Gazeta’ medals of Rome.

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