Surfing the Spectacle

Riace, Paese dell’Accoglienza

This is Mimmo Lucano, the major of Riace.


Riace is a town located in the southern coast of Calabria,
the tip region of the Italian boot.


You might be recalling the name of this town from an art history class.


The Riace bronzes, two of the few examples of full-size greek bronze statues,
were found in the waters of Riace in 1972.


But something else was more recently rescued from the Mediterranean waters,
and taken to the land of Riace.


In 2016 the local community of Riace welcomed more than 800 migrants from 20 countries, giving jobs to all of them. Riace’s system for the reception of immigrants, called Modello Riace (Riace Model), has made the town an Italian model for hospitality and acceptance.

The system was developed by Lucano himself in 1998 when a boat full of migrants from Kurdistan and Iraq arrived on the Riace shore, Lucano was able to combine the reception of immigrants with the rebirth and development of the town. The many abandoned houses were restructured and became homes for the immigrants, and all the old artisanal jobs were given to them. This system has greatly improved the economy of the town and saved many lives.



on October 2nd, 2018, Mimmo Lucano was arrested. He was found helping illegal migrants receiving the Italian citizenship through marriages of convenience. By the Italian law, trying to save people from being sent back to their native country they risked their lives to escape from, is illegal.

This is Oskar Schindler, a German businessman.


In 1939 he established the Deutsche Emaillewaren-Fabrik,
a factory that produced utensils, located in Krakov, Poland.


Only a few years later, in 1944, he had employed 1,750 workers,
1,000 of whom were Jewish.


During the Second World War, Schindler was able to keep 1200 persecuted Jews working in his factory and saved them from being deported to concentration camps.

Was any of what he did legal?


But what was legal at the time?


And today?


Sometimes what’s right is not always legal,
and sometimes what’s legal is not always right.

What is very important, however, is to understand when laws are humane and when they aren’t, and people like Domenico Lucano and Oskar Schindler might not the best example of people who abided by the law, but they are two great examples of humanity. If Schindler hadn’t made the Schindler’s list, and if Lucano hadn’t helped illegal immigrants, the world would be a worse place right now.

And like what Bertolt Brecht says,
when injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.


“Riace, the welcoming town.
This town rejects war as an instrument of aggression against
the freedom of other peoples and as a means for the
settlement of international disputes. (Art. 11 of the Italian Constitution.)”

Spectacle entry by Irene Piazza.


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