On the 19th of August 2008, after an heroic fight bravely and joyfully managed till the last moment, our beloved mate Marina Genovese passed away.
Her premature death represents for us who have worked with her for the last twenty years, both an irretrievable personal loss and a temporary pause from political activities.
In this occasion, however, we would like to commemorate the public side of Marina, even though her personal life has always been inextricably bound to her political passion. Marina devoted herself to women, from the militant feminism in the "Movimento di Liberazione della Donna" (MLD-"Woman's Liberation Movement") to the separatist lesbianism. Untiring, endowed with an inexhaustible energy, prolific of projects and ideas, for years she did not allow herself with any other activities than the ones for VISIBILIA Association and IMMAGINARIA Festival: holidays did not exist, neither weekends spent resting or amusing. That so-called "free" time was just the one to profit and concentrate, the best one to devote to creativity and planning together with her. And the biggest initiatives, from the epic self-financing parties (500/600 women in average during the "golden period") to the IMMAGINARIA Festival (12 editions!), from the First Italian Lesbian Week to the separatist space named "When night is falling" during the 2000 World Pride in Rome- just to mention some of them - required even an additional voluntary work.
Politics was her biggest passion. Capable of an original and far-sighted analysis, in the early 90' she was the first lesbian representative in Italy to insist on seeking a relation with the left institutions and to achieve everything that was reasonable in Italy at that time from them. She used to connect with female members of political parties in order to build with them a path of knowledge and exchange, but never sparing them radical criticism for a lack of intervention, disappointing results or fruitless practices. She was able to be welcomed by mayors and councillors and to make them awaken thanks to the effectiveness of her proposals and, last but not least, to her dialectics that was still deeply Parthenopean (she came from Naples) in spite of 30 years spent in Bologna.
Her long political commitment was always characterized by her full independence and autonomy from political parties and lobbies, both male and female ones, to the point of refusing favourable alliances if they could cause assimilation and loss of a laboriously conquered identity.
Marina foresaw years in advance the evolution -and also a certain involution- of the Italian lesbian movement. She tryed to fight with every means to remind lesbians of what she considered the basic principles of a lesbian ethic, which has still to be invented. The woman who did not define herself a theoretician and preferred the politics of doing things, the woman who after 12 years still trembled with emotion when climbing up the IMMAGINARIA stage, the one who was always backstage even though she was the main starter of the Festival, sometimes amazed with quotations which almost belong to her: among others, Mary Daly, Sarah Hoagland …
Maybe she incurred in objections by some of the lesbian movement for the excessive stiffness she had in applying her ethical principles and in requiring that others too deeply share and respect them. Objections that she faced with her strength, but that in the long-term left her distressed and sometimes disheartened. The last one of her controversial intuitions was the proposal of modifying IMMAGINARIA's subtitle from "International Lesbian Film Festival" to "International Women's Film Festival - Rebels, Lesbians, Eccentrics". This change was due to the need of making the most again of the relationship between lesbians and women, in a time when they were attacked again by the artificial insemination referendum, the questioning about abortion, the "pinup" politics of the Center-Right parties.
And above all she asserted that lesbians should prefer women's thought to the LGBT standardization politics, the only one that could offer them a means to fly away to a really different world.
We bring to an end these few
words (not even a long speech could give back the richness and the complexity of
her personality) recalling the hinges of the whole Marina's political life.
The first one: her unlimited interest into women's dignity and freedom, that love which drove her to make IMMAGINARIA not only a unique cultural space, but also a comfortable place, cared for and professional in every detail, till the first edition as far back as 1993. She used to say: "I would like to see lesbians in public and beautiful places, the same which everyone else has: enough with wooden benches and stripped walls with which we have been pleased for years. Let's stop we first practicing self-reduction politics which offend ourselves more than how others could do!".
The second one: the strong belief that all together we could create a different world. Because Marina was herself a whole world (of emotions, energy, projects), and a different one. Different from the one we continue to see around us and against which she would never have ceased to fight.
Thanks, Marina. For ever.
memory of Marina Genovese
REBEL, LESBIAN, ECCENTRIC … woman
So that your quintessence always fights with us.
Created: 14 March 2009