Once upon a time, there were … ‘eight kings!

June 5, 2007 at 2:28 pm Leave a comment

Big Head puppets horsing around at Rostock Harbour

“Once upon a time, there were … ‘eight kings!’ my little readers will say right away. No, children, you are wrong. Once upon a time there was a piece of wood….”

Thomas NoirfalisseThomas Noirfalisse is Web Editor for Oxfam International
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In the last few days, I’ve been inspired by Pinocchio. I realized I had never read the original novel and that everything I know about this tale is the sugar-coated Walt Disney version.

When Collodi wrote “The Adventures of Pinocchio” in 1881, western nations were experiencing unprecedented industrial growth and social progress and millions of Italians emigrated, mostly from the country’s underdeveloped southern regions and the agrarian north-east regions. The main concern of the vast majority of Italians were the need for food, shelter, and the basics of daily life. Today, Italy is a member of the exclusive G8 club. The irony is that the decisions they take (or don’t take) directly affect the lives of millions of people from all over the world, mostly from the southern and agrarian regions of … our planet.

What makes “Pinocchio” a masterpiece is its timelessness. Pinocchio’s world is not only a fairy-tale world. It actually transcends the fairy tale and tells the story of all times.

Every year, in front of media from all over the world, G8 leaders commit themselves to tackling global poverty. But every time, despite some areas of improvement, their noses grow as they fail to keep their promises and so the chances for development are shrinking. This is the message that we, the Oxfam campaigning team in Rostock, wanted the TVs and wire photographers – the story tellers of today – to take from our stunt we did on Rostock harbour quays.

Collodi originally had not intended the novel as children’s literature. It had an unhappy ending and dealt with serious themes, not that far from the ones G8 is talking about now. In the original, Pinocchio dies hanged for his innumerable faults. Let’s hope G8 leaders will take these issues seriously, otherwise… who knows.

In any case, when the summit finishes I’ll go back home and the first thing I’ll do is to find a version of Pinocchio.

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Entry filed under: G8 2007 - Germany.

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