APPEAL FOR WATER
From now on, the defence of the
vital dimension of water represents a compelling challenge: protecting and increasing
its natural qualities is not an easy task, considering the mortal pollution and
wounds produced by a degrading, confused and troubled development.
is also "vital image" and "catalyzing energy": The recovery
of the relationship between waters (of seas, rivers, lakes, cascades, fountains
etc.) and the natural shapes of places and the artificial architectures of our
towns, represents the only way to return new lifeblood to the ancient tie between
the historicity of those places and the dynamism of gushing out, streaming, meeting,
separating, flowing, drying, flooding, fertilizing...
Water is not only
nourishment to men. It is also cleanliness. Purification: it removes everyday
humiliations of the body, balances emotional stress and pleasure. Streaming through
the body and from the body escaping humours of death .
In the most ancient
Mediterranean civilizations, waters had great importance: as a drink, cleaning
and purifying lavacre, bearer of health, necessary element in agriculture.
is generally thought as an essential element for life itself, especially by primitive
peoples and, where it lacks, it is considered provided with life and sacred powers:
for these reasons it represents the core of a great number of rituals, magical
and religious acts, in which water becomes the lair of spirits and gods that had
to safeguard it.
Let's try to analyze the words the ancients used to define
waters. The Semitic word iam, currently used in Jewish and Arabic languages, designated
or named all the waters, fresh or salt, clear or cloudy. By the term iam they
indicated waters of great dimensions: seas, rivers, lakes, the Ocean, the Mediterranean;
the latter is called in the Bible: Great Sea (iam Hagadiol, Gios. I,4), Last Sea
(iam has-Aharon, Deut. XI, 24), Philistine Sea (iam p'listim, Esod.XXIII, 31),
or simply "Sea", taking for granted what the referred sea was. That
is true in the Bible as well as in the Talmud.
The Arab word bahr, the Latin
mare, the ancient Slavonic more, made reference to sea, river and lake waters
"In ancient Egypt all bodies of water were indicated
by MW (we do not know wheter the vowel following the M was pronounced o or u).
waves of the sea and of the Nile showing up hieroglyphically as long, broken lines.
The word yam, which was preserved by the Copts, also features the M indicating
our sea, but the sea of reeds (Red Sea) comes from a different root and is probably
of later origin"(1).
The Greeks had a number of words for the sea:
hals is salt, the sea as matter; pelagos is the open sea, the sea as scape; pontos
is the high sea, the sea as space, scene, and road; thalassa in the general concept
(and of unclear origin, Cretan perhaps), the sea as experience and event; kolpos
is bosom or lap and, in the strict sense of the word, refers to the part of the
sea embraced by the coast; laitma is the deep, dear to poets and suicides. Much
as the forms of the sea complement one another and blend, the words for the sea
expand their meanings when juxtaposed in the works of great poets and storytellers
- matter/space, deep/high or open, scene/event - thus reflecting the rich experience
of the ancient Greeks living and sailing on the Mediterranean.
were more laconic. The Latin word mare (which they share with such branches of
Indo-European as the Slavic and Italic and which they passed on Romance languages),
like the Semitic word yam, originally designated all bodies of water: seas, lakes,
and rivers. Later, imitating Hellenic models, Roman writers borrowed words like
pontos and pelagos or lent Latin words (sal, salum, aequor) Greek meanings.
water and with water we are born.
Water can identify itself with the feminine,
lenitive and generating element; humidity reminds us the beginning of our life,
the physical symbol of its genesis; humidity encircles and protects us in the
maternal placenta, until we come to the light when waters break.
they are born, many people are baptized with water.
In many civilizations
the baptism was and still is performed with water; the ablution is related to
the idea of purification.
Water, the baptism and the sea are connected to
"Access to the sea is closely connected to the sacrament
of baptism in both the Old and New testaments. - All our fathers were under the
cloud, and all passed through the sea. And were all baptized unto Moses in the
cloud and in the sea.- Saint Paul (I Corinthians 10:1-2) during a voyage through
Like names, coasts are either Christian or not;
like people and boats, they may be baptized, and they are often named after saints
or the Virgin Mary." (3)
Man, its birth, its becoming, its death are
connected to water: the element that rises and flows and join other water, combining,
into water again!
Water springs from a thousand sources.
Even this far from the sea there are major fountainheads, but only a part of their
water ends up in riverbeds. People do not want the water to flow into rivers,
because then it will empty into the sea: they would rather keep it for themselves.
are several ancient cities named after these sources-Tlemtsen, for instance, which
comes from an ancient Hamitic dialect. They are particulary important along dry
routes. Sahara means "poor land", and there, water is truly a source
of riches, a source of life and faith in life eternal : it saves the body and
cleanses the spirit " (4)
Man and water, woman and water, foetus and
water, the baby and the water, the becoming and the water, the life and the water...
So, along endless paths the indissoluble ties between any form of life
and the water come to light: loving water, defendig the purity of its sources,
avoiding its pollution, granting to every human being its everyday water to rise
and purify himself from humiliation are our compelling duty.
to the whole Mankind for the new millenium .
Naples, March 19th 1995
Caserta, March 20th 1995
Rome, March 22nd 1995
Benevento, March 23rd