is a former technical designer and entrepreneur currently living as a homeless man in Rome, just a few meters away from the Vatican.
Nowadays it’s become a worldwide must to be politically correct. There is ongoing discourse about sexual orientation and minorities in terms of rights and acceptance of these categories, but very few pay any attention to how social alienation impacts individuals, making them invisible and in the end leaving them to their own unchanging destiny. Thousands of people, socially death sentenced, are confused among the lines of a civil world that generally considers them mentally ill or personally responsible for their circumstances.
Italian native and current street resident, Luigi Miggiani has taken a stand and has organized his own particular protest in Rome. His hope is to give homeless people the visibility that they deserve as human beings and to create for them a recognition of some basic rights - to avoid dying sick, alone, desperate and overall with no hope. Since March 2010, Luigi has set up his daily silent and peaceful dissent. Every day at 4:00pm he starts his duty and it's not until midnight or later that he goes back to his car home. His message consists of a series of signs hung by 180 carefully tied knots on the handrail and fence of an underpass leading to the iconic St. Peter's Cathedral, a symbol of mercy attracting visitors from all over the planet. He packs and unpacks everything in the perpetual way of the cross, with each single gesture having its own deep meaning. The 180 knots testifying to each single hour he was forced to spend under mandatory medical treatment in a mental institution.
This little man, small only in stature, has a fighting spirit despite precarious health conditions. His life has been a struggle in which a common man found himself surmounted by the events and most of all by the habits of a country now paying with the highest rate of interest on all of the choices made in the past. A former technical designer and entrepreneur, Luigi has had to navigate the corrupt Italian patronage system, always running into obstacles on his way but also refusing to lose. That is until, finally overwhelmed by circumstances, he staged a hunger strike that someone did not particularly like and he was severely beaten by police, locked in a mental institution where he received 180 hours of mandatory medical treatment. He was then sent to a general hospital and later released, but having already lost nearly everything, and with the burden of his health problems, he decided to keep fighting for his rights. At the end of the day, he received a diagnosis for mental illness without any supporting evidence, and yet for the Italian government, Mr. Miggiani is not entitled to any disability pension or compensation for the torture he received in the mental institutions or all of the drugs he was forced to take as treatment.
This horrible final experience would have crushed an elephant, but not Luigi, firmly convinced to fight on behalf of all the homeless people and against the social alienation that they encounter in their sidewalk life. He’s now reached 11,500 hours of protest with more than 4,500 hours of physical presence on his spot near St. Peter's. He is actually turning his life events into a set of books to leave tangible evidence of his struggles and strains.source: Giovanni Capriotti
Luigi opened my eyes the moment I met him. To the public, Luigi looks like any ordinary Italian man - always clean-shaven and in a crisp, clean suit. Homeless, you say? He lives out of his car but never in a million years would I have taken him for a homeless man. Follow me on Facebook!