Palestina Libera: Palestine march, Milan 21 October

On a giant LED billboard fitted onto the colossal stone wall of Milan Central Station a woman in shiny red patent leather throws a cruel look from under black-rimmed eyes. Her back is arched like a ferocious predator.

Below, I see a cluster of bodies. Green, red and black smoke dispersing, flags lashing in the wind. The crowd is screaming.


As I descend the station stairs I can feel the eyes of the sadistic leather-woman following me. I glance up at her once more to notice that the seduction of fetish capital in LED light had put Mussolini’s monolithic winged horses in the shade.

Protestors arrived in a steady stream. The crowd eventually flooded the massive public square. We were now thousands strong and ready to begin the march.

All around us, there were people on balconies watching and waving.

The crowd obliterates individuality but it is easy to see that we are in Milan.



Dog shit


A tall young photographer with eyes like a hawk scans the crowd then disappears.



A twenty-something Palestinian man is sitting on the shoulders of a two-hundred pound unit, both are screaming themselves hoarse. He is our leader.

There is the smell of smoke bombs and sweat. Everyone is sweating.

Its humid, our bodies are crammed together. A group of men with Deliveroo bags on their backs hand out free water.

Aqua, aqua, aqua!

“You are Palestinian?”

“I’m Australian.”

“You look Arabic!” ….“Yes, I thought she was too!” …“Stay with us!”

With the four sisters I continued screaming:


The man with the unit underneath him became a giant:



We have occupied Milan.

Milan has stopped for this hoarse and solid unit pounding the streets.

We finally reached an outdoor stadium adjoining a park somewhere far away from where we had begun.

There were speeches and condemnations.

Some people wanted to dance, they were stopped. The crowd was agitated.

People started opening bottles of beer, smoking cigarettes and hash. After all, its Saturday night.

It had grown dark, the half moon glowed in the deep blue sky. A man climbed the stairs all the way to the top of the stadium and scaled the surrounding fence.

His figure, and the flag he waved were a dark silhouette set against the night sky.

A lost little girl burst into tears “maaaaaammaa”. I took her by the arm and looked around for a frantic mother. There she is! She fell into her mother’s arms and hid in the folds of her dress – a moment later, she was playing with a flag and enjoying her careless existence.

It was over. Back in the arrival hall of the train station, I looked around me at all the people waiting for their trains. Most of us sat on the floor. There were many Arab families who travelled from hours away, and then pushed prams in the immense crowd for the entire day. Their faces were tired.

The leather-woman up there on her colossal throne looks even more cruel than she did earlier this afternoon.

She’s so shiny, like a red cherry coated in melted butter. Horrible and seductive eyes stare down on exhausted working people, people who just spent the day screaming at the top of their lungs to stop the genocide.

Mahmoud Nasser, the writer who is trapped in Gaza with his pregnant wife, said:

‘Our hope is dwindling as night approaches.’

About the author

Catherine Lo Bianco

Catherine Lo Bianco is an independent writer.

More articles by Catherine Lo Bianco

Support Arena

Independent publications and critical thought are more important than ever. Arena has never relied on or received government funding. It has sustained its activities largely through the voluntary work and funding provided by editors and supporters. If Arena is to continue and to expand its readership, we need your support to do it.

Leave a Reply