Dialogue 1: Words of Pain

The first dialogue took place online November 16-17 2020. The conversation was with the Centre Primo Levi in Paris. For the last 25 years,  this institution has committed itself to the care of people who have undergone torture, mostly immigrants from various countries in Africa and Asia. In addition, it collected testimony about torture in contemporary society.

Two points of view met in this first dialogue.

  • On the one hand, there was the input of people who came out of a by now solidly consolidated experience of concrete work. This work can tell us very much about how torture manifests itself today. In addition, we can learn about the implications that such a dramatically real phenomenon has on our society as well as about how we can take on this problem. This is something that breaksa silence that envelops the victims as much as it does society in general. Getting stuck on the phenomenon of suffering, we are often prevented from coming to an adequate understanding of the problem
  • On the other hand, there were the reflections on organized violence and pain that Primo Levi offered us in his works, beginning with but not confined to his concentration camp experience. What comes to mind are his observations on “useless violence” developed in  The Drowned and the Saved.


The following contributors participated in the first session of the dialogue:

Nathalie Dollez, psychologist/psychoanalyst, Centre Primo Levi, Paris

Beatrice Patsalides Hofmann, psychologist/psychoanalyst, Centre Primo Levi, Paris

Fabio Levi, former Professor of  Contemporary History, Università di Torino

Watch the video of the first session (Italian only)


The following contributors participated in the second session, dedicated to a discussion between the social workers and experts, on the one hand, and speakers, on the other.

Roberto Beneduce, Professor of Anthropology, Università di Torino

Carlo Bracci, founding member of the association, Medici contro la tortura (doctors against torture)

Francesca Mannocchi, journalist, Espresso weekly magazine

Luciana Breggia, President of the Immigration and International Protection Section at the Tribunale di Firenze (Florence Tribunal)

Maurizio Veglio, lawyer and member of the association for the legal studies of immigration, ASGI

Annalisa Camilli, journalist, Internazionale (weekly magazine)

Michele Rossi, Director of the Center for Immigration, Asylum, and  International Cooperation, Parma

Maria Bacchi, Associazione Onere della Conoscenza (association: the burden of knowledge)


Watch the video of the second session (Italian only)