Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Giorgio Gaber, "Io non mi sento Italiano" translation: "I do not feel Italian"

Recently I have been listening to a few songs by Giorgio Gaber. Gaber was an Italian songwriter that I had always heard of, but I’ll admit that I knew almost nothing about him. Shame on me.


This song, “Io non mi sento Italiano”, was contained in an album of the same name released in 2003, shortly after Gaber’s death. Despite being written about a decade ago, I think that many people can still relate to it. I decided to translate it because, as an expat, it perfectly applies to me. Hope you will enjoy it. 


"I do not feel Italian" by Giorgio Gaber

I, G. G, was born and live in Milan.
I do not feel Italian
But fortunately or unfortunately I am.

I'm sorry, President
It is not my fault
But this country of ours
I do not know what it is.
Maybe I am wrong
Maybe it is a good idea
But I fear it might turn into
A bad poem.
I'm sorry, President
I do not really need
The national anthem
Of which I am a little ashamed
Since our football players
(I do not want to judge)
They either do not know it
Or they have more decency (than other football players)

I do not feel Italian
But fortunately or unfortunately I am.

I'm sorry, President
If I am so bold
To say that I do not feel
Any belonging here.
Except Garibaldi
And some other glorious heroes
I see no reason
To be proud.
I'm sorry, President
But I think of the fanaticism
Of the black shirts
In the time of Fascism
From which one day 
This democracy was born
And it takes imagination 
To congratulate her

I do not feel Italian
But fortunately or unfortunately I am.
This beautiful country
Full of poetry
Has many demands
But in our western world
Is just the periphery.

I'm sorry, President
But this State of ours
That you represent
It seems a little wrecked.
It's even too clear
In the eyes of the people
That everything is planned
And nothing works.
It might be that Italians
According to old traditions
Are too obsessed
About any discussion.
Even in parliament
The atmosphere is explosive
They fight about everything
And then nothing ever changes.

I do not feel Italian
But fortunately or unfortunately I am.

I'm sorry, President
You must agree
That the limits we have
Need to be told.
But beside the defeatism
We are what we are
And we also have a past
That we do not forget.
I'm sorry, President
But maybe we Italians
To other people are only
Spaghetti and mandolins.
So here I get pissed
I am proud and I brag
I tell right to their face
What the Renaissance is.

I do not feel Italian
But fortunately or unfortunately I am.

This beautiful country
Might not be too wise
(and) Has confused ideas
But if I were born elsewhere
It could have been worse.

I'm sorry, President
Now I have said many things
There is another consideration 
Which I think is important.
Compared to foreigners
We believe less
But maybe we have understood
That the world is a farce.
I'm sorry, President
I know you do not rejoice
If the cry "Italy, Italy"
Is heard only at football games.
But in part not to die
Or in part as a joke
We have made Europe
Now let’s also make Italy.

I do not feel Italian
But fortunately or unfortunately I am.

I do not feel Italian
But fortunately or unfortunately
Fortunately or unfortunately
Fortunately

Fortunately I am.