snafu on 5 Oct 2000 12:41:54 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] The Thing Rome and AvaNa Net censored by the City of Rome

If you are...

a cultural worker, a journalist who loves the truth, an artist, an 
activist, a citizen who cannot stand any longer the hysterical emergency 
created around pedophilia and any other phenomenon treated in an irrational 
and irresponsible way by the State's men and women and media, we ask you to 
spread this message.

ĢEach person, each association, each institution engaged in these days
of dramatic news in the struggle against pedophilia, should reflect
more often on what's happening and then, overcoming stupor and
concern, ask themselves how all this could have ever been possible
and how a public administration could have made it possible.
And wait for a reply from whom can and must give it".
                                           Father Fortunato di Noto, 
President of Telefono Arcobaleno


Rome, 4 / 10 / 2000
The axe of censorship falls on the Roman Civic Network
AvAnA Net and The Thing Rome censored by the City of Rome

What is happening in these hours in Rome is incredible. In two days, two 
squalid cases of censorship have fallen on the Roman Civic Network, hitting 
two groups, AvaNa Net and The Thing Rome, highly active in these years in 
the telematic, cultural and social fields. To determine the choice of the 
City of Rome to obscure the pages of these two groups, the anti-pedophilia 
hysteria fed by different organs of information and by a political class 
incapable of distinguishing pedophilia from a critical reflection on the 
same phenomenon, morbid images from common prints of the 1700s.

Let's ricapitulate the facts. Following the umpteenth denunciation by 
Father Fortunato di Noto, the priest President of the "Rainbow Association" 
(a name used by gay associations as well!), whose mission is to hunt 
pedophiles and satanists on the Internet, the vicedirector general of the 
City of Rome, Mariella Gramaglia, decides to obscure on the 2 October, the 
pages of AvanaNet, an historical group of the Roman telematic scene.

Various Italian national newspapers, such as Il Messaggero 
Il Corriere della Sera, La Repubblica, report, on 3 October, extracts from 
the site containing some messages on the presumed sexual pleasure that 
minors would feel in erotic rapport with adults. That's enough to provoke 
the denunciation of the courageous priest and the explosive declarations of 
Gramaglia, who after having suspended the site, threatens to denounce AvaNa 
"in civil and criminal courts to have offended her honor and that of the 
City of Rome".

What the newspapers omit to say, or say in an incomplete way. is that the 
phrases in question come from a book - published in its entirety on the 
site - entitled "Let the little children..." and signed  with the pseudonym 
Luther Blissett. Re-inserting in the right context - that it is an enquiry 
into the phenomenon of pedophilia and the political instrumental use that 
is made of it - the phrases in question in fact lose any morbid profile.

"Let the little children..." is in fact a counter enquiry on pedophilia and 
satanism that in 1997 sought to make some clarity in the ubiquitous media 
hysteria and focused on the risk of a new level of limitations of civil 
liberties. In the text there isn't the slightest exaltation of any form of 
violence against minors or adults but, being a serious enquiry, the book 
contains many citations from clinical  studies that take into 
considerations sexual experiences between minors and adults. In particular 
the citations quoted by Father Fortunato di Noto has been extracted from a 
book of psychology "Child and Sex", published by Little Brown and Company, 
publishing house that is part of the multinational group Time Warner.

The book (in Italian) can be found online at the following URLs

It's also interesting why AvANa had decided to reproduce  the book i its 
entirety on the space given to AvANa  by the City.  In 1998, Lucia Musti, 
Pubblic Prosecutor in the case against the satanist sect of "Children of 
Satan" - (the case resulted in the absolution of all charges) - decided to 
denounce some servers which were already hosting the text. In solidarity 
with the denounced providers AvANa publicly decided to give space on their 
site to the book.

Strange that the charge contested by Musti against the author of the book, 
was the one of defamation via  press and "abuse of critique" toward her 
operation in the proceeding against "Children of Satan". Strange that a 
Public Prosecutor, usually very attentive to questions related to 
pedophilia, didn't reveal any causes to proceed criminally against the 

Without keeping in consideration all the context and all these precedents, 
the City of Rome attributed the responsibility for the contents of the book 
to AvaNa, throwing mud over a piece of history of social telematic in Italy 
with its declarations. But the story won't finish here...

Second Act: the prints of the 1700s enter the scene

The second act of this sad tale begins on 4 October when the group of The 
Thing Roma - one of seven nodes of the international network of The Thing 
dedicated to net art and net culture- realised that an HTML document on 
their site containing an interview by Ricardo Dominguez with Francesca da 
Rimini, alias doll yoko, (originally published on The Thing New York in 
1997), had been removed. A letter of explanation from Mauro Biddau, member 
of the Vice Direction General of the City of Roma and webmaster of Rete 
Civica was received by The Thing on the same day. In this letter Biddau 
admitted to having removed two images from the HTML document (but in fact 
he had removed the entire document) because "they were not in line with the 
rules of agreement between the City of Rome and non-profit associations for 
the development of the Roman Civic Network". But in reality this accord 
limits associations to not using the net to transmit material which might 
be offensive to anyone.

The incredible thing is that the images in question - that you can see 
together with the interview (in Italian) at (or a slightly 
different version in English at - have been used in "doll 
space" (, a well known work of internet art, 
financed by the New Media Fund of the Australia Council, winner of two 
international prizes, exhibited in numerous festivals and its "perverted 
pages" acquired by the University of Westminster.

Furthermore, the GIF animations in question had been created by an artist 
using a Dutch printing press in 1789 (what a subversive date!), that was 
one of the first illustrations of the political/literary works of the 
Marquis de Sade (another noted pervert, unfortunately his texts are now all 
legal and in circulation). Other images from this often reproduced series, 
also capable of provoking "scandal" and "offence", even if they were 
created 200 years ago, can be found 

After having stared at all of this we are feeling totally in accord with 
Father Fortunato di Noto in the affirmation that:

ĢEach person, each association, each institution [...], should reflect
more often on what's happening and then, overcoming stupor and
concern, ask themselves how all this could have ever been possible
and how a public administration could have made it possible.
And wait for a reply from whom can and must give it".

We think that the time of waiting is over. And that it is necessary to take 
back the words. Using all the means at our disposal, including legal means, 
the right to our honour remains intact, our name unblemished, our ideas 
trampled by people who live in fear and use this fear only for political 
and electoral aims.

It is necessary to arrive at a total campaign that rebuts the dangerous 
perception that is being created around those who simply intend to express 
their true thoughts, to make political or cultural action, or in the end, 
to breathe. Your help can be precious:

Please send this message to Mauro Biddau:

Mauro Biddau <> Web master of the City Council of Rome
Claudia De Paolis <> Member of the General Direction of 
the City Council


Send them as an attachment images of the 1700s prints from this website

Or from the Doll Yoko website:

Create your own form of protest and spread it.

Subscribe to this appeal at:

The Thing Roma <>

Best wishes,

The Thing Roma



The Thing Roma <>
Marco Deseriis <>
Giuseppe Marano <>


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