Trump and his Enablers belong in Dante’s 9th Circle of Hell

each-betrayal-begins-with-trust-martin-luther“If Dante’s deepest circle of Hell did exist, it would be reserved for Trump and his enablers. It would be reserved for those who betrayed our country and this beautiful blue world for profit. It would be reserved for those who allowed a pandemic to take tens of thousands of lives and affect millions. It would be reserved for those who are silent about the bounties placed on our active duty troops’ heads, who disparage our military, intelligence agencies, our scientists, and health care professionals. It would be reserved for those who place all that we love in danger.

“It would be reserved for those who supposedly care for us, but expect silence about their support of Trump or of those who support him.

“The list of betrayals in my life is long and old.” []    –Onomastic, Daily Kos, September 15, 2020

Dante Alighieri’s COVID-19

person-wearing-mask“‘Lasciate ogni Speranza, voi ch’entrate.’ Abandon all hope, ye who enter.

“The words inscribed on the gates of hell, according to Dante Alighieri in the Divina Commedia, could be the best way to describe the tumultuous year we have experienced so far…

“The COVID-19 world crisis has shed light into how broken some systems are, how a social net would have helped the ‘most developed country in the world’ be the hero it is in the Hollywood movies.

“Instead, residents of the United States find themselves trapped in a hell only known to them and a select group of countries, like Brazil and Mexico. We currently have no Virgil that will guide us through the complex planes of hell. At this rate, Dante would have never gotten out of the Inferno to ever meet the concentric circles of the Paradiso.” []    –Jorge Luis Galvez Vallejo, Iowa State Daily, July 30, 2020

India’s Covid Wards are Like Scenes From Dante’s Inferno


“Ward rounds are now scenes from Dante’s Inferno. Row upon row of patients waging a desperate struggle to breathe, their cries for help often falling on deaf ears as overworked medical staff struggle just to keep going.” [. . .]    –Zarir Udwadia, The Financial Times, April 29, 2021

COVID-19: Indians Going Through Nine Circles of Hell

“Akin to how characters in Dante’s poem paid for their sins in hell, Indians are paying with their lives during a pandemic for electing a government that is utterly incompetent and bigoted. [. . .]

“Dante and his imaginary guide Virgil were travelling through nine circles of hell on their way to heaven. Hell was used as a metaphor for human suffering for sins committed on earth. Although the punishment was severe, Dante’s poem portrayed them as fair and proportionate to the sins committed. The sufferings in India are not imaginary, but real, taking place while people are still alive, and most importantly, whatever their sins are, the fairness and proportionately of the punishments are definitely questionable. Yet the reference is fair and this column is designed to explain why.

“India is now in the proverbial ‘Ante-Inferno’ with a clear inscription written all over her, ‘Abandon all hope, you who enter here.’ India is now the case study of ‘what not to do’ in a pandemic, thanks to the conceit, egotism, and self-approbation of the Modi government.” [. . .]    –Debasish Chakraborty, The Wire, May 20, 2021

Dante receives his COVID-19 vaccine

Posted to Instagram by La Repubblica and L’Espresso Settimanale illustrator Mauro Biani (@maurobia) on Dantedì (March 25) 2021. The image was also shared on La Repubblica.

Contributed by Carmelo Galati (Temple University)

Infiorata di Noto, Omaggio a Dante (2021)


“L’infiorata di Noto is an annual event in Noto, Sicilia, which creates an extended street design made entirely of flowers. This year’s design is dedicated to the 700th anniversary of Dante’s death.”   –Contributor Kate McKee

“La 42esima Infiorata di via Nicolaci si farà e sarà un omaggio a Dante Alighieri. Si svolgerà dal 14 al 16 maggio, nel massimo rispetto delle normative anticontagio da Covid-19, privilegiando ancora una volta il messaggio di forza, speranza e resilienza che Noto vuole mandare al Mondo intero, come già successo con l’edizione 2020 dal tema ‘La Bellezza è più Forte della Paura’.”   —Infiorata di Noto website (accessed May 17, 2021)

The theme of this year’s annual festival is “E quindi uscimmo a riveder le stelle,” which, as the above citation explains, celebrates the strength, hope, and resilience of Noto in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Contributed by Kate McKee (Bowdoin College ’22)

“New Jersey: License Endorsement in the 10th circle of Hell”

“Since covid, the DMV has been a nightmare experience especially in New Jersey. It wasn’t until November that the MVC decided that appointments might be better than waiting in line for 3 hours at 5 AM

“I’ve been to the DMV 6 times since May to get my permit / license. I’ve done everything including a BRC to slip the road test so that I could expedite getting my endorsement.

“After making an appointment in November (for my sixth trip) I showed up with all of my documentation this Saturday to finally get it done. I double checked all my paperwork. I brought extra paperwork so I could also get my REAL ID (my license is expiring in a month and my moto permit expires this month).

“I go in at my appointment I ACE the test (I actually already took it before but they literally LOST my score) and I flash my BRC cert from the summer to get my endorsement but despite showing this multiple times before to DMV folks, this woman today told me the small credit card sizes cert was it enough, I needed a larger form (examiners verification) to get my endorsement. I called my BRC office and they had no idea what the form is and have never issued one.

“Does god hate me? Am I am idiot? Should I just sell my bike?”   –u/universal_ubiquity, Reddit, 2021

Read the full thread here.

“Dario Cecchini on Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’”


“For many visitors to Tuscany, their first taste of Dante’s verses came with their first taste of bistecca alla Fiorentina, crowded around the boisterous restaurant tables of local butcher Dario Cecchini. In Panzano in Chianti, surrounded by art and memory, Dario recites Dante by heart, towering over the modest shop display of carefully chosen cuts. There is a verse for every moment, from love to crisis, and the energy that comes with a celebration of life.” [. . .]    –Marisa Garreffa, The Florentine, March 24, 2021.

Vasuki Shastry, Asia’s 8 Circles of Hell

“Inspired by Dante’s Inferno, Shastry takes readers on a journey through modern Asia’s eight circles of hell where we encounter urban cowboys and cowgirls fleeing rural areas to live in increasingly uninhabitable cities, disadvantaged teenage girls unable to meet their aspirations due to social strictures, internal mutiny, messy geopolitics from the rise of China, and a political and business class whose interests are in conflict with a majority of the population. Shastry challenges conventional thinking about Asia’s place in the world and the book is essential reading for those with an interest in the continent’s future.”    –From the book description, Amazon

Dantedì 2020 in Tunisia

Hammadi Agrebi, Professor of Italian in the Tunisian Ministry of Education, posted a brief video of himself dressed as Dante and reciting the opening verses of the Inferno as a celebration of Dantedì 2020. He began his reading by remarking on the ways that Dante’s verses serve to unify people across cultures, and circulated them on social media with the hashtag #IoleggoDante, an initiative sponsored by the Italian Ministry of Culture to display solidarity with Italians and others worldwide who were in strict lockdowns during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The video was posted on YouTube on March 24, 2020.