Sicily: Danilo's Dam

In the wretchedest slum quarter of Partinico. a pinched little town near Palermo, a man lay starving last week. Friends dropped in to ask "Come va oggi [How are you today]?'' and the man would answer, smiling. "Bene, benissimo.' Over his cot a poster proclaimed: "The Dam Means Wealth, the Dam Means Progress, the Dam Means Confidence!"

Sicily's angriest and least violent man, Danilo Dolci, 38, was staging a Gandhi-style fast to dramatize the need for a dam across the lato River, which could irrigate some 25,000 acres of parched, stingy land in the northwest. The government assigned funds for...

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