This is a completely unrelated post but I make no apologies for it. I used to live in Italy. I spent two happy years there. My partner is Italian and as well as the time I lived there, I spent a lot of time travelling around Italy.
I couldn’t let the day pass then without acknowledging the earthquake in L’Aquila. I went to L’Aquila once. I went most places to be honest. When I was living there, I saw it as a tick box of places and things to do and see and L’Aquila, which means The Eagle, appealed to me mostly because it was a little remote – it wasn’t somewhere a lot of people went – and partly because I just loved the idea of a city called ‘The Eagle’. It seems to very grand in a typically Italian way. Sometimes the quieter, less obvious towns are the most interesting ones to visit. That was pretty much my mantra as I ploughed the railway lines of Italy. I was greeted with much kindness and curiosity – why was I visiting? where was I from? And it is those people that I am thinking of now as I see the pictures roll in on the television and newspapers.
It gives more than a pause for thought though, how in an instant, plans made can change and a normal evening can turn into one that remains engraved in the consciousness forever.
It is something of the power of nature that is both a part of day to day life (especially when I was living in Sicily) and a testament to ancient structures that succumb to the damage after centuries as well as poorly put together buildings tendered on the cheap, more recently, to companies that offers the greatest bribes.
Honestly though, to anyone who thinks our British government stinks with dodgy expense claims and the lining of pockets from tax payers funds – spare a thought or two for the Italians who are much less subtle and have a political system almost built on levels of pay offs.
But back to the point, which is the horrific death toll in Abruzzo and the after effects that will be felt for generations. Buildings can be rebuilt in time. I hope very much that lives can be too.