EARTHQUAKE/ My hope as a man in front of the rubble
It was a long interminable rumbling. You wake up unexpectedly at 3:30 in the morning, even my daughter, who usually waits to the last possible moment to get up for school. Moments of fear and my mind quickly races to L’Aquila where I work, where since last December we lived with continuing tremors more or less strong, which foretold of the strong blow to come. And so it has been; just enough time to slip on a sweater and I was on the highway racing to work.
On the way my mind went to my colleagues: the cell phone lines are closed off and it is impossible to contact them. The first to call me is Angela who between the panic and tears tells me that her house is no longer standing, and how she wishes to get to her mother, and to find out if she is still alive in the little town at the foot of the Gran Sasso.
The highway before me is closed to traffic, because a viaduct is damaged. To hell with my job as a journalist, it is the people who are foremost in my thoughts, the news story will come later. I try to hear them all, but is impossible to hear everyone.
The apocalypse in L’Aquila, the historic centre looks like those bombed cities, which we are used to seeing in snippets on the news, while we talk and think about other things. Instead here the drama is for each person, and solidarity towards everyone. The emotion is strong when I see, in the dark of night, a father digging with his bare hands through the rubble. He screams out like an invocation, “Benedetta”, his daughter’s name. Benedetta is lost in the rubble and I think of my own children and it is then that I understand that truly they are not deeply mine: there is a destiny, at times bitter, for each and every one of us. I become emotional and I feel the need to pray for my children and all those for whom I care.