[All links lead to Italian language pages, except when otherwise noted]
As still marked by many church clocks and bell towers at the center of L'Aquila [en], at 3:32 am of April 6, 2009, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake broke the silence of the sleeping town and destroyed the lives of many of its inhabitants. To remember the third anniversary of the tragic event, citizens came together in support and remembrance, created numerous web pages for retelling and commenting upon the earthquake and its far-reaching effects.There was no dearth of official visits and commemorations — significant to many was the presence of Fabrizio Barca, the minister of “Coesione territoriale” [the Italian office created in 2011 to coordinate the actions of local governments and support political infrastructure in central-southern Italy], who has shown particular concern for Aquila's situation and to creating transparency in the reconstruction process — amidst great sorrow and grief, demands for justice and for guarantees of reconstruction.
In the last two days, many have shared, above all via Twitter, (#laquila, #terremoto, #laquilapernoi, #6aprile) their memories and reflections, and expressed solidarity with the people of Aquila. Highly referenced in these tweets is a telephone conversation intercepted the day after the earthquake, in which two businessmen joke about the event, looking forward hungrily to the money to be made in rebuilding. In this short video you can hear a excerpt from the conversation.
@ermeneleutico dedicates a few verses to the town:
Buonanotte l'Aquila / riempita di promesse / usata e abbandonata / per meschino interesse
While Marta Torres shows her solidarity with the people of the city of L'Aquila and the region of Abruzzo:
@Bebo1936 recounts his experience three years ago:
And @DaniDBJ adds:
Finally, @liv_77 demonstrates how there has not yet been a return to normalcy for the people of L'Aquila:
Many initiatives have been launched to safeguard the memory of the event. A video made by Shoot4Change and Anpas collected voices, images and live stories, creating a space for collective sharing and remembering.
Move Productions and Al Jazeera English produced a documentary titled “Ritorno a L'Aquila” (Return to L'Aquila), that was transmitted today by hundreds of web tv channels, coordinated by the Altratv.tv network together with Internet provider Tiscali.
Furthermore, on April 15, the online magazine Wired.it has launched a campaign with the goal of maintaining a high level of attention on L'Aquila emergency in order to discuss publicly the reconstruction projects and the rebirth of the city. To this end, there's also been a barcamp organized in the central Duomo Square. For information and updates on the organization of these events, you can follow the hashtag #occupylaquila on Twitter.
Il terremoto del 2009 è stato senza dubbio una catastrofe; e quindi, come qualsiasi catastrofe nella storia dell’evoluzione del mondo, ha distrutto delle cose, delle forme di vita, ma ne ha fatte sorgere delle altre. Anzi, la sfida della ricostruzione è riuscita ad attivare dei processi di incontro e comunicazione tra le persone che prima sembravano impossibili. […] Più che restaurata, o semplicemente ricostruita, la nostra città deve essere rifondata. Battersi per L’Aquila oggi significa in primo luogo opporsi alle speculazioni edilizie e all’ulteriore consumo di suolo e territorio. […] La nostra è certamente una lotta territoriale, con la sua identità e le sue specificità, ma è anche una lotta per un modello complessivo fatto di politica trasparente, di decisioni realmente democratiche e partecipate, di rispetto del patrimonio ambientale e culturale e sviluppo eco-sostenibile.
There has been no lack of official voices either, like that of Stefania Pezzopane, councilwoman for culture in L'Aquila, who on the news website Articolo21.org wrote:
Il 6 aprile resta una data diversa dalle altre perché sono passati più di mille giorni e sentiamo sulle nostre vite il peso di una precarietà e di un disorientamento che persistono. La nostra città è ancora deserta, ferita, priva di quella vita pulsante che era, poi, la quotidianità di ciascuno di noi. […] Questo non è un giorno normale proprio perché, a fianco al lutto che è impresso come una ferita nei nostri cuori, ci stupiamo della nostra forza e della speranza che ancora riusciamo a donare allo sguardo con cui cerchiamo di abbracciare il futuro.
Walking about the streets of the city and its surrounding neighborhoods, one realizes that in L'Aquila the trauma is still present and visible, but stronger yet is the resentment of those families who will never see their homes again, of those who feel abandoned and who believe that not enough has been done, that in three years nothing (or almost nothing) has changed: debris and rubble piled on the streets downtown, houses propped-up in makeshift fashion, windowless buildings make up the cityscape awaiting tourists in the medieval jewel of Abruzzo.
Thousands were wounded and 309 people died, many of whom were students from all over Italy who had moved to L'Aquila to attend its university.
The L'Aquila tragedy, as it persisted after the earthquake, did not concern solely the loss of human life during the catastrophic event: there were many judicial inquiries (some still under way) regarding the handling of the emergency, the responsibilty of those companies that chose building materials and designs that were unfit for an earthquake zone (in particular, the construction of public buildings, like student housing, has come under questioning), and regarding lobbyists and other groups interested in receiving a portion of the funds allocated to reconstruction of the city and the entire seismic crater.
After the triple catastrophe (tsunami, earthquake, near nuclear meltdown) that a year ago battered Japan [en], there are many comparisons to be made between Fukushima and L'Aquila, comparisons that underline the differences in ‘approach’ between Italian and Japanese scientists when it comes to making previsions for earthquakes based on seismology.
A couple of months after the event, when the media frenzy that brought L'Aquila such (sad) international notoriety had left, the floodlights suddenly turned off. Now, three years after the tragedy, there is still much work to be done before the city and community can return to the actual stability they once knew.