• Country: Italy

  • District: 2032

A gesture that will stay with us forever…

It is always difficult choosing how to begin a newspaper article. The person behind the keyboard must take into consideration the state of mind, with which the reader is likely to approach the event described. The first step is to try put oneself in the minds and the hearts of the ten, one hundred, thousand people who will take a perhaps halfhearted or bored or tired look at those few lines, printed on some newspaper or on the tiny screen of a smartphone. Hence one might think that an event, like the one that took place in Genoa on August 14th, having been so amply covered by the media, is for some reason simple to summarise in an article; after all thousands of words have already been written and spoken with regard to this tragic event. The choice of phrases to use has been made by others, we know in detail the ideas of the opinion makers and technicians, we can even guess the sentiment with which the reader will most certainly examine the article. Actually, telling a story like the collapse of the Morandi bridge in Genoa, is, and will always be, a very difficult undertaking. This name and its memory have already entered the history books. Moreover, when a newspaper article deals with such issues it must be fully aware that it is no longer a mere source of information: it becomes a chronicle of an historical event.

Needless to say this disaster has left an enormous gash on the heart of all Genoese people, a gash that will be nigh impossible to heal. It should however be noted that Morandi represented a vision that went way beyond Genoa. It united our whole country. And here is the extraordinary nature of this event. With the fall of Polcevera, Italy has lost a piece of its childhood and of its memory. The viaduct was the son of the 1960s, of a nation that had risen out of the Second World War and which had experienced extraordinary economic expansion in the previous decade. Italy in those years felt invincible, we felt invincible. Maybe we really thought we were… If we close our eyes we can still see those very high pylons that rise up to touch the sky. The Morandi bridge was ambition, beautiful ambition – indeed our country has always been beautiful. It was an ambition to heal and grow, to stimulate and advance. But unfortunately everything, even the most beautiful of things, has a beginning and an end. The end of the viaduct on the Polcevera arrived one August morning, under heavy rain. Our country, Liguria and Genoa in a few tragic moments underwent a rude and merciless awakening. That dream, born from the hope of a different Italy, perhaps a better Italy, took a mere few seconds to vanish into thin air. What was one of the symbols of Genoa, a landmark on the city skyline, now no longer exists. We will remember it, everyone will remember it. As we have already said, the Morandi bridge has become history. And History, despite the numerous and interested attempts of some people, cannot be erased. Every living being, even the most powerful and feared, will one day have to reunite with Great Mother History. However, by collapsing, the viaduct on the Polcevera has left us with a very important lesson: nothing is eternal. We live in the absurd belief that the things we do will survive, outliving us, from now until the end of time. We must realise that similar desires are totally unrealistic. The things left on this earth can survive two, three, four hundred years, if built particularly well. So what can we do? How to defeat this ugliness that our mortal condition has taught us? We have said that nothing is eternal, but we have not considered gestures. An object has its own definition, in time and in space, but an action generates, with its own value, a series of almost infinite consequences. These actions are similar to a powerful waterfall, which even the most arid piece of news cannot dry up. Each and every one of us should therefore wake up in the morning, with the thought that all of the gestures made by us during the coming day will really be a strong and powerful testimony of this time.

Our Rotarian family has chosen to carry out their own gesture for the Ligurian capital. Well aware that a thousand objects cannot replace a single good action, Rotary, Rotaract and Interact have decided to get together and unite forces around Genoa and offer them a hand, as a sign of mutual solidarity. To this aim our service clubs have created a mutual fund to finance a project, that will help the families who lost their head of the family in the collapse of the Morandi bridge. The service will be operatively accomplished by purchasing and distributing goods and services to those families. For its part the Rotaract of District 2032 has decided to contribute through the sale of T-shirts, embellished with the symbols of the three service clubs of our Rotarian family which together hold the destroyed stumps of the Morandi viaduct. Our District has already totalled fifteen hundred T-shirts sold, but we would like to increase this number with our message of solidarity reaching out as far as possible. This is why it seems right and proper to publicise the sale of these T-shirts, by asking for a contribution from all those who feel compelled to make a gesture of solidarity for the city of Genoa.

For more information and to preview the design of the shirt, please refer to this link: https://www.facebook.com/1538020003168129/posts/1900159950287464/

We also wish to remind you of the email address of the Rotaract 2032 District, from which you may order t-shirts directly, following the directions indicated on the link. Rtc2032@gmail.com The Rotary, Rotaract and Interact of District 2032 would like to thank all those who join this important initiative offering kind, concrete help towards those who have been directly involved, in a tragic manner, by the collapse of the Morandi bridge. The Rotaract 2032, in the person of the District Representative Federico Maria Bobbio, also wishes to send special thanks to the President of the ERIC, Ben Pintens, to the whole Board and to the Country Representatives. In conclusion, our Rotarian family of the District 2032, mindful of the lesson that not things but gestures can aspire to eternity, will continue in its work, safe and proud that, one day, these actions will remain carved in the heart and in the soul of those who receive them.

Alessandro Besio – Rotaract club Asti -District 2032