Antonio Was Killed In Strasbourg, But A Certain Rhetoric Is Dangerous

I have so much in common with Antonio that, as I write, I got chills

On December 11, in Strasbourg, the young Italian Antonio Megalizzi was hit in the head by a gunshot. After a three-days coma, he tragically died, killed in the name of ISIS by the Islamic fundamentalist Chérif Chekatt. Antonio was a 28-years-old European-enthusiast working for the radio Europhonica  and was about to become a journalist. His smile seemed to express all his hope for the future of his generation and could be the same smile of plenty of young people like myself. I have so much in common with Antonio that, as I write, I got chills.

The symbol of Europeanism

Indeed, he has been immediately identified as the symbol of a young and positive generation, as well as an emblem of Europeanism, even more so because, as one of the major Italian periodicals wrote, he was killed “in the heart of Europe, a few steps away from the European Parliament, with terrorized MEPs stuck in hotels, restaurants and corridors of Parliament”. As a matter of fact, his tragic story is very iconic. However, in my opinion, this rhetoric could be risky for two reasons.

Antonio Megalizzi Strasbourg
Antonio Megalizzi

A victim is always a victim

The first one is that a victim is always a victim. We have to cry for him not so much because he believed in a better and united Europe, because he was a journalist or because he was similar to lots of young people of our generation. Instead, we should cry for him because a human being was brutally killed, because he left his parents, friends and girlfriend. The temptation to make a victim more victim than the others because we can easily recognize ourselves in him is strong. However, by doing so we risk to play into the hands of the killers and even of certain wings of the establishment. Because human life is always precious, in any case.

Who are the real enemies of European integrity?

The other reason is that, that night in Strasbourg, a boy — and not what he represented — died. Europe does not risk to be teared apart at the hand of an external enemy. Europe is likely to die from the inside, not for an explosion, but rather for the predictable implosion triggered by its own leaders. This is why the rhetoric of the Islamic enemies who undermine our cultural integrity is dangerous: because it could distort the state of reality. What is more relevant is the fact that, quoting the article mentioned above, “he died at the same time as the leaders, those who are responsible for governing and guiding their countries, come down together. In a resounding way”.

Rest in peace, Antonio

Undoubtley, the noise was louder because of his unfair death. Nonetheless, what Antonio showed us is that some young people work hard, with passion. The same passion that lead them to dedicate words of pure love to Europe. There is an entire generation full of people like Antonio, and this is what we need to notice to move on. Unfortunately, sometimes they are in the wrong place at the wrong time.