L’Aquila Earthquake, 10 Years Later

L’Aquila perfectly mirrors the slowness of an aged-up Italy, which can no longer think about the future

Ten years ago, at 3:32 am of April 6, the clocks stopped suddenly. What had just happened was something that, from then on, would forever change not only the city of L’Aquila, but all of us. Indeed, the earthquake had just taken away 309 souls with itself and it could happen anywhere.

Moreover, there were also roughly 1,600 wounded and 80,000 displaced people. All the architectural beauties in the old town, together with countless civil buildings, had been swept away. This was a tragic event to such an extent that all the locals without exceptions got down on their knees.

Nonetheless, thousands of people have found a great inner strength to roll up their sleeves and do whatever was needed to go on. Yet, looking at the way things turned, it seems the governments did not have the same intentions.

What’s the situation 10 years later?

It turns out that, after all the bureaucratic craziness and slowness, the suburbs are — more or less — back on their feet. However, the city center is not. Many of the most symbolic public places and buildings still need to be restructured.

Whereas many other countries have amply demonstrated to be completely able to react quickly to natural disasters, our delay is simply embarrassing and frustrating. How is it possible that countless bureaucratic technicalities and a politics of convenience are keeping locked up the future of thousands of people, ten years later?

If we just stop one moment to think about how certain countries, like Japan for instance, can rebuild entire cities in no time after similar events, what we could do is only scratch our heads and ask ourselves why. Once again, we have shown to the world how things should not be done not only in politics, but also in terms of common priorities.

After a decade, indeed, L’Aquila is still living the nightmare that started on that infinite and dramatic date. All the successive governments have not been able to keep their promises, but L’Aquila must live again. Also because, before the earthquake, its city center was recognized worldwide as an area of absolute artistic virtue. Today, instead, it perfectly mirrors the slowness of an aged-up Italy, which can no longer think about the future.

What does L’Aquila embody?

The city of L’Aquila is one of the hardest-hit victims of inconsistent politics. It’s there for all to see, because our politicians, to succeed, can just rely on the heat of the moment by continuously campaigning and showing up on social media. Therefore, they tend to make promises that they perfectly know themselves how difficult are to keep. In a nutshell, the L’Aquila case totally and fully embodies a fully-fledged systemic failure.

Such failure doesn’t only belong only to the governments in charge, but even to all the state-level administrations that ruled after this terrible disaster. From Berlusconi to Conte, nobody was able to unblock the situation and allow the city to go back to its previous splendor. We could see all of them parading through the busted streets of the city. But what they really showed is only a fake interest in the real, big problems of the aquilani.

The only hope is a utopian change in the minds of our representatives and that the victims of the earthquake may be able to keep their precious resilience to go on and fight to get what they all deserve: a new L’Aquila and a better future.