I am writing from the future, like Lucio Dalla did in L’anno che verrà, to recall what it used to be….
Ten years have now passed since that bygone February 21, 2020, when I first heard the name of Codogno, a small village in the area of Lodi, Lombardy, gone to the news and down in history as the place where the coronavirus pandemic broke out in Italy.
Taken up by the press of all planet, it was right in Codogno, besides Wuhan in China, that a radical change occurred in our lives, a change in our relationship with the world.
Upon looking back, I recall the deafening silence in the deserted streets and squares; restaurants and bars with shutters lowered; luxury hotels, and not only, closed; the dramatic, impressive picture of a woman doctor fallen into a deep sleep on her desk at the end of an extremely long, consuming day at work.
Fresh in my mind is also the procession of military trucks leaving full-to-bursting cemeteries in search for a place to rest in peace.
A heart-wrenching time that marked millions of people’s lives.
Many, too many lives were sacrificed, in order to allow us, the fortunate ones, to live in a better world.
A united world, without any more conflicts, where we have finally found the space to assure everyone the dignity that every human being deserves.
I recall the many, countless human lives destroyed in conflicts, or those who fled the wars only to find death a few miles away, in the sea that swallowed them forever, amid the indifference of all European governments that bounced them back and forth, like waste for recycling.
I have not forgotten those who died of hunger or from lack of medication, as if they were second-class beings, and thus not worthy of protection, care, and rescue.
I see our planet drifting in total decay, a heaven on earth gone lost, close to destruction.
Then one day, someone thought to fix that system that had got stuck, that would have sooner or later led all humanity to self-destruct.
I am very little nostalgic for those times, as we really were in dire straits.
Ten years later, we must not forget those who legitimized a wrong way of life, our loved ones who passed away, and the heroes who allowed us to live in this new world, a more genuine one, more respectful of Nature and its laws.
A world where the borders of geography, religion, custom and culture are no more.
We are now human beings with a right to live in dignity, to care for our children, and to progress, assured that we cannot be deprived of anything, let alone our lives.
To never forget, I also recall the price we had to pay in terms of lost human lives – the dead, the suffering, the immense sacrifices of those years that followed 2020, the annus horribilis.
A price, however, that we did not pay in vain, as it left us with a better world.
It took millenniums of turbulent history for mankind to finally win this game.
Goodness beat that selfishness that had made us so petty, small and worthless.
A quality, this human goodness, that we refound deep in our soul, waking from an isolation that had lasted too long.
It is only now that we see that our real quarantine did not happen at the Covid-19 time, but in our past, when we were living in quarantine without even knowing, when we were all close, and yet so far.
My best wishes, my dear Friend, and might 2031 bring you the same peace as the year that just came to an end.