Spring afternoon in Canberra.
It wasn’t actually this week, but the early Sunday morning earthquake in Italy was devastating.
(The picture at the top is one we took in June. Note in the second picture the tower on the left is destroyed even though it has not yet fallen.)
I am not much of a Catholic anymore, but the fact the church where Saint Benedict was allegedly born finally succumbed to the earthquakes hitting the Norcia region? That is one of the most historically devastating things to have happened to Italy in modern history. One local said that the moment she saw the closed-order nuns fleeing, (women the public never see), she knew the town was finished.
I’m not exaggerating or being sentimental because of recent events: Norcia is one of my favourite places in the world, not just in Italy. The people, the food, the beauty of every street (before it was devastated) and of the mountains it sits in the centre of.
The whole town – and many others nearby I have spent time in – are either totally destroyed now, or severely damaged and unlikely to ever recover. I’m so shocked I was last in that part of the world only a few months ago, and we were talking about what a massive earthquake risk the area was; we never really expected it to happen.
I have seen people we’ve spoken with many times in news photos and footage, and so know they survived, but I have no idea how they can ever recover from this. These are the same families who have run the towns for centuries. One older woman, whose family owns many hotels and restaurants there – some of them in that very square – was proudly showing us a magazine article about her family’s success only in June. I still have a copy of it.
We are heading back to Italy for the better part of a month in February. I hope this horror has finished by then.
Please, America. Do not put the whole world in danger in a few days’ time. Voting for Trump isn’t just dangerous for Americans; it’s dangerous for all of us, and especially for countries like Ukraine and Syria. We don’t get a say in the election’s outcome, but you do.