Italy’s southern and northern regions have this weekend been devastated by two separate tragic events – one man-made, one natural.
From what I can tell, news of a bombing at a vocational school in Brindisi, in south Italy (region of Puglia) yesterday morning has not made many international headlines.
So for those of you who may not have heard, 16 year old student Melissa Bassi was killed in an unprovoked act allegedly by local mafia. She had aspirations of becoming a fashion designer.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack which had left dozens injured and the coastal city of Brindisi (and the country) in a state of shock.
The bombing follows a spate of recent attacks against Italian officials and government or public buildings by a group of anarchists.
Historically, Italy has of course coped with severe terrorism outbreaks. In particular in the 70s and 80s – known as the “years of lead” – in one of the worst attacks, blamed on right-wing terrorists, 85 people were killed in a bomb blast at the Bologna train station in 1980. This was followed by mafia terror campaigns targeted churches and public buildings in Rome and Milan.
This cowardly act is an ever present reminder of the organised crime which continues to operate across Italy and impact the innocent.
And in other sad events this weekend, north Italy – specifically the region of Emilia Romagna – was struck by a 6.0 magnitude earthquake that has left 7 people dead, many more injured, 3000 people homeless and massive damage in many towns and the cities including Bologna and Ferrara.
Subsequently there have been many aftershocks felt across the entire north of the country.
My thoughts and prayers are with those in the north and the south who have been affected by these devastating tragedies.
Signing off from Rome with a very heavy heart,