Vajont disaster, Mattarella: “Torment that still questions consciences” – Video

The Head of State: “The Republic has not forgotten, security is a guarantee of justice”

“The landslide, the disappearance, into thin air, of an environment, of a territory, of many people. The cancellation of life. They are torments that still – sixty years later – disturb and question consciences“. This was stated by the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, on the occasion of the ceremony to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Vajont disaster.

“Today we find ourselves in a park, that of the Friulian Dolomites which, in the beauty of these places, dutifully dedicates paths to memory. We are in front of two paintings: this landscape, that of the Carnic Prealps. And the dam, an artificial creation. Both today, silent monuments to the victims, to those buried in cemeteries, to those buried forever in the riverbeds, on the slopes: women, men, children – said Mattarella – Five hundred children. Immense open-air shrine that is accompanies us to the Fortogna Cemetery, the national mausoleum. Let us reflect: the landslide, the disappearance, into thin air, of an environment, of a territory, of many people. The cancellation of life. These are torments that, still today – sixty years later – disturb and they question consciences”.

“The Republic has not forgotten”

“We want to force ourselves, today, to imagine ourselves reflected first and foremost in the eyes of those who are no longer there; who, when the Alpine troops arrived, were no longer there. In the eyes of the rescuers. In the severe looks of the survivors. In the eyes of those who today is, here, the custodian of these territories.To be able to say that the Republic has not forgotten. In order to be able to say that – as President Zaia urged – Being able to ensure safety conditions is a guarantee of justice – as good governance requires – remains a current and necessary objective in our society. Because taking care of the environment, respecting it, is a guarantee of life.”

“To avoid – the head of state urged – attitudes of indifference, presumption, superiority with respect to the signals of nature. Paid here at such a high price. So as not to capitulate to what President Fedriga defined as ‘man’s blind desire of bending nature to one’s liking in order to obtain maximum profit. The violence of nature corresponds to a human intervention that translates into abuse. That violence that the wisdom of local populations, in ancient intimacy with the environment , knows how to fear and from which he seeks shelter”.

“Serious human responsibilities”

“The United Nations has classified this event as one of the most serious man-made environmental disasters in history. For this reason, 9 October was designated by Parliament as the ‘National Day in Memory of the Victims of Environmental and Industrial Disasters’ caused by man”. The tragedy that occurred here carries the weight of heavy human responsibilities, of serious choices that were denounced by attentive people even before the disaster occurred. Ensuring a security framework for our community it means knowing how to learn the lessons of the facts and knowing how to take steps forward”, stated the President of the Republic.

“Man’s interaction with nature – he recalled – is part of the evolution of nature itself. Because man is part of nature, but must not become its enemy. This is not an issue of an exclusive ecological nature. Pope Francis also reminded us of this in his very recent exhortation. It’s about knowing how to pay attention and knowing how to govern, with foresight, the imbalances that call into question humanity itself and its destinies.”

“Reconciling yourself with the nature that hosts us”

“On the site of the tragedy, the following day the bell tower of the church of San Tomaso Apostolo stood alone in Pirago. Time does not dilute the pain, but that bell tower, now restored, appears, in its solitude, almost a symbol of the resilience of these places and their people. People of towns who, as the mayor Padrin recalled, wanted to return to life. As the presidents Fedriga and Zaia also underlined, with admiration. Of those who – together with the heartbreak of the loss of their loved ones , of his home, of his belongings – he found himself faced with an agonizing choice: to leave or ‘resist'”, said the head of state.

“Experiences – he recalled – that we find it in the dialogues of an Erto survivor, Mauro Corona, in his ‘Those of the aftermath’. What guided them – and what must move us – is the desire to reconcile ourselves with the world that hosts us, with nature and the environment in which we are immersed. Because disasters change places but the future of their populations also depends on the resistance of those who, like the valley dwellers of these places, did not feel like giving up”.

“Cultivating Memory”

“There is another commitment that cannot be renounced. That of the memory that the citizens of these Municipalities continue to cultivate and which we all perceive as the duty of the Republic. Also for this reason I believe that it is not only appropriate but necessary that the documentation of the trial celebrated at the time on responsibilities remains in this territory“, Mattarella said.

“That documentation – he added – had necessarily been collected in the places of criminal trial because it had a judicial purpose at the time. Having concluded the trials many years ago, today it has a purpose of memory and what pertains to memory must be kept close where the tragedy occurred. To honor the victims of the Vajont and to receive warnings to avoid new tragedies”.