People beyond numbers. The deaths of COVID-19 are not abstract entities but people who have lived, loved, worked, made dreams, suffered, enjoyed. They are largely the generation of the thirties and forties. Not all that generation fought the second mondial war, it didn’t go to die at the front. Millions of young people from the previous generation had certainly gone to the front to free the world from Nazi-fascism and give their country a future. The Thirty / Forty generation experienced the final moments of that war, the last hospitalizations for the bombings, and certainly the poverty, pain, and suffering that ensued and, finally, participated, tenaciously, in the post-war reconstruction, resulting decisive for social, civil and cultural construction. Has lived it with the child’s light-heartedness or the child’s unconsciousness or, being born after 1945, he did not experience it at all.
The post-war period was marked by everyone’s commitment to a rebirth that made it possible to live better, the age of the first FIAT 500 car, the house built with the few savings, children made to study at the cost of any sacrifice, the union struggles, and the difficult transformation of our society in the second half of the 1900s.
This generation has seen the world change perhaps like few others.
When I was a child, the only means of communication of the family with the world, besides the newspapers, was the radio. Telephones and television were a luxury that would come later, already in adolescence. The dominant morality was obsessive, I dare say almost still medieval. The woman was subjected to the man, the law also recognized the “right of honor” as extenuating if the husband killed her, because she had betrayed the duties of marriage. And divorce, abortion, homosexuality, were forbidden even only as words.
And then, suddenly we found ourselves in the 80s when the ebb began, the turning point of history, and in several decades of restoration many social and democratic achievements were canceled, in the name of the market and the company, which they presented themselves as modern, even revolutionaries.
To these people, we should owe a lot of respect to have a unique and unrepeatable face and soul. Instead, it often is considered privileged, because it has earned a safer job because we have a pension, low but dignified. Paradoxically, many of those who today can enjoy the conquest of freedom and democracy, to which that (my) generation has contributed, often accuse it of being the cause of many of their current problems.
Yet the generation facing the risks of COVID-19 has enjoyed a peace never experienced by any other generation in previous centuries, thanks to the commitment of those people who have contributed to the construction of a peaceful western world.
Today the elderly are not listened to as they used to be, their opinion is not taken into account, and this is wrong because wisdom is not acquired with the impetuosity of youthful character, but with the maturity of white hair. The cultural richness of the knowledge of an elderly person is an immense value of which all should reappropriate, to improve a society that is falling apart, without asking why but only blaming others! The commitment of that generation has handed down values of freedom and ethical and cultural rights that should serve to strengthen that ancient human bond full of affection-solidarity with the elderly, which represents the roots of our very essence and certainty for a constructive future. But this is not the case or at least not always.
Well, the COVID-19, which has taken away a large part of that generation, has at least had the “merit” (even if this term seems inadequate) of having reminded many that belongs to the elderly the special vocation of the memory and of the dreams to offer to the younger generations. Now that that generation is about to be exterminated by the virus, we are reminding that, in a world like the present one, in which strength and appearance are often mythologized, the elderly are the witnesses of values that count, they have worked for the development of the culture of life, testifying that each season of existence has its own beauty and importance, even when it is marked by fragility.
But humanity forgets quickly!