The recent terrorist bombing in Brussels airport and metro station led me to review a bit of European history. I went down a rabbit hole of awful events throughout Europe, the UK and Italy through the past 50 years or so.
This was how I came across the so called ‘Years of Lead’. From the late 1960s until the early 1980s Italy was terrorized by many devastating and horrifying happenings.The Years of Lead came about for very different reasons than recent attacks in Brussels and Paris. They were more to do with internal political clashes of interests and Mafia activity rather than external religious ideas although there was a mixed bag. The means, however, are disturbingly similar and all of it caused pain, fear, trauma and economic impacts.
The Italians endured bombs: in Milan near the Duomo (12.12.69) and Il Vittoriano and banks on the same day in Rome; on Trains while they were travelling (Rome to Messina (22.7.70), Italicus Express (4.8.74), the Naples to Milan (23.12.84), and the train station in Bologna (2.8.80). There were shootings and a kidnapping or two. There is more. I won’t labor this.
However most poignantly for me in light of Brussels, the Fiumicino airport in Rome was bombed 2 days after Christmas in 1985 killing 16 people.
I am not posting this to compare or to somehow make less of any of this but simply to share. I am also not wanting to spread fear but just to look at history as it is. And of course, no country on Earth is immune from horrible happenings.
The recent events in Brussels and Paris may possibly still be highly traumatizing for Italians and indeed all Europeans as they relive the past shocks.
We choose whether to go on holiday to Europe and whether to cancel. Whether we will go and spend our money or not. We choose how we behave when we are in Europe and we choose how we treat local people. Europeans and especially in the context of this post, Italians have all this happening on their doorstep. They can’t choose whether to be impacted by all this or not. They simply are impacted. And some have lost loved ones along the way.