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World War 1 Centenary 2018 letter to grandparents

Stories and News No. 1102

Dear grandparents,

These words are for you, that in two different continents rested, separated by a sea whose waters become every day more and more turbid.
In life you have never met, and thanks to the privilege of a page and especially the time to fill it - which we should always be grateful of, I imagine you together, maybe sitting in a common living room, heated by the emotion of the moment and from the inexorable quantity of memories to be exchanged.

Among the many, the one that went on stage exactly in July 1914, only to come out, for good luck of all the protagonists, just over four years later.
I refer, of course, to the first world war, the great one, which will celebrate its centenary next November.
I watch you carefully, now, that I have explained the pretext of this oneiric meeting.
In detail, the grandmothers are seated on the sofa, while the respective husbands are standing upright, and more or less at the same time your witness memories make slide the most suggestive snapshots, the fragments of words and images, the echo of fears and anguish, but also solidarity and courage, compressed and divided humanity at the same moment.
Forgive me if I dared to bring you back to the most terrible passage of your personal living tale, but the occasion is almost perfect.
In fact, it happens that a hundred years have passed since the end of that first monstrous collective nightmare in the whole history, and the almost is due to the fact that I am writing this very much in advance, since there are still five months left to November.
The reason is simple.
I wanted to take advantage of the classic non-suspicious times, that is to avoid running the risk of looking rhetorical or worse, as artificial and not spontaneous.
I would like to be honest with you.
I would like to be near you and understand you better now.
More than anything else, before a Europe that was dangerously divided, composed of nations capable only of being hostile to each other and allied if the common enemy proved to be an advantage.
Facing an too vulnerable and martyr Africa by the hands of the former, through cynical machinations and undue invasions that were being offered in the form of normal foreign policy.
In the presence of a society where the discrimination of different cultures and religions served as the fulcrum of the electoral campaign, first, and as a pivot of the government program, afterwards.
In front of a civil society that it would regret too late its responsibilities in the final calculation of the victims.
I have a million questions, dear ones.
What gave you the strength to survive all this?
What action seemed to you the most just and noble, if read in retrospect?
But, especially, what could you have done to prevent the worst, observing all together the tragic past, now ineluctable?
I'm here, I listen to you with all my heart.
Because your answers can save us.
And because yours, same hopes of a hundred years ago.
Now, they are ours...

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