Don’t give up my sweetheart….
This time I want to write it in English. Maybe it’s because I want that more people in the world know what happened to my city. Am I too presumptuous? I don’t know, but I want to communicate my feeling to the world. And I’m sorry for my bad English, I’ll do my best!
I just posted an article in Italian about what happened to my beautiful town which is still suffering during these hours: a huge flood just swept away streets, cars, shops, houses and took the life of six people. I look at the images of what was the main street, via Venti Settembre and I simply can’t believe that. I can’t believe that nature can be so dangerous and powerful….and bad. Genoa is used to floods. This one is just the last one but other will come, I’m sure of that. The city has been built among mountains and the sea. And rivers cross it. One of these rivers, the Fereggiano, made the worst damages and caused the deaths. The Bisagno River swept away everything it met, there is a brown lake now where the Brignole Rail Station was and a fall of mud has covered the street, the shops and the pubs of Via Venti.
I can’t recognize my city anymore and I’m suffering because I’m not there. I saw everything from a smaller city of Piemonte, where I’m living right now. And all those images seem a horror movie to me.
Why all that has happened? A human mistake? Maybe. An inquiry into these facts has been opened, but I don’t know what the results will be. Is there a single culprit? I don’t think so. Building on the borders of the rivers has been a huge mistake, made by too many people and institutions and decided by so many politicians that is quite impossible to identify the guilty ones.
In the meantime, I just hope the city will be born again, like the phoenix was from the flames.
And I know it will make it, like it has always made it after the past floods. This time will be more difficult, this time will be longer because this flood was far more catastrophic. I think that maybe Genoa will never be the same, I think of that beautiful city ravaged by water and mud, the people who have lost everything, the victims. I think about the Old town, the harbor, the old buildings and atmosphere of “the city by the sea” that aims to be considered a big city but without giving up the typical mentality of village people. A strange mix, a peculiar people. In national TV or radio is hard to hear a Genoese. It’s hard to read about them in the newspapers. We do our business, we live and let the other live. We are a strange people, we love our routines and it’s hard to conquer our hearts, but once you make it we will never abandon you. .
I ran away from Genoa in 2009, tired of everything and everyone, but not of the city.I have brought it with me, in Australia. When I walked in Darling Harbour and saw the gulls, I thought “how nice”, but then I remembered the Old Port of Genoa, and I said “yes, that’s great”, but ‘….
And when I wandered immersed in the lights, colours and sounds of George Street , I said “wow that’s cool” but I felt a little pain in my heart thinking about the so much smaller via Venti Settembre, which seemed so big to me when I was a child. Or when I walked in The Rocks, the oldest district of Sydney and I tried to wonder at every step, but then I thought about the Old Town in Genoa, and I almost started laughing.
I think when customers of the bars where I worked in Sydney, knowing that I was Italian, asked me from which part of Italy I was. I answered, almost humbly, “Genoa”, because I thought that nobody knew it or that it was just known as “the city near Portofino.” But I had to change my mind, more than once. The Australians who visited Genoa, were enchanted. “That’s amazing, simply fantastic,” they said, “The Harbour and the Old City are just wonderful, never seen something like that,” they repeated. and E had a lump in my throat that I could no longer speak . A man once told me that Genoa was actually the most beautiful city he had ever seen. You don’t hear something like that every day, you hear that just for the “big ones”: Florence, Venice, Rome and Naples. But even my little “Zena” was becoming famous in the world.
I am proud and I miss my City so much. Life for me has chosen different paths, but my city will be forever in my heart and, wherever the destiny will take me , I will be always “Genovese”
Bye bye my darling, stop crying and start raising again. You know how to do it