The earthquake Tuesday night in Amatrice, Central Italy, has brought back ugly memories. The scars of l’Aquila, where a similarly heavy earthquake took place in 2009, killing 308 people and leaving 67.000 without homes, have still not healed. The population there is still partly living in ruins, the centre of l’Aquila seems a ghost town nowadays. According to the first media reports, Tuesday night saw at least 120 people killed and several thousands up to now left without homes.
Some say, well, that’s the way it goes, an earthquake, force majeure, there is nothing one can do. Others say it’s mother earth rebelling. In any case it will be very telling to see how the current government handles it this time round, whether there will be again only empty promises, funds being sucked up on their way down with nothing left to arrive at the people, the weakest in society, who will be hit the hardest, being left alone. The neoliberal course of Renzi and his government leaves not much hope. But unfortunately this is the case with almost every government nowadays and ours (the German) does not constitute an exception either.
But we have to see this as a chance that we can indeed rebuild houses, heal wounds and give hope, despite and in defiance of an inhumane system which doesn’t care any more about human lives since quite some time. If we stick together, particularly in times of chaos and suffering, incredible energies will be released. A wise master once said: “Human beings have to be compressed in order to achieve greatness”. This moment has surely arrived. Humanity is under pressure. Conquest of politics by multinationals, a climate change which can no longer be denied, abolition of democracy, refugees crisis, wars and suffering… And now in Italy the fear, that people will be left alone with this catastrophe once again. It is also a psychological problem: how can one have hope, if politics, which determine everything, have proved again and again beyond any doubt that they are not worthy of trust?
And yet: it is exactly this failure of politics, of the media who by now only ever report what is convenient, of a system which disregards life in every form, which leads to a very healthy anger building up inside of us. A strong will for survival, a tying together of energies believed lost, which are now being released. Amatrice is only one example. Every day terrible things happen all over the world. And they are also all opportunities which we can use to re-organise ourselves beyond this system, to stick together, to help each other, to think, create and put into action new things and ways. Alternative solutions, new structures, sustainable ways, environmentally-friendly methods, networking and connecting ourselves…. these are the building stones of the new world. And the mortar will be made out of solidarity, empathy and human warmth.
Something new can only come into existence if the old is allowed to die. This is the sacred cycle of life. It is time to change direction, to stop looking upwards for help and to organise ourselves instead. To mobilise our creative powers and to use them. And as they come from within us, nobody can take them away. They are not dependent on political decisions, commissions or board meetings. They are our very own powers. They come straight from our hearts if we allow it. We can be the creators and builders of our world. A new world beyond money and greed, beyond any national or cultural borders. Those who already live in it, know what I am talking about… This world already exists in many of us and whoever has just once seen a glimpse of it with his heart, will fall in love with it, will dedicated himself to it and will help to build it. And we are getting more and more. Everywhere in the world. Every day.
“We have two choices. We can be pessimistic, give up and help ensure that the worst will happen. Or we can be optimistic, grasp the opportunities that surely exist and maybe help make the world a better place”. Noam Chomsky