Easyjet, I hope that the gaffe on Calabria does not become yet another excuse to deny reality


The images are in black and white, the voice is punctuated and a bit old, like a “late speaker” of a past time: the Newsreel Luce of May 1947 tells the 4 dead (subsequently the number will be reduced to 2) caused by the earthquake which strikes with particular violence the ancient and picturesque village of Isca on the Ionian Sea, near Catanzaro. The wounds of the Second World War, still fresh, inspire a bitter comment: “men have ceased hostilities; nature continues them, in this desolate Italy of ours ”.

Who knows if the poor copywriter of EasyJet who wrote the wretched sentence on Calabria who “suffers from an evident absence of tourists due to his history of mafia activity and earthquakes” had in mind, with that last word, the 2 dead 73 years ago in Isca. Or if he was referring to the much more disastrous earthquake of 1908, when still among the world leaders were the Ottoman sultans, the tsars and the Habsburgs. Or if, far more likely, she simply translated a text of someone that Calabria has not seen even on a postcard.

Let’s face it: those who criticize those unfortunate words and the patch even worse than the hole where the British company celebrates the … alpine landscapes of Lamezia Terme. This is why the bipartisan chorus of politicians and authorities who rose to defend the honor of the offended Calabria and ask for an apology from EasyJet makes a smile; excuses that – to be honest – promptly arrived.

But one thing makes the writer think, and it is precisely the fact that this type of choral stance by the ruling class too often takes place for issues related to the image and too rarely in substantive facts. I do not share the attitude of “bad common half joy” of those who say “the mafia there is throughout Italy, “however, a totally correct observation. And yes, in a text dedicated to travelers it was clearly necessary to talk about something else.

But I hope this does not become yet another excuse to hide, to deny, to minimize, as we Calabrians (and southerners in general) have seen too often done. Not to be resigned or to declare us defeated, far from it! But why, as I often claimed on the pages of the Done, our strength should not be so much our historical and natural beauties as our people.

And yes, perhaps the EasyJet caption is not the most suitable place to do it, but I would like those who hear about Calabria to discover that the beauty of our land is not only the Riace’s bronzes, the beach of Tropea or the Sila mountains, but also realities such as the Associazione Da Sud, which first denounced in Rome the drama of the “bloody oranges” of Rosarno, or the Reggio Libera Reggio network, or Coopisa which has extraordinarily distinguished itself in assisting laborers during the last few weeks of the pandemic, or Music Against the Mafias … and the list could go on and on.

A balanced and respectful story is not indifferent like someone who declares himself defeated, nor blind as someone who is too often conniving. And we cannot expect this type of story from EasyJet: we must be there southern the narrators and, at the same time, the protagonists.

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