Thirty-seven years. A lifetime. May 9, 1978, the lifeless body of Aldo Moro was found, leader of the Christian Democrat party. Fifty-five days of anguish and delirious releases of messages from the ‘Brigate Rosse’ (Red Brigades) which concluded with the murder of the Christian Democrat leader. Four machine-gun shots between the heart and the lungs, this is how Moro was executed after a ‘mock-up trial of the people’, the letters from the brigade prison written out to be delivered to his family and politicians, listing the demands of the terrorist group, the sidetracking and cities in a state of siege. 9th May, just one day has become part of Italian history. A day that is dedicated to all the victims of terrorism. That day, so long ago, is engraved in my memory. That day there in via Caetani. With my cameras. Perched on the mezzanine window of Palazzo Caetani, I took that picture that was to become the historical document of that event. Aldo Moro’s body lying sprawled in the boot of the Renault 4, a blanket as a shroud, it was me. I took that picture myself. Beside me, a friend and great photographer: Gianni Giansanti who life was taken away too soon from his dear ones and from the photography.
One, and then many shots of that emaciated unshaven face, body composed as in a deposition of a painting by Caravaggio. A dramatic moment that marked the life of the Republic and mine as well. Professional and humane. An image that I can still see through the viewfinder and lens of a Nikon. So framed by the Renault 4, and then the whole crowd of policemen, magistrates, who scrambled up close to take a look. That picture is the symbol of a double defeat. That of the state but also of the Red Brigades. From that day onwards, something changed. The Red Brigades lived a descending parable all the more, always marked by blood. People have understood that terrorism was not the sign of a revolution but only the violence that killed “guilty” fathers, sons who served the State. Politicians reacted with special laws but nothing inside has truly changed and personal gain or at least they had the upper hand on fear and the need for a modern country.
The day that commemorates the martyrdom of Aldo Moro we wish to remember all the victims of terrorism, red and white, who were killed during the years of terrorism killing. Many men were murdered in the name of an ideology, condemned for the work they were doing. Those deaths are the tombstones that dot the streets of this poor Italy which soon forgot. All pay homage to Aldo Moro and the men of his escort but what about the others? Judge Minervini killed while the bus went to court, the Abimbola agent killed while on guard-duty outside the Lebanese Embassy. And the agent Lanari and his colleagues gunned down by Red Brigades while stealiing from a cash van. Some colleagues remember them. Each year a wreath is placed at the site of the massacre but us? Do we Italians know who they are? Do these schoolchildren know who these men are who have paid with their lives because they wore a uniform or a toga? Adults, parents can spend time explaining to their children and grandchildren the reason for that piece of marble with an engraved name on it? We have already forgotten when we will have removed them from our memory. They may devote some little garden where dogs do their business , small distant wide streets where there are no homes. Behold, the 9 May is not only the anniversary of the murder of Aldo Moro it is also the day of commemoration and we should go on pilgrimage wherever there is a tombstone to remember those sacrifices. We remember the victims of the great war, of the Risorgimento and we have the decency to bury the victims of our time.