Over 16 years later, the Court of Appeal of Rome has finally given a meaning to the battle of “Mother Courage” Giuseppina, condemning the Ministry of Defence for manslaughter. The sentence published yesterday has put an end to what has always been denied. “The danger of the substances does not depend on the concentration’ of depleted uranium in the arms. Thus, Salvatore Vacca, infantryman of the 151st regiment of the Sassari Brigade, who died at age 23 in September 1999 of leukemia due to the effects of depleted uranium, has obtained justice at last. It is no small thing in Italy, where among false leads, intelligence service, and truth about the various great national dramas being covered up, it is often a chimera.
All this is helped by the fact that no one understood what was happening at first: in the course of the wars in the Balkans and of those around the oil fields in the Middle East, the sight of military men coming back with a collection of symptoms was not unusual. These symptoms, at the point where Medicine was at the time, in reciprocal association were little visible. Often, the same subject presented irritability and even aggression, insomnia, short-term memory loss, pain during urination and ejaculation, profuse sweating (especially nighttime), fatigue, and eventually, cancer.
Cancers, in the plural form – as it was explained in an analysis of Dr. Stefano Montanari from the Nanodiagnostics Laboratory of Modena – because a considerable variety of them appeared, although cases concerning the lymphatic and blood system were the most frequent. At present, we see even triple cancers, that is, three different types of tumors present simultaneously in the same subject. Everything used to begin (and still does so), almost as if it were a pattern, with a little ‘fever and, perhaps, a bit of diarrhea, which are considered to be flu symptoms and are not taken into account not even by the patient. It comes as no surprise, considering that the thing is”regular”: at the beginning, in fact, no news became public. Later, things began to leak and, obviously, be denied. Until denial has become impossible.
Yet, there is a long way to go from admitting the problem to compensating the victims. Years and years of legal wrangles, with the State that suddenly becomes your counterpart, your fiercest adversary; a situation that is even sadder for those who believed in their country to the point of becoming military men and trusted it to the point of losing their lives. Today, a piece was placed in the mosaic of truth, which Italy has the duty to compose. It is still not enough, but future generations deserve a more transparent Italy, and those who lost their life for it deserve at least our respect.