“I address a moving thought to the miners who perished in Marcinelle on 8 August 1956. That tragedy cost the lives, among others, of 136 compatriots. Since 2001 the anniversary has been proclaimed ‘National Day of the Sacrifice of Italian Labor in the World’ so that , in memory of what happened at the Bois du Cazier, the memory of all the Italians who fell on the job abroad may be honored. The emigration of our compatriots and the sacrifice that this entailed have marked the identity of Italy and also the same process of European integration “. This is the message of the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarellaon the occasion of the 66th anniversary of the Marcinelle tragedy.
In fact, at the Bois du Cazier in Marcinelle, the commemoration of the 66th anniversary of the tragedy which, on 8 August 1956, cost the lives of 262 miners, of which 136 Italians, is underway. The commemoration takes place in the spaces of the coal mine, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. To kick off the ceremony, the reading of the names of the victims and the 262 bell tolls that mark the minutes during which the tragedy took place 66 years ago. The secretary of the Democratic Party participates in the ceremony Enrico Letta and the Italian ambassador to Belgium Francesco Genuardi, the relatives of the victims of Marcinelle, a delegation of workers who came from Italy and engaged in other mines in Belgium, a delegation of the Alpini and, for the first time in several years, a group of students of the Francesco Vivona high school in Rome.
“When we talk about Marcinelle we cannot forget that the miners in Belgium were labor sent in exchange for tons of coal to Italy: practically men bartered for raw materials, on the basis of specific agreements. On that day in 1956, Veneto paid for that exchange with five fallen. We remember them with affection and gratitude because they are the symbol of a Veneto which, contrary to what some people want to believe for political purposes, has known poverty and sacrifice and is not insensitive to the difficulties of others “. On the anniversary of the mining tragedy, the President of the Veneto Region, Luca Zaia, recalls the fellow countrymen who lost their lives: Giuseppe Corso from Montorio Veronese, Dino Dalla Vecchia from Sedico, Giuseppe Polese from Cimadolmo, Mario Piccin from Codognè, Guerrino Casanova from Montebelluna. “They were serious and committed workers – he adds – who faced the impossible to guarantee dignity to their families. Like thousands of other Venetians, they made themselves known and respected because in the countries they reached they did not go to loiter or fill the prisons. They worked hard, bringing well-being and development in the country that hosted them and in the one where they left their affections and roots “. “Marcinelle is a symbol that requires us to keep alive the memory of this tragedy – concludes Zaia – a warning not to forget the whole history of our emigration and, on the path of what is already our precise commitment, to guarantee ever greater safety in the workplace so that no one has to risk their lives in ensuring a dignified life for their family “.
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