It was 1969, another historical period, a different millennium. In Italy, the information system consisted, first of all, in state television and radio. Then the newspapers arrived, more or less pro-government; party newspapers also had a certain impact.
In 2019, Enrico Deaglio writes in one of his books: “There were no fake news, because there were no other news except for the official ones and, generally, they were fakes.”
On the 12th of December 1969, a bomb exploded in the headquarters of a bank near Piazza Fontana in Milan. The result of the explosion is, as we say, disruptive. A British journalist, Leslie Finer, who had closely followed in the previous two years the events that culminated in the military coup in Greece, coined the expression “strategy of tension”.
The thesis is that the bomb exploded in order to shock the public opinion, with the objective, if necessary, to justify an authoritarian change.
The main and necessary collateral effect regarding the initial phase of such strategy of tension are 17 dead due to the explosion. Another collateral effect, also letal, will be the fall of Pino Pinelli from the fourth floor window of a police station.
Nobody knows how Giuseppe Pinelli could have fallen from that window; however, many believe to know why it happened: Pinelli – as well as husband and father – was an anarchist militant.
In those years, being openly anarchist meant be exposed to risks.
An evergreen, the “anarchist trail”, was the most popular and, after the Piazza Fontana massacre, we assumed that the investigators had little doubts: the criminals were protected, the anarchists blamed.
The police commissioner of Milan told the media that Pienelli had committed suicide, which proved he was guilty.
The real author of the terrorist act, however, was identified in another anarchist, even more indigestible than Pinelli.
Pietro Valpreda, as he was known, was subject to more than 3 years of preventive detention and several judicial vicissitudes. Later, he was definitively acquitted in 1987.
The mud machine that hit Valpreda was memorable, he was «The human beast that made killed 14 (later they became 17, editor’s note) in Piazza Fontana», «an obscene and repulsive beast, filled to the bone with the communist light»; for the press of that time, from who «comes from the frenzied circle of be-bop, of the rock; a tour where men are what they are and girls also.» it is reasonable to expect the worse things.
The press, moreover, did the same: the state TV, four days after the massacre, did not hesitate to certify Pietro Valpreda’s as “guilty”.
The “guarantee”, nowadays and perhaps even then, is reserved to important people; the wretches poor, or even just ordinary citizens, can be declared guilty on the spot.
A few years after the massacre, in an anarchist magazine, someone wrote that Valpreda was responsible, guilty of being a dancer, guilty of not being a famous dancer, of not wearing tie, of having long hair, etc.
It seems to me as if there is some truth in those words.
It seems to me appropriate to write that Valpreda was able to withstand the storm. His life, as a free man and – as far as I know – he was never sent to jail, continued until his death due to illness in 2002.
During this period, while making this image, I sometimes had the impression to transgress: such a crowd and everyone without a mask…
Double image in shades of gray: the overall effect is achieved by overlapping incongruent elements – two shrimps.
Illustration in shades of gray: when words, written or not as they are, lose all meaning and relevance.