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Sensitivity for your fellow man

Di Antonio Caneva English translation Paola Pr, 22 Novembre 2002

I read that three major American airlines have joined the ONDCP (White House Office of National Drug Control Policy ) on a campaign to sensitise parents to the issue of drug abuse among teenagers, and will issue onboard messages as part of the video entertainment. It is a commendable initiative which reminds me, however, of a story of a long time ago. At the hotel I owned, we used to host a number of American groups who would stay for two nights; the second night, a guitar player would hold a small concert with songs like “Arrivederci Roma”, “Volare” and whatever else was representative of Italy for American tourists. The guitar player was a young man, and his repertoire included “C’era un ragazzo”, which – as we all know – is about a boy being killed in Vietnam. I was not always present when he played, but I had forbidden him to play that number, even though customers liked it. One morning, as I went to my office, I was told of a heart-rending episode of the night before: a lady whose son had been killed in the Vietnam war heard that song, which had been played, and had a crisis of despair which required the intervention of medical care. How many of the people flying on those planes will have children, grandchildren or friends who have a drug problem, and how – in the enclosed environment of the passenger cabin – will they be able to get rid of a memory which might turn into a nightmare? A well-intended action might turn into a cruelty.

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