Online Defense Letter: Is it time to clarify and do justice to the victims of depleted uranium?

08/01/19

Dear Director I introduce myself Casillo Mafalda, I am a normal Italian town, I am a mother, a wife, a daughter and I was a sister. "I was" because my brother Simone died.

Simone was a two-meter boy, who started in 2000 as a VFP volunteer. I'm not telling you the joy of my brother the day he entered the barracks (the "Lollighetti" of Trani), we come from a family of soldiers!

However Simone lived in that barracks, where there were means and material coming from the Balkans, then nothing was known about what was used in that war. Simone in charge of the switchboard and lived near the storage of these vehicles.

After a year he made the selections to go to the police ... Dearest director from that day began our nightmare. During the visits he was found a stain on his lungs, I did not tell her the whole procedure we did, but I told her that the spot was a Hodgkin's lymphoma at the 4 stadium at the Mediastinum.

At that time, no matter how bad the news, we clung to the hope that it was not an incurable tumor. Simone communicated to his superiors the diagnosis then confirmed by the official doctor of the Caserta military hospital. The surgeon who operated my brother at the time told us first about the possibility of having come into contact with radioactive material, as the position of the lymphoma was particular, he felt for the first time the impoverished uranium.

Simone did chemotherapy and radiotherapy, every day you had to present in the barracks, stay there for a day and then return home, all this for a year and a half. Finally he was called back to the barracks and dismissed for illness, as if it were a faulty piece.

Dear Editor, on that day I saw in my brother's eyes the pain, the defeat, what the illness had not inflicted upon him, the men who commanded him and whom he respected did.

At a distance of 16 years the words of the commander resound in their ears, as if it were Simone's fault: "You are lucky if the ministry does not ask you for your salary money ...". He took us off like this!

Nobody ever spoke to us about the rights that Simone had as a military man fallen ill in the barracks. He got sick in that barracks and from studies done with the doctors we know that Simone's lymphoma is among those that can be caused by impoverished uranium, my brother for a year and more he has inhaled it constantly every day.

By coincidence in March of the 2018 I received a phone call from a defense official who wanted to talk to my brother, because his practice was still open ... Practice, which practice? There was no practice on behalf of Simone? !!!

From there began a journey, if you can, even more painful, made of painful memories and clashes against a dull bureaucracy closed in his mentality, in his silence.

I wrote to you because, like Simone, there are many guys who have fought. Some have lost and others, more fortunate, have won their battle against the Balkan Syndrome.

I wonder why we are "orphans" (I know it is not the right term, but there is no term to define who loses a son or a brother) because of the omission on the procedures that had to be applied by law by law and who were silenced for higher orders?

Today I fight for that law, I fight in the name of Simon because the army gives him justice. Lotto to wear that uniform that was so dear and a symbol of pride for my brother, to carry on his name and his dream.

Thank you if you will find the time to read this long message, if you want to listen to me I will be at your disposal. I hope you give me a voice, since nobody listens to the Balkan victims.

In witness

Casillo Mafalda

Dear Mafalda, no word can ever alleviate the pain that has affected you and your family. Perhaps the next actions of Defense Minister Trenta will be able to do something: he declared that in these days a "technical table on depleted uranium" will start.

We trust that the desire to know or discover the Truth goes beyond any political expediency. Regardless of the final result.

Andrea Cucco