01/12/2023 04:40:00

Tragedy in Agrigento: Culture, Criticism, and the Social Media Storm

 In a surprising turn of events, Agrigento, a Sicilian city with indices placing it at the bottom of Italy's cultural engagement, clinched the title of Italian Capital of Culture for 2025. The irony lies in the city's struggle with cultural activities, from reading to theater attendance. This narrative takes a tragic turn when a theater meant to host the "Paladino d'oro" Sports Film Festival is found empty, becoming a symbol of the city's unexpected cultural quagmire.

Theater Incident:
The Luigi Pirandello Theater, despite its rich history and charm, stands empty, a stark contrast to the anticipated sports film festival. The organizers, faced with questions from a journalist, scramble to explain that there was a morning inauguration with schools, leading to a misunderstanding. The images of the vacant theater become viral on social media, triggering public scrutiny on the use of public funds amounting to €35,000.

Alberto Re, one of the organizers, attempts to diffuse the situation, admitting an error but asserting that there are 150 guests. As criticism intensifies, so does the public's demand for accountability, with calls for media watchdogs like "Striscia" and the "Iene." The criticism, however, transforms into a social media trial, leading to Alberto Re, a 78-year-old retired entrepreneur, feeling the weight of public condemnation.

Tragedy Unfolds:
Alberto Re, unable to withstand the barrage of criticism and insults, writes a letter expressing his inability to endure the attacks any longer. On the evening of November 22, after the last empty screenings at the Pirandello Theater, he returns home and shoots himself in the head. After hours of agony, he succumbs to his injuries in the hospital.

Family's Response:
In an open letter sent on the day of the funeral, Alberto Re's family highlights his intentions to elevate cultural discourse in Agrigento. The family condemns the rush to judgment and the intense verbal attacks on social media. They urge reflection on the incident, emphasizing the need to prevent such occurrences in the future and calling for a more humane approach to criticism.

The Daughter's Perspective:
Natalia Re, Alberto Re's daughter and a social entrepreneur, expresses her grief and underscores the devastating power of online hatred. Her father, unaccustomed to the ferocity of online hate, faced something beyond simple criticism. The investigation into his death for incitement to suicide prompts a wider discussion on the lethal effects of unchecked online violence.

Closing Thoughts:
As Pirandello's words resonate—“Imparerai a tue spese che nel lungo tragitto della vita incontrerai tante maschere e pochi volti” (You will learn at your own expense that in the long journey of life, you will encounter many masks and few faces)—it becomes evident that the playwright hadn't foreseen the madness of social networks. The tragedy in Agrigento serves as a poignant reminder of the urgent need to address the rampant culture of online hatred with its potentially fatal consequences.