may 1962

10

Centralia, Pennsylvania
Population: 10

“Analysts disagree about the specific cause of the Centralia fire. Writer David Dekok concluded that it started incident to cleanup of the town landfill. In May 1962, the Centralia Borough Council hired five members of the volunteer fire company to clean up the town landfill, located in an abandoned strip-mine pit next to the Odd Fellows Cemetery just outside the borough limits. This had been done prior to Memorial Day in previous years when the landfill was in a different location.

On May 27, 1962, the firefighters, as they had in the past, set the dump on fire and let it burn for some time. Unlike in previous years, however, the fire was not fully extinguished. An unsealed opening in the pit allowed the fire to enter the labyrinth of abandoned coal mines beneath Centralia.  According to a legend, the Bast Colliery coal fire of 1932 was never fully extinguished. In 1962, it reached the landfill area.

Few homes remain standing in Centralia. Most of the abandoned buildings have been demolished by the Columbia County Redevelopment Authority or reclaimed by nature. At a casual glance, the area now appears to be a field with many paved streets running through it. Some areas are being filled with new-growth forest. The remaining church in the borough, St. Mary’s, holds weekly services on Sunday. It has not yet been directly affected by the fire. The town’s four cemeteries—including one on the hilltop that has smoke rising around and out of it—are maintained in good condition.”

10

Men go by, ideas stay. Moral efforts stay and will continue to walk on the legs of other men.

On May 23rd 1992,  judge and prosecuting magistrate Giovanni Falcone, who had fought against Mafia all his life, was travelling with his security detail on the A29 coastal motorway to get from Palermo’s airport to his home. In retaliation for all of his life’s work and in particular for the Maxi-Trial who had convicted hundreds of Mafia affiliates and judicially proven Mafia’s existence, a half-ton of explosives was placed in a culvert under the motorway, near the town of Capaci and it was set off when the three cars with Falcone and his security detail were  travelling by. The blast killed Falcone, his wife, and the three men in the first car of his security detail. Only four survived. The explosion was so powerful it registered on local earthquake monitors.

Giovanni Falcone [ Palermo - May 18, 1939 / Capaci - May 23, 1992 ]

Francesca Morvillo  [ Palermo - December 14, 1945 / Palermo - May 23 1992 ]

 Vito Schifani  [ Palermo - February 23, 1965 / Capaci - May 23, 1992 ]

Rocco Dicillo [ Triggiano - April 13,1962 / Capaci - May 23, 1992]

Antonio Montinaro [ Calimera - September 8, 1962 / Capaci - May 23, 1992 ]

 Paolo Capuzza, Angelo Corbo, Gaspare Cervello,Giuseppe Costanza

Huge public outrage (especially against politicians) and deep mourning followed the judge’s death and thousands gathered at the funerals which were broadcast on national television. 53 days later Falcone’s close friend and collaborator, Judge Paolo Borsellino, and five men of his security guide, were killed in a similar bomb attack in Palermo.

Mafia is not invincible; it’s a human reality and as everything which is human it has a beginning and it will also have and end. However, we must realize that we can win not by requesting defenceless citizens to act as heroes, but by engaging every best institutional force in this battle. 

Giovanni Falcone

“I miss working with John because that was something very special and you know it’s very difficult to replicate that. In fact it’s almost impossible because we met each other as teenagers and went through a lot of life together: hitchhiking to Paris and holidays and working together and being in Hamburg together with The Beatles. So we were very intimate, we knew each other intimately as only teenage friends can.“

[Paul, A Conversation With Paul McCartney, [x] 10th June, 2016]


The Beatles at the Star Club, Hamburg, April - May, 1962. 

Pic: TS Productions.

Failure of containment during an underground nuclear test of French Atomic bomb, In Eker Algeria, 1962

The “Béryl incident” was a French nuclear test, conducted on May 1, 1962, during which nine soldiers of the 621st Groupe d'Armes Spéciales unit were heavily contaminated by radioactivity.The test took place at In Eker, Algeria, then a French department, and was designed as an underground shaft test.Due to improper sealing of the shaft, radioactive rock and dust were released into the atmosphere. The soldiers were exposed to as much as 600 mSv. As many as 100 additional personnel were exposed to lower levels of radiation, estimated at about 50 mSv, when the radioactive cloud produced by the blast passed over the command post, due to an unexpected change in wind direction. Among those exposed were several French government officials, including French Defense Minister Pierre Messmer and Gaston Palewski.