Hot news:
Non-perfoming loans to go down to 10% by 2016 in Kazakhstan: Kelimbetov Iran oil exports rise to 1.2 mn barrels per day Long weekends in May: Work dates in Kazakhstan US orange production hit by disease, juice prices soar Vandals leave anti-Arab grafitti on Israel mosque 70 wounded as anti-vote Algerian youths, police clash Israeli crime boss found shot dead Briton 'global exporter of terrorism' NY trial hears Fourth officer charged in US Navy bribery scandal Chelsea Clinton announces pregnancy Thousands evacuated near Peru volcano Philippines' Easter crucifixons draw huge crowds Garcia Marquez, godfather of magic realism, dies at 87 Sony's PlayStation 4 sales top seven million Brazil names 46 suspects in money-laundering, drug probe Paleontologists discover land herbivores' earliest ancestor William and Kate tour town ravaged by bushfires Russian FSB demanded Ukraine protest group details: VKontakte founder Japan virtual star Hatsune to join Lady Gaga tour Central Bank to raise requirements to banks tenfold by 2020 Honda's new ASIMO robot, more human-like than ever No job without medical examination in Kazakhstan Philippine leader apologises over 'world's worst airport' 'Shouldn't we move?' Ferry evacuation under scrutiny Eight drown as immigrant boat sinks off Turkey Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building Liberia's first post-war president dies More dead pigs found in China river Goat to be cloned to treat rare genetic disorder Dead star's brothers to finish 'Fast and Furious 7' Australian state premier quits over wine 'memory fail' London opens 'most beautiful' show of Matisse cut-outs Kazakhstan to cooperate with Bahrain in aluminum production Boston Prisoner's Kazakhstani father denied visa Gambia bans flights from Ebola-hit nations Thousands of workers strike at China shoe factory $1.3 billion was withdrawn from Kazakhstan’s banks in deposit run following misleading sms campaign Photo of Kazakhstanis passed off as Russian victims in Ukraine Ukrainians use pic of Kazakh girl in rallies in London WWII veteran brings wallet made of human skin to Aktau museum President Nursultan Nazarbayev on the country’s financial industry Two municipal bus depots to open in Astana Morocco jails British paedophile for 20 years: NGO Tibetan man in China sets self on fire: reports Phoenix TV journalists file harassment lawsuit in New York Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels US concert Islamists abduct more than 100 girls from Nigeria school Five students stabbed to death at Canada house party S. Korea rescue for sinking ferry with 450 passengers Only 1 in 7 Japanese scientists are women: study Lock of Napoleon's hair stolen in Australia LUKOIL sells 50% in Caspian Investment Resources Ltd with assets in Kazakhstan to China’s Sinopec Garcia Marquez in 'very fragile' condition: family Ukraine and Kazakhstan agree to resume economic cooperation Kazakhstan and Great Britain sign documents on cargo transit from Afghanistan China bank loans surge in March: central bank Michael Jackson's mom to pay promoter $800,000 Four days of brigade combat exercises start in Kazakhstan Be part of Almaty Zoo: take care of one animal Kazakhstan and Bahrain to promote Islamic banking in Kazakhstan Samruk-Kazyna Head on forthcoming IPOs and privatization plans Lady Gaga, Psy to perform at S. Korea festival Mortar fire on Damascus kills child, hurts 40: state news Obama urges Putin to rein in Ukraine insurgents Japan culls 112,000 chickens after bird flu outbreak Online-addicted Korean man arrested over son's death Justin Bieber hearing set for May in Canada Boston remembers marathon bombing victims, one year on Americas to get glimpse of total lunar eclipse Bomb attack kills 71 at bus station near Nigeria capital $1.3 billion to finance Toxic Assets Fund of Kazakhstan N. Korea marks Kim Il-Sung birthday with loyalty pledge Fish losing survival instinct in acidic oceans: study Kazakhstan bank assets to reach 80% of GDP by 2020 S. Korea state insurer sues three tobacco makers Citigroup cuts 200-300 jobs Tennis: Kazakhstani Zarina Diyas gets in WTA Top-100 Facebook wants to beam the Internet from the sky Murakami's new book unveiled in Japan Preglacial landscape found deep under Greenland ice Mattel reports loss as Barbie sales plummet Whoopi Goldberg debuts as marijuana columnist

Kazakhstan’s restoration of Italian chapel gives devastated city a bit of hope

29.07.2013
Hal Foster Hal Foster ex-Los Angeles Times journalist, journalism professor

Many of the 67,000 residents of L’Aquila, Italy, have had little to cheer about since an earthquake leveled much of their city four years ago.

Kazakhstan recently provided them with a bright spot.

The earthquake in April of 2009, which measured 6.3 on the Richter scale, killed 309 people, left 50,000 homeless in the city and its surroundings, and destroyed much of the downtown area.

With Italy in an economic crisis, restoration of L’Aquila, a medieval university town in the Appenine Mountains, has been excruciatingly slow. This has angered the city’s residents, who place the blamed mostly on the shoulders of those running the national government in Rome.

L’Aquila’s devastated buildings included hundreds of architectural, cultural and historical treasures, including the Chapel of San Giuseppe dei Minimi.

The 17th-century Oratory of San Giuseppe dei Minimi. Photo courtesy of www.theartnewspaper.com

The 17th-century Oratory of San Giuseppe dei Minimi. Photo courtesy of www.theartnewspaper.com

This month Kazakhstan made good on a 3 ½-year-old pledge to rebuild the chapel, one of the most important examples of baroque architecture in L’Aquila. The $2.3 million donation is the largest chunk of foreign aid the country has given a developed country.

Its other donations to developed countries have included money to help address the Fukushima disaster in Japan and Hurricane Katrina in the United States.

Completion of the L’Aquila project was commemorated in a ceremony at the chapel July 8, according to Kazakhstan’s Foreign Ministry and news reports. The event drew Italian dignitaries plus members of the countries’ diplomatic corps.

In addition to Italian government, business and cultural leaders, those thanking Kazakhstan’s government and people for the restoration have included the Roman Catholic bishop of L’Aquila, Giovanni D’Ercole.

Kazakhstan pledged to restore the chapel on the eve of President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s state visit to Italy in November of 2009, where $1 billion in business deals were signed.

Italy has long been one of Kazakhstan’s biggest trading partners. At the moment it is the fifth-largest buyer of Kazakhstan’s products, according to the CIA World Factbook.

But trade wasn’t the main reason Kazakhstan decided to make the foreign-aid donation to Italy, Kazakh officials have said.

Mukhtar Kul-Mukhamed was the minister of culture when Astana announced the chapel-restoration donation in late 2009.

Kazakhstan Minister of Culture and Information Mukhtar Kul-Mukhammed. Tengrinews file photo

Kazakhstan Minister of Culture and Information Mukhtar Kul-Mukhammed. Tengrinews file photo

He noted that Kazakhstan’s main motivation for reaching out to the residents of L’Aquila was of course to help the victims of a tragedy – but there was more to it than that.

Kazakhs have long felt a special bond with Italy because of the two nations’ love of art, music, writing and other trappings of culture, he said in an interview with the news service Aki.

"The people of Kazakhstan were very upset by the earthquake in Italy, so the government decided to restore a piece of Italian culture” that belongs not just to Italy but the world, Kul-Mukhamed said.

"Like Italians, we love the beauty of nature, architecture and literature, and we are brought up with the painters of the Medieval period,” he said. Those artists include Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci.

Kazakhs love Italian music, “particularly the operas of Verdi and Puccini,” Kul-Mukhamed added. In fact, one of today’s classical-music singers whom Kazakhs admire is Andrea Bocelli, who has held concerts in Kazakhstan, he said.

Some of Kazakhstan’s young singers have performed at the famed La Scale opera house in Milan, Kul-Mukhamed pointed out.
And the poets Kazakh school children study include the Italians Petrarca and Dante, he said.

Unfortunately, Kazakhstan has been one of only a handful of nations to have made good on pledges to help restore L’Aquila’s cultural heritage, according to news reports.

Immediately after the earthquake, a lot of countries announced they would pitch in.

L’Aquila after the earthquake. Photo courtesy of www.sciencemediacentre.co.nz

L’Aquila after the earthquake. Photo courtesy of www.sciencemediacentre.co.nz

L’Aquila residents thought it fortuitous that the Group of Eight nations were holding their annual summit in the city in July, just three months after the earthquake.

With devastation all around them, G-8 leaders couldn’t help but discuss the tragedy. L’Aquila residents hoped those comments would translate into hundreds of millions of dollars in landmark-restoration money and billions in general relief.

Neither has been the case.

The only countries that have actually made donations to restore L’Aquila’s cultural landmarks have been the G-8 nations of Russia, France and Germany – plus Kazakhstan, which is not a G-8 member, according to Der Spiegel Online.

The biggest donation has come from Russia -- $ 9.6 million to restore the Palazzo Ardinghelli.

France donated $8.6 million to restore the Church of Santa Maria del Suffragio and Germany $4.7 million to rebuild the Church of San Pietro Apostolo in Onna, near L’Aquila.

“The damage to the town’s cultural heritage and general infrastructure was so pronounced, and the government’s subsequent mismanagement of the crisis so conspicuous, that the town center is still deserted and many restoration projects have yet to start,” according to theartnewspaper.com.

“Progress is slow because the culture ministry’s budget has suffered in the current economic climate, and it has focused its energies on more ‘mainstream’ and tourist-friendly schemes,” journalists Il Giornale dell'Arte and Ermanno Rivetti reported on the website July 26.

One of the ministry’s priorities is the $200 million European Union-funded Great Pompeii Project, whose goal is to preserve the priceless archeological site that Mount Vesuvius eruption created in 79 AD.

The ministry has so far come up with only $200 million of the $698 million needed to restore L’Aquila’s heritage, dell'Arte and Rivetti reported.

The lack of action led to1,000 art historians holding a protest demonstration in central L’Aquila on May 5.

Those leading the rally included art historian Thomas Montanari and the new culture minister, Maximum Bray, according to Il Journal reporter Valentina Veneroso. Others included professors, students and public officials.

Dissatisfaction with the Italian government’s response to the rebuilding of L’Aquila goes far beyond unhappiness with the cultural-restoration effort.

Thousands of ordinary residents say officials in Rome need to do more to help them get their lives back to normal.

Late last year Der Spiegel Online reported that 19,000 residents of the L’Aquila area were still awaiting housing.

"Everything has been delayed. And young people are leaving. Politicians keep bickering," Archbishop Giuseppe Molinari told the Catholic news site tempi.it on the fourth anniversary of the earthquake on April 6, 2013. "The situation is still critical."

Interior Minister Fabrizio Barca, who took part in a ceremony in downtown L’Aquila marking the fourth year of the tragedy, has promised to speed up the city’s reconstruction.

But the news service Agence-France Presse also quoted him as saying that reconstruction will require so much money that “the state cannot not rebuild this city” on its own.

The total restoration cost is estimated at $13 billion, according to Der Spiegel Online.

“L'Aquila must rise again,” asserted Mayor Massimo Caliente. “The monuments must be restored” and “people need to get back to their lives before the earthquake.”

Views: 2    Comments: 0
preloader
Add a comment
preloader
Hal Foster
ex-Los Angeles Times journalist, journalism professor
Aleksandr Kolpakov
Observer
Azamat Joldasbekov
Professional Independent Director
Ruslan Yensebayev
Deputy Chairman of the Board, National Information Technologies JSC
Chronos and Factsheets
Timelines of various important events.
Institute of Political Solutions
www.ipr.kz
Pew Research Center
http://people-press.org
DJ David Guetta
http://www.davidguetta.com
Stanislav Kossobokov
Vice Chairman of the Board, Halyk Bank
Quotes
Statements made by Kazakhstan and foreign leaders.
Dr Zifa Auezova
ESCAS President
Kazakhstan economic and financial experts
Rakhim Oshakbayev, Bisengali Tadjiyakov, Kenzhegali Sagadiyev
Energy Experts
Didier Holleaux, Gilles Perrot, Marie Norheim
Kairbek Suleimenov
Ex-Minister of Interior Affairs of Kazakhstan
Kenneth Fairfax
U.S. Ambassador to Kazakhstan
Umirzak Shukeyev
First Deputy Prime-Minister of Kazakhstan, member of Eurasian Economic Commission
Dr. Alexander Mirtchev
Vice-President of the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies and founder a
Kazakhstan Chronos
Timelines of various important Kazakhstan events.
General Prosecutor's Office of Kazakhstan
General Prosecutor's Office of Kazakhstan
Heat's Hottest Hunks 2012
Sexiest Men on the Planet
Safest cars 2011
Euro NCAP's Best in Class cars of 2011
Most Desirable Woman of 2012
AskMen's Most Desirable Woman of 2012
TheCoolist
The Design, Lifestyle and Luxury Community
Top-10 Popular Women of Kazakhstan
Top-10 Listing
Miss World 2012
Beauty contest
Top-20 Most Beautiful Kazakh Women
Top 20 rating by Top-Antropos
Bilateral meeting
Speeches
Trilateral announcement
Trilateral announcement
Road Police
Funny stories
Anders Behring Breivik - Profile
Norwegian terrorist
National Army Museum
Museum
60 years of British Film and Music
hmv.com - celebrating the jubilee - the best of British
Most unusual offices
A selection of most unusual creative approaches to setting up offices around the world.
London Olympics 2012
Inspire a generation, Olympic Games 27 July - 12 August
Olympics: Quotes of the day
Inspire a generation, Olympic Games 27 July - 12 August
Zulfiya Chinshanlo
Olympic Champion - 53kg Weightlifting
Yerlan Karin
Secretary of Nur Otan party, political expert
Instability and its faces
Opinions, overviews, reseach and analysis
Prince Harry
His Royal Highness Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales
The ATOM Project
Act now. Stop nuclear weapons testing.
Gregory Marchenko
Governor of the National Bank of Kazakhstan
Opinion
Commentary
Elections
event
Kazakhstan at Africa Eco Race
Kazakhstan’s Astana has 2 racing crews: Shagirov-Moroz (M440, T2), Sazonov-Sakhimov (Bowler, T1)
Entertainment
Have fun reading!
Nursultan Nazarbayev
President of Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan at Dakar 2013
Kazakhstan's Astana has four crews: 3 on offroaders and 1 on truck
Zhansaya Abdumalik
Kazakhstan chess player
Interview
See what they have to say
Artur Ardavichus
Pilot
Maria Shishkina
Junior tennis star
Mikhail Kukushkin
Professional Kazakhstan tennis player
Gennadiy Doroshin
UNDP/GEF Adviser
Ching-Kuo Wu
President of the International Boxing Association (AIBA)
Tanatkan Abakanov
Director of Kazakhstan Institute of Seismology
Denis Ten
Kazakhstan Figure Skater
Zhomart Yertayev
President of the Eurasian Center for Financial Consulting
Kazakhstan at Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge-2013
Kazakhstan is represented by 6 crews: 5 offroaders and 1 quad.
Chokan Laumulin
Research Fellow, Central Asian Forum, Jesus College, University of Cambridge
War Chronicles
The Great Patriotic War
Yonatan Adiri
Founder and Chief Executive Officer Diagnose.Me, innovations expert
Letters to the Editor
Letters
UNICEF Kazakhstan
The United Nations Children’s Fund in Kazakhstan
Tom Loeffler
Tom Loeffler, K2 managing director and GGG promoter
Gennady 'GGG' Golovkin
Professional boxer from Kazakhstan, WBA and IBO Middleweight Champion
Alexander Vinokourov
Professional cyclist
Nikolay Chebotko
Kazakhstan skier
Detroit Auto Show
Car show
Yulia Galysheva
Kazakhstan's best mogul skier
Music
Music reviews, ratings and picks
Andrey Golubev
Kazakhstan professional tennis player

Feature stories