Mauro Merlino:  Liberty and Justice via Spider-Man

In America should a natural disaster occur we have FEMA, governmental programs, volunteers, the Red Cross and crisis support. In Italy, it appears they have real issues getting support to victims of an earthquake, even after much money was pledged last August via SMS campaigns.

A political man turned accidental activist thanks to a YouTube video gone viral several years back which led to a defamation lawsuit by Italy’s tax giant Equitalia.  Merlino won the case and used many social media to protest for freedom of speech and opinion standards in Italy.

Now, politics behind him, Mauro Merlino turns to one of his many Spider-Man costumes for help.  He’s walking across Italy as Spider-Man (even having climbed some buildings) and taking with him other superheroes to bring attention the earthquake-stricken region of Central Italy. This is where two tragic earthquakes occurred in August and December of last year, namely areas of Rieti or  Amatrice.  Most contained old stone homes, historic churches and businesses now toppled to the ground. Families lost everything and there were many casualties. Those who survived lived without water and electricity when a harsh winter came.  Children and families are still displaced and reconstruction efforts are at best, lackluster.  Many protests continue on a weekly basis around Italy, for lack of support for these victims.

Silently Merlino walks donned in costume and holding signs, marching in the squares of the towns from his home to the Central Region, having no ties to this region.  One sign reads, “Children don’t worry, I am with you.”

Merlino says, “This is just a movement for solidarity, to bring attention to this area and remind the children that all will be well.  It’s no secret that assistance is needed and no family should have to go through this.  Many people have died during this crisis and others lucky enough to live, are still waiting for homes to be rebuilt. These families need support!  If a child can smile and remember a superhero cares perhaps this small gesture can touch a heart of a child. I cannot rebuild these homes, but I can bring smiles. “

Merlino receives no monetary compensation yet has received international support through media, even American journals and papers are spreading the word and sharing his efforts.  According to Wikipedia, over 17 million Americans claim Italian ancestry in the United States.  Add that to a number of people who love Spider-man and one can hope these victims will get the help they need.

Most recently, he was seen over the weekend climbing the walls in Lombardy, Italy (Mantua region).

Ironically, Merlino doesn’t speak English, but people across the world have sent him Spider-Man costumes, letters of gratitude, and even built him an American fan site,   He says, “I am pleased with the fact that Americans are helping spread awareness of this issue. Now maybe they can ask President Donald Trump to phone my President and get this fixed.”

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