After the new attack in Washington DC, the climate is tense but very different from that of January, Antonio Di Bella, Rai correspondent in Washington, former director of Rai News 24 and Rai 3, explains to but on the way to reconstruction

On Friday in Washington, a 25-year-old ran over two policemen on guard at the barricade around Capitol Hill, still standing after the attack on January 6, in a car. The aggressor, by name Noah Green, then crashed the car into the barrier and came out with a knife in his hand. Green was shot dead by the police on the scene. One of the agents who invested, William Evans, died, while the other was injured.

“We can speak of an isolated episode and not of a subversive political action”, he commented with Antonio Di Bella, Rai correspondent in Washington, former director of Rai News 24 and Rai 3, in bookstores with “L’Assedio” (Rai Libri), a time trial of the assault on the Capitol on 6 January. From what we know so far, he explains, Green “was motivated by psychosis and delusions of persecution of the CIA and FBI, aggravated by his personal difficult situation”.

From Green’s Facebook page, the profile of a person in difficulty emerged, bent over the last months of the pandemic; he wrote that he quit his job and faced “fear, hunger, loss of wealth”. He was a follower of Louis Farrakhan, a former religious leader of the Nation of Islam, a movement with elements of Islamism and African American nationalism that had Malcolm X among its members.

American flags flew at half mast on Saturday by order of the president Joe Biden. Green’s attack “comes to fall in a Washington still shaken by the assault, the one so organized, on Capitol Hill last January 6, of which I was a personal witness,” Di Bella tells on the phone. Due to the attack personally instigated by Donald Trump Three policemen died, one at the hands of protesters and two from stress-induced suicide the following day.

The barricades around the building have remained up ever since, not without protests, and yesterday’s events testified that “protecting the home of Americans like the embassy in Iraq” is not as absurd as it may seem. You have to get used to seeing khaki uniforms around, Di Bella commented. This time, however, the National Guard intervened immediately, unlike in January, a sign that the level of guard – as well as the tension – remains high.

“It struck me how people on the street thanked the men of the National Guard,” said the correspondent, who described a confident attitude towards law enforcement “sometimes inefficient or even complicit, but who paid the most high compared to violence “. After January 6, the police appear to be “defeated, beaten and humiliated”, but the citizens have not disowned them, quite the contrary. The policeman killed by the Trump protesters was buried with great honors, and the same will happen for Evans, Di Bella said.

It was the action of a lone wolf not attributable to any group, more the result of social unease than of the (moreover dated) ideology of Nation of Islam. Like the recent shootings in Boulder and Atlanta, the event portrays an America deeply divided and crossed by tensions, including ethnic ones, exacerbated by the pandemic and the frictions born around movements such as Black Lives Matter.

The crucial difference is the response from above: those who blew the flames of discontent no longer sit in the Oval Office, and the new president has promised to devote himself to the task of mending the cracks in American society. Proof of this is the climate in Washington, the citizens tense but confident in the police, who in turn do not clash with violent uprisings and racist insults but with episodes that, however serious, are independent of each other. . The lightning-fast intervention of the National Guard and the bipartisan reaction of the policy indicate a clear change of course for the soul of the nation.

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