Mauro Merlino, an Italian activist by accident, has now moved into a protest of peace and solidarity for Earthquake victims applying the principles of love and unity.
Mauro’s story was not a happy one, he was best known several years back for his making a Youtube video and giving an opinion on the Italian tax office (Equitalia), which ended him in a defamation lawsuit. Although this suit drug on for years he effectively won the case making a precedent of opinions and freedom of speech for Italians.
Using his notoriety he would then speak as the unheard voice of the citizens of Italy from helping small business owners plaqued by unfair treatment from the government to protesting for stem cell research.
He also served as Vice President of the Italian Gay Harvey Milk Association, working for years to help win causes of Gay , Lesbian and Transgender rights in Italy. Mauro says, “I have many friends who are gay or lesbian and love is love. I don’t understand why the world is so preoccupied on alienating and stereotyping groups of people. The focus should be that love and unity can cure a country! Let’s band together and work against every day issues that plaque all persons, for example an earthquake and lack of disaster support and relief to victims!”
Merlino lives in the Fiorano, Modena region. Perhaps the only mention of this town to most Americans would be the Modena label on Olive Oil, as much is imported from this region. An area industrial known for ceramics, one may not think of a man walking around in a Spider-man Costume is actually hoping to change the world.
Today Merlino’s focus is that on obtaining help and support for the victims of two deadly earthquakes in the Central Italy region, hundreds of miles South from where Merlino lives. Towns of Rieti and Amatrice had been previously been damaged by major earthquakes in August and December of 2016. Reconstruction efforts have been at bare minimum if at all. Add to this stories suggesting million of Euros had been pledged via text message by citizens of Italy and abroad in August of 2016 and gone missing. Still to this day, citizens are protesting in many towns against the Italian government for lack of support. Unlike the USA who has disaster relief support in extreme emergencies, Italy’s families are still waiting on rebuilding and families are torn apart by the crisis.
Merlino decides it is best to now spend his days helping others. The job market in Italy is lacking at best, and so he feels his most important job is one that does not pay money. He puts on one of his many Spider-Man suits and brings smiles to the faces of children and families. He says, “I cannot rebuild the crumbled homes but perhaps I can touch a child’s heart and make a smile. This initiative, with the help of others, can spread solidarity to the victims of the earthquake and make a difference. With attention to this area we can get help and assistance to the people who need it most. It is my desire to end the suffering with love and solidarity. I hope you will join me in this cause. If a child can see a man dressed as Spider-Man and feel better about the chaos they are going through, then I have done my job in the greatest way possible. “
Merlino has had mention of having walked over 300 miles from his home to the Central Italian region to promote marches and protests for the Earthquake victims in many towns along the way. In the past several months he has been featured in over forty articles including the New York Post in the USA as well as Italian journals and blogs. Even now, an American based fan site has been created under, MauroMerlino.com.
This real life superhero has never been to America but hopes if his work is done that one day he may visit. This is just proof perhaps one man with a huge heart can take on a whole country peacefully and in small steps and raise awareness for issues that matter.
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