Giulio Regeni shouldn’t have been murdered. “He was murdered because he was not just a PhD students [a little younger colleague of mine] rather because he was a political activist”. This is what I heard few days ago from some Senior colleagues. I disagree. I disagree from both a moral and methodological point of view. If he had contacts with unionists or any other kind of “rebels”, he was doing that for the sake of his research. If he was also political activist in Egypt, one of them who can talk Arab fluently and therefore more dangerous from Police’s and Intelligence’s eye, this is up to be proved, but all Giulio looks to be but a spy or a person working for some Intelligence. Yet, if he really was a kind of activist, this does not prove any lack of the second of the point: the moral one. It is easy to affirm that “we the Western people” have more “civilized manners” and we assume for granted that torture ought not to be pursued to an arrested man who was just guilty to stay in place in a certain day. This is what a younger colleague aged like Regeni and with a major in Maghreb political activism told me. In other words, a perfect identical profile of Regeni with long stays just in Egypt too. It is too easy to liquid the story in this way, and neither too right: Italian Establishment in 2001, during the Berlusconi era, committed tortures during the G8 summit in the city of Genoa, and we still wait for full justice. Industrial and post-industrial development don’t change the culture of the peoples; I believe more probable the contrary, but this is a different post for another occasion.
Giulio Regeni murder shocked me even for the very simple reason that he was (how hard and bitter it is to use the past tense!) named like me: Giulio. The ashtag #whereisgiulio has hit me because whoever is in pursuit of some truth is facing some degree of danger. Always.
This touches me and let me return on the Egyptian topic I tried last year to process with some irony here and here: our honeymoon was pretty spoiled by the way many people had to do with us. Of course this murder is more sensible of any uncomfortable tourism or any bomb to one’s Consulate.
“Il Manifesto”, a newspaper originally established in late 60s by politicians and intellectual who exited the Socialist Party and went on the left of the Communist Party opening the 70s season of the Left Extra-Parliament Parties, published a couple of articles: by Regeni and about Regeni.
My point is that the way Regeni was tortured and the roles Egyptian Police and Intelligence held showed a critical weakness in ruling the Country. Mubarak, for instance, had done that with much less rude manners. Now the ally al-Sisi seems to stay clinched to Regeni’s corpse like a boxer who has to way to flee from opponent’s punches and looks for a draw. The opponent is not the Italian PM or any other Italian figure. The Al-Sisi’s opponent this time is Truth.
Italy and Egypt shall play a diplomatic game: gas interests, the Libya affair and common terrorism tackling will probably subvert the prompt discovery of the total and truth. Realpolitik will prevail, and I am not even saying that this is not reasonable. But the point but be developed: although some State’s interest must be preserved, we must realize that just to preserve this national interest, Diplomacy must play the role that it looks Italian side is playing: that to claim truth via conjunct inquiry.
I simply see Egypt like a lost Country with a loss and a deficit in identity in this current world. When a Country murder purposively a researcher or any other intellectual like a journalist making a documentary, there is an only evidence: mala tempora currunt and probabilities of wider and more global conflicts appear as more probable. This is the result of this affair, and we must all stand stiff against these events like those, for instance, happening against Turkish scholars in their home Country. It is all tremendously unacceptable morally. This is hugely inconvenient to be left happen without a clear diplomatic reaction.
This is my little homage – besides the sign on The Guardian’s initiative – for Giulio’s memory for the sine ira ac studio sake of Truth: the only end we ought to follow in the endeavor of Research.
Giulio Regeni RIP