Monday, March 7, 2005

Giuliana Sgrena: This is the truth

/ invaders / trigger / happy /
The released journalist Giuliana Sgrena reports on her experience as an abductee and the events surrounding her release and the subsequent murder of Nicola Calipari:

...The car continued on its course, passing an underpass full of puddles and almost disbanding to avoid them. We all broke out into incredible laughter. It was liberating. Disbanding on a road flooded with water in Baghdad and perhaps ending up in a nasty road accident after all that I had gone through was really not fit to be told. Nicola Calipari then came to sit by my side. The driver had communicated twice to the Embassy and Italy that we were headed towards the airport which I knew to be very heavily controlled by the American troops. It's less than a kilometre away, they told me, when ... I only remember firing. At that point, a shower of fire and bullets hit us, shutting up for ever the cheered up voices of a few minutes earlier.

The driver started to yell that we were Italians, "We are Italians. We are Italians..." Nicola Calipari threw himself upon me to protect me and immediately, I repeat, immediately, I felt his last breath as he died on me. I must have felt physical pain, I didn't know why. But I had a flash. My mind went straight to the words my kidnappers had pronounced. They had declared they were committed to letting me free but I had to be wary "because there are the Americans that don't want your return". Then, when they had told me that, I had judged those words as superfluous and ideological. In that moment they risked giving me the taste of the bitterest of truths.

Her description of her captivity is also very interesting, and acquires an almost surreal quality as it is revealed that Francesco Totti the football player (!), AS Roma's striker, had an influence in her release:

The kidnappers seemed to me to be a very religious group, continuously praying with verses from the Quran. But on Friday, at the moment of my release, the one that seemed to be the most religious among them and who used to get up every morning at 5 to pray, said "congratulations" to me, incredibly squeezing my hand tight, a behaviour not at all normal for an Islamic fundamentalist, adding, "If you behave well, you will leave immediately". Then an almost funny episode. One of the two guardians came to me amazed both because the TV was showing my portraits hanging from European cities and because of Totti. Yes, Totti. [The kidnapper] had said he was a fan of the football team of Rome and had remained bewildered that his favourite player had entered the field with the writing "Free Giuliana" on his T-shirt.

Znet link to the article as the above link is non-permanent.
This, BTW, was not the only incident involving a "friendly-fire" death in Iraq on March 4.

Update: Sgrena's BBC interview.

1 comment:

Seesaw said...

Incredible, the whole story.
But how to stop the killing of inocent people?