Tuesday, 4 October 2011
CSI Perugia (not)
What's struck me most is the reaction to the verdict here in Italy. I'm talking anecdotally here (and I'd include the Sky News poll in this), but the innocentisti certainly seem to be outnumbered, and significantly so, by the colpevolisti. (And if you can think of a decent translation for these words, I'd be grateful.) The latter fall into several categories. The most populated is the one that thinks Amanda is evil, based on her cartwheel in jail and the the fact that she did some shopping the day after the murder. Oh yes, and unsubstantiated but highly memorable accusations of witchcraft and a general whiff of diabolic sexiness about her that I, frankly, don't seem to be able to pick up on. But it's the second category that interests me most. It's composed of people who smell a rat (the Italian word for them - also untranslatable - is dietrologisti). In this case the rats are various. Some people think they've been acquitted because they're rich (not that surprising in a country where the richest citizen is so blatantly above the law). Others think they're free because Amanda's American and Italy has been trained to adopt a supine position the moment Uncle Sam clicks his fingers (vide, other recent events I can't be fagged to google). Others, curiously, claim that the fact that both defence lawyers have been connected at some point with the PDL (Berlusconi's party) means that the acquittal has some sort of political valency, and is yet another sign of the politicisation of the judicial system. (This is nonsense; apart from anything else, Bongiorno is one of the most notable defectors from the PDL in the past year). What they all have in common is the conviction that the system - any system - is a sham, and that the motives that govern its actions will never be revealed unless we prod and poke about to see what's underneath. It's comforting, I suppose, to imagine that there is a truth, even if it's hidden. The flag on the moon that doesn't move despite all that lunar wind must give someone, somewhere, a reassuring sense that what we see is never what we get. And perhaps this is to be expected in a country where so many murders and acts of terror remain unsolved, so many crime scenes are utterly contaminated through, at best, incompetence and, at worst, intent, and so many convictions are finally overturned, for lack of evidence or sand in the hourglass of legal time. But when we're talking about individual lives, and the possibility of horribly miscarried justice, it's sad that people can't allow for a little more wriggle room in their own convictions, a little more generosity towards two people, who may be rich, and foreign (or southern), and who may be unsympathetic, or cold, or inappropriately energetic, but who do not, for all these qualities, necessarily have blood on their hands.