Contacting terrorist individuals in Rome, Italy?
September 30, 2010 9:33 PM   Subscribe

It appears I will be spending five days in Rome, Italy around March 14-18.

The trip itself is for undergraduate research and a short overseas experience. I will be giving a 50 minute presentation on my return. The experience is the primary reason for the trip, with most if not all the research being done beforehand.

Though it is far off, I want to get some preparations started. My research will revolve around the "Years of Lead" in Italy, specifically the armed leftist organizations that came about. Some of these groups seem to still exist, albeit in temporally-altered ways, such as the Red Brigade/Brigate Rosse. Others seem to have fully disbanded such as Prima Linea. What I would like to do is get into contact with people who have participated or are currently participating within these terrorist groups.

I'm doing this for research, as a student. Everything will be collected anonymously for academic purposes. I'm in the process of getting in touch with relevant professors and any contacts I have in Italy as a supplement and backup, but I was curious if there was any hope in achieving my wishes from the second paragraph. Might these current terrorist organizations have a civilian front-end I could get into contact with?
posted by SollosQ to Society & Culture (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You have memail.
posted by katemonster at 9:59 PM on September 30, 2010

Talk to your IRB about this.
posted by k8t at 10:19 PM on September 30, 2010

Terrorism is the fortune of being the stronger opponent in a contest and smearing the losing side by means of media dissemination. From what I've read, these armed groups do not still exist, they have all changed names and/or personnel. Interestingly there are many Fascist (which does not mean what you think it means, but I'll let you find that out since you are a student) party holdovers still operating in the government.

There is also the infamous secrecy of Italian politics of which most Italians do not trust and know very little of. Most citizens (especially the young) feel very disengaged, unrepresented and unpatriotic (Not to mention obsessed with all things "Americano"{Esterofilia}). Even Their courts cannot convict most politicians linked to assasinations, misconduct and "terrorism". There are many exiles from "Anni Di piombo". Your best bet might be to attend court proceedings against politicians as a journalist then try to get some info from other journalists or visit "political" prisoners. "Good luck"
posted by Student of Man at 10:34 PM on September 30, 2010

Your best bet is to actually go to France.

As someone who lived in Italy during the "official" tail end of the Anni di Piombo (the 80s) and the more recent resurgence of the Red Brigades (late 90s, early 00s) I can tell you that Student of man is wrong, if he believes that they were in any way "smeared" by the media because they were "the losing side". They were terrorists and murderers, by intent, personal statement, and design. Some of them are, ostensibly, reformed terrorists and murderers and you may be able to talk to them, if your professors have any contacts.
posted by lydhre at 9:14 AM on October 1, 2010

As far as formerly active terrorists are concerned, you might want to first read their published memoirs (assuming you read Italian, without which your whole project will be infinitely more difficult), and then contact them through their publishers to request an interview. I interviewed one of the following suggestions for a US TV network in this way. You will have time until March to set this up.

You could start with Io l'infame by Patrizio Peci (published by Mondadori), or Una vita in Prima Linea by Sergio Segio, (Rizzoli), or La verità di piombo by Leonardo Marino (Ares). Or anything by Adriano Sofri, who didn't in fact kill anybody but was sentenced for being the instigator of the murder of police inspector Calabresi, carried out by Marino, and who is today a prolific journalist.

Of course, this begs the question, raised heartwrendingly by Calabresi's son, of whether it's ethical to give these people any public platform after what they have done. You'll have to make up your own mind on that.
posted by aqsakal at 9:40 AM on October 1, 2010

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