We all need truth, even the culprits

Marco Pannella
Notizie radicali

ABSTRACT: Marco Pannella gives his opinion on the arrest of Adriano Sofri, former leader of Lotta Continua (1) accused by the magistrates of being the instigator of the murder of Police Commissioner Luigi Calabresi, expressing him his confidence and friendship. He also makes a proposal: to attempt, all together, to shed light on the Calabresi murder. On the subject of this proposal we hereby report the interventions of Enrico Deaglio, Michele Serra, Alexander Langer, Luciano Violante, Giacomo Mancini, Alfredo Biondi, Giovanni Russo Spena and Grazia Cherchi.
(Notizie Radicali n. 180 of 25 August 1988)

"Just recently, I have been accused of not having immediately expressed myself in defense of Enzo Tortora. It is also a well known fact that I didn't express myself immediately in defense of the 7 accused of the 7th of April. The Radical Party myself are, so it seems, slow-moving; or rather: we arrive "last". However, is it not legitimate to think that we are the "last" because - thanks to the seriousness of our way of proceeding - we are then capable of being effective and decisive?
Having said this, let us pass on to the "Sofri affair" and to the murder of commissioner Calabresi. A few moments after having read the news of the arrest of the four exponents and activists of Lotta Continua, I publicly expressed my trust and my deep friendship for Adriano Sofri, and expressed the doubts that could be raised concerning the decision of the magistrates, to whom I expressed sincere, if not equal trust, not being personally acquainted to them.
Two weeks later, I wish to assert in an even firmer manner my great friendship to Adriano Sofri and the decision to trust him, and once again express doubts on the proceedings, even if legitimate it seems, of the magistrates.
In particular I have a growing fear that the two Milanese judges will opt for a utilitarian use of imprisonment and its conditions, especially as regards Bompressi. I should hope that imprisonment not be used as an "instrument" to make a prisoner "collapse"; I should hope that out of love for truth, out of the duty and the task of searching for it, passion for investigation doesn't turn into the defense at all costs of that which has been done or thought of having to or being able to do.
I have a proposal: what if we all, together, not only the former activists of Lotta Continua which are now being judged, made an attempt to shed light on the murder of Calabresi? What if we conducted the counter-investigations in this same view? The best way to defend unjustly accused innocents is that of searching for and possibly finding the responsibles.
Of course, after 16 years, this is difficult to achieve. But for the present time and for the next 16 years we have the utmost need for truth; both the culprits of that period, and probably them for first; both us Radicals who would be their companions without reservations, with gratitude, with all our strength in this difficult, dramatic and beautiful task. For a "common" today and tomorrow (if if they wanted to).

Michele Serra
Journalist at L'Unità
...yesterday on the "Corriere della Sera" there was an article by Marco Pannella, did you read it?
Yes, I did.
What was your impression?
I don't know, I found it quite interesting and imaginative as the positions of Pannella often are, but I have some doubts on the actual usefulness of this appeal, in the sense that I think that each of the leaders of Lotta Continua in his own way is already attempting to understand what really happened, to find the truth...I must say that a malicious interpretation of Pannella's article could induce to think, as many have surely done, that Pannella is simply inviting someone to confess, perhaps offering him the protection of a candidature in Parliament.

Alexander Langer
Regional counsellor for the Green party
I must say that this time, contrary to what usually happens, I disagree with Pannella: his seems to me a dangerous suggestion, if it means that a person can defend his innocence or the innocence of his friends only if he finds the responsibles. Lotta Continua no longer exists in terms of political subject, it would be absurd to reconstruct it in some way, with the purpose of investigating the facts of those years; rather, it could be an active subject today, such as the Radical Party is or Pannella himself is, with his noble sense of having a right to promote a committee, a committee to shed light on the Calabresi murder, but also on the Pinelli murder; in this case, if I knew anything I would give maximum collaboration.
There is a part of the article that I agree on perfectly and that I find very noble, that is, the moral, almost evangelic appeal of Pannella when he says that truth will make you free, addressing himself to the possible responsibles. This encouragement of Pannella, already present in his first intervention, is very important, above all for those who constantly exert truth; unfortunately I believe that the worst consequence of the phenomenon of "penitents" is that of having destroyed the morality and the consistency of repentance, that of those who claim: I have done these things, today I am different. I have made an effort to understand what I would do if I knew who murdered Calabresi, and I think that I would go up to these people and tell them that perhaps today is the right moment to talk about what they did, without being ashamed, to pay the fair penalty and request society to acknowledge that they can be changed. I would tell them that the political and moral climate today makes this possible. Fortunately I do not have to bear this burden, I can say I have escaped this.

Luciano Violante
Communist Member of Parliament
I read with much pleasure this article by Pannella, because it is finally formulated in a serious way: both where he says that imprisonment must not be an instrument to convince the person to confess, both where he launches a constructive proposal: that of working together to find the responsibles for the murder of commissioner Calabresi. This is a very serious way of approaching the problem, if compared to the non serious behaviours as regards the same question. The shadow of the Tortora affair is still lurking, but it wise to request the attention of all.

Giacomo Mancini
Socialist Member of Parliament
"It is always a pleasure for me to read Marco Pannella and his interventions, and, in this case as well, I think that his solicitude must be considered valuable.
Because I do not believe that common citizens should engage in investigations and counter-investigations. Citizens must be put in the conditions to trust the justice and the judges of their country. Citizens should not bear the impossible burden of competing in the attempt to find the truth, which it is the duty of others to find, or to pursue tracks that others should pursue. This in theory. Unfortunately in Italy things are not like this, and it seems that the slogan we found in the referendum campaign, that of "just justice", is still a utopia."

Alfredo Biondi
Vice-president of the Parliament
"The invitation of Pannella has two merits: first of all, that of being an appeal to the conscience of people, and then an appeal to the wisdom acquired in the mean time by those who experienced the events of that time, with a spirit and a reality which are very different from those of today. He says "I believe in the innocence of Sofri": perhaps he means to say that he believes in it with the optimism of his will, with the reliability of his feelings, which are, however, not enough in this case. What I can say is that I hope in his innocence."

Giovanni Russo Spena
National Secretary of Democrazia Proletaria
First of all I believe it is important to remark that in this occasion, forces such as the Radical Party and Democrazia Proletaria agree on the guarantist and democratic control of the investigation on the Calabresi murder.
Concerning the proposition Marco Pannella makes in his article, I looked for Marco to talk about it, because I don't believe he means setting up a real inquisitive investigation: we would have neither the power nor the time for this. His proposal is fair because it inverts the sense in which the the question has been dealt with. There is a fact, the murder of Calabresi, and we must start off from this fact and probe it until we find the possible truth, and not, on the contrary, do all that can be done to prove the culpability of the accused.

Grazia Cherchi
"What I found most alarming was the fact that confronted with the explosion of this terrible affair, which should be called the "Marino affair", many of the protagonists of that period tend to remove it, deciding that it is best to forget.
I cannot but approve that which Pannella writes, however I believe that the investigation he proposes is hopeless. First of all because 16 years have gone by, and the quest for the responsibles after 16 years, with the almost non-existent forces we have (in spite of the fact that I, as I have written on "Il Manifesto" am not apocalyptic) seems extremely difficult. I said I wasn't "apocalyptic" because I believe that still now and perhaps not for long, Italy is among the other European countries the one that offers some cultural "pockets" of diversity, vitality and vivacity, some pockets of marginal people like Pannella and, to a lesser degree, myself. It is necessary, as Pannella states, for everyone to get moving, to talk, to write, to express their position, not just the former Lotta Continua activists, but also all that "moral minority" that exists in spite of everything in our country, to attack that which is happening in Italy, not only as regards the Sofri affair, but also on the many, extremely serious cases that have occurred, are occurring and will occur in Italy.
Truth is needed, as Pannella says, truth concerning Calabresi but also concerning Pinelli, the massacre of Piazza Fontana and many other massacres. Light must be shed, I agree, but on everything".

Enrico Deaglio
Pannella's article can be divided into two parts: on the one hand the concern on the behaviour of the magistrates of Milan, accompanied by a substantial acknowledgement of their correctness; then there is the part in which doubts are expressed on the way in which the investigation is being conducted, and particularly on the arbitrary use of imprisonment. The latter part is a proposal: as regards this proposal I should like to say that Lotta Continua has always been concerned about discovering the truth on the events of that 17th of may 1972, ever since two of its activists were imprisoned because they were mistaken with the identikit of the murderers. Even more so are we interested in discovering the truth today, in the present situation. I have no problems in accepting Pannella's appeal, what we are doing is not so much an investigation aimed at defending our friends in jail, but to shed light on the events of that period. However, I would like to add something, a thing Pannella knows perfectly well, that is, that all the most terrible crimes, the most terrible massacres, all the most terribles facts occurred in Italy in the last 30 years, all are left with no solution, they are concealed in deep mystery. It is true that we need truth, but not only on the Calabresi affair. I am certain that together with Marco we will be able to accomplish things on all this affair.

(1) Extreme left political organization