Sgrena the Uniter?

From the Globe and Mail:

ROME — Until very recently, Giuliana Sgrena was an obscure figure on the extreme fringes of Italian journalism, a leathery, wild-haired Communist whose angry reports denounced Silvio Berlusconi’s right-wing government and George W. Bush’s America.

During this truly surreal week, Ms. Sgrena took on a strange new role from her military hospital bed: a uniter of all Italians, a figure championed by everyone from street protesters and soccer stars to Mr. Berlusconi himself. The "two Italys," one on the right and the other on the left, had briefly come together.

Because she was kidnapped by Iraqi insurgents, and then freed by a heroic Italian secret agent (with the help of Mr. Berlusconi’s generous ransom payments), and then wounded in an American attack that killed the secret agent as he drove her to the Baghdad airport for their flight back to Rome, the 56-year-old journalist briefly leaped from the partisan margins to become the voice of Italy’s id.

Is that not what she wanted all along? Denunciations of "Italy’s right wing government and George Bush’s America?" Hatred for America? One thing I would like to know is what caliber bullet hit Mr. Calipari. Was it one that the soldiers manning the checkpoint were using? OK, a bit of conspiracy theory. The car looks to be in remarkably good condition for being raked with .50 Caliber gunfire.


For some prominent figures, this love-in has become a little too much.

On Tuesday night, one of Italy’s best-known figures snapped.

Emilio Fede, the host of the popular evening news program TG4 and a close friend of Mr. Berlusconi, went on a lengthy rant that drew official protests from his own newsroom staff and an apology from Mr. Berlusconi.

He played clips of Ms. Sgrena, captive and held at gunpoint, reading statements in support of her kidnappers, with the kidnappers themselves blacked out. He then denounced her and suggested that she should have died instead of the agent.

He referred to "the disgraceful, squalid ranting of a Communist reporter of Il Manifesto whose life was saved by the Italian government at the cost of [agent] Nicola Calipari . . . that would upset anyone who realized that Nicola Calipari, a perfect husband and father, lost his life to save Sgrena."

In Sgrena related news, we now have the "insurgents" who kidnapped her claiming that there was no ransom paid, and that the CIA was out to kill Sgrena (via Aljazeera):

The suspected kidnappers of former Italian hostage Giuliana Sgrena have said in a video broadcast by Italian media that no ransom was paid to end the journalist’s month-long captivity.

"The insurgency learnt that the CIA wanted to kill Giuliana, the journalist", the voice said according to the Italian translation on Sky24.

"The resistance refuses to be paid," the voice-over of the video shown by public RAI television and news channel Sky24 said on Tuesday.

Uh huh. Something else I would like to know is whether the translation is perfect, regarding the words "insurgency" and "resistance." Why would they not go by their "Islamic Jihad Organization" name? Bueller?

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