RealNews

Killing of Hostage Confounds Self-Image of Italians

By all accounts here, Enzo Baldoni, the latest victim in Iraq of a videotaped killing at unknown hands, was a kind, light-hearted man. That fits the Italians’ image of themselves — a people the whole world views as simpatico, likable. So Friday, Italians not only mourned Baldoni but wondered aloud: How could this happen to such nice people, Baldoni and us? “To us it seems he died for remaining faithful to his own character in a world in which generosity and fantasy are every day despised and trampled on,” said Sergio Romano, a political commentator. Such reflections represent a view widely held by the Italian government, press and public of the country’s geopolitical place in the world. Unlike the United States, many people here contend, Italy is not out to change unfriendly governments through pressure or force of arms. Nor is it like Britain, out to support such campaigns with any political and military means available. Nor is it like France, which opposes the United States at almost every turn. Nor is it like Germany, pacifist to the point of non-involvement in messy affairs. Full Story

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