Crime news events generally arouse an interest commensurate either with the importance of the protagonists or with the prominence given to them according to the fact itself as really relevant, or because the attention is directed. Why it happens is intuitive, it is part of the philosophy of Fifth Estate, a film that would not hurt sometimes to see and above all to understand.
The case of Andrew Constantine he attempted to lift the curtain on events involving the many Italians detained abroad as a common factor. It would not be possible nor wise to go into the merits since in the absence of useful elements to establish a yardstick we would run the risk of ending up like someone who, seeing the film mentioned above, does not understand anything or, worse, does not want to understand; however this does not mean that what happens cannot or should not be of interest as far as the more external and evident aspects are concerned. After all, taking up the thought of Commander Todaro, a soldier rediscovered by the general public after 80 years of oblivion, we cannot forget that we have more than 2.000 years of history and civilization on our shoulders, including legal ones, which cannot (nor should) leave insensitive, but so be it.
There are many Italians detained abroad, perhaps too many, which leads to two considerations: the first kindles a human and understandable doubt about the foundation and validity of the measures restricting personal freedom adopted; the second, where the alleged crimes find a foundation, leads us to believe that the famous 2.000 years of (legal) civilization have permeated only some subjects and much less others, now imbued with convictions such as to believe, wrongly, that any behavior is physiologically justifiable and naturally free from rules.
This is not the case: a few weeks ago the news of the arrest of some people in India came writers Italians, guilty of having highlighted the petty lack of spirit of the very touchy and exaggerated transport managers of Ahmedabad in India, defacing some subway cars a few hours before the arrival of the prime minister there on a scheduled visit. Crazy people? Remember that the line between genius and madness is very thin, so crazy yes, but for very little!1
Let's go back to the first case; from Europe to Africa, from the Middle East to South America many compatriots, innocent or guilty, are detained, often still awaiting trial, deprived of fundamental rights and victims of the historic lack of legal culture of a local Cesare Beccaria. Of course Of crimes and punishments.
As happened to Commander Todaro, these Italians too were entangled in the meshes of an oblivion that made them forget their stories, guiltily also and above all in their homeland. Naturally inclined to warm and ethical support for others, we forget our fellow citizens with disarming nonchalance who are also characterized by our own anonymous appeal, thus making them feel doubly abandoned in forgotten cells.
The mobilizations for Silvia Baraldini first and for Patrick Zaki after, driven by considerations not only of a legalistic nature but mostly political, have not given the necessary bite to other events which, although pertaining to substantially similar events, did not and do not possess that appeal which, as mentioned, remains tragically anonymous.
It is evident how much the political weight of a country counts in the international arena, as does the strength of unanimous and unfragmented national solidarity, an element that has a strong relevance, both positive and negative, in the perceptions of events2: whether there is or is missing, the significance of a unanimously shared policy on important issues has an impact, and how. At this point, however, it is necessary to separate the communication and political plans, bearing in mind that these are dimensions, however, often interacting and intertwined with each other, but always in function of the interest that one arouses for the other.
Of course Andrea Costantino has been talked about, but the dimension of information, in this case, has failed to ignite the blinding political glare reserved instead for Aisha Silvia Romano, for whom, joyful at the Muslim pretenses imposed by her own captors, is a huge ransom was also paid with the psychoanalytic review of Stockholm Syndrome, or to Alessia Piperno, imprudent random tourist in moors where, as was normal, his name has naturally sparked dangerous attention from a regime that is also counting down the minutes of Israel's destruction.
It is the level of politics that remains absent, which can only take on liquid and changeable forms to which the deprived of appeal are condemned to succumb. In the deafening silence of politics we therefore live tragic destinies that could have been avoided.
In Abu Dhabi, the case of Andrea Costantino took on the appearance of a Kafkaesque affair further aggravated by a fine of 275.000 euros which confers the characteristics of the grotesque; Costantino is (or rather, was) an oil trader and it is difficult to understand, on the merits, what the charges against him are.
Not even the embassy, at the time, was officially informed of the arrest, witnessed by chance/fortunately only by his wife. No scandal, we will see that it is certainly not the first time that a diplomatic legation has been forced to suffer the barbs of the host states.
Constantine enjoys good relations, is not it any one, but unfortunately his story is intertwined, in terms of timing and one of those abstruse dynamics that regulate events determined by the purest chance, with the Italian arms embargo on the Emirates, which was followed by the closure of the al Minhad base. All this while the UAE holdings in Alitalia and Piaggio Aerospace have suffered and even the supplies destined for the national aerobatic team have encountered serious problems.
Let's be clear, the soft power arabic world cup is not enough, given that the goddess Eupalla by Gianni Brera, rather than being talked about, showed the reality of small, very rich and rigidly autocratic monarchies which, in any case, had and still have the advantage of circulating capital that is useful to everyone.
To break even just a moment, I think it is interesting to recall two characters here, one decidedly more light of the other; writing about football and detentions, one can only think of Byron Moreno and his refereeing against Italy in 2002 (raise your hand if you remember); and good old Joseph Stalin, which claimed that uSincere diplomacy is no more possible dry water or wood iron. There seems to be no doubt that it was, among others, a strategic stumbling block comparable to an own goal a la Comunardo Niccolai: as the French minister Fouché would have said around 1790, one who knew all about blades, it was certainly not of a crime but, worse, of a mistake3.
We hope that, as far as Constantine is concerned, we will not have to witness an epilogue similar to that which happened to Simone Renda, detained for three days in Mexico without medical assistance, who died of a heart attack and whose family received (sic!) only the ashes. More fortunate Angelo Falcone and Simone Nobili, detained in India for three years with a conviction for possession of drugs, then reformed on appeal. Of the rest of the Indian judicial system, our country had to take an in-depth interest in the Enrica Lexie and dei case Marine Fusiliers Latorre and Girone, eventually acquitted4, and in spite of them anyway cause the unprecedented suspension of the diplomatic immunity of the Italian Ambassador (we told you to wait…), in clear violation of the Vienna Convention.
The problem is that Embassies and Consulates have to contend with local legislation, with specific prison regimes, thus facing impasses that impact with the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (1963) and with that of Strasbourg (1983), which should instead constitute the baseline within which to exercise protection for compatriots, including extradition and transfer of convicts. However, it is here that the difficulty of international law in dealing with certain issues is manifested; the lack of constraints and recognition of the agreements means that it is not possible to exercise the appropriate protection, thus leaving dangerous power vacuums, amplified by that too slight political weight mentioned above. How can we make up for the insufficiency of the most basic guarantees, when in the most critical moments even language becomes a useful albeit insurmountable obstacle?
The news provides (unfortunately) other cases that occurred on the national territory and in any case destined to become, by their nature, comparable to what happens abroad, and of school, it is enough to recall the murder of the deputy sergeant of the Carabinieri Cerciello Rega whose perpetrators saw the sentence imposed reduced, or the more complex examples offered by the tragedy of the Cermis cable car in 1998, or by the most recent fatal accident in Friuli which saw the protagonist US, examples that, precisely because in full procedural compliance with international agreements5 stipulated, they instill in a public opinion already in itself disaffected and not very involved, further conviction to look after something else.
According to Piero Calamandrei, politician and journalist, as well as one of the founders of the Action Party, the law is the same for everyone is a beautiful phrase that heartens the poor, when they see it written above the heads of the judges, on the back wall of the courtrooms; but when he realizes that, in order to invoke the equality of the law he defends against him, the help of that wealth which he does not have is indispensable, then that sentence seems to him a mockery of his poverty.
After all, history doesn't help, and leads us to think of the Sacco and Vanzetti case, in which a posthumous rehabilitation knows more than color patch than of true reparation, or in the case of Captain Dreyfus, who ended up in spite of himself in a vortex necessary to provide the guilty profit of an infinitely greater game.
We said history doesn't help; well, but it teaches: let's compare the two cases. The accused proclaim their innocence challenging the sentence, becoming examples of a grave injustice perpetrated by the state; in both cases there are feelings of racial prejudice and political hatred. The differences between the two Affair there are: Dreyfus is a non-politician accused of a political crime, while Sacco and Vanzetti are two politicized people accused of a common crime. Dreyfus belongs to aelite of easy indignation; Sacco and Vanzetti are immigrants who do not arouse any protest from intellectuals. Post-Dreyfus France is pushed towards political and social renewal, while the USA fails even to reflect on the limits of their democracy, still stained by the problem posed by the execution of the two Italians.
The problem is therefore widespread and pre-existing, and should lead to various considerations; the first concerns the attention and respect for the dictates of the rules, now more and more often ignored here and abroad subject to careful and heavy judicial retaliation. The second should make us reflect both on the possibility that the one who is innocent on home soil cane, in some countries it can become a reason for detention or, much worse, on the possibility of being involved in Fil rouge of which you can't even imagine the distant and impalpable why.
Emile Zola, for Dreyfus, had the courage to write his j'accuse, but then leave the country; for Andrea Costantino a line of weight has not yet been read, he does not have the appeal.
1 Fascists on Mars
2 To remember in the USA the mobilization, media and otherwise, for Amanda Knox, first convicted of the murder of Meridith Kercher and then released for not having committed the crime.
3 Observation on the execution of the Duc d'Enghien at Vincennes, March 21, 1804
4 The Fusiliers were acquitted because they fired convinced they were under attack.
5 Convention between the States Parties to the North Atlantic Treaty relating to the Status of their Forces (NATO Troop Statute) of 19 June 1951