European Diary

Italian Justice

I have always hated students, a class as concrete to my mind as workers were to Karl Marx’s, a race as particular in my imagination as the Jews were in Alfred Rosenberg’s.  Visiting a city like Florence, for me, is a painful experience, somewhere between what joining a gay-rights march would be for Taki or what strolling through most inner cities in the United States would be for a Southern slaver.  So it was with some interest that I followed the story unfolding in Perugia, the Italian hillside city compared to which Cambridge, Massachusetts, is Sicilian hinterland.

Last December Judge Giancarlo Massei read the jury verdict.  Twenty-two-year-old Amanda, a middle-class American girl from Seattle who had come to Perugia to ennoble herself through unmediated contact with Yurrup and the arts, was found guilty of the rape and murder of her English roommate, Meredith, who had come there to improve her Italian for a degree in politics at the University of Leeds.  Amanda got 26 years; her Italian boyfriend, Raffaele, got 25.

The two girls became roommates by chance, and, according to the Sunday Times, relations between them “soon soured.”  Meredith “grew more and more exasperated” by Amanda, who “failed to flush the toilet, kept strumming the same chord on her guitar, and brought ‘strange men’” to the house they shared.  Amanda’s “sexuality featured...

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