Dear Giuliana

  Dear Giuliana, please forgive us for writing you a letter that you won’t be able to read right away, but only later, when you phone us as you’ve been doing every day, to tell us, as you were planning to do yesterday, what you were going to write about from Iraq for this morning's edition of the newspaper.

Please forgive us if we have put you on the front page. Today, you are the news, and our job, the best part of our job, is to say what happens, including what lies in the shadows, what isn’t apparent or “official”, what happens to flesh-and-blood people. Our job is a job on the border line and, for that reason, as a Mexican writer used to say, “one of the jobs worth doing”. Sometimes it’s reduced to simple daily routine, and it’s up to us to make something real of it. That’s why you are in Iraq now, as you were many other times. A country you love, not abstractly, but because you love its people, tormented by so many years of war, tyranny, embargo, terrorism. That’s why you decided to run the risk always run when the official dispatches are pushed to one side and you leave the hotel. That’s why you preferred to go out and look for the truth, with its difficult ambiguities. In this sense, we are “in the wrong”, truly and rightly so.

Dear Giuliana, each time you left - each time any of us leaves - for a mission in a “difficult” zone, we would meet to discuss what had to be done, but also to wonder about the meaning of the mission, if it was worth doing. The answer has always been, and will always be the same: "It's worth doing, and we need to do it in order to understand and make other people understand, because on our part it's needed, for the people who must be in this world, but without being prisoners in it”.
And it’s a fine thing, truly beautiful, to have the chance to see and describe life in absolute freedom. This is the story of our newspaper for which we accept the price of a somewhat insecure existence or, worse, risking unpleasant encounters. It’s a privilege we keep firm hold of; it would be easy to give up, but terribly sad, and an act of violence against who we are.
Dear Giuliana, you are now in the hands of unknown people who see themselves as hostile. It’s not even worth telling you that it’s as if we were there with you, together with so many other people, including all those who phoned yesterday or came to the paper. We hardly need to tell you, you know it already. And you’ll find a way of telling the people who are holding you how senseless their act is, as you did when you explained to us and everyone the folly of war, of a 'democracy' imposed by the force of arms, of terrorism - in the same words you have used in our newspaper for all these years.
Right now, with those closest to you and your friends, we are concerned. Yet we launch no appeal, we foreswear nothing, and we implore nothing from anyone. We hope only that the great solidarity expressed for you in the last few hours can become concrete action. Those who unleashed the folly that has now come to visit itself on you, have a duty to act to get you free in the shortest time possible. Those who hold you should listen to you and realise you are the enemy of no-one.
Dear Giuliana, some people are already saying that your abduction is a sign of retribution, against us as pacificists and left-wing journalists. They tell us we should repent. We are sure you repent not a single comma of what you wrote. Four our part, we won't disappoint you, that’s for sure. Rather, as far as we can from here, we prefer to share the fear of the moment, and to do so together. This is the only ‘weapon’ we have and the only one we would like to see in the world. It’s the way you are, and the way we are.
Dear Giuliana, today, we are meeting in a square in Rome to defeat fear together, just as we did when we marched to stop the war or to say that we reject the inhumanity it has brought. It will be as if we were together, just as we are with you now, even if only in thought.
We look forward to hearing from you.
For now, a big hug from us all, and see you soon.
February 5, 2005
Il Manifesto, Italy

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