There’s probably a good dose of arrogance in the caution of the University of Cambridge lawyers’ advice to Maha Abdelrahman, the professor who supervised Giulio Regeni and who refused to answer questions from Italian investigators. Her refusal has unfortunately, although quite predictably, rekindled the controversial hypothesis that Regeni was a pawn in the hands of others. In spite of the “petition for the truth” from his mother, Paola Regeni, who only a few days before urged the solemn halls of prestigious British universities to cooperate, some stereotypes about the superficiality of Italy have perhaps prevailed on the faculty’s decision not to trust them.
Yet the Italian institutions cannot be accused of having given to bombastic rhetoric. Rome tried to press Cairo, refusing the multiple versions Egypt presented to the world. And while Rome was withdrawing its ambassador, Paris, London and Berlin were seeking new business agreements with Egypt.
But it’s no doubt that the British university’s doubts, trenched behind regulations aimed at protecting academic freedom, are engendered by the aggressive mediatic cacophony, which, from the beginning of Regeni’s unfortunate event, navigated at 1,000-knot speed away from the obvious. A good part of the media was subject to a tailspin, which, by distracting the attention from a politically expensive investigation, was tied around the protocols of academic research, deliberately ignoring the praxis: We have seen illustrious afternoon commentators comparing the investigation and scientific validation methods to spy techniques and the two women supervising Regeni being labeled as “bad teachers.”