After inquiring into the tragic death of Giulio Regeni and in response to many allegations, it is time for il manifesto to clarify some misunderstandings, out of respect for Regeni and his family, and also for our readers.
We also seek to clarify our deep convictions regarding this heinous crime. For changing news and disconcerting truths, the circumstances of Regeni’s painful murder are likely to invite many contradictions.
We have been accused of many things. Of not immediately publishing the co-authored article sent to us, under a pseudonym. Others have called us “jackals” for publishing it after Regeni’s death. Others have alleged that we haven’t been clear about his status as a contributor. And finally, we’ve been criticized for not paying our contributors.
1) First we want to say right away that, after careful review, we established that Regeni proposed to write only one article for us together with another colleague under a pseudonym.
We misunderstood and believed that he had also written two previous contributions under a pseudonym because of the same subject (the unions), which underlined for us concern for Regeni’s well being.
We apologize for this misunderstanding to the readers, to his family and to the lawyer Alessandra Ballerini.
2) The article on unions which Regeni had written was awaiting publication, and had not yet been published because of usual delays inherent to the newsroom work and in light of the Jan. 25 anniversary of the protests in Tahrir Square. We could not publish it immediately, and Regeni and his co-author then offered it to Nena News, where it was published.
But Regeni and his co-author were not irritated at the delay, and indeed were still motivated and proactive.
They wrote to us on Jan 12: “A little reluctantly we have decided to offer the piece to another online outlet, otherwise the occasion will pass. However, we remain very happy to supply future collaborations on Egypt. For us it is a pleasure to be able to publish with il manifesto. Thank you for your consideration, see you soon. ”
3) From this point of view, we wish to clarify the issue of “collaborator.” Regeni had been in contact with il manifesto, but was not a contributor as traditionally understood and was not a case of exploited free labor, as some have wrongly stated online. We at il manifesto can remember the many pages devoted to the analysis of how the free labor is used against other workers.
There are many freelancers writing for us, for we are fellow travelers. We pay them little and often late. But we pay them. Collaborating with us means sharing a common point of you, a deepening of shared issues and themes, and then also an article.
It is no coincidence that Giulio Regeni chose to work with us given our investigative work and report on the Middle East crisis, in particular on Egypt.
In fact, it is easy to forget that we were almost the only Italian newspaper to immediately report the crimes of General Sisi’s military coup during the summer of 2013. We recounted the massacre and all the bloody misdeeds that followed, from then until now.
And how deep our isolation was the following year when we condemned Prime Minister Matteo Renzi during his visit to Cairo, who crowned Sisi “the new man emerging in the Middle East,” and then received him in Rome.
4) In the difficult and agitated hours the day after the announcement of the discovery of Regeni’s battered body, we then decided to publish his article.
It should be obvious, but it’s worth repeating: we published it exactly because the tragedy turned what was a good article into a fundamental document. It became the document, to understand why Regeni had been kidnapped, tortured and killed so brutally.
Did we have the right? No, we had the duty to do so.
We refused to be silent, no newspaper could do so, and neither could il manifesto. It was only 10 days after the disappearance of Regeni and two after his officially confirmed death that we decided to publish the “article-document”.
There is also an element of truth in remembering that the fears and troubles which have affected the environment of Regeni’s friends began not with the publication of the article, but with his murder.
5) A final due consideration. We believe we weren’t wrong to publish the article, and in doing so, have defended Regeni’s own reasons.
If we had not decided to publish it, perhaps we would still be dealing with convenient excuses, blaming organized crime or homosexuality for his murder.
The Egyptian authorities blatantly continue to act as if nothing happened, to hide behind “investigations,” and in the meantime probably prepare more convenient truths that our government claims they won’t accept.
We published Regeni’s article (of course omitting the name of his colleague) because we want the real motives behind his death to be clear, and thus refute attempts to attribute his death to petty or sex crime.
The shameful lies on which the authorities insist has given the space for an objective investigation which has a deep political dimension.
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