We, Italian teachers, students and graduate students, reject intimidation from whomever it comes: We will continue to do our job.
In Italy, for weeks after the barbarous assassination in Cairo of Giulio Regeni, there has been a campaign in the press to discredit the Cambridge University faculty, accused of irresponsibility for putting the young researcher in danger. The outline of Regeni’s murder, concealed under the omerta of Egyptian authorities, is nonetheless clear, and to point to Cambridge is a cynical shift of blame.
Experimental research can be done only one way: in the field. To accuse covertly — or worse, explicitly — Regeni and his academic advisers in Britain or at the American University of Cairo of any responsibility is all the more outrageous because even the Egyptian government and its security apparatus hasn’t done that.
We must reject and condemn, forcefully and decisively, all attempts to justify censorship and the repression of freedom of research, when it addresses issues that are not acceptable to the political powers and the security apparatus — in Egypt and elsewhere. If this were not so, it would mean condemning to death the scientific research that is based on simple and, at the same time, essential criteria: to discuss, to debate, to compare methods, to reveal and discover unknown areas, to deconstruct portrayals, to re-read and contextualize the events and people that are objects of study. The results of scientific research, in any field, cannot, nor should they be conditioned or turned into instruments of foreign interests that are political, economic or religious.