Italian scribe explains Indian view in Marines row in book
The controversy surrounding two Italian marines facing murder charges in India has triggered tensions between both the nations and now a journalist from Italy has penned a book to soothe frayed nerves back home by sharing India's side of the story with his countrymen.delhi Updated: Apr 14, 2013 16:40 IST
The controversy surrounding two Italian marines facing murder charges in India has triggered tensions between both the nations and now a journalist from Italy has penned a book to soothe frayed nerves back home by sharing India's side of the story with his countrymen.
Titled "I due maro: Tutto quello che non vi hanno detto (The Two Marines: What They Haven't Told You), the upcoming book narrates the year-long saga of the marines - Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone - who allegedly shot dead two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast in February last year, sparking diplomatic tensions between India and Italy.
Written entirely in Italian, the tome basically tries to explain what was and is the Indian version of the incident because in "Italy nobody took time and patience to try to understand what was going on here", says Matteo Miavaldi, the author.
Rome wants to try the marines in Italy claiming the incident took place in international waters. However, New Delhi says it has the right to try the Italian naval personnel as the victims were Indian on board an Indian fishing boat.
The marines, deployed on board an Italian oil tanker to guard it, say they mistook the fishermen for pirates.
"Emotions took over the rational side of both people," Miavaldi says while blaming "biased coverage" by Italian media for overwhelmingly defensive response among Italians.
He hopes the book will be an "eye-opener" for his countrymen and remove all "seeds of doubt and suspicion".
"Journalism is entitled to cut off emotions and build bridges of understanding between different nations, people and cultures. Our journalism in Italy failed to do so. This biased coverage, used to criticise and hit the Italian government, is not journalism. It is propaganda," Kolkata-based Miavaldi said.
"Biggest chunk of the book deals with the deconstruction of the reporting made by right-wing newspapers, which basically manipulated the whole story to feed the Italian 'sciovinism' and this put lots of pressure on our diplomatic body," says Miavaldi, who hopes to cool tempers back home with his book.
In the book set to be released in Italy on April 17, Miavaldi says he tried to explain the concept of "contiguous zone" and "special court" to Italian readers to change their narrative on the case.
"I explained the concept of contiguous zone, for example in Italy many still believe that everything happened in international waters, I made it clear that the two marines were never put in jail, tried to analyse the January 18 sentence of the Supreme Court, what is a special court here in India. In Italy, they think it is something set up on purpose to condemn and punish our marines. They don't know that special courts are quite common here in India."