The Italian secret service agent, who secured the release of kidnapped journalist Giuliana Sgrena, and then lost his life is buried today. Nicola Calipari has lain in state in Rome and crowds of people have filed past his coffin to pay their last respects to a man the nation is saluting as a hero.
There is also much grief, from his widow and immediate family through associates and friends to ordinary Italians, who have been touched by what seems to them a shocking mistake and tragic waste of life. The following are just three reactions from people in the streets: “I feel great pain, it is as if he were a member of the family”
“Great pain for this dramatic situation. I am from Il Manifesto newspaper, and have never been in favour of the secret services, but here we are faced with a good man and a courageous one”. “He is a great Italian, particularly in a country where there is no truth and nothing to point you in the right direction. This man was a great man and an example to all Italians”.
Portraits of the man are draped in black on public buildings but beyond the mourning the recriminations continue to fly, in conversations and the press. Some of the speculation is wild, but the Americans have not helped by changing their version of events. There is much confusion; Italian sources saying they kept the Americans informed while American sources say the contrary. But some say Calipari suffered the same fate as many Iraqis before him; shot by nervous, inexperienced troops for whom danger is in every speeding vehicle.