Ending Terrorism in Italy (Routledge Studies in Extremism and Democracy)

Ending Terrorism in Italy (Routledge Studies in Extremism and Democracy)

Anna Cento Bull

Language: English

Pages: 264

ISBN: 1138676209

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Ending Terrorism in Italy analyses processes of disengagement from terrorism, as well as the connected issues of reconciliation, truth and justice. It examines in a critical and original way how terrorism came to an end in Italy (Part I), and the legacy it has left behind (Part II). The book interrogates a wide array of published memoirs and a considerable number of new face-to-face interviews with both former terrorists and first and second generation victims

In the last two decades, and especially in recent years, former extreme-right terrorists in Italy have started to talk about their past involvement in terrorist violence, including, for the first time, acts of violence which have for decades been considered taboo, that is to say, bomb attacks against innocent civilians. These narratives add to the perspectives offered by members of left-wing terrorist groups, such as the Red Brigades and Prima Linea. Surprisingly, these narratives have not been systematically examined, yet they form a unique and extremely rich source of first-hand testimony, providing invaluable insights into processes of youth radicalization and de-radicalization, the social re-integration of ex-terrorists, as well as personal and collective healing.

Even less attention has been paid to the victims’ narratives or stories. Indeed, the views and activities of the victims and their associations have been seriously neglected in the scholarly literature on terrorism, not just in Italy, but elsewhere in Europe. The book therefore examines the perspectives of the victims and relatives of victims of terrorism, who over the years have formed dedicated associations and campaigned relentlessly to obtain justice through the courts, with little or no support from the state and, especially in the case of the bombing massacres, with increasing awareness that the state played a role in thwarting the course of justice.

Ending Terrorism in Italy

will be of interest to historians, social scientists and policy makers as well as students of political violence and post-conflict resolution.


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he woke up in a hospital bed and gradually discovered he could no longer walk. It was several months before he was discharged from the general hospital and three more years before he left the specialist hospital where he had to undergo rehabilitation and learn to live in a wheelchair. During this period, apart from testifying against his terrorist attackers, he focused only on his health and on learning to accept that his future life would be irremediably different from how he had imagined it.

world (p.  110). Thus, politicians, university professors, representatives of voluntary associations, both Catholic and lay, were allowed into the prisons to take part in meetings and workshops as well as engage in political debates with the terrorists (p.  110). This novel approach to the prison system was made possible by a newly appointed general director, Nicolò Amato, who was personally convinced that there was a need in the country for a new phase of ‘social pacification’ (p. 109). Amato’s

longer faced with beasts but with human beings then we too started to reason. (Ibid.) In this context, she and other prisoners found that it was indeed possible to establish a different relationship with the prison guards and gradually rediscover their own humanity. In her own case, an important figure turned out to be Father Adolfo Bachelet, whose brother Vittorio was killed by the Red Brigades on Former terrorists on ending terrorism   79 12 February 1980. Father Bachelet started visiting the

Church representatives, Former terrorists on ending terrorism   91 and politicians. In this exchange the prisoners argued that they were ready to acknowledge a process of disengagement and to play a role in bringing terrorism to an end if the state were able to recognize and reward their status as dissociates without asking them to turn pentiti in order to become entitled to a reduction in their sentences (Interview). Cavallina, like others, maintains that the ‘movement for dissociation’ was

testimony to the investigating judge Felice Casson, which suggested that the Peteano incident and others (including Piazza Fontana) were the result of initiatives steered and/or covered up by the secret services, or a ‘parallel’ structure which, after 1990, was identified as the ‘Gladio’ organization – a ‘stay behind’ operation designed to prevent a Communist takeover in Italy and, as it subsequently emerged, other European countries. These two cases, and others, point to a different kind of

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