It’s interesting that this week dedicated to love should be the same week that a hate campaign is established on Facebook. It consists of photographs of various individuals, supposedly Perugian, holding placards reading Perugia Vi Odia (“Perugia Hates You”). They mimic a photograph I posted to my own website and Twitter account that professes Raffaele’s and my innocence to the Italian people despite the latest guilty verdict handed down by the Florentine Court of Appeals on January 30th.
The hate campaign was quickly reported in Perugia Today, an online publication also responsible for coining La Maledizione Amanda (“The Amanda Curse”) in a number of its articles, a term referring to the bad publicity Perugia has received due to the prolonged scandal that is the Meredith Kercher murder case, publicity which the publication attributes directly to me. The article claimed the hate campaign hoped their message would reach me and perhaps prompt a response.
Usually I don’t respond to hateful messages and rather let them speak for themselves. This is not the first time, nor will it be the last time, that I’ve received hateful messages from proud, irrational people. Proud, because their sentiment is automatic defensiveness against legitimate criticism. Irrational, because criticism of the Meredith Kercher murder case scandal usually has nothing to do with these individuals personally and the hate they feel is the expression of irrational emotional investment that is based on impression rather than objective evidence.
There are two reasons I bother to acknowledge these messages of hate in particular. The first is because these individuals claim to represent the feelings of Perugia as a whole. The second is because, while their disagreement with my declaration of innocence is implied, what these individuals choose to explicitly express is not a judgment, but a feeling that is irrelevant, if not impedimentary, to judgment. This is, unfortunately, not a surprise.
Nothing is more expected than to be told I am hated because hate reflects the nature of the Meredith Kercher murder case scandal. Hate, in addition to pride, is one of the few things that can explain the prosecution’s biased investigation and persecution of Raffaele and me despite a distinct lack of objective evidence incriminating us and a distinct abundance of objective evidence incriminating a single, separate person: Rudy Guede. Whether they mean to or not, these Perugia Vi Odia people, who bear their emotions on placards, are helping me and the world to understand what has really happened in this case.
Colpevolisti (“guilters”) lose their credibility once they reveal that their stance is founded upon irrational emotion rather than objective evidence. Justice cannot be expected to result from thinking tainted by pride and hate.
I know for a fact that not everyone in Perugia hates me or believes I’m guilty. My family and I have received tremendous support from many Italians and Perugians in the form of verbal and written messages of sympathy and solidarity, legal and linguistic assistance, generous hospitality, and friendship.
Ironically, Perugia Vi Odia simply reminds me of the part of Perugia they don’t represent. My love extends to the clear-headed, compassionate, and generous Perugia that my family and I came to know throughout my wrongful persecution and imprisonment at the hands of certain proud and hateful authorities, empowered by certain proud and hateful individuals.
Perugia, ti voglio bene.