La Croix: What traces did the Red Brigades leave in Italy?
Alessandro Orsini: Only sorrow and ruins. They haven’t built anything positive. Its former members themselves admit that they have not advanced Italian society. Alberto Franceschini, one of the founders of the Red Brigades, said in a self-critical manner: “We were ideology junkies. “ One way of saying that they lived in an imaginary world fueled by fanaticism, out of the world.
Do the Red Brigades have heirs?
TO THE : They still have admirers in the circles of the Italian extreme left. The last murder they committed was on April 16, 1988, when they killed Roberto Ruffilli, a harmless university professor.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Italians believed that the terrorist movement would never return, but a group of fanatics reconstituted it and killed two university professors: Massimo D’Antona in 1999 and Marco Biagi in 2002. In Italy, the risk that someone kills by claiming to be Red Brigades, to take up the torch, cannot yet be completely ruled out.
How are its former members who have taken refuge in France and so far protected by the “Mitterrand doctrine” perceived?
TO THE : Their extradition is unanimous in public opinion. Italians despise all terrorists of the far left and far right in general. The strong mobilization in 2019 for the extradition of Cesare Battisti, who recently admitted his murders, demonstrated this. The Italians never understood the “Mitterrand doctrine”. This was based on the assumption that the Red Brigades were “freedom fighters”. However, we now know that this version of events is false: they dreamed of a dictatorship.
In an interview, a die-hard Red Brigades murderer told me: “If we had won power in Italy, we would have killed thousands of people and we would also have abolished the freedom of the press, because that is what the doctrine of Marx and Lenin provided for. “
France protected them without knowing who they really were. She acted in good faith, but on the basis of a completely distorted portrayal. The story the French know is not the real story of the Red Brigades.
Is France’s policy on them debated a lot?
TO THE : The Italians’ judgment of the “Mitterrand doctrine” is very negative, but they recognize that France has taken important steps forward to remedy the mistakes of the past. In one of my scientific articles, entitled Are Terrorists Brave?, I analyzed the murders of the Red Brigades and showed that they used to kill mostly innocent and helpless people. We have a moral duty to repeat it.
Before dying, a victim of the Red Brigades, Antonio Iosa, a very devout Catholic, told me: “Please tell the true story of the Red Brigades and how they ruined my life forever. “ Today there is a documentary on Antonio Iosa, which I always show my students at the university. It’s called The Gambizzato, “The handicapped of the knee” (in reference to a practice of the Red Brigades consisting in targeting the legs, Editor’s note). It would be good if it was translated into French…