by Daniele Scalea

Alika Ogorchukwu's murder has evolved from a news story to a political controversy in the election campaign. Controversy that could, however, be turned back on those who initiated it.

Let's start with the facts. Afternoon of July 29, Civitanova Marche. 39-year-old Nigerian Alika Ogorchukwu approaches an Italian couple, allegedly to propose them some goods (in the press he is introduced as a "street vendor"). Filippo Ferlazzo, 32, with a history of drug addiction, violent behavior, and proven mental disorders, reacts in a brutal manner (at first victim's advances to Ferlazzo's girlfriend are mentioned, then insistent pleas for charity; in any case, the motive is futile or nonexistent), first striking Ogorchukwu with the Nigerian's own crutch (he was disabled), then attacking him while he is on the ground until killing him with his bare hands.

Twitter battle between left-wing journalist and conservative leader

As usually happens whenever an immigrant is victim to an Italian, the affair was immediately exploited by the Left, giving for granted a racial motive and pointing to right-wing politicians as a kind of "moral instigators." Particularly stirring up discussion is a tweet, published as early as the late afternoon of July 29, by journalist and TV host Corrado Formigli, who is known for his left-wing positions. Formigli directly called out Matteo Salvini and Giorgia Meloni and their lack of immediate reaction to the murder:

The fact that Formigli does not even spend a word of pity for the victim, not even named, but focuses solely on the political bashing has brought him immediate accusations of "sciacallaggio" (slandering by manipulation of some tragic event). In particular, Meloni responded to Formigli via social media, calling him a "jackal" and deploring his "pathetic propaganda."

In fact, Meloni posted a condolence tweet, among other things quoting a left-wing newspaper and neatly showcasing both the nationalities of the victim and the perpetrator:

That tweet is from 9:40 p.m. on July 29, thus about an hour after Formigli's. Who in fact retorts sharply, accusing Meloni of have merely reacted to his urge and starting a new controversy that we do not care to follow. It is worth noting, however, that Meloni's tweet may be from 9:40 p.m., but it is more than 12 hours before the reaction to the murder by Democratic Party (PD) Secretary Enrico Letta, who only tweeted at 9:50 a.m. the next day:

It is then fair to ask: why is Formigli lashing out at Meloni and not at Letta, who is much more delayed in expressing condolences for Ogorchukwu's murder? One might say: but on Letta does not hang the suspicion that he is interested in crimes only when the perpetrator is a foreigner against an Italian. Fair enough. But let's try to turn the tables and put, for once, the progressive instead of the conservative under scrutiny. Let's give the usual judges an unprecedented place in the dock. What did progressives do when, in the past, it was the immigrant who killed the Italian for trivial reasons?

Murder of David Raggi

Terni, March 12, 2015. Illegal immigrant Amine Aassoul slashes the throat of 27-year-old Italian David Raggi with a broken bottle. There is no motive: he acts under the influence of alcohol but with the intent to kill a random person. The dastardly killer, now in prison, has never shown repentance: on his sentencing day he mockingly turned his middle finger against the victim's family and friends.

We focused on the social platform "Twitter," where the controversy was born and developed and why it is one of the preferred means for politicians and journalists to express their views publicly. Taking advantage of the advanced search function offered by the platform, we scoured the tweets of Enrico Letta and Corrado Formigli for the words "David" or "Raggi" - obtaining, however, only a few results related to David Sassoli, president of the Europarliament. In doubt that the two may have referred to the affair without writing the victim's name, we performed a search related to all their tweets on the day of the assassination and throughout the following month. From March 12 to April 12, 2015, Formigli made only one post dedicated to the television program "Top Gear." Letta posted only material related to his articles or conferences. But we were just in the early days of Twitter in Italy. Perhaps the two did not use it much at the time. Let us therefore turn to more recent events.

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Murder of Stefano Leo

Turin, morning of February 23, 2019. 34-year-old clerk Stefano Leo is on his way to work. Around a corner, however, lurks Said Mechaquat, a 25-year-old Moroccan. Mechaquat does not know Stefano Leo, but when he sees him walk past he decides to kill him because he seems "too happy" and he "wants to punish Turin," the city that had welcomed him. He catches up with him from behind, pulls out a knife, and slits his throat.

We performed the same search on Twitter. No results for "Stefano Leo." We looked at Letta and Formigli's boards from February 23 to March 23, 2019. Formigli addressed the massacre at the New Zealand mosque in Christchurch, the welfare of migrants in Libya, a swastika painted on the house of a young Senegalese man - but no mention can be found of the slashing of a young Italian man's throat by a Moroccan immigrant. Letta was more promoting his publications and television appearances. He also touched on another story, namely the - fortunately unsuccessful - attempt by an immigrant school bus driver to massacre children in order to "take revenge" for how Italy was allegedly mistreated migrants; but Letta does so solely to highlight that of foreign origin were also some of the kidnapped children who had managed to raise the alarm with their cell phones.

Bottom line: not even poor Stephen Leo seems to deserve the attention and pity of the two champions of Italian progressivism.

Murder of Father Roberto Malgesini

We may have better luck with the murder of a socially committed priest like Father Roberto Malgesini, who on the morning of Sept. 15, 2020, in Como, was stabbed to death by a Tunisian homeless man (57-year-old Ridha Mahmoudi) to whom he used to charitably lend aid.

Still no hits. No results for "Don Roberto" or "Roberto Malgesini." Between September 15 and October 15, 2020 Formigli talked about his broadcast and the passing of elderly former communist deputy Rossana Rossanda. Letta devoted thoughts to the Austrian elections, the Swiss referendum, the fight against populism, the migrants who died at sea seven years earlier, the Egyptian Patrick Zaki detained in his home country, a writing on the walls praising the "Erasmus" program - to all these things and people, but to Father Roberto Malgesini stabbed by an immigrant just no.

Questions

What we have just seen is not an exhaustive and fully scientific study. We looked at only three recent cases -the ones that came to mind. Perhaps Formigli and Letta have discussed them elsewhere (but even then the choice not to devote space to them on Twitter would remain relevant). The fact is that, if Twitter's advanced search is reliable, it appears that the two were rightly concerned about poor Alika Ogorchukwu massacred by an Italian, but unjustly disinterested in poor David Raggi, Stefano Leo and Father Roberto Malgesini massacred by foreigners.

Why? Why, Enrico Letta, for a murdered Nigerian "silence is not enough," one cannot "move on and forget," but for three murdered Italians this would, apparently, be permissible? Why, Corrado Formigli, do we "wait for outraged posts" if the victim is a Nigerian but do not wait or write them if the victim is an Italian?

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Founder and President of Centro Studi Machiavelli. Graduated in Historical Sciences (University of Milan) and PhD in Political Studies (Sapienza University), he is professor of "History and doctrine of jihadism" and "Geopolitics of the Middle East" at Cusano University. From 2018 to 2019 he was Special Advisor on Immigration and Terrorism to the Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Guglielmo Picchi. His latest book (as editor) is Topicality of sovereignism. Between pandemic and war.