Sgrena, Giuliana 1948-
Sgrena, Giuliana 1948-
PERSONAL: Born December 20, 1948, in Masera, province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola, Italy; daughter of Franco Sgrena (an activist). Education: Studied in Milan. Politics: Pacifist.
ADDRESSES: Home— Italy.
CAREER: Journalist. Guerra e Pace, Italy, reporter, 1980-88;Il Manifesto, Rome, Italy, reporter, 1988—;Die Zeit (German weekly), Germany, reporter.
Alla scuola dei Taleban, Manifestolibri (Rome, Italy), 2002.
Il fronte Iraq: diario di una guerra permanente, Manifestolibri (Rome, Italy), 2004.
Fuoco amico, Feltrinelli (Milan, Italy), 2005, translation published as Friendly Fire: The Remarkable Story of a Journalist Kidnapped in Iraq, Rescued by an Italian Secret Service Agent, and Shot by U.S. Forces, Haymarket Books (Chicago, IL), 2006.
ADAPTATIONS: Fuoco Amico is being adapted for film by La Lumiere production company, cowritten by director Enzo Monteleone and Sgrena.
SIDELIGHTS: Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena first became interested in leftist politics when she was studying in Milan. Beginning in 1980, she was a reporter for Guerra e Pace, a weekly newspaper, and then in 1988 she went on to become a war correspondent for the communist newspaper, Il Manifesto. It was while working for that publication that she went to Baghdad in 2003 to cover the Iraqi war, and in February, 2005, she was kidnapped by armed gunmen from in front of the university. Sgrena was held for one month before she was released, due to negotiations. However, on her way to the airport following her rescue, Sgrena and the agents with her were fired upon by U.S. soldiers who were part of the security detail for American diplomat John Negroponte. Nicola Calipari, one of the agents protecting Sgrena, was killed, and Sgrena was injured when shrapnel entered her shoulder. The incident led to strained relations between Italy and the United States. Sgrena writes about her experiences in her book Friendly Fire: The Remarkable Story of a Journalist Kidnapped in Iraq, Rescued by an Italian Secret Service Agent, and Shot by U.S. Forces, detailing her capture, her imprisonment, and the aftermath of her release. She also calls into question the safety of journalists working abroad and in war zones. Vanessa Bush, writing for Booklist, called the book an “absorbing account.” Ron Jacobs, in a review for Dissident Voice Online, wrote that the book “is more than the tale of one hostage’s ordeal and it is more than just another tract on the US-created debacle that is Iraq. It is not a cry for revenge, but a tempered statement on a nation’s shattered psyche and an individual attempt to share a perspective influenced by her unforeseen role in that nation’s history.”
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES
Sgrena, Giuliana, Fuoco amico, Feltrinelli (Milan, Italy), 2005, translation published as Friendly Fire: The Remarkable Story of a Journalist Kidnapped in Iraq, Rescued by an Italian Secret Service Agent, and Shot by U.S. Forces, Haymarket Books (Chicago, IL), 2006.
Booklist, September 15, 2006, Vanessa Bush, review of Friendly Fire, p. 19.
Hollywood Reporter, June 24, 2005, Peter Kiefer, “Sgrena Saga Set for Film,” p. 5.
Nation, April 4, 2005, Lucia Annunziata, “Anger in Italy,” p. 5.
New York Times, March 5, 2005, Edward Wong, Jason Horowitz, “Italian Hostage, Released in Iraq, Is Shot by G.I.s,” p. A1; March 7, 2005, Ian Fisher, “U.S. Killing of Italian Officer Stokes Anger against War,” p. A11; March 9, 2005, Edward Wong, “Italian Disputes U.S. Version of Fatal Shots Fired at Journalist’s Car,” pp. A10, A14; March 16, 2005, Ian Fisher, “Italy Starting to Plan Pullout of Iraq Troops,” p. A1; March 16, 2005, James Glanz, “Iraqis Say Italians Aren’t Cooperating in Kidnapping Investigation,” p. A10; May 1, 2005, Richard A. Oppel, Jr., and Robert F. Worth, “Ex-hostage’s Italian Driver Ignored Warning, U.S. Says,” p. A22.
Quill, April, 2005, “Italian Journalist Rejects U.S. Account of Shooting,” p. 44.
Time, March 14, 2005, Melissa August and others, “Milestones,” p. 19.
U.S. World & News Report, March 14, 2005, Lisa Stein, “Hostage Nightmare,” p. 14; May 9, 2005, John Leo, “Full Disclosure,” p. 74.
BBC News Online, http://news.bbc.co.uk/ (January 31, 2007), Giuliana Sgrena interview transcript. Democracy Now Online, http://www.democracynow.org/ (November 22, 2006), “Giuliana Sgrena on the Ousting of Italy’s Intelligence Chief for Involvement in CIA Kidnapping of Sheikh.”
Dissident Voice Online, http://www.dissidentvoice.org/ (September 28, 2006), Ron Jacobs, “With Friends Like These,” review of Friendly Fire.
Il Manifesto Online, http://www.ilmanifesto.it/ (January 31, 2007), Giuliana Sgrena on her kidnapping.