Swampscott Student in Italy on Amanda Knox

Swampscott resident Suzanne Murphy attended the Amanda Knox trial while studying abroad in Perugia.

Editor's Note: Suzanne Murphy is a Stonehill College student from Swampscott and wrote regularly for her local Patch over the summer.

PERUGIA, Italy — As I was anxiously awaiting the verdict of the trial, I couldn’t help but think Amanda Knox was a girl not too long ago.

Four years ago, Amanda Knox walked the streets of Perugia, ate at the same gelato shops or drank cappuccinos at the same places that I do now.

A part of me couldn’t believe that I was standing outside of the courthouse waiting to see how the rest of her life would unfold.

Is the United States judicial system better than Italy’s? Should she have been innocent until proven guilty?

These were all questions that ran through my mind as I, along with hundreds, waited for Knox’s fate to be determined.

A few minutes before the verdict was announced, an eerie feeling lingered in the air.

At this moment, I knew that this evening was not going to have a happy ending one way or another.

The verdict: Amanda Knox is now a free woman.

I was certainly not surprised when people began running around and shouting “Verona, verona!” or “Shame, shame!”

I was, however, a bit thrown off guard when some of the Italian civilians began cussing and directed derogatory phrases towards us as we pushed through the crowd.

Fear was never an emotion that washed over me at any point during the protests but I did not feel comfortable enough to stay.

It was clear that the Americans were no longer welcome.

If roles were reversed and this happened in the United States, would American citizens have acted the same way?

Would we have treated Italians in the same hostile manner that some Italian civilians treated us?

I would hope that this would not be the case, but in circumstances like this, who can ever really know?

After living in Perugia for a month, the aggressive behavior of some Italian people is not the norm. I have been welcomed and treated with respect since the moment I arrived here.

Yet, the Amanda Knox trial helped me realize just how easily something like this can change.

jack October 07, 2011 at 04:13 PM
if traveling over there......cook your own food.....if we are hated like explained.
Belva October 08, 2011 at 02:41 AM
It's "vergogna" not "Verona" just for the record.
bbmcrae October 08, 2011 at 05:03 PM
Honestly, you sound incredibly naive and self-centered when you say the Italians now treat you "with respect". There's an entitled superiority in that. And, are you actually asking yourself if the US justice system is better because you think no one in the US has ever been wrongly convicted? Well, no one pretty and white like Amanda and her family's expensive PR machine. But, there are countless cases of wrongly convicted black and Hispanic men in this country, freed only because of DNA testing, sometimes after losing decades of their lives. So, yeah, it happens quite a lot. That's something you could google and find out really quickly, rather than "wondering" about. Would Americans be hostile to foreigners? Really? Have you heard of the Tea Party? Or read the first comment about "cook your own food" in this column? I'm sorry you were treated badly by a mob. But I'm not sure writing an article that comes across as the clueless hand-wringing of an entitled tourist is the best way to work through it. Good luck, in any case.
KPM October 08, 2011 at 11:30 PM
I am commenting because I believe that the previous comments amounted to a personal criticism of the author. Suzanne is a young lady from our town that has shared with us her personal experience as she traveled in Italy as part of her semester abroad. I found her personal reflection interesting and was happy that she took the time to share her thoughts about an issue from the international stage. Folks are entitled to their opinion but with that being said ... Suzanne is a college student ... she does not write for the Times or the Journal ... Enjoy this in the spirit of which I believe it was written ... to share an experience with her home town. Suzanne ... to you I want to say thank you! I have enjoyed your articles and hope you continue to contribute.
bbmcrae October 09, 2011 at 12:41 PM
Deahn Berrini Leblang October 09, 2011 at 01:17 PM
I enjoy your articles as well, Suzanne. It's very difficult to write about a difficult experience, and I am glad as well you took the time to present your viewpoint.
Just a parent October 09, 2011 at 01:51 PM
welcome to what has become the lynn item. pretty pathetic terri.
AmyO October 10, 2011 at 11:29 AM
Oh, bbmcrae, these are the thoughts of a young woman who is still learning (as we all should still be). Relax. We should all question what's going on around us.
Jo-Anne Murphy October 10, 2011 at 01:29 PM
Bravo to the comments refuting the criticism on this young woman who cared enough to comment on this event that was covered by the national media everywhere! As a retired college professor , who has worked with college students for many years I applaud this young lady for taking the time to write back and share her experiences with the townsfolk of Swampscott. Many would just be oblivious of their surroundings and into the next party. She is experiencing history in the making as well as undoubtedly learning about Italy's history, and learning to live in another culture. I think it is a fantastic learning experience for the "naive" young people who travel abroad. How else can they experience and learn about other cultures. Please keep writing about your times in Perugia Suzanne-many of us will look forward to viewing it through your eyes!
Mary Cassidy October 11, 2011 at 12:00 PM
Suzanne Murphy's article from the perspective of an American student in Perugia was not only informative but insightful as well. Her musings on justice and mob mentality were especially relevant and elevated the piece from mere "reporting" to a thought provoking article - commendable in such a youthful journalist!


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something