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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.

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!

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