mardi, janvier 10, 2006
I was almost seven years old when the news of the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II rocked the world. Mehmet Ali Agca was convicted for the attempt shortly after. The event is an indelible memory in my mind because at the time Mrs Seychell - my Grade Two teacher at St. Benild - had encouraged us to start a scrapbook with newspaper cuttings. I still have it. Under each cutting we would scrawl a short sentence describing the news item. Two items stick to my mind - the assassination attempt and the child called Alberto who fell into a well and was kept alive for days while being fed through a pipe.
The latest news now is that Agca will be released. He has served enough time for good-behaviour. His relationship with the late Pope is known to all and few would doubt that John Paul would be happy for Agca's release. Others might not be so enthusiastic though. The motivation for the attempt is still a question mark. Investigators are quite convinced that it was a Soviet plan to get rid of the pope who would in fact be a great instrument in the downfall of the Soviet Union. Conspiracy theories abound. Below I reproduce some of the biggest question marks that remain. They are taken from today's Times.
From scrap book to blog... it's been one hell of a ride.
THE UNANSWERED QUESTIONS (source: Times)
1 Who organised the murder attempt? Was it the KGB? Or the GRU, Soviet military intelligence? Did Sergei Antonov, the Bulgarian manager of Balkan Air’s office in Rome, direct the operation as prosecutors alleged? (He was acquitted)
2 Did Ali Agca act alone? Investigators say there were at least six shots, but Agca said he fired two. Photographs of the scene suggest that at least one of Agca’s fellow “Grey Wolves”, Oral Celik, was also in the square
3 Were there Soviet agents in the Vatican? There are persistent reports that agents of the KGB, the Polish secret service and the Stasi, the East German security service, had infiltrated the Pope’s entourage
4 Where did Agca get the gun, a .22 Browning? He claimed under interrogation to have got it from a “student” in Sofia in the summer of 1980
5 What happened to Emanuela Orlandi, kidnapped in 1983 at the age of 15 to force Italy to hand over Agca in exchange? Is she dead? Living in Italy under an assumed name? Living in Turkey?
6 Why is Agca obssessed with the Third Secret of Fatima, which allegedly foretold of a world conflagration, perhaps between Christianity and Islam? Why did John Paul donate the bullet extracted from his abdomen to the Fatima shrine in Portugal?