R e f l e c t i o n s

ITALIAN CULTURE INSTITUTE
Calle Mayor, 86
28013 Madrid

The exhibition entitled "Inquisition and Secular Justice" has been presented in many prestigious venues across Italy such as Valentine's Castle in Turin, Belvedere's Fort in Florence, Estense Castle in Ferrara, Castel dell'Ovo in Naples, the Ducal Palace in Genoa and other museums.

The Spanish edition of the exhibition is presented with the collaboration of Amnesty International, which has its own expository space.

The exhibition is aimed at making people use their memories as it documents the aberrations of intolerance and fanaticism that man, in his lucid delirium, is capable of when he wants to cause the pain and death of other human beings.

According to "Observations on torture" by Pietro Verri and the well known "Crimes and Punishments" by Cessare Beccaria, as of the second half of the XVIII° century Italian juridical science made a move against intolerance and fanaticism by creating an ideal patrimony of values. Today, this patrimony is shared by the juridical systems of many civilised countries and it is also the inspirational motive behind the relative laws.

Nowadays, in Italy and Spain, the condemned person's rights are safeguarded and whatever form of physical violence is considered a crime. The death penalty has also been abolished.
Italy recently sponsored a moratorium on the death penalty, which was presented at the United Nations Assembly, but the supreme international council was evidently not yet mature enough to welcome principles that already appear to have been accepted by common juridical systems.

As documented by Amnesty International, human rights continue to be violated and, given that the fanaticism and intolerance of fundamentalist movements can be added to the legitimacy of various governments' actions, an exhibition that takes us back to the dark times and alerts us about the possible utilisation of violence, even if in different forms, as a method for resolving human conflicts, is of great worth.

Vito Grasso
Director of the Italian Culture Institute in Madrid

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