had sold the old one, that are razing thernlast love of my life to the ground. It isrnsimply the realization, on the part of mostrndecent, working, normal people —inrnItaK as elsewhere—that things are goingrnin a certain very obvious way, and thatrnone must in the end be a stubborn, recalcitrant,rnalmost suicidally lackadaisicalrnsort of person not to go with the flow.rnWell, Venice has not gone with thernflov’. It has stood athwart it, quite literally,rnfor a thousand years, thanks to the obstinate,rninsular, suicidally lackadaisicalrnrace that inhabits this proudly surrealrnCanaletto landscape, ever mindful thatrnprogress—in any and every sense — is anotherrnword for inundation, deluge, entropy,rnor collapse of everything that is trulyrnvaluable, really important, and shouldrnbe preserved just a little longer, and thenrna little while longer again. While the Superstaternof Europe is being mooted, Italyrnas a whole will doubtless linger thernlongest among nations as the place withrnthe stamina, or the contrariness, or therncapriciousness, or the laziness, or thernserenity, to deny the khan his spiritualrntribute. But when that Superstate is trulyrnupon us, this Scheherazade of a city willrnbecome Superitalv, or Italy’s Italy, destinedrnto survive as an authentic social organismrneven as its more worldly, energetic,rnand accommodating neighbors gorgernthemselves on artificially inseminatedrnspaghetti from Frankfurt and geneticallyrnmodified sea bream from Minsk.rnTwo years ago, I wrote in this spacernthat Italy was where I hoped to make myrnlast stand, or at any rate to have my lastrnsleep. Now I know exactly where in Italy.rnAndrei Navrozov is Chronicles’rnEuropean correspondent.rnLetter From Londonrnby Derek TurnerrnLawrencemania andrnAnglophobiarn”Into hell” read the headline in therntabloid Daily Mirror on February 24,rn1999. The Mirror’s reporter had “walkedrnthe streets where racism is a way of life —rnand death.”‘ He had found “racism seepingrnfrom every pore,” and his photographerrntook shots of neo-Nazi graffiti, suchrnas “Kill all coons at birth.”rnThe “hellish” place is actually a ratherrnordinary housing estate in southeast Londonrn—and the graffiti may well have beenrnfaked by the Mirror. These inconsequentialrnstreets have attracted such hystericalrnattention because this is the housing estaternwhich gave rise to some of the fivernwhite men accused (although never convicted)rnof the 1993 murder of blackrnteenager Stephen Lawrence.rnThe Daily Mirror arficle was but onern(albeit ludicrous) report on the StephenrnLawrence affair, which has swept acrossrnBritain like a psychic pestilence, leavingrnindigenous Britons with a sinking feelingrnof racial guilt or a sense of injustice, immigrant-rndescended Britons with a feelingrnof resentment against the “racist” societyrnin which they are told they live, and a demoralizedrnpolice force with a massivernpublic-relations problem.rnThe facts of the case may not be familiarrnto American readers. On the eveningrnof April 22, 1993, Stephen Lawrence, arnblack student, was walking throughrnEltham in southeast London with a blackrnfriend, Duwayne Brooks. According tornBrooks, a group of five or six white meirrncame after them, with one saying, “What,rnwhat, nigger?” Brooks ran away, butrnLawrence stayed behind, only to bernpunched, kicked, and stabbed in thernchest and shoulder. He staggered up thernroad for 100 yards, collapsed, and diedrnabout 15 minutes later. The police failedrnto make instant arrests, for which theyrnwere later much crificized. (That the policernfelt they did not have enough evidencernto arrest anyone seems to have escapedrnmany commentators.) ThernLawrences’ understandable sorrow andrnanger were seized upon by groups likernthe Socialist Workers’ Part)-, and an everpresentrnsubterranean current of hatredrnfor the police began to turn into a chorusrnof bile; the police were accused not onlyrnof incompetence but also of lack of concernrnabout dead blacks.rnOn May 6, 1993, Nelson Mandela visitedrnthe family. “It seems black lives arerncheap,” he intoned, less than helpfully.rnThe following dav, police arrested twornwhite men, brothers Neil and JamiernAcourt, and over the next few weeks threernothers; Daid Norris, Luke Knight, andrnGar)’ Dobson. All had belonged to thernsame gang, all were pretty unpleasant,rnsome had criminal connections (the fatherrnof orre was a large-scale drug pusher),rnand all were rather dim with arnpropensity for violence. Several hadrnbeen implicated in the stabbing by nearbyrnresidents or anonymous callers.rnOn Julv 29, 1993, however, the CrownrnProsecufion Service ruled out committalrnof the five because of insufficient evidence.rnThe police submitted more evidence,rnbut the CPS made the same decisionrnon April 15,1994. The media frenzyrnmounted; internal police reviews of therncase were demanded and dutifully conducted.rnOn April 22, 1994, the Lawrencernfamily imdertook a private prosecutionrnagainst the five. The police hadrnobtained videotape evidence of four ofrnthe five shouting racial abuse at blacksrnand one of them demonstrating stabbingrntechniques with a knife. (Although thernfour had said nothing directly incriminating,rnit should be mentioned that thernyouths had also said that they would likernto stab and kill “every copper, everyrnmug.”) Brooks identified Neil Acourtrnand Knight as two of the attackers.rnWeapons were foimd at the Acourts’rnhome. There were other clues, too, butrnthe defense objected to Brooks, claimingrnhe was an unreliable witness, and thernjudge agreed. (In interviews. Brooks hasrnadmitted to “hating” the police; when thernpolice first arrived at the scene of therncrime, he was “jumping up and downrnand being very aggressive,” “virtually uncontrollable,”rnand he called the policern”f- – -ing c- -ts.”) The case collapsed, andrnbecause of the ancient rule of doublernjeopardy, the five could not be tried forrnthe same offense in a British court.rnAt the inquest in April 1997, the fiverninvoked their right not to say anythingrnthat might incriminate them. The coronerrninstructed the jury to return a verdictrnof unlawful killing, but the jurors wentrnone step further by saving that Lawrencernhad been the victim of “a completely unprovokedrnattack by five white youths.”rnThe next day, the Daily Mail, an ostensiblyrnconservative tabloid, carried thernheadline “Murderers” above pictures ofrnthe five. There were cynical murmuringsrnthat this was a ploy to avert mountingrncriticism of the Mail as “racist” becausernof the paper’s less than welcoming editorialrnresponse to Slovak gypsies and sundryrnother benefit tourists then swarming intornDover in larger numbers than usual.rnLawrence’s father had also worked as arndecorator in the house of the Mail’s editor:rnThis is supposed to be how the editorrnfirst heard of the murder. The five didrnnot have the resources to sue the Mail.rnJULY 1999/39rnrnrn