Nine years later, widow still praying for husband's killers

Margherita Coletta, whose husband Giuseppe – a brigade general of the Italian police – was murdered in an Iraqi suicide attack in 2003, continues to pray that his killers will receive God's mercy.

“True justice will come from God,” Margherita told Italian daily Avvenire on May 8.

In an interview with the paper, she recalled the tragic date of Nov. 12, 2003, when a suicide attack on the Italian base in Nassiriyah left 19 soldiers and nine civilians dead. Seven accomplices were arrested shortly afterward.

Margherita, a mother of a nine-year girl, emphasized that said she does not want vengeance, because “when someone commits these kinds of actions, we are all victims.”

Those “who died succumbing to the violence of others and those who committed the crime, as sooner or later the executioner will pay; he will carry the burden of guilt his entire life.”

“The innocent victim returns to God’s house,” she added. “The one who remains in this life has to render an account for what he has done, and therefore, he will be worse off…at least until he encounters God’s mercy.”

Margherita said that for this reason, she has always prayed for her husband's murderers.

“I would like to know who they are, if they are children, parents or spouses. It’s one thing to know there were seven, but that is only a number,” she reflected.

“It’s another to look them in the eyes and by looking at them they can understand that there is hope, that the abyss of the evil committed should not destroy them and lead them to despair. Because redemption can come even to the worst of criminals.”

The widow said that on a human level she would probably feel rage if she met with the killers as it would bring back memories of his burned body. 

“But with the help of Christ I am sure that I would see them as brothers and I would trust in the acceptance of Christ who sees everyone as his sons and daughters,” she said.

She noted that her nine-year-old daughter is happy and does not “hold any resentment that could someday turn her into a negative person. She only feels gratitude for her father.”

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