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9 May 1968|
|Died||14 April 2004
Fabrizio Quattrocchi (9 May 1968 – 14 April 2004) was an Italian security officer taken hostage by Islamist militants in Iraq, notable for his defiance of captors shortly before being killed. He was born in Catania, Sicily but grew up in Genoa.
He was taken hostage together with Umberto Cupertino, Maurizio Agliana and Salvatore Stefio. They worked in Iraq as security contractors. Quattrocchi's kidnappers forced him to dig his own grave and kneel beside it wearing a hood as they prepared to film his death, but he defied them by trying to pull off the hood and shouting "Vi faccio vedere come muore un Italiano!" - "I'll show you how an Italian dies!" He was then shot in the back of the neck.
For the Gold Medal for Civil Valor to be awarded, one act of specific Valor is necessary, and that phrase, "vi faccio vedere come muore un italiano!" — "I'll show you how an Italian dies!" was considered to be of high significance, despite the unclear circumstances of Quattrocchi's presence in Iraq.
Quattrocchi's death has been a highly divisive issue among the Italian public, which, despite widespread loathing of both Saddam Hussein's late regime and Islamist fundamentalism is mostly averse to participation in the Iraq war.
The relatives of the victims of the 2003 Nasiriyah bombing (in which 17 Italian servicemen and two Italian civilians were killed by a truck bomb) complained that while Quattrocchi was awarded the Gold Medal, those Italian soldiers were awarded with the "Croce d'Onore" ("Cross of Honor"), as posthumous honor, even though they were in service as regular soldiers, unlike Quattrocchi. For this reason, according to them, the victims of the Nasiriyah attack deserved such an honor more than Quattrocchi.
Giuliana Sgrena, an Italian left-wing journalist who was also kidnapped in Iraq, complained that no similar honor had been awarded to Nicola Calipari, an Italian intelligence agent killed by American friendly fire during the rescue of Giuliana Sgrena in a rather controversial episode. Similarly, Sgrena remarked, neither was Enzo Baldoni, another Italian journalist kidnapped and killed in Iraq, awarded any honor.
As the leftist side was not enthusiastic about the award, the rightist parties Alleanza Nazionale and Forza Italia (Silvio Berlusconi's movement at that time), insisted in their PR campaigns that Quattrocchi was a hero. They accused the Left of being unpatriotic.