Monday, November 05, 2012

Increasingly Being Voiced That, In A Turbulent World, People Like Meredith Are Really Very Precious

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters





The heartwarming outpouring over Meredith on the fifth anniversary of her cruel death suggest that her mark on the world will last.

Not that this would have made any difference to our pursuit of justice for Meredith, but we have long known that she was a high achiever with outstanding accomplishments already, and that her eyes were set on the European institutions in Brussels.

Meredith really hit the ground running in Perugia. She had dreamed of it for a long time.

She bonded immediately with her two nice Italian flaltmates, who were both working in town, and soon with the neighbors downstairs. Within days she had an “instant crowd’ of the girls from Leeds and other UK universities.

She liked the house, liked the clubs, liked walking Perugia, liked the culture and the fun festivals in Perugia. Her first encounters with her new boyfriend downstairs, an Italian musician, were said to be shy and sweet.

And she was focused and already working her tail off. She had won a well-funded Erasmus grant and although she wanted to work a little, she had no worries about money.

She arrived with an excellent command of Italian after two years of hard study at the European Studies school in Leeds, and at the Università per Stranieri she was clearly going to excel.

She was also studying politics and economics at the main university, which was very close, and she seemed set to go very far. her eyes were already on the powerful international bodies in Brussels.

Judge Massei’s report is a brilliant piece of work by an amazing legal talent (Judge Massei is the top judge in Perugia and Umbria) and one gets the sense that he hit such a high plane as he was writing it as a tribute to Meredith. She deserved this, nothing less.

His report is now making many people say to themselves “how could this have happened?”  And also, what might have been…

We first received an in-depth portrait of Meredith in the excellent Darkness Descending by Paul Russell and Graham Johnson with Luciano Garofano. These paragraphs below are from our longer excerpt in 2010. 

When Meredith turned seven years old in 1992, Britain was in the grip of a recession. Croydon, however, still remained an unusually busy suburb of London. The town was a hectic meld of mini-skyscrapers, retail parks and giant housing estates, the rumble of the London A roads and M25 motorway never far away in the background.

Meredith was a busy, active child from an early age. She .went to ballet, liked reading, and was generally known for her all-round vitality. When she took up karate, unlike many kids, she stuck to it. By her early teens, she had attained her third belt.

Meredith inherited her father’s flair for the written word. At school she wrote poetry and her fiction compositions were highly thought of. But mostly, Meredith was known for her bubbly personality, and her sense of humour - she had an imaginative sense of the ridiculous, according to her family.

Meredith may have been educated at a £10,000-a-year private school but she wasn’t born with a silver spoon in her mouth. Her mother and father sacrificed almost all of their income and savings to give their youngest daughter, as well as her older siblings, the best education they could get…

Arline put her social life on hold. John chose to work instead of taking annual leave. His haymaking years iri Fleet Street were dedicated solely to putting his kids through school and university. He did well to keep the whole show on the road on a single freelancer’s wage, not only paying his own expenses in Croydon but also contributing to the upkeep of Arline and the kids at the old home a few miles south in Coulsdon.

[Below: a recent class at Meredith’s K-12 girls’ school in south London] 

Italians learned more about Meredith when one of her Perugiia friends, Samantha Rodenhurst, spoke on camera about their brief but affecting acquaintance in the Italian-TV report summarized here.

In 2010 and 2011 in British newspapers, Meredith’s father John wrote of Meredith here and here and here and finally in a long-awaited long-form book version here (US) and here (UK) and here (Italy).

Now in 2012 Meredith’s sister Stephanie (see the post below) and several more of Meredith’s friends have opened up to share the Meredith that they knew. This is from Monique Rivelland who was with Meredith at university both in Perugia and in Leeds.

[On arrival in Perugia] I set myself the task of learning to cook Italian dishes and once I had perfected the art of a good risotto I invited the girls over for dinner.

We sat around our table by the wooden shutters drinking local red wines, feeling wonderfully grown up.

We probed Meredith about an Italian boy she had started dating from the apartment below hers.

She was behaving coyly but she was the first of any of us to find romance, so we were intrigued.

The next week it was Halloween and two friends held a party.

I went as a black cat with an Afro and bow tie and we laughed all evening — mostly at the food, which was disastrous.

The risotto looked more like rice pudding and Meredith was giggling as she held out a tray of burnt witch-shaped biscuits she had made.

That was the last time I saw her.

Monique writes of Meredith’s friends attending her funeral, and of the journey Monique has been making in the five years since, which seems to us similar to what some other friends of Meredith’s say they too have been through.

We know that Meredith, who was awarded a posthumous degree from the University of Leeds in 2009, accepted for her by Stephanie, was a lover of schools and learning.

She helped tutor her friends at the Old Palace School of John Whitgift in Croydon. Their motto is The end crowns the work.  She encouraged the other students by her serious example but she also helped push them with their homework and tests, and volunteered from a generous heart. Both her south London school and Leeds University have offered commemorative services in past years.

The city of Perugia has on several occasions offered tributes to Meredith in ways that sound like Perugia wants to adopt Mez and make her an official Italian citizen, or a beloved unofficial citizen. The energetic and compassionate mayor Wladimiro Boccali and the city council now go further with a two-month fellowship with full travel and accomodation to be offered annually to British students for a language course at Meredith’s language school. 

“I think Meredith should be considered one of us” Mr Boccali said.

[Below: click for a view of the complete notice of the Meredith fellowship Perugia offers]

And a commemoration mass for Meredith was held in Perugia Cathedral last Thursday. As Andrea Vogt reports:

The archbishop of Perugia Gualtiero Bassetti said Kercher will never be forgotten in the small hilltop city of Umbria calling her murder “a wound in the conscience of the religious and civic community which has not yet healed.” Bassetti said Kercher will “be in my prayers” for the Nov. 1 ” Day of the Dead,” which is marked in connection with Italy’s Nov. 2 “All Saints Day” honoring the deceased. He urged Perugians to pray for her as well.

Perugia’s prayers for Meredith are a reminder for all those who followed the divisive case – no matter who they thought was guilty or innocent -  to pause for a moment to reflect on the promising, well-liked young woman who died so tragically and prematurely five years ago today, in a city still haunted by her memory.

And may the fine principles that Meredith passionately stood for continue to be so passionately espoused.


[Below: the interior of the cathdral of Perugia where a mass was offered last thursday]


Posted by The TJMK Main Posters on 11/05/12 at 09:00 PM in Concerning MeredithHer memory


Comments

Effie Orfanides has noted that Reid Alexander Schepis is being compared to Amanda Knox on the Examiner website:

http://www.examiner.com/article/reid-alexander-schepis-attacks-roommate-amanda-knox-take-two

Posted by The Machine on 11/06/12 at 06:18 PM | #

This is a heartwarming post. I am always happy to see posts about Meredith, makes me feel as if I know her a bit and with every bit, the loss seems bigger. By the way, does anyone know where Stephanie Kercher’s interview is published? I thought it would be in this month’s cosmopolitan but the cover doesn’t say so.

Posted by Sara on 11/08/12 at 05:26 PM | #

Hmmm…if Meredith wanted to become a journalist and work in Brussels , maybe she could have studied here:
http://www.hubrussel.be/HUB_english/HUB_web/HUB-English/Linguistics—Literature/29449_Journalism.html

Posted by aethelred23 on 11/09/12 at 05:18 PM | #

Hi Sara - I understand the full interview with Stephanie will feature in Cosmo’s upcoming Awards Issue.

Posted by Spencer on 11/10/12 at 05:26 AM | #

This is a beautiful tribute to Meredith !

Keep up the great work !

MizzMarple

Posted by MissMarple on 11/10/12 at 11:02 AM | #

Thanks Spencer, I will search for the issue. Saw Stephanie’s interview on PMF and she comes across as charming, sweet and classy as always.

Posted by Sara on 11/12/12 at 07:39 AM | #

This is lovely. Now that the election is over it’s interesting to note that American Education and the desire to acquire it is on the rise. There is a ground swell of admiration for knowledge which was why Meredith was, and is, of so much more importance to human society than that of Amanda Knox. Therefore the more people in the US and elsewhere who understand the facts of this case the more the argument for AK/RS innocence diminishes and becomes laughable.

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 11/12/12 at 08:56 AM | #

The Old Palace of John Whitgift also appears to be a very expensive and exclusive boarding school. Most of this year´s successful graduates are from ethnic backgrounds similar to Meredith. As posters on TJMK have already remarked , her spirit lives on in future generations of smart students like herself. http://www.oldpalace.croydon.sch.uk/results?news=17 R.I.P.

Posted by aethelred23 on 11/13/12 at 08:25 PM | #


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