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Antonello Guerrera @antoguerrera
, 28 tweets, 15 min read Read on Twitter
Daisy Osakue, a young talented Italian athlete, (👇🏻) was the case today in #Italy. There is a long recent list of allegedly racially-motivated attacks. Was Daisy attacked because she is black? Is #Italy racist? Or is #Italy becoming more racist, given the new government? THREAD
First of all, I must say that I will try to handle this thorny subject as much sensitive and deep as possible, trying to avoid easy and superficial simplifications, despite it is not simple given the Twitter shortness. But I will try to do my best.
1. There is a very common saying in #Italy: “Italiani brava gente”, which means “Italians are good people”. This motto spread easily after the Second World War. It was mainly a way for Italians to subtly distance themselves from the German Nazis, former allies. But is this true?
2. IMHO, I’ve always found this motto pathetic. #Italy never committed such atrocities or genocide like the Nazis but:
- Hitler’s Germany was Italy’s main ally
- Italy contributed to send jews & other minorities to Nazi lagers
- Italy approved racial laws discriminating the Jews
3. I think this is a highly generalizing motto which doesn’t explain reality. However, many Italians were raised with the “Italians are good people” saying. From this point of view, Italians usually consider themselves no racist at all and very welcoming and helpful people
4. Is this true? Many 80s and 90s #Italy movies (especially “comedies”), for instance, are full of racial, xenophobic and homophobic stereotypes. People used to laugh if a black person is called “Africa” or a gay person is called “fag”. And it still sounds funny to many Italians.
5. I am saying this because I think that the racism and the xenophobic instincts rising up nowadays in Italy find a very fertile ground in the culture of the past. It happened that even comedies or funny movies in #Italy used to discriminate any minority.
6. But at that time nobody used to care. Politically correct was just a alien, economy was (just apparently) in good shape and Italians felt themselves really optimistic and financially secure. So such #racism instincts were considered just a “joke”.
7. However, everything has deeply changed since the 2008 financial crisis and the huge waves of migrants arriving at #Italy shores. Day after day more and more Italians sounded angry and much more intolerant. A blessing for xenophobic leaders like the now deputy PM Matteo Salvini
8. Of course many many other Italians are tolerant and very helpful people, helping migrants and people in need every day. However, at the same time, deputy PM and Interior minister Salvini almost every day verbally attacks migrants or minorities like Roma. This can be dangerous.
9. I usually post this video, in which Salvini calls for a “mass cleansing, street by street”. He usually attacks migrants. As a minister he also called for profiling Roma people (“unfortunately we’ll have too keep those with Italian citizenship” he added)
10. Is Salvini’s (almost daily) harsh rethoric fostering the growing racist and xenophobic sentiments among Italians? Of course there is no clear link to it. However, the rising of allegedly racial-motivated attacks are jusy frightening. Here comes a recent list of them.
11. Caserta, June 11th 2018. Two Malian guys immigrated to #Italy are attacked by a few people with air guns from a car and get shot. According to the victims, the aggressors were singing the praises of Interior minister Matteo Salvini.…
12. Naples, June 20th. Konate, a young Malian immigrant, is injured by a few people shooting him in the belly with a pellet gun while retirning home after his work at a restaurant.…
13. Forlì, July 5th. An Ivorian man is injured by air gun shots from a running car.
14. Latina, July 11th. Two African migrants get shot at a bus stop, still from a running car…
15. Rome, July 17th. A Roma child is wounded after being shot with an air gun. Some days later, the shooter is found. He justifies himself saying that “he was just doing some training with the new gun, no intention of shooting anyone”
16. Vicenza, July 26th. An Italian man shoots an African builder while working. He justify himself stating that he was “taking aim at a pigeon”
17. Partinico (Sicily), an African migrant gets beaten up by Italian men yelling “Go back to your country, dirty nigger”…
18. Roseto (Abruzzo), July 30th. An Italian-Senegalese man tries to renew his health card at a local hospital. An employed tells him: “Go away, this is not a veterinary office”
19. And do you remember the racial motivated shootings in #Macerata by fascist Luca Traini in February 2018?…
20. Despite so many (at least) worrying episodes, the two #Italy deputy PMs (and respectively LEAGUE and M5S leaders) Salvini and Di Maio reacted dismissing any “racism emergency” in Italy, also labelling the outcry as tactics to attack the government…
21. Last Saturday night in Aprilia, near Rome, a few Italian guys chased a 43 y.o. Moroccan man. They suspected he was a burglar. It is still unclear what happened later. However the Moroccan man was found dead shortly after. THREAD ENDS.…
Ps. Earlier I have corrected the tweet #9 (👇🏻) because I inaccurately reported the exact words of Salvini. In the video he does not say “ethnic cleansing” but “mass cleansing”, as correctly written in my previous embedded tweet. Thanks for the attention.
Resuming the thread and answering my first questions: are Italians racist? Is #Italy becoming more racist? A simple answer would be generalising. But two things look quite sure:
1) Racially motivated attacks look on the rise
2) Minister Salvini's words on migrants are often harsh
Critics of minister Salvini point out that his harsh and sometimes offensive and xenophobic words on migrants may stir up dangerous emotions in the most intolerant Italians who may feel themeselves more legitimate to attack migrants if their demonization is so "istitutionalised".
Personally, I have been tweeting on the rise of xenophobia in #Italy well before Salvini and M5S forming a government. This is a 2017 @repubblica poll.
Question: "Are migrants a danger to public order & security?"
Answer: 46% replied "Yes, very much"
That's why Salvini and Di Maio's comments ("there is no #racism emergency in #Italy", "critics are politically motivated" etc) may sound at least surreal. The trend of such alleged racially-motivated attacks, whatever the causes are, seems pretty evident and needs to be analysed.
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