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“Heil Berlusconi!”

Saturday, May 17, 2008

“The gypsies don’t work, they don’t wash, and they steal…This is our version of ethnic cleansing.”

Well, the neo-fascist state of the new center-right government of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has wasted no time in manipulating the public’s fear and racism of “illegals” in his decrees of the removal of undocumented workers from Italy and new initiatives from the police force to expel immigrants and actually make it a criminal offense to come into the country without proper papers.

I couldn’t believe what I was reading when the Times (U.K.) reported:

This week’s assaults on Roma shanty towns by scores of youths on scooters and motorbikes wielding iron bars and throwing Molotov cocktails were sparked off by the capture of a 17-year-old Roma girl who last weekend entered a flat in Ponticelli and tried to steal a 6-year-old girl. Chased by the mother and neighbours, she had to be rescued by police from being lynched.

The city erupted in fury, with local women leading the marches on the Roma camps to the chant of “Fuori, fuori [Out, out]”. Night after night young men — allegedly acting on the orders of powerful local clans of the Camorra, the Naples Mafia — have set the sites ablaze, blocking attempts by the fire brigade to put out the fires, with exploding gas canisters completing the destruction. The women jeered at the firemen, shouting, “You put these fires out, we start them again”. (Italics mine)

Yet I’m sure if I had just a passing read on Italian history (hey, this is the country that brought us Mussolini, after all) I wouldn’t have been that surprised.  The absolut unabashed racist rhetoric of the people and their local and national politicians has left me sick; and reminds me of the Jim Crow era of the United States when all a white person had to do was create a trumped up charge off of a seemingly innocent situation which in turn would cause a previously all Black town to be burnt to the ground and its inhabitants chased out of the area by the locals (and sometimes police).  In the European context this would be quite similar to the ethnic cleansing in the Balkans, again, the Times:

A spokesperson for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) drew parallels with Roma people forced to flee from the Balkans, saying: “We never thought we’d see such images in Italy.”

All of this apparently was started because a Roma allegedly tried to steal a baby, Lenin blogs:

The idea that gypsies steal babies is quite a common racist claim. Before travelling to Rome myself in 2006, I read several accounts on travel websites which insisted that this was true, and that sometimes they might even chuck the baby at you as a prelude to stealing your stuff. This isn’t a joke. People are being murdered because this sort of tale is widely believed.

And, to top it off, the one thing the government shouldn’t be doing it is doing!  Which is flaming and stocking the fire of the Italian populace by intensifying immigration raids, making xenophobic public statements and inviting fascist chants (there is nothing more hair raising than hearing Romans chanting “Duce! Duce! Duce!”), and criminalizing undocumented workers; not to the mention the fact that they are perpetuating the belief that Roma are inherently criminals who want nothing to do with Italian society.

The IPS reports:

But allegations that Roma commit more crimes than non-Roma are unfounded. A 2008 study commissioned by the National Agency for Roma in Bucharest (‘Come Closer. Inclusion and Exclusion of Roma in Present-Day Romanian Society) quotes chief police officer Stefan Campean from the General Police Inspectorate as saying that in spite of the public perception, Roma do not commit more crimes than non-Roma in Romania. Besides, most of the offences by Roma are petty crime, often involving food thefts.

A similar study was also done in California which actually found that native born citizens were more likely to commit crimes than immigrants.  It is also prudent to point out as well that the estimated 700,000 undocumented “criminal” immigrants in Italy only make up 1.1% of the population.  Which shows that complete unfounded ideas stuck in the backwards mind of right leaning Italians that undcomented immigrants are a threat, 1% of the country?  Are you really scared of 1% of the country when you fuckers make up a God damn majority and are large enough to elected a neo-fascist such as Berlusconi?

[Translation: The Mussolini of yesterday and today]

Another point to bring up as well is the fear factor.  One thing that really propelled racism in America ( and still propels it to this day) was the fear of Blacks and other people of color by whites.  Yet the contrdiction to this was that whites had nothing to be fearful of.  The whites had political control, societal control, political advantage, societal advantage, they controlled the police and the courts; whites would be the ones burning down Black towns and villages, whites would be the ones lynching Blacks, whites would be the ones protected from the law while Blacks were harmed by the law, and yet it was whites who were “scared” of Blacks: fearful that the “Black menace” would rise up and overthrow the whites, “steal their women” (or babies), burn down their towns, take political control: all of this despite the facts to the contrary and despite the fact that Blacks only made up 15% of the country.

This same thread can now be seen in Italy and something has to be done (obviously by the Italian left and radical left) before this situation gets so out of control you literaly have a fascist and/or racist state (more so than now) rising up and doing something that will make what is going on now seem like a cake walk.

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One Comment
  1. matucana permalink
    Tuesday, May 27, 2008 3:53 am

    Hi Jack,

    Interesting article.
    Maybe you’re interested also in mine.
    http://matucana.wordpress.com

    Greetings,

    Hans

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