Italy and its rising problem with Racism

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When looking at Europe within the last couple of years the alliances in terms of how to deal with the refugee crisis were pretty clear. Western society’s chose a way of humanity and solidarity. On the contrary the so called Visegrad-Group (including Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia) decided to focus on nationalistic ideas and protectionism showing no compassion for refugees and cooperativeness for mutual European solutions. But things changed (I am pointing at you Italy!).

Right-wing populists found a way to enter mainstream media

Throughout the last year a lot changed across Europe as right-wing populists found a way to enter mainstream media (bad publicity is still publicity) making refugees a scapegoat for almost every kind of problem. It does not matter if it is true or not, or what the real reasons are. It is way easier to blame someone else than to point with a finger at yourself. The promise of easy “solutions”, which consisted mostly of xenophobic slogans with no clear instructions how to actually tackle social grievances, was successful and changed the political landscape. If you believe it or not, right-wing nationals are currently governing Italy (a coalition between the populist 5-Star Movement and the extreme right-wing Lega party) and the atmosphere is worse than ever. Racists hate crimes occur frequently and the numbers are rising.

Italian star-athelete victim of hate crime

On Monday the 30th of July Daisy Osakue, 22 years old Italian athlete and currently one of the most promising talents in the discipline of discus throwing got assaulted on her way back home. As she was entering a crosswalk she noticed a car suddenly accelerating in her direction. Osakue fastly jumped on the sidewalk to avoid a possible crash. The car then stopped right next to her and out of a sudden something hit her face resulting in a strong pain of her left eye. It took a while until Osakue realized that it was an egg. The attackers vanished leaving the young women alone in fear and pain.

The talented athlete is more than sure that she got targeted specifically because of her darker skin colour. Not far from her other people were walking but the perpetrators decided to choose her as the victim of their inhuman and racist hate crime.

Series of alarming assaults against minorities

This alarming incident follows a series of similar terrifying events. At the beginning of the summer an immigrant was shot by a Calabrian man as a consequence of taking sheets of metal from an abandoned warehouse. Another refugee was shot in Vicenza by a local who was claiming afterwards it was all an accident and he tried to kill a pigeon. As stated by the New York Times migrants were shot with air guns in the cities of Caserta, Naples, Forli and Latina. At the End of July, a Moroccan got killed in Aprilia by a man who suspected him of trying to break into a car. This list of violence and hate continues with a report of an injured Senegalese street seller who got shot in his leg as a result of a drive-by.

Current situation is being heated up by right-wing politicians

These are only some worrying examples of what is currently going on in Italy. The situation is being heated up by the new far-right populist government and especially the statements and actions of Matteo Salvini, Minister of the Interior. Salvini ordered to not let a single immigrant set foot on Italian soil. Just recently Italy broke international law by bringing back shipwrecked refugees to an unsafe port in Libya. According to current reports of several NGO´s refugees in Libya are put in camps where they suffer under inhuman living conditions and violence including even torture and sexual harassment on a daily basis.

In the end it is all about human life and dignity…

It is terrifying to see how big of an impact simple words of politicians can have on a society. Instead of spreading the virus of segregation and hate, which is unfortunately very easy to do, politicians should focus on solidarity and peace. Sadly that goes against the principle of the famous Latin statement “dīvide et imperā” (“Divide and rule”), which captures the quintessence of safe political governing. It is way easier to rule when the voters fight each other then the political establishment. Think about it!
Nontheless, there is still some hope in terms of European solidarity and international regulations as Spain and Greece recently agreed to take back some refugees from Germany. This might help to calm down the negative emotions, devitilze populist arguments and show that a European solution is possible. Although I am personally very sceptical, it was reported that there are also negotiations with Italy. In the end, which is by far the most important point it is all about finding a way to help the people in need. These are not just words. This is not a game. It is all about human life and dignity.
In Love :*
M.J. Caesar
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