Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Attacks in Rosarno

Ugh.  In December I wrote about the plight of African immigrants in Naples.  Unfortunately, last Thursday in the town of Rosarno (about 5 hours south of Naples), some Italians in a car decided to shoot air bullets at two Africans as they were walking back home from work.  Their shots set off riots and protests throughout the town by African immigrants.  By Sunday, the police came in and evacuated more than 900 immigrants.  While watching their departure, many Italian inhabitants cheered.  You can read about the incident by googling 'Rosarno' or clicking here.

I have never known a country, region, or city that didn't have its share of inequalities, biases, xenophobias, and racism.  But I currently live here in Italy.  So I report the sad story from Naples.  Voice of America reports that in the last two years there have been more than 300 violent attacks in Italy against the Roma, Romanians, and Africans.

What can we do to curb this tide of anger and xenophobia?


Deanna said...

This is truly so sad. Although I did not witness any violence, the racism was high 22 years ago in Naples. I've always hoped the younger generation would have more educated views, but alas I see that the "shooters" were young.

Barbara said...

Ugh. Yes. This took place in Calabria, but from Rome to Naples I'm a little surprised at how many people I run into who have mean things to say about immigrants. I think more education and personal contact with immigrants would help. I'm working on this... we'll see what happens.

Thanks Deanna!

Anonymous said...

Name one good thing that the Roma gypsies have contributed to any society besides rape, theft, drugs and murder? The facts say that when they move in crime rates soar, who wants that for their community?

The Africans were in known drug trafficking areas and were becoming strongholds like that of the Nigerian mafias in Castel Volturno. These aren't innocent, nice people looking for a better life. No one is racist, they just want decent, honest people.

Diana and "Guido" said...

The saddest thing for me is to see a another country go through what we went through and to have to start from the beginning. With ideas like the anonymous one above, it's clear to me that these things apparently can only be learned by going through the whole process. Very, very sad. What can we do? Share what we have learned.

Barbara said...

Thank you for all your comments. I do so appreciate controversy and dialogue.

It is true that from Naples all the way to Sicily there is a problem with the mafia and drug trafficking. I have heard many Italians and even Americans say that they like the mafia because the mafia protects the area. (To me, it's absolutely absurd... but there it is.) As you know, 99% of the mafia are white Italian, not African Neapolitans. So which is it? Do we want to get rid of people who aren't decent and honest (99% of whom are white Italian mafia) or do we think they protect the area (which then must necessarily include the African mafia -- who were killed by the white Italian mafia for being black & encroaching into their territory)?

As far as the Roma are concerned. One good thing: Romani musicians have influenced European classical composers such as Franz Liszt and Johannes Brahms. The most internationally known Romani musicians include Ivo Papasov (clarinetist) and pianist Georges Cziffra.

There are also quite a number of things we could learn from the Romani people if we were open to it, including their Indo-Aryan language, their unique preservation of thousands of years of Hindu traditions on the European continent, and what it means for their people to have been decimated during the Holocaust.

But Diana -- unfortunately I haven't heard one word spoken by an Italian that denigrates the Roma people. Instead, these mean words have come from the Germans, Czechs, and Americans I know... even though they themselves have never been robbed or 'harassed' by the Roma. So from my experience, all of us human beings -- we can always do better. (Hence the reason why I write these posts... I'm teaching myself too.)

Still, I would be interested in seeing the facts & data related to soaring crime rates in communities where the Roma move in. I have never seen them. Does Anonymous have some links?