there'll be a march for immigration here next month. everyone who doesn't want to get labeled racist is invited to join to show support to the 4 milion legal immigrants living in italy.
the news disturbes me for two reasons. i don't need to march, i know i'm not a racist. this initiative will probably make a few heads higher and a few smiles brighter, but if we need to show solidarity, it's offensive and humiliating for immigrants, who are not considered as human beings with rights and duties.
secondly, it's not defending our reputation that will help us solving the situation. racism is subtle and raises its ugly head in circumstances when you least think about it. the problem is ignored and tackled only when there're episodes of crime. then the approach is fan clubs style: those who talk about zero tolerance and those who organize parades.
the truth is that what we need is more government intervention. that's what we should march for! political response to the immigrants problem is absent for now. it's clear that, when you leave to escape poverty and you don't have any job perspective in your adopting country, the only possibility left is crime. so the obvious adopting society response is refusal, sometimes violent like attacking camps of nomads, and integration never happens.
this is a map that shows where immigrants live in italy, detailed by region. i found it on la repubblica the other day.
romanian, moroccan, albanian and chinese are the main nationalities, the largest number of them living in the central-northern regions like lombardia and emilia romagna. it's a total of 4 million immigrants and a stimated half a million illegal presences, which represent 6.7% of our 60 million population.
on a more productive data, immigrants have a much higher rate of employment (73 percent) than italians (61 percent), and contribute 9 percent of italy's gross domestic product. contrary to popular misconceptions, immigrants pay their way, contributing to italians' pensions. yet, here there is so much fear of foreigners, something unjustified when you think how they are contributing to the country's wealth.
there's also incrising crime in italy because of these new numbers. the proportion of crimes committed by immigrants (both legal and illegal) rose from 17.4 percent to 23.7 percent. individual criminals and the criminal organisations operating need to be identified rather than blamed. the government should start regulating the flow like they do in uk, where immigrants have both rights and duties and once someone commits a crime, he's sent home and can never return.
i honestly don't understand how italians cannot respect foreigners, especially with our 150-years-long experience of being immigrants. did we forget how it was for those of us who left italy, especially after ww2? we now watch the news of the new african boats landing on lampedusa with dismay. those tired faces, those extenuated bodies are the same that arrived at ellis island, afraid of the inspection and of missing the opportunity to enter the new country that offered a job and the chance to give a decent life to their family.
when i was about to enroll alice in primary earlier this month, another mom warned me passionately.
'why, is it a bad school? ', i asked her, naively.
'no, but it's full of immigrants!'
'yeah! they slow down the programs, and OUR kids end talking like THEM! you know, i've nothing against them, but we better avoid these people'.
this is it. a modern, italian way of thinking. never an advice was more welcomed. the next morning i made my way to the immigrants-plagued school and submitted alice's enrollment form. i'm looking forward to learning some arabian or chinese words via my kid now! :)