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Immigration, Racism and Hypocrisy in Italy

In Italy you can shoot at Africans and get applauded for it.

Italy, as most honest Italians will tell you, is a rather sick country.

It’s ruled by a man with heavy ties to the mafia and almost complete control over the television networks, the south of the country is in the hands of several deeply-rooted mafia groups, and fascism is on the rise in a deeply worrying fashion.

Take the latest incident, one of the few to make the media, of African agricultural workers who were shot at by local youths in South Italy. Not enough that the Africans were desperate enough to pay all their savings to be bundled by people smugglers into leaky boats which drown hundreds each year, and then picked up by the mafia in Italy and put to work for 20 euros a day, they also have to endure physical assaults from the local right wing youth.

Italy, once a poor country that Italians fled to make a better life for themselves in places like America, Australia and Argentina, is now a prosperous place with a GDP meriting them inclusion in the G8. But with a national mentality stuck in the 1980’s, the sight of exploited agricultural workers inspire more revulsion than empathy. Like all nouveau riche, they’d rather not be reminded of where they came from.

Add to that the endless hammering home in the media of:

AFRICAN RAPIST VIOLATES GIRL, 19

and you have a recipe for violence, hypocrisy and shameful treatment of desperate people trying to make enough to send a handful of euros back home. And they know they can treat them as badly as they like for, after all, there’s plenty more where they came from.

Italy’s buildings are made with concrete made in dangerous mines in the south, its toxic waste is disposed of illegally all over the country and even places like Somalia but to all extents and purposes it looks on the outside like a functioning modern country.

But the sickness is there, just under the cosmetic layer of beautiful old churches, renaissance paintings and servings of wood-smoked pizza.

Just ask any African there.