Italian Govt Neo Fascist Group Northern League European Deputy calls Moroccans " Dirty & Inconsiderate"
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|Renzo Bossi head of Italian Governemnt Coalition Neo Nazi Group, The Northern League, Gives a Salute to supporters|
The January 2010 riots by immigrant farm workers in the southern Italian town of Rosarno and the attacks that followed by Italians on sub-Saharan and North Africans immigrants is an indication of more violence to come as regional elections near in Italy. The systematic manner in which the Italian police razed the makeshift insanitary dwellings that the dozens of farm workers called home was inhumane and mean-spirited. These officially sanctioned actions by the local police looked more like an ethnic cleansing of the city and less of a law and order directive. Italy’s Minister if Interior, Roberto Maroni, who is from the right wing Northern League (NL), blamed the violence on “excessive tolerance of illegal immigration” by past Italian governments, in fact putting the responsibility of the violence on the Africans.
Last week, a small group of Italian neo-fascists led by members of the xenophobic Northern League party held a demonstration in front of Morocco’s consulate In Milan to ask for the removal of the Moroccan diplomatic offices to outside the city limits. The speaker at this racist gathering was no other than Mario Borgizio, a major figure in the Northern League and member of the European parliament. Mr. Borgizio, who called Moroccans “dirty and inconsiderate”, is fast becoming the figure of the neo-fascism in Italy and Europe.
The debate around the impact of immigration from outside Europe on the Italian society has been brewing under the surface for years. Mired in the notoriously rigid politics of the Right and Left in Italy, Italians have been in denials about the deep effects and the drastic changes their society has been undergoing as a result of the arrival of a significant number of immigrants from Africa and the Middle East. The traditionally catholic and mono-ethnic Italian society has been turning into a multi-religious and ethnically diverse culture.
As successive Italian governments from the Left and Center Left tolerated an unregulated immigration policy without a clear strategy on how to deal with the social, cultural and legal aspects that comes with the influx of hundreds of thousands of culturally diverse new arrivals, the Right wing government of Berlusconi took a security and law and order approached to address these unprecedented challenges. In short, no Italian political entity has had a comprehensive Immigration strategy leading to an increase in violence against foreigners all across Italy and the growth of the popularity of the xenophobic Northern League.
However, after a relentless media campaign by news outlets close to Italy's prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, who won elections in April 2008 on an anti-crime platform, the Italian parliament legislated “ illegal residency” as a criminal offence instead of an administrative breach.
The Bossi-Finni law (as the new immigration law is called) makes it hard for foreigners living in Italy irregularly to find lodging, open a bank account or get married. And yet the most controversial aspect of this draconian law is the provision that forces health care workers to report to Police any illegal immigrant asking for medical assistance. The Bossi-Finni law has been universally decried by the human rights community and by the powerful Italian Catholic Church that came out strongly against this harsh legislation.
While some observers argue that a number of immigrants, illegal or legal, are having difficulties integrating into the Italian society, Italian Human and civil rights organizations consider the problem to be a lack of a clear immigration and social plan by the Italian governments, past and present. Nowadays, immigrants in Italy are an integral part of today’s economy making Italian goods and services competitive around the world. Furthermore, the thousands of legal immigrants keep the near bankrupt social security programs in Italy stay solvent on the face of the natives negative birth rate.
As far as the illegal farm workers in the south, several Italian leftist newspapers published reports illustrating the impact of using cheap labor on keeping the prices of agriculture products cheap for the average Italian citizen to enjoy. Other reports by civil rights organization have uncovered a web of underground groups of organized crime syndicates, including la cosa nostra, that control and broker deals between sneak heads(criminals who control human trafficking) and farmer owners.
Several critics have accused immigrants of overstaying their welcome, disrespecting Italian laws and habits, and selling drugs and committing crimes. While some migrants are lawbreakers, the vast majority of them are hard working men and women looking for a better life. The NL, a political organization that pretend to defend the Christian character of the Italian society should take its cues from the courage stand of the Italian Catholic Church. Until then, let’s hope the NL will not stay a very central player in Italian politics.
Author: Hassan Masiky is a native of Kenitra, Morocco. He graduated from the University of the District of Columbia with a degree in political science in 1991. Upon graduation,Hassan joined the Washington DC based non government organization the Parliamentary Human Rights Foundation (PHRF) where he worked as a consultant for USAID democracy projects in Mexico, Haiti, Republic of Georgia and the European Parliament. After leaving PHRF, Hassan dedicated his time advising Amnesty International USA on African and Middle Eastern affairs and representing the organization in press conferences. Mr. Masiky was a host on several television shows discussing human rights and democracy. He is currently working for a Federal Agency in the Washington area.