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Feb. 15th, 2011

Obviously no one country can claim a monopoly on racism, but few approach it with such relish or inventiveness as the Italians. Exhibit A:
A Bulgarian girl has been freed from an Italian circus which forced her to hold her breath in an icy tank full of piranha fish. Citing eye witness reports, police said the girl, 19, sometimes tried to get out of the tank—only for the circus owner to push her back in with the fish.

The girl's younger sister was also forced to perform a dangerous animal act, police said. The second girl, 16, had to lie still in a glass 'coffin' while snakes and tarantulas crawled over her. On one occasion she was bitten.

The circus owner, his son and son-in-law have been arrested on human trafficking and slavery charges. [Italy Magazine]
In 2008 Rome overwhelmingly elected a neofascist mayor, on this manifesto:
In his 16-point “Pact for Rome”, point number eight reads: “Closure of illegal nomad camps, rigorous and effective checks on legal ones and their progressive elimination.” [Independent]
And of course there was this:
Seven Tunisian fishermen go on trial in Sicily today for the crime of rescuing 44 migrants from certain death in the sea. They are accused of aiding and abetting illegal immigration. If convicted, they face between one and 15 years in jail.

... they saw a rubber boat crammed with people wallowing in the rough sea, taking in water and on the point of sinking. Among them were two children and 11 women – two of them pregnant and one elderly and badly ill. In the crush to get aboard the fishing boat, two of the migrants went in the water. Two of the Tunisian crew dived in and rescued them.

"It seems the Italian Interior Ministry had issued a new instruction that day saying don't bring people in," [said a Green Party MP].

The Tunisian captain said he ignored the order because of the children and pregnant women on board, and the fact that, ravenously hungry, they had already eaten and drunk everything on the ship. "I'm happy about what I did," he said. "If I hadn't done it they would have died."[Independent]
In fact Italy's general approach to foreigners, and to Roma in particular, was summed up in the now well known picture of these untroubled sunbathers (and, according to reports at the time, there were plenty more out of shot):

Sorry, that shot isn’t as good as it could be; there’s something in the way. Unaccountably, the photographer managed to focus not on the holidaymakers but on the dead bodies of drowned Roma children.

Over the weekend, thousands of Italian women demonstrated in the streets about the womanising antics of Silvio Berlusconi. Since opinion polls consistently show that the majority of Italians either consider his playboy shenanigans and abuses of power an irrelevance or actively approve of the machismo they infer from his actions, the protests suggest that these women have rather misjudged the land of their birth. In Italy, Berlusconi is never going to be dislodged from power by a track record of denigrating or even abusing women. In fact the only surefire way to ensure that he was chased from Rome by an enraged mob with torches and dogs would be to prove that he had once been civil to a gipsy.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 15th, 2011 11:18 am (UTC)
And where, one wonders, is the Roman Catholic church on the issue of Berlusconi. After they proved so eager to intervene in other moral issues, such as the girl whose family wanted to take her off life support, whose name I forget, where they were hysterical in their condemnations.

Yet on Berlusconi? Nothing but the mildest comment.
Feb. 15th, 2011 12:58 pm (UTC)
*scratches Italy off list of places to visit soon*
Feb. 15th, 2011 01:05 pm (UTC)
On a slightly less inane note ... I'm kind of wondering where European Human Rights legislation is, in all this?
Feb. 15th, 2011 01:18 pm (UTC)
First you should be a European Human.
Feb. 15th, 2011 01:31 pm (UTC)
*despair* Christ, what a bunch of useless chumps we are, as a species.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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