My blog is usually light-hearted, but I feel moved to write about something more serious.
Italians, who are perhaps the least racist in Europe, are feeling very frustrated, as the latest election results show, with parties on the left losing many seats.
In 2013 the previous (unelected) government set up ‘Mare Nostrum’ which rescued amost 190,000 people coming in by sea from Libya. Immigrants are taken to a ‘centro d’accoglienza’ where they get €3 per day, board and lodging, and a mobile phone. They are supposed to have fingerprints taken, but often refuse so that they can move on.
Last year, 64,000 (a third of the total rescued) claimed assylum in Italy, of which 70% were from sub-Saharan Africa. More than 50,000 have already arrived by boat this year, and more are expected.
On a personal note, it affects my little town. Already one hotel has been taken over to house African men, and the only surviving hotel which offered spa treatment for which the town was famous, is being converted into a hostel. The impact of 600 African men (no families – yet) on a small traditional Italian town is immense. It isn’t their fault that there’s nothing for them to do but hang around, the charity intended to offer education and help to find jobs having siphoned off all the money except the means to feed and house them. People hold protest meetings, but Renzi’s government (also unelected) has decreed that each province must take its share, and Padova has allocated a few hundred to my town, even though there are empty abandoned hotels in neighbouring Montegrotto.
What’s to be done? With unemployment amongst young Italians standing at over 40% there are no easy answers, but clearly Italy cannot afford to continue to accept this human invasion from the third world.