Category Archives: Migrant Struggles, Racism & Antiracism

Migrant stories from Fortress Italy

It’s spring, and while most of us are already organising our summer holidays, some people have very different journeys in mind. In Northern Africa, migrants from all over the continent try to reach the Sicilian coast by any means. Crowds of men, women and children leave in little boats at the mercy of the sea, without knowing whether they’ll get to the other side alive. A few days ago an inflatable boat with more than 50 people on board was rescued in the Sicilian Channel just before sinking due to a broken engine. It was coming from Lybia, and it’s not the only one. Another boat was rescued south of the island of Lampedusa – renamed “The New Alcatraz” for its infamous detention centre. The Maltese authorities hadn’t done anything about it because it carried “illegal immigrants”. Many more boats have been sighted, some rescued, some left to their destiny: a story so common we’ve got used to it. Continue reading

Italy is a racist country

This was written the day after the racist shootings in Florence, where a right-wing extremist shot dead two Senegalese men, Samb Modou and Diop Mor, and injured another three, Moustapha Dieng, Sougou Mor and Mbenghe Cheike (who are all out of danger now). Despite being focused on Italy and its history, I think it could be applied to any other country and to many other political issues. Real transformation can only come from a radical questioning of ourselves, our prejudices, and our ways of doing things. Continue reading

Fascists out of our cities! More on Casapound and recent racist murders

Shut down the fascist dens, shut down Casapound. Fascists out of my city!

After the shootings of 3 days ago in Florence at the hand of a right-wing extremist who killed two Senegalese street vendors and injured another three, Senegalese migrants joined by local residents and antiracist organisations improvised a march through the city centre, ending at the local Court. Interestingly enough, the police, who, after the first murder, should have in theory been trying to catch the murderer, decided instead to focus on and repress heavily the spontaneous demonstration with charges and beatings. Continue reading

Racist attacks against Roma people and African migrants

Two days ago in Turin a teenage girl whose parents subjected to regular gynecological tests to check she was still a virgin, claimed she’d been raped by two Roma men from the campsite nearby her home. A few hours later, a protest organised by some locals against the alleged rape degenerated into a proper pogrom, with the Roma campsite set on fire. Nobody was hurt because many of the camp residents managed to run away before the fire, but most of the caravans were burned. Shocked by the events, the girl eventually confessed she’d made up the rape because she was afraid to tell her parents she’d lost her virginity. The newspaper La Stampa, after inciting people to take action against the Roma, published an apology “to ourselves and our readers”, without any mention of the Roma people who’ve lost their homes. Continue reading

Revolts and riots in migrant detention centres

Fortress Europe: is it finally falling apart?

1 March: after a revolt that has gone on for days, the detention centre in Gradisca is in a state of collapse: one single cell left for the 100 detainees, people eating and sleeping in the corridors and in the canteen, one bathroom for everyone. You can see some pictures here. The detainees’ revolt almost completely destroyed the building,  but the detainees couldn’t be transferred, as the other detention centres were packed full. Revolts and riots are not new to this detention centre; things have been worsening over the last couple of years. In September 2009, a similar revolt was brutally repressed by the police. Continue reading

No more slaves…

We don’t have answers to the questions politicians ask about migrants, crime and security – simply because their questions are wrong. We think the right question is not what the State should do with asylum seekers, undocumented and “illegal” migrants. The right question is: Do we want a world that locks people up within borders, laws and prison cells? Do we want a social order that condems men and women to endless exploitation, puts them into prisons and deports them just because their documents aren’t right? Do we want a society that controls, isolates, alienates, humiliates and eventually takes every bit of humanity away from people?

Leaflet found on the activist blog Macerie and distributed at recent demonstrations in solidarity with migrants.

Translated by Italy Calling.

A long, hot, Italian Summer (Part II): winds of war in migrants’ detention centres

After last year, 2010 brought another fiery summer in Italy’s detention centres for migrants (C.I.E.), where people are detained waiting to be deported. At the beginning of the summer the length of time of detention increased to 6 months, thanks to new  “Security Package” approved by the government. Also, the Italian government has made a special agreements with Algeria and Tunisia to speed up the deportations of migrants coming from those countries. In many CIE’s Tunisians especially have been on the front line of revolts. Here follows a brief and incomplete chronicle of the past few months: Continue reading