something’s wrong here

November 4th, 2007

It’s a disturbing headline to begin with: Italy expels migrant population after brutal murder. The kind of headline that leaves you hoping the story redeems itself. But the first three paragraphs don’t offer much hope:

They sat forlornly on the banks of the Tiber while the shantytowns they had called home only hours before were demolished.

Already outcasts from the mainstream of Italian life, now they have been banished from whatever impromptu shelter they had found.

And the city rejoiced at their misfortune. Three small kittens and a hungry-looking mongrel are the last remaining inhabitants of the Roma squatter camp on the northern outskirts of Rome.

Nor does this:

A new law on security has been creeping through Parliament: one of its central provisions is that foreigners belonging to EU countries and resident in Italy can be expelled on the orders of local prefects if they are a threat to “public security”. No trial is necessary.

On Wednesday night, at the urging of Walter Veltroni, the Mayor of Rome and leader of a new centrist party, the Democratic Party, that provision was extracted from the law, quickly redrafted as a “decree-law”, a sort of diktat, and signed by the President overnight.

So that section of the proposed law that would allow prefects to expel citizens of other EU countries resident in Italy because they are a threat to public security without the usual benefits of a free and fair trial (simply on the whim of the prefect, in other words?) was taken out of the proposed law and made law in its own right overnight by Presidential fiat.

And just to make it clear: So far as this article tells us, the murder that triggered this mass expulsion is still under investigation, one (yes, only ONE) man is accused, but the 5000 expellees are being expelled simply because, like (apparently) the accused and the woman who raised the alarm, they are Roma (Gypsys, for those who haven’t caught up with modern times yet).

Does anybody else smell the foul stench of the Europe of, oh, um, say the 1930s, by any chance?

I suppose I could insert into this post a certain word starting with a capital eff and ending in -ascism, but that would upset people. Need to keep things harmonious.

2 Responses to “something’s wrong here”

  1. China and I Says:

    This is a hot topic in Europe and especially in my native country France. Very difficult problem to circumvene. Immigrants from African are the ones to blame for our poor economy disarray according to 20% of the French population. What is new is to blame the Asian community because they always have a low profile, not making any disturbance. What shocks me the most, it is a center-left government in Italy who passed those laws! Spain did also a U-turn regarding its immigration. They send back tens of thousand of illegal immigrants to Africa.

  2. wangbo Says:

    It’s a hot topic, alright, and I don’t dispute any country’s right to control who can cross it’s borders. And illegal immigration is just plain illegal, so you won’t here me complain about a crackdown on that (unless, of course, the crackdown targets people because of their skin colour, ethnic or religious origin, or some similar such discriminatory bullshit). What disturbs me about this case is that 5000 people were expelled apparently for no other reason than that they belonged to the same ethnic group as one man under investigation for murder. Even if their expulsion is legal, it’s still wrong.

    And notice Italy’s new law means any non-Italian EU citizen resident in Italy can be expelled with no trial and no right of appeal simply because the local prefect declares them a security risk? This is a law ripe for abuse, and a giant leap backwards.