“Italy my adopted homeland for a quarter of a century – the land of Michelangelo and Galileo, Verdi and Puccini, Bertolucci and Pasolini, Primo Levi and Elena Ferrante – is today brimming with a violent rage that threatens to destroy all that is universally admired about it. In 1993 I arrived in Bologna as a student, hoping to put behind me the perpetual conflict into which I had been born as a Palestinian citizen of Israel.
It was my “shining city upon a hill”. From the rubble of a brutal fascist past, Italy had rebuilt itself as a thriving democracy, taking its place within a vibrant, progressive Europe whose open embrace of conflict resolution inspired me. I made it my home, became a citizen and the mother of an Italian child – and one of the first foreign-born television hosts in the country’s history.
Yet today, despite having lived in Italy on and off for 24 years, when I appear on Italian TV to discuss migration issues and minority rights, I receive more death threats and rape threats than when I appear on CNN to denounce President Trump’s racism.
And this threat is growing more murderous for those of us not deemed “racially pure” by the political party expected to win power in next month’s general election.
Matteo Salvini, the leader of the far-right Northern League, has accused the Democratic party of flooding Italy with immigrants to replace Italian workers, thereby transforming the nation into a giant refugee camp. He declares that immigrants bring drugs, theft and violence. Last weekend the impact of this hate speech was made clear, with a drive-by terror attack in Macerata, central Italy. A gunman named as Luca Traini, 28, a candidate for the Northern League in last year’s local elections, went on a two-hour shooting rampage in his car, apparently targeting people of colour. Six were wounded before Traini was arrested, giving a fascist salute as police led him away. At his home, officers found a copy of Hitler’s Mein Kampf and a flag with the Celtic cross, a symbol often used by far-right parties.
Yet the most frightening thing about the Macerata episode is how mainstream Traini’s views are. The Northern League has formed a coalition with another far-right anti-immigrant party, Brothers of Italy, as well as with the disgraced former prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi. This bloc is expected to win the March election. Berlusconi and his allies have for years been encouraging hatred against foreigners, demonising them and creating a situation in which violence against them seems inevitable.
Berlusconi, a TV mogul who has called Islam “an inferior religion”, uses his networks to promote fear and hatred of foreigners. His Channel 4 features a weekly show called The Fifth Column that reports on crimes committed by immigrants. When I spoke on Piazza Pulita, a Channel 7 show in favour of a law that called for children born in Italy to immigrant parents to be granted automatic citizenship – as is common in western democracies – Berlusconi’s flagship newspaper Il Giornale posted my picture on its front page and branded me “Taliban”. That would be ridiculous if it weren’t so dangerous. Italy sent troops to join the Nato mission fighting in Afghanistan; branding someone Taliban is to deem them an enemy who should be violently dealt with.
The political agenda of the Berlusconi-backed coalition is virulently anti-immigrant, defending what it calls a “pure race”. One of its candidates, Attilio Fontana, has said that all immigrants threaten the survival of “the white race”. He even bragged in Italy’s main newspaper, the Corriere della Sera, newspaper that his proudly racist views boosted his popularity.
The murderous hatred that drove the gunman has been weaponised by unscrupulous politicians. Rather than rally to the beleaguered migrants targeted in the Macerata shootings, Berlusconi blamed the victims. Migrants were “a social time bomb ready to explode”, he warned, promising that if elected, he would deport 600,000 of Italy’s 630,000 migrants.
And his coalition partner Salvini appeared to absolve the gunman, blaming instead leftwing politicians “who flooded Italy with migrants”. Indeed, Traini’s motives seemed to align with those of his party’s leader: he fired his weapon not only at migrants, but also at the local offices of the Democratic party.
Fascism is alive and well in Italy, and it is growing stronger. Traini may have pulled the trigger, but the shooting spree was inspired by the mainstream politicians of the right, led by Berlusconi, who try to cover for their failure to offer Italians decent economic prospects by stirring up hate.
The Macerata attack is not an aberration at all. It is the product of an increasingly savage racist mainstream political discourse that is turning a warm, vibrant, open culture into a toxic stew of fear and loathing.
Arrivederci, my beautiful country.”
Just lol at the Zionist Palestinian calling Italy her country. I’ve got news for you friend: Italy was never your country. Italy belongs to the Mediterranean white race, of which you are not a part of. So, you can pack your bags, collect your shekels and return to Israel. The goyim are waking up and there is nothing you can do about it.