Cruel Racism in Italy

EFE / Ciro Fusco

      16.05.2008 / Always lose the same

Italian gypsies in particular, and many more Gypsy groups from all over the world, are asking us for help. Many messages are distressed and they are from a frightened community which has seen the landslide victory of the politic coalition –some of its parties are from the extreme-right wing- led by Silvio Berlusconi. Some days before these indescribable aggressions suffered by Gypsy people of Ponticelli (Naples), carried out by some heartless people who set fire to their humble shanty town, an Italian Gypsy organization said us: “Gypsy people are in danger in Italy. We are frightened of the deportations. Please –they said to me- send a message to the Italian Government to respect the common Directives”.
      We sincerely think that the concern of our speaker is not groundless. Last statements of the new Italian rulers forebode all kinds of precariousness. Judge yourself if you think it is not like that: New Roma Major, post fascist Gianni Alemanno, announced last Monday that his first measure as Major will be the destruction of Gypsy camps. “We will undertake the dismantling of 25 nomad camps of Roma”. But Neapolitan from Ponticelli got it before. There is nothing to strip of its contents. “That is a purifying fire faster than to set up gas cameras in the style of Nazi”, Humberto Bosi, leader of North League, is euphoric. This man talks about “hunting”. “We should hunt clandestine people”, he said, provoking the defeated Italian left-wing. As a cocky guy he has delivered a warm proclamation: “I don’t know what the left want to do, we are ready. If they want to fight, the guns are heated. We have 300.000 men, 300.000 martyrs ready to fight. We are not joking.”                    
      But the most sad of this story is that Silvio Berlusconi, the re-elected president of Italian Government, when he has seen his exulting youth associations at the fascist style, he has declared: “When I see them, I have thought: we are the new phalanx of Roma”.     
      In view of the seriousness of the facts, UNION ROMANI gathers the general feelings of Spanish gypsies, and as a representative of UNION ROMANI INTERNACIONAL, it intends to do these actions: 

One: To denounce in public the seriousness of the outrage suffered by European gypsies who live in Italy and to ask for the solidarity for all citizens from any country against the racist violence. For that, we ask them to write a letter to the President of the Italian Government You can either send him directly to his residence in Quirinal (Roma) or to the Italian Embassies in each country. (The address of the Italian Embassy in Spain is: Calle Lagasca, 98. Postcode 2806 Madrid).

Two: To request to the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to take an interest in Gypsy’s situation in Italy, showing the concern of Spanish Gypsy community for what will happen to gypsies expelled from their burned houses. Our Government is legitimized to ask this on the basis of the Directive 2004/38/CE of European Parliament and Council, relating to European citizens’ right, and their family members, to move around and stay freely within the Member States. Indeed, as it is a Directive and each country can determine how to establish the requirements of the Community Law, it must be done a critical and watchful labour of the Governments to ensure that the measures adopted by different Member States lead to the Community Law application with the same effectiveness and rigorousness which are applied the national rules of respective National Rights.

Three: To express to the Committee on Petitions, as a matter of urgency, to start an investigation of the situation that has led the Italian community of Ponticelli (Naples) to this confrontation with Gypsy people who live there.

Four: To ask to the Parliamentary Groups of the European Parliament to formulate, as a matter of urgency, the necessary parliamentary initiatives which oblige the Council to answer, in the Plenary Session of Strasbourg and Brussels, about the measures that the Italian Government could decided to stop these aggressions and to punish the responsible people of them. 

Five: Unión Romaní is sure that the majority of Italian citizens –including voters of Mr. Berlusconi- reject the violence, wherever they come from. For this reason, from  Unión Romaní Internacional, it is proposed to establish, with Italian Gypsy organizations, a program of collaboration in order to bring together the adequate measures which guarantee the defence of these European citizens who have not committed any outrage but to be “poor and Gypsies”.  

Six: Today we have heard that Italian Government is proposing to take tougher measures against immigration. That means that to be “clandestine” will be a crime classified in the Penal Code. In that respect, Roberto Calderoli, new Italian Minister of the Northen League, has declared that for not to be “clandestine”: “They must proved they are honest; if not, they will be expelled from Italy”.
Union Romani will initiate the previous procedures to lodge a formal complaint against the Italian Government for failing to carry out the Directive 2004/38/CE of the European Parliament and Council relating to citizens’ right to move around and stay freely within the Member States. When in 1992, it was enacted the Treaty of Maastricht, the Heads of State and Government approved the Directive 19 to let clear any doubt about the application of the Community Law. The highlight European leaders did not have any question “that is essential for all Europeans Members take the Community Directive into their National Law in an unabridged and accurate way, to ensure the consistency and the unity of the construction of Europe.”
      Directives are the major coordinating law for the Community Law because with them, as the article 94 of the Maastricht Treaty says, it is possible the rapprochement of laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the European Members to act directly to establish and to come into operation the European Union. 

Seven: Finally, we propose to show our great concern for these events to the more representative international institutions. We will do it before European Council, before the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and before the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
      Once again, we are demanding the solidarity from all democrats of Spain and Europe. Nobody can take the law into one’s own hands because when it occurs we always lose the same: the poorer ones, the most defenceless, the ones that for them, on most occasions, the rights are just a worthless bit of paper.  We need the human warmth of the society, and for this we claim the support of all European democrats on defence of the Human Right for those who, even if they are innocents, are being assaulted, vilified and stigmatized for crimes they have not committed. After all, as the Commission admits, each expulsion “should be motivated for the individual situation” of each person, and “it should not mean an expulsion of groups” of people regarding their geographic origin.
      I wish the fire of Ponticelli will purify and eliminate the hatred and the intolerance that so many times has been the germ of the most serious tragedies in the history of Europe.


Presidente de la Unión Romaní