Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Italy Creates "Whites Only" Town

Racist violence took another ugly turn in Italy over the weekend as two days of rioting was capped off by an ethnic cleansing of African migrant workers from the small, southern Italian village of Rosarno, turning it into what, according to The Guardian newspaper, one politician called “the world’s only entirely white town.”

The cycle of violence was sparked last Thursday after two Africans, among hundreds who came to work in the local orchards picking fruit, were shot for apparently no reason. This launched a protest by at least 100 other Africans, which turned violent and led to widespread damage in Rosarno. Italians from the region then apparently descended on the migrant camp beating and in some cases shooting the migrants they came across in retaliation, whether they had been involved in the earlier riot or not.

Italian officials had to remove more than 1,000 African migrants from the Rosarno area for their own safety. Several hundred went with authorities only after being promised that they would not be deported even if it was found that they had overstayed their visas. But Italy’s Interior Minister Roberto Maroni soon reneged on that deal saying that the law on visas was clear and would be exercised. Meanwhile, by Wednesday bulldozers were demolishing what was left of the migrant camp where the workers had lived.

This is far from the first attack in Italy in just the past year directed against African migrants or the Roma (or Gypsy) community or even immigrants from Eastern Europe. My question is how much longer is the European Union going to tolerate this kind of behavior from one of their core members? Keep in mind that the EU makes a big deal about their support for minority populations within Europe and respect for human rights in general. There was a time when politicians and governments in Europe took a stand against South Africa’s attempts to create “whites only” towns, it’s long past time that they take a stand against officials in Italy for trying to do the same thing.
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