The health crisis fosters a lack of control in the employment situation of immigrants in Italy

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Unfair dismissals, endless hours and lack of rigor in the management of reception centers: the migratory situation in Bologna as a reflection of the rest of Italy

Paralyzed by rampant unemployment and frustrated for being always the gateway to Europe for thousands of refugees in search of El Dorado, a great part of Italians voted in the 2018 general elections and in the 2019 European elections for the strongman of the extreme right -Matteo Salvini- . His motto: Italians first.

Bologna, being one of the few large cities with a local left-wing government, has become a laboratory for social policies to support migrants at the national level. The executive of Virginio Merola, from the Partito Democratico, has created various local policies during the pandemic with the intention of being of greater benefit to the migrant community of the city, as an online platform where directories and signs of necessary public services can be found.

According to studies on immigration carried out with Italians by the University of Siena, it is observed that a large majority of them believe that the country is unfairly treated in immigration matters by the EU. Broadly speaking, the view that Italians have of migrants varies with the improvement or worsening of the national economic situation.

The reality is not as simple as it seems. The CAS – Extraordinary Reception Centers – is one of the main institutions that determines the future of immigrants in Bologna. In the CAS Mattei, a former prison, they live about two hundred people divided into tiny rooms in groups of twelve. Some of them have only been in the country for a few months but others have been living there for years. Most of them work exploited by agencies and cooperatives in logistics warehouses, such as the Interporto in Bologna, or as riders for Glovo or Deliveroo. Others are jobless and see no prospects ahead. The conditions in which they live have been greatly aggravated by the pandemic: “We live in bedrooms, or containers, with little ventilation. The temperature is never measured, neither to the migrants nor to the operators who enter and leave the center continuously, day and night. We were tested only once and no action was taken despite many of us tested positive for Covid. We all live constantly exposed to the danger of contagion and we do not know if we will get vaccinated or when” they protest.

Many of them do not have a doctor or a tax code, so they do not have the opportunity to be treated properly. Those who go to the facility doctor then have to go to other health services paying for the treatment with their own pocket money, without the possibility of reimbursement or discounts. Those who do not work cannot even afford the bus ride to get to the hospital, making it impossible to receive adequate medical assistance.

Coordinamento Migranti, one of the platforms that has most supported the residents of the CAS in recent years, adds that the lack of resources and disorganization in reception centers is a problem very internalized in the Italian administration, even before the pandemic. “It is a continuous obstacle course for them. Residence permits, which are usually only useful for a year or less, arrive too late, when they are almost about to expire. And the administrative costs of these permits come out of the pocket of the migrants themselves. There is no help whatsoever. We also demand that everyone have the opportunity to attend training and Italian courses, since without them it is impossible for them to continue a life outside of these types of centers.” they claim.

Some residents also feel blackmailed by the center operators: “If we do not show up at the required time and day, the 75 euros per month to which we are entitled will be withdrawn. Every day in the camp there are episodes of racism. They often call us with our code instead of the name and enter our rooms to rummage through our backpacks and suitcases, while we are absent and without our knowledge. We are not slaves ”.

The inhabitants of Mattei -almost exclusively men- decided to shut themselves up in the center to claim their situation before the press and public administrations. The response of the Prefecture was the presentation of a new regulation by which those who earn more than 500 euros per month could be expelled from the center; since they consider this to be enough pocket money to start a life alone in Italy. However, this regulation ignores a government decree, Cura Italia, which guarantees migrants to stay in reception centers while the COVID emergency continues, even in the absence of requirements that allow them to remain in these. For their part, the directors of the Mattei center repeatedly denied all the accusations.

The COVID emergency has greatly disturbed the employment situation of the Mattei residents. More than 70% of those of working age work at the Interporto – Logistics Warehouse – in Bologna, where companies such as DHL, GLS or Yoox employ them on weekly or even daily 12-hour contracts. “We are caught in an endless exhausting cycle. Residence permits take months to arrive. With the excuse of the coronavirus, the Italian administration is making us pay permits that expire practically shortly after receiving them, so that we have to spend 500 euros again to request a new one ”, explains Hamid.

Edafe is Nigerian and has lived in Bologna for 6 years. Before the coronavirus crisis, he worked with a delivery company, but on February 28, 2020, he was fired claiming that he stole material from the shipments, when the culprits were other higher-ranking colleagues. “In the end, immigrants end up being racist among ourselves because of the treatment we receive from Italians. In the company, more than 90% of the workforce are immigrants, but the ones who are considered the worst are the black people”.

Shariful has been getting up at 5 in the morning for years to work at the Bologna Cooking School, but when the restaurant had to close its doors due to the health crisis, the owner had to close the School without prior notice. “I spend my time looking for work everywhere. I worked 2 days for DHL because they hired a lot of people at Christmas, and the working conditions of immigrants there are the worst I’ve seen in time. They know that there are hundreds of immigrants waiting desperately at their doors for contracts of just 7 days and they are making the most of the situation they can. I even know of colleagues who have been paid only half of the days worked. There are moments of racism continually; I don’t recommend it to anyone” he declares.

Immigrant women do not live a much more positive situation. Yoox is one of the best-regarded companies in Italy for the sale of signature clothing, and has one of the busiest areas of Interporto in Bologna. Last November, an ultimatum was made to all its employees – most of them immigrants – after they defended their right to have shifts that allowed them to take care of their children when they were unable to go to school: they took the imposed shifts from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. or they could stay home and lose their jobs. Yoox believes that this is a free choice given to female workers, proposed to address the COVID emergency in the workplace. The company pretends not to see that practically all of its employees are women and migrants, that if they lose their jobs they run the risk of losing their residence permit or not being able to access citizenship, after years of sacrifice.

In Bologna, as in the rest of the cities of the country, the work to support immigrants is very deficient by the State due to the novelty of the migratory phenomenon and the lack of precise policies. That is why associations and NGOs become the place of refuge for immigrants who see their rights violated. Arca di Noé is one of the most active cooperatives, since it has many projects in collaboration with the Bolognese and European public entities: “The labor reality of migrants is very complicated with the coronavirus. No company wants apprentices because they no longer have the same income as before the crisis. They only hire refugees when there is some kind of public subsidy involved. Despite the efforts the administration is making to accommodate the needs of immigrants in these difficult times, much work remains to be done on the relationship between the two extremes. The disinterest and lack of organization for years on the part of the administration has generated animosity and skepticism in foreigners that is generating a gap that will be very difficult to solve ”they confess.

On the other hand, the novelty of the massive migratory phenomenon in il Bel Paese has promoted that many Italians are threatened by this reality. That is why some cooperatives such as the Bolognese Baumhaus have created projects to meet both communities, where they can meet and share in a more humane way than that fermented by far-right parties or the national media. “Migrant and Italian society are very fragmented. You rarely see an African person chatting quietly with an Italian, and it is this that promotes the clichés and unfounded hatreds. This is how we decided to create Connettiamoci, a series of meetings where both parties can express their opinions and share experiences related to their private lives and their vision of society. And the reception is being very positive. I think it should be something to develop throughout Italy. It would do us all a lot of good ” they propose from Baumhaus.


La crisi sanitaria favorisce la mancanza di controllo sulla situazione occupazionale degli immigrati in Italia

Licenziamenti illegittimi, orari interminabili e mancanza di rigore nella gestione dei centri di accoglienza: la situazione migratoria a Bologna come riflesso del resto d’Italia

Paralizzati dalla disoccupazione dilagante e frustrati per essere sempre la porta d’Europa per migliaia di profughi in cerca di El Dorado, gli italiani hanno votato alle elezioni generali del 2018 e alle europee del 2019 per l’uomo forte dell’estrema destra -Matteo Salvini-. Il suo motto: prima gli italiani.

Bologna, essendo una delle poche grandi città con un governo locale di sinistra, è diventata un laboratorio di politiche sociali a sostegno dei migranti a livello nazionale. L’esecutivo di Virginio Merola, del Partito Democratico, ha creato diverse politiche locali durante la pandemia con l’intento di essere di maggior beneficio per la comunità migrante della città, come piattaforma online dove trovare elenchi e indicazioni dei servizi pubblici necessari.

Secondo gli studi sull’immigrazione condotti con gli italiani dall’Università di Siena, si osserva che una grande maggioranza di essi ritiene che il Paese sia trattato ingiustamente in materia di immigrazione dall’UE. In linea di massima, la visione che gli italiani hanno dei migranti varia con il miglioramento o il peggioramento della situazione economica nazionale.

La realtà non è così semplice come sembra. I CAS – Centri di Accoglienza Straordinaria – è una delle principali istituzioni che determinano il futuro degli immigrati a Bologna. Nel CAS Mattei, un ex carcere, vivono circa duecento persone divise in minuscole stanze a gruppi di dodici. Alcuni di loro sono in campagna solo da pochi mesi, altri ci vivono da anni. La maggior parte di loro lavora sfruttata da agenzie e cooperative nei magazzini logistici, come l’Interporto di Bologna, o come rider per Glovo o Deliveroo. Altri sono disoccupati e non vedono prospettive future. Le condizioni in cui vivono sono state notevolmente aggravate dalla pandemia: “Viviamo in camere da letto, o container, con poca ventilazione. La temperatura non viene mai misurata, né ai migranti né agli operatori che entrano ed escono dal centro continuamente, giorno e notte. Siamo stati testati solo una volta e non è stata intrapresa alcuna azione nonostante molti di noi siano risultati positivi al Covid. Viviamo tutti costantemente esposti al pericolo del contagio e non sappiamo se ci faremo vaccinare o quando” protestano.

Molti di loro non hanno un medico o un codice fiscale, quindi non hanno la possibilità di essere curati adeguatamente. Chi si rivolge al medico della struttura deve poi rivolgersi ad altri servizi sanitari pagando le cure con la propria paghetta, senza possibilità di rimborsi o sconti. Chi non lavora non può nemmeno permettersi la corsa in autobus per raggiungere l’ospedale, rendendo impossibile ricevere un’adeguata assistenza medica.

Il Coordinamento Migranti, una delle piattaforme che più ha sostenuto i residenti dei TAS negli ultimi anni, aggiunge che la mancanza di risorse e la disorganizzazione nei centri di accoglienza è un problema molto interiorizzato nell’amministrazione italiana, anche prima della pandemia. “Per loro è una corsa ad ostacoli continua. I permessi di soggiorno, che di solito sono utili solo per un anno o meno, arrivano troppo tardi, quando stanno per scadere. E i costi amministrativi di questi permessi escono dalle tasche dei migranti stessi. Non c’è nessun aiuto. Chiediamo inoltre che tutti abbiano la possibilità di frequentare corsi di formazione e di italiano, poiché senza di essi è impossibile per loro continuare una vita al di fuori di questi tipi di centri».

Alcuni residenti si sentono ricattati anche dagli operatori del centro: “Se non ci presentiamo nell’ora e nel giorno richiesti, verranno prelevati i 75 euro mensili a cui abbiamo diritto. Ogni giorno nel campo ci sono episodi di razzismo. Spesso ci chiamano con il nostro codice al posto del nome ed entrano nelle nostre stanze per rovistare tra zaini e valigie, mentre noi siamo assenti e a nostra insaputa. Non siamo schiavi”.

Gli abitanti di Mattei -quasi esclusivamente uomini- decisero di rinchiudersi nel centro per rivendicare la loro situazione davanti alla stampa e alle pubbliche amministrazioni. La risposta della Prefettura è stata la presentazione di un nuovo regolamento con il quale chi guadagna più di 500 euro al mese può essere espulso dal centro; dal momento che considerano questa paghetta sufficiente per iniziare una vita da soli in Italia. Tuttavia, questo regolamento ignora un decreto del governo, Cura Italia, che garantisce ai migranti la permanenza nei centri di accoglienza mentre continua l’emergenza COVID, anche in assenza di requisiti che consentano loro di rimanere in questi. Dal canto loro, i dirigenti del centro Mattei hanno più volte negato tutte le accuse.

L’emergenza COVID ha turbato molto la situazione occupazionale dei residenti Mattei. Oltre il 70% degli in età lavorativa lavora all’Interporto – Magazzino Logistico – di Bologna, dove aziende come DHL, GLS o Yoox li impiegano con contratti settimanali o addirittura giornalieri di 12 ore. “Siamo intrappolati in un ciclo estenuante senza fine. I permessi di soggiorno impiegano mesi per arrivare. Con la scusa del coronavirus, l’amministrazione italiana ci sta facendo pagare i permessi che scadono praticamente poco dopo averli ricevuti, quindi dobbiamo spendere ancora 500 euro per richiederne uno nuovo”, spiega Hamid.

Edafe è nigeriano e vive a Bologna da 6 anni. Prima della crisi del coronavirus, ha lavorato con una società di consegne, ma il 28 febbraio 2020 è stato licenziato sostenendo di aver rubato materiale dalle spedizioni, quando i colpevoli erano altri colleghi di rango superiore. “Alla fine, gli immigrati finiscono per essere razzisti tra di noi a causa del trattamento che riceviamo dagli italiani. In azienda oltre il 90% della forza lavoro sono immigrati, ma quelli che sono considerati i peggiori sono i neri”.

Shariful si alza da anni alle 5 del mattino per lavorare alla Bologna Cooking School, ma quando il ristorante ha dovuto chiudere i battenti a causa dell’emergenza sanitaria, il titolare ha dovuto chiudere la Scuola senza preavviso. “Passo il mio tempo a cercare lavoro ovunque. Ho lavorato 2 giorni per DHL perché hanno assunto molte persone a Natale e le condizioni di lavoro degli immigrati sono le peggiori che ho visto in tempo. Sanno che ci sono centinaia di immigrati che aspettano disperatamente alle loro porte contratti di soli 7 giorni e stanno sfruttando al meglio la situazione. Conosco anche colleghi che sono stati pagati solo la metà delle giornate lavorate. Ci sono continuamente momenti di razzismo; Non lo consiglio a nessuno” dichiara.

Le donne immigrate non vivono una situazione molto più positiva. Yoox è una delle aziende più apprezzate in Italia per la vendita di abbigliamento d’autore, e dispone di una delle aree più trafficate dell’Interporto di Bologna. Lo scorso novembre è stato lanciato un ultimatum a tutti i suoi dipendenti – per la maggior parte immigrati – dopo aver difeso il loro diritto ad avere turni che permettessero loro di prendersi cura dei figli quando non potevano andare a scuola: hanno preso i turni imposti dal 5 dalle 23:00 alle 23:00 oppure potrebbero restare a casa e perdere il lavoro. Yoox ritiene che questa sia una libera scelta riservata alle lavoratrici, proposta per fronteggiare l’emergenza COVID nei luoghi di lavoro. L’azienda fa finta di non vedere che praticamente tutti i suoi dipendenti sono donne e migranti, che se perdono il lavoro corrono il rischio di perdere il permesso di soggiorno o di non poter accedere alla cittadinanza, dopo anni di sacrifici.

A Bologna, come nel resto delle città del Paese, il lavoro a sostegno degli immigrati è molto carente da parte dello Stato a causa della novità del fenomeno migratorio e della mancanza di politiche precise. Per questo le associazioni e le ONG diventano il luogo di rifugio per gli immigrati che vedono violati i propri diritti. Arca di Noé è una delle cooperative più attive, poiché ha molti progetti in collaborazione con gli enti pubblici bolognesi ed europei: “La realtà lavorativa dei migranti è molto complicata con il coronavirus. Nessuna azienda vuole apprendisti perché non hanno più lo stesso reddito di prima della crisi. Assumono rifugiati solo quando c’è qualche tipo di sussidio pubblico coinvolto. Nonostante gli sforzi che l’amministrazione sta compiendo per soddisfare le esigenze degli immigrati in questi tempi difficili, molto resta da fare sul rapporto tra i due estremi. Il disinteresse e la mancanza di organizzazione per anni da parte dell’amministrazione ha generato negli stranieri animosità e scetticismo che sta generando un gap che sarà molto difficile da risolvere” confessano.

D’altra parte, la novità del massiccio fenomeno migratorio nel Bel Paese ha fatto sì che molti italiani siano minacciati da questa realtà. Ecco perché alcune cooperative come la Bolognese Baumhaus hanno creato progetti per incontrare entrambe le comunità, dove possono incontrarsi e condividere in modo più umano di quello fermentato dai partiti di estrema destra o dai media nazionali. “La società dei migranti e quella italiana sono molto frammentate. Raramente si vede un africano chiacchierare tranquillamente con un italiano, ed è questo che favorisce i luoghi comuni e gli odi infondati. È così che abbiamo deciso di creare Connettiamoci, una serie di incontri in cui entrambe le parti possono esprimere le proprie opinioni e condividere esperienze legate alla propria vita privata e alla propria visione della società. E l’accoglienza è molto positiva. Penso che dovrebbe essere qualcosa da sviluppare in tutta Italia. Ci farebbe molto bene a tutti” propongono da Baumhaus.

Article written by: Nora Aragón

Photos by: Nora Aragón

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La Musica d’Universo

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These days we asked all people in our association to share a few songs they like from their country to create a music playlist that represented all of us. Like this, we came out with a very enjoyable multicultural mix with songs from Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Ivory Coast or United Kingdom.

Such is the variety of artists selected that everyone saw themselves invaded with a host of artists to discover. So to make it easier, here is a selection of artists, grouped by nationality, that may interest you:

SPAIN.

  1. Sílvia Pérez Cruz (Catalunya, 1983). Singer from Catalonia who emerged doing her own versions of traditional Spanish and flamenco songs. Her soft and unmistakable voice has made her one of the most valued singers on the Spanish scene, and she has created music alongside other great Hispanic musicians such as Jorge Drexler, Natalia Lafourcade or Joan Manuel Serrat. Each of her albums is completely different from the others, bringing together poetry, Spanish folk tales and theater. Some of the best known songs of her are: A grito pelao or Vestida de nit.
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2. Ayax y Prok (Granada). Two young rapper twins who have won the hearts of all rap lovers in Spain. They are known for their very harsh and poetic lyrics, sometimes with great social content and a forceful live performance in which they leave even the last drop of sweat and tears. All their video clips and songs have very personal content, so they are always the ones who review their work until the end. Some of their songs are: Reproches, El grito del esclavo, L’enfant terrible

Sara Martín.

3. Baiuca. Galician composer and DJ who mixes electronic music with traditional instruments and folk rhythms in his compositions. Baiuca is a word that is used in some places in Galicia and Brazil to refer to a popular tavern or tavern. Percussion, dolls, traditional songs and synthesizer. All that and more is Baiuca. His music is the result of experimenting with and drinking from the Galician culture. In addition, it is a formula so that the youngest do not lose the roots of traditional music and can also connect with folk styles. Some of his songs are: Veleno (ft. Rodrigo Cuevas) or Morriña.

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ITALY.

  1. Fabrizio de André (Genova, 1940 – Milano, 1999). Singer-songwriter known throughout Italy for his songs that tell stories of outcasts, rebels, prostitutes, and criticize the Hierarchy of the Catholic Church. The high artistic level of his compositions has crowned him a kind of poet in the Bel Paese. In his forty years of musical activity he produced fifteen albums, a relatively modest number, perhaps determined by the great attention that the author paid to the quality of his works. Some of his songs are: Bocca di Rosa, La Ballata Dell’Amore Cieco (O Della Vanita ‘) or La Guerra di Piero.
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2. Baustelle. Italian alternative rock group, formed in 1996 in Montepulciano (Siena). Their music can vary from the sentimental song, to the danceable and typically indie ones; there are more complex songs such as psychedelic and instrumental pieces. Since they started playing, they have received many national awards for their music. Some of their songs are: Charlie fa surf or Love.

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3. Caparezza (Molfetta, 1973). One of the most beloved rappers in all of Italy thanks to his energetic attitude and easily connected lyrics. By mixing various styles of music to create a unique and personal style, he has built a loyal fan base who continue to love his music after nearly 30 years on stage. Some of his songs are Una Chiave, La Scelta or Confusianesimo.

CapaRezza, portrait in the studio of artist Sebastiano Ciarcia. Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles, California. 18 January 2014.

4. Levante (Sicilia, 1987). Indie-pop singer who became known for her 2013 single Alfonso. She continues to be one of the best known singers in Italy thanks to her songs full of good energy and catchy lyrics. Some of her songs are: Pezzo di me or Tikibombom.

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FRANCE.

  1. Gaël Faye (Burundi, 1982). Burundian-French singer and writer. His music is characterized by being of high poetic content where he explains his experiences as an immigrant in France. The sound of him could be defined as a mixture of slam-poetry and pop-rock, hiphop and ethnic melodies. In addition, he wrote a book, Petit Pays, where he compiles his experiences in Burundi when he was a child before the civil war broke out there and he had to move with his family to France. The book won multiple national literary awards. Some of his songs are: Tôt le matin or Respire.
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2. Brav (Le Havre, 1982). Very engaged rapper who fights for human rights and against poverty and discrimination in France. His music has evolved through the years from pure rap to more melodic songs, but keeping his main social message. Some of his songs are: Nuit blanche, I Hate love and Error 404.

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3. Jacques Brel (Belgium, 1929 – France, 1978). French-speaking Belgian singer-songwriter, actor, and filmmaker. His songs are recognized for the poetry and sincerity of his lyrics. Known all around Europe for his french-variety songs, he’s very recognized by his songs that analyze the society of the moment and his personal feelings. The emotion that he put into his performances and the way he sang made him an icon of Francophone music. Some of his songs are: Ne me quitte pas, Ces gens-là or Amsterdam.

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4. Aya Nakamura (Mali, 1995). Singer who rose to the top of fame in 2018 with his single Djadja. With catchy lyrics and rhythms that mix Afrobeat sounds with pop and trap, Nakamura has become one of the singers of the moment not only in France, but internationally. With listening records, some of her best known songs are: Copines, Pookie or Jolie Nana.

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GERMANY.

  1. Blond. German indie pop band that was founded in 2011. Their original, comical and wacky music videos and lyrics have made them a cult band in Germany that is having great success with young audiences. Some of his songs are: Spinaci or Book.
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2. AnnenMayKantereit. German folk-rock band from Cologne, formed in 2011. The group sings in German and English and its distinctive feature is the singular and ragged voice of the singer Henning May. In recent years they have won the love of their fans and are now one of the best-considered indie bands in the country. Some of their songs are: Ausgehen or Pocahontas.

3. Shindy (Germany, 1988). German-Greek rapper whose songs have been a great hit with young Germans thanks to their danceable rhythms with hints of rnb and trap. Some of his most known songs are: Nautilus, Babygirl or Affalterbach.

AFRO.

  1. Salif Keïta (Mali, 1949). Pop singer and songwriter known as “The African Golden Voice.” He is a direct descendant of King Sundiata Keita (1190-1255), who was the founder of the Mali Empire. Pop singer and songwriter known as “The African Golden Voice.” He is a direct descendant of King Sundiata Keita (1190-1255), who was the founder of the Mali Empire. Throughout his musical career he has composed great hits of Afro-pop music such as Madan, Yamore or Yambo, Yambo. In addition, belonging to an African minority such as the albino population, made him create his own foundation in 2005 in defense of the lives of albinos in Africa.
eldiario.es

2. Burna Boy (Nigeria, 1991). In his music he mixes traditional African rhythms and instruments with other more modern ones such as rnb, trap or dancehall. His lyrics (in Ijaw, Yoruba and English) speak of respect towards the African community, Black Lives Matter or the social problems in Nigeria and other African countries. His music has earned him many music awards in the last years. Some of his songs are: Anybody, Onyeka or Ye.

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3. Brenda Fassie (Cape Town, 1964 – Johannesburg, 2004). Anti-apartheid Afropop singer, also known as “The Queen of Pop in Africa”. Her most popular songs is Vuli Ndlela (Accept the situation), a song against people who spend the day criticizing and, especially, against all those who questioned her carefree life. Another of her well-known songs is Sum’Bulala (Don’t kill it), a song against violence that for years permeated (and continues to mark) South African daily life.

Written by: Nora Aragón

THE BOOM OF IMMIGRATION IN CONTEMPORARY EU AND ITALY

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Five years ago, in the summer of 2015, Europe faced its biggest migration crisis since the Second World War. Hundreds of thousands of desperate people fleeing war and economic hardship tried to reach the continent. The largest group of migrants making the perilous journey came from Syria, where four years of civil war had forced them to flee. President Bashar al-Assad’s forces had increased their attacks on opposition strongholds and the so-called Islamic State was gaining strength. But people from many other countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Eritrea, also left their homelands in search of a better future in Europe. Faced with an unprecedented migration influx, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government decided to open Germany’s borders, and almost a million migrants claimed asylum there. Following this policy, other European countries like Italy, Spain, Greece or France relaxed their reception measures for migrants and refugees.

Since then, flows of people awaiting a better future have come to the Old Continent. Whatever their reasons for traveling to Europe, their main concern is the reunification with their family -from which they have had to separate at a certain point in their trip or have had to leave behind in their country of origin.

Since the beginning of the 21st century there has also been a unification in the desire of foreigners to move to Germany or France. Having refugees very high expectations concerning the employment in Germany, whereas the motivation for going to France resides in the assimilation of a culture that for many is already known -especially for those who come from Francophone countries-.

Specialists and social workers have realised also that once migrants arrive to their desired destination in Europe, they mainly focus on solving their job needs, and don’t usually worry too much about participating in recreational activities where they could meet with national citizens, which would help them considerably in their integration into the country. Rather, they tend to spend more time with people who belong to their same country, culture or religion. The German government -one of the most advanced European governments in social policies- admits that there’s still a lot to be done regarding mainly the inclusion of women and children, promoting quality programs where they can meet their social, educational and recreational needs.

However, countries where migration has not been historically so common, such as Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal or other Mediterranean countries, as well as Eastern European countries such as Bosnia, Hungary or Romania, have faced this wave of arrival of foreigners in another way. Without too clear policies or laws regarding the reception of migrants, and with high unemployment rates, these countries have been overwhelmed by the daily arrival of large numbers of migrants who arrive at their borders after long journeys. The ignorance of foreign cultures, as well as an enormous deficit in social policies, has caused that both citizens and the political-social system have spread in many cases an unfounded hatred of migrants that does not help at all a good development of these countries. In Italy, since 2019, the arrival of migrants to the country has decreased, both by sea and by land, either due to a lack of expectations in the country for foreigners and new migration policies (much more restrictive for applicants for humanitarian protection since Salvini came to power).

In September 2020, the European Commission proposed a plan for member states to share the responsibility for asylum seekers under a “compulsory solidarity mechanism”. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said upon announcing the plan: “Migration is complex, the old system to deal with it in Europe no longer works“. The EU’s migration system has come under increasing pressure in recent years, member states who do not want to volunteer to house more migrants could instead take charge of deporting rejected asylum seekers. This plan appeared when a devastating fire at the Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, left around 12,000 people homeless. Ahead of the proposal, the UN Refugee Agency and the International Organization for Migration urged the EU to respect the fundamental right to seek asylum: “The current policy is unworkable, untenable and often carries devastating human consequences.”

The new pact could come into effect by 2023, with new regulations, some of which address the screening of asylum seekers and crisis situations. The most contentious element of the plan would impose a legal obligation on each member state to host an assigned number of refugees and help in other ways under “mandatory solidarity.” In return, each state would receive €10,000 from the EU per adult taken. The Commission previously said that solidarity can mean not just taking migrants in, but also, for example, sending medical supplies or equipment where it is needed. Screenings could relate to checking for arrivals who are unwell, or for people who have been classified as a security risk. It could also mean subjecting migrants to a preliminary assessment to exclude those who allegedly have no basis for an asylum claim, as Germany has proposed. Five years after the 2015 migration crisis forced European countries to reckon with new waves of asylum seekers, annual “irregular arrivals ” are down to 140,000 a year. However, EU members remain deeply divided on how to manage asylum procedures. EU leaders have often touted bloc-wide solidarity, but have never made it mandatory as proposed in the plan. Countries such as Hungary, the Czech Republic and Austria have consistently opposed any measure to force countries to take in refugees.

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Cinque anni fa, nell’estate del 2015, l’Europa ha dovuto affrontare la più grande crisi migratoria dalla seconda guerra mondiale. Centinaia di migliaia di persone disperate in fuga dalla guerra e dalle difficoltà economiche hanno cercato di raggiungere il continente. Il gruppo più numeroso di migranti che ha intrapreso il pericoloso viaggio proveniva dalla Siria, dove quattro anni di guerra civile li avevano costretti a fuggire. Le forze del presidente Bashar al-Assad avevano aumentato i loro attacchi alle roccaforti dell’opposizione e il cosiddetto Stato islamico stava guadagnando forza. Ma anche persone provenienti da molti altri paesi, tra cui Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan ed Eritrea, hanno lasciato le loro terre in cerca di un futuro migliore in Europa. Di fronte a un flusso migratorio senza precedenti, il governo della cancelliera Angela Merkel ha deciso di aprire i confini della Germania e quasi un milione di migranti ha chiesto asilo qui. Seguendo questa politica, altri paesi europei come Italia, Spagna, Grecia o Francia hanno allentato le loro misure di accoglienza per migranti e rifugiati.

Da allora, nel Vecchio Continente sono giunti flussi di persone in attesa di un futuro migliore. Qualunque siano le ragioni del loro viaggio in Europa, la loro preoccupazione principale è il ricongiungimento con la loro famiglia, dalla quale si sono dovuti separare a un certo punto del viaggio o hanno dovuto lasciare nel loro paese di origine.

Dall’inizio del secolo XXI c’è stata anche un’unificazione nel desiderio degli stranieri di trasferirsi in Germania o in Francia. Avere profughi aspettative molto alte riguardo l’occupazione in Germania, mentre la motivazione per andare in Francia risiede nell’assimilazione di una cultura che per molti è già nota -specialmente per chi proviene dai paesi francofoni-.

Gli specialisti e gli assistenti sociali si sono anche resi conto che una volta che i migranti arrivano nella destinazione desiderata in Europa, si concentrano principalmente sulla soluzione delle loro esigenze lavorative e di solito non si preoccupano troppo di partecipare ad attività ricreative dove potrebbero incontrare i cittadini nazionali, il che aiutarli notevolmente nella loro integrazione nel paese. Piuttosto, tendono a trascorrere più tempo con persone che appartengono al loro stesso paese, cultura o religione. Il governo tedesco, uno dei governi europei più avanzati nelle politiche sociali, ammette che c’è ancora molto da fare per quanto riguarda principalmente l’inclusione di donne e bambini, promuovendo programmi di qualità dove possono soddisfare i loro bisogni sociali, educativi e ricreativi.

Tuttavia, paesi in cui la migrazione non è stata storicamente così comune, come Spagna, Italia, Grecia, Portogallo o altri paesi del Mediterraneo, nonché paesi dell’Europa orientale come Bosnia, Ungheria o Romania, hanno affrontato questa ondata di arrivi di stranieri in un altro modo. Senza politiche o leggi troppo chiare sull’accoglienza dei migranti e con alti tassi di disoccupazione, questi paesi sono stati travolti dall’arrivo quotidiano di un gran numero di migranti che arrivano alle loro frontiere dopo lunghi viaggi. L’ignoranza delle culture straniere, nonché un enorme deficit nelle politiche sociali, ha fatto sì che sia i cittadini che il sistema politico-sociale abbiano diffuso in molti casi un odio infondato dei migranti che non aiuta affatto un buon sviluppo di questi paesi. In Italia, dal 2019, gli arrivi di migranti nel Paese sono diminuiti, sia via mare che via terra, sia per mancanza di aspettative nel Paese per gli stranieri che per nuove politiche migratorie (molto più restrittive per i richiedenti protezione umanitaria da Salvini è salito al potere).

Nel settembre 2020, la Commissione europea ha proposto un piano per gli Stati membri per condividere la responsabilità dei richiedenti asilo nell’ambito di un “meccanismo di solidarietà obbligatoria”. La presidenta della Commissione Europea Ursula von der Leyen ha detto all’annuncio del piano: “La migrazione è complessa, il vecchio sistema per affrontarla in Europa non funziona più“. Il sistema migratorio dell’UE è stato sottoposto a crescenti pressioni negli ultimi anni, gli Stati membri che non vogliono offrirsi volontariamente per ospitare più migranti potrebbero invece farsi carico del rimpatrio dei richiedenti asilo respinti. Questo piano è apparso quando un devastante incendio nel campo profughi di Moria, sull’isola greca di Lesbo, ha lasciato circa 12.000 persone senza casa. In vista della proposta, l’Agenzia delle Nazioni Unite per i rifugiati e l’Organizzazione internazionale per le migrazioni hanno esortato l’UE a rispettare il diritto fondamentale di chiedere asilo: “L’attuale politica è impraticabile, insostenibile e spesso comporta conseguenze umane devastanti”.

Il nuovo patto potrebbe entrare in vigore entro il 2023, con nuove normative, alcune delle quali affrontano lo screening dei richiedenti asilo e delle situazioni di crisi. L’elemento più controverso del piano imporrebbe l’obbligo legale a ciascuno Stato membro di ospitare un numero assegnato di rifugiati e di aiutare in altri modi in base alla “solidarietà obbligatoria”. In cambio, ogni stato riceverebbe 10.000 euro dall’UE per adulto prelevato. La Commissione ha affermato in precedenza che solidarietà può significare non solo accogliere migranti, ma anche, ad esempio, inviare forniture mediche o attrezzature dove è necessario. Gli screening potrebbero riguardare il controllo di arrivi che non stanno bene o di persone che sono state classificate come un rischio per la sicurezza. Potrebbe anche significare sottoporre i migranti a una valutazione preliminare per escludere coloro che presumibilmente non hanno basi per una domanda di asilo, come ha proposto la Germania. Cinque anni dopo che la crisi migratoria del 2015 ha costretto i paesi europei a fare i conti con nuove ondate di richiedenti asilo, gli “arrivi irregolari” annuali sono scesi a 140.000 all’anno. Tuttavia, i membri dell’UE rimangono profondamente divisi su come gestire le procedure di asilo. I leader dell’UE hanno spesso propagandato la solidarietà a livello di blocco, ma non l’hanno mai resa obbligatoria come proposto nel piano. Paesi come l’Ungheria, la Repubblica ceca e l’Austria si sono costantemente opposti a qualsiasi misura per costringere i paesi ad accogliere rifugiati.

Written by Nora Aragón

How was immigration in Italy in the 20th century?

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Photography cover by Imco Brouwer – 1985

We have talked about the Italian emigrants who left for a better life in the United States. But what happened next in Italy? Was Italy a source of reception for migrants before the great migration wave of 2015 – driven by the war in Syria -?

Italy, for most of its history, has been a country of emigration and it is estimated that between 1876 and 1976 more than 24 million people left, to the point that today we speak of great emigration or Italian emigration.

Throughout this period, the phenomenon of immigration had been almost non-existent, except for migrations due to the consequences of the Second World War, such as the Istrian exodus –in which thousands of citizens from Croatia and the Balkans migrated to central and southern Italy once the communist government of Tito was established after the Second World War-or the return of Italians from the former colonies of Africa. However, these phenomena didn’t present substantial problems of integration from a social or cultural point of view. In Italy the phenomenon of immigration began to wane decisively only in the sixties, once the economy began to improve exponentially after the postwar years.

The flow of foreigners entering began to take shape only towards the end of the 70s, both for the “open door policy” practiced by Italy, and for more restrictive policies adopted by other countries. In 1981, there was calculated the presence of 321,000 foreigners. A year later, in 1982, a first regularization program for undocumented immigrants was proposed, while in 1986 the first law on the subject was passed with which the government tried to guarantee the same rights for non-EU workers and Italian workers. Thanks to these measures, in the 90s the number of foreigners growed exponentially.

This led to the arrival in August 1991 in Ancona and Bari of ships carrying tens of thousands of Albanian refugees that left their country just after the communist government was dissolved, which led to a major economic collapse amid widespread political and social unrest in the country. Italy was not prepared at the time for a such an abrupt arrival, which made it take several weeks for the authorities and social services to take charge of all those Albanian citizens. Most of them were detained in a sports stadium without adequate food, water, or access to bathrooms.  Within several weeks most of the migrants were deported to Albania.  Their harsh treatment was criticised by human rights organisations and the Pope, but was justified by the Italian government as necessary to deter further irregular migration from the ex-soviet country.

The cities who received the vast majority of inmigrants in the XX century and still have the highest rate of incomers in all Italy are Rome, Milano, Turin, Brescia, Naples and Florence. And the three main nationalities of origin were Morocco, Romania and Albania.

In 1998 the Turco-Napolitano law was approved, which discouraged illegal immigration and established, for the first time in Italy, temporary detention centers for foreigners that were subjected to expulsion orders. After a few years, in 2002, the Bossi-Fini law provided the possibility of the immediate expulsion of illegal immigrants by the public force.

A few years later, around 2005, Italy started to be a destination for many Africans of various nationalities who, for one reason or another, began to see Italy as a country to stay in, despite the fact that until then it had been more a nation of passage than of residence. Gustave arrived to the country in 2008, coming from Cameroon. In his case it was a study trip: “I applied for a course in the UK, but the required admission number was already reached and I was proposed the same course in Italy. So I came here. Italy is gradually getting into the minds of Cameroonians now due to vocational training and business. In Cameroon we usually don’t look up to Italy as a dream destination or greener pastures ideal location. For me, I think it was destiny what brought me to Italy. I don’t regret it.”

For Farid, a Syrian doctor who came to finish his Medicine studies in Bologna in 2007, Italy has been a very pleasant surprise: “I came with a scholarship from my university in Damasco, because I was about to study an specialization course. At first it was strange that they accepted me in Italy, given that the most common destinations to emigrate to from Syria used to be the UK, France and Germany… Then I’ve never really lived a situation of discrimination in this country. Specially given the close ambience I’ve been working in all these years. Hospitals are a very rigorous work place”.

Something that foreigners arriving in Italy always complain about though, is the slowness and inefficiency of the public administration. “It hasn’t changed that much since I came. The workers change but the system is very much similar if not worse. I came from Cameroon already with a legal formation background, which gave me the intellectual instruments to meandering into the society, but many other people that arrive have to deal with very difficult situations” explains Gustave. “In my view, it has changed a lot for the better; because all the time that you had to spend waiting in long queues for any kind of document some years ago, now we just have to send it via Poste Italiane” expresses Farid.

In 2015, a new wave of migration would begin in Italy caused by two events: the war in Syria and the closure of traditional migration routes in Turkey, which caused many foreigners to start using Italy as a country of arrival in Europe.

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Com’era l’immigrazione in Italia nel XX secolo?

Abbiamo parlato degli emigranti italiani partiti per una vita migliore negli Stati Uniti. Ma cosa è successo dopo in Italia? L’Italia era una fonte di accoglienza per i migranti prima della grande ondata migratoria del 2015 – guidata dalla guerra in Siria -?

L’Italia, per gran parte della sua storia, è stata un paese di emigrazione e si stima che tra il 1876 e il 1976 siano partite più di 24 milioni di persone, al punto che oggi si parla di grande emigrazione o emigrazione italiana.

In tutto questo periodo il fenomeno dell’immigrazione è stato pressoché inesistente, fatta eccezione per le migrazioni dovute alle conseguenze della seconda guerra mondiale, come l’esodo istriano – in cui migliaia di cittadini dalla Croazia e dai Balcani migrarono verso il centro-sud Italia una volta che il governo comunista di Tito è stato istituito dopo la seconda guerra mondiale o il ritorno degli italiani dalle ex colonie d’Africa. Tuttavia, questi fenomeni non presentavano problemi sostanziali di integrazione dal punto di vista sociale o culturale. In Italia il fenomeno dell’immigrazione iniziò a diminuire in modo deciso solo negli anni Sessanta, quando l’economia iniziò a migliorare in modo esponenziale dopo gli anni del dopoguerra.

Il flusso di stranieri in entrata ha cominciato a delinearsi solo verso la fine degli anni ’70, sia per la “politica delle porte aperte” praticata dall’Italia, sia per le politiche più restrittive adottate da altri paesi. Nel 1981 è stata calcolata la presenza di 321.000 stranieri. Un anno dopo, nel 1982, fu proposto un primo programma di regolarizzazione per gli immigrati irregolari, mentre nel 1986 fu approvata la prima legge in materia con la quale il governo cercava di garantire gli stessi diritti ai lavoratori extracomunitari e ai lavoratori italiani. Grazie a queste misure, negli anni ’90 il numero di stranieri è cresciuto in modo esponenziale.

Ciò ha portato all’arrivo nell’agosto 1991 ad Ancona e Bari di navi che trasportavano decine di migliaia di rifugiati albanesi che hanno lasciato il loro paese subito dopo lo scioglimento del governo comunista, il che ha portato a un grave collasso economico in mezzo a disordini politici e sociali diffusi nel paese. L’Italia all’epoca non era preparata a un arrivo così repentino, che ha richiesto diverse settimane alle autorità e ai servizi sociali per farsi carico di tutti quei cittadini albanesi. La maggior parte di loro è stata detenuta in uno stadio sportivo senza cibo, acqua o accesso ai bagni adeguati. In poche settimane la maggior parte dei migranti è stata deportata in Albania. Il loro duro trattamento è stato criticato dalle organizzazioni per i diritti umani e dal Papa, ma è stato giustificato dal governo italiano come necessario per scoraggiare ulteriori migrazioni irregolari dal paese ex sovietico.

Le città che hanno accolto la stragrande maggioranza dei migranti nel XX secolo e hanno ancora il più alto tasso di immigrati in tutta Italia sono Roma, Milano, Torino, Brescia, Napoli e Firenze. E le tre principali nazionalità di origine erano Marocco, Romania e Albania.

Nel 1998 è stata approvata la legge Turco-Napolitano, che scoraggiava l’immigrazione clandestina e istituiva, per la prima volta in Italia, centri di detenzione temporanea per stranieri sottoposti a provvedimento di espulsione. Dopo alcuni anni, nel 2002, la legge Bossi-Fini prevedeva la possibilità di espulsione immediata dei clandestini da parte della forza pubblica.

Qualche anno dopo, intorno al 2005, l’Italia inizia ad essere meta di tanti africani di varie nazionalità che, per un motivo o per l’altro, cominciarono a vedere l’Italia come un Paese in cui restare, nonostante fino ad allora fosse stata più una nazione di passaggio che di residenza. Gustave è arrivato nel Paese nel 2008, proveniente dal Camerun. Nel suo caso si è trattato di un viaggio di studio: “Ho fatto domanda per un corso nel Regno Unito, ma il numero di ammissione richiesto era già stato raggiunto e mi è stato proposto lo stesso corso in Italia. Quindi sono venuto qui. L’Italia sta gradualmente entrando nelle menti dei Camerunesi ora a causa della formazione professionale e degli affari. In Camerun di solito non guardiamo all’Italia come a una destinazione da sogno o a un luogo ideale per pascoli più verdi. Per me, penso che sia stato il destino a portarmi in Italia. Non me ne pento. “

Per Farid, medico siriano venuto per terminare gli studi di Medicina a Bologna nel 2007, l’Italia è stata una piacevolissima sorpresa: “Sono venuto con una borsa di studio della mia università di Damasco, perché stavo per frequentare un corso di specializzazione. All’inizio era strano che mi accettassero in Italia, visto che le destinazioni più comuni dove emigrare dalla Siria erano Regno Unito, Francia e Germania … Allora non ho mai vissuto realmente una situazione di discriminazione in questo Paese. l’ambiente intimo in cui ho lavorato in tutti questi anni. Gli ospedali sono un luogo di lavoro molto rigoroso “.

Una cosa di cui si lamentano sempre gli stranieri che arrivano in Italia è la lentezza e l’inefficienza della pubblica amministrazione. “Non è cambiato molto da quando sono arrivato. I lavoratori cambiano ma il sistema è molto simile se non peggiore. Vengo dal Camerun già con un background di formazione giuridica, che mi ha fornito gli strumenti intellettuali per entrare nella società, ma molte altre persone che arrivano hanno a che fare con situazioni molto difficili” spiega Gustave. “Secondo me è cambiato molto in meglio; perché tutto il tempo che qualche anno fa dovevi aspettare in lunghe file per qualunque tipo di documento, ora non ci resta che inviarlo tramite Poste Italiane”, esprime Farid.

Nel 2015 sarebbe iniziata una nuova ondata migratoria in Italia causata da due eventi: la guerra in Siria e la chiusura delle rotte migratorie tradizionali in Turchia, che hanno fatto sì che molti stranieri iniziassero a utilizzare l’Italia come paese di arrivo in Europa.

Written by Nora Aragón

La Merica: when the Italians left for the promised land

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A long long time ago -nearly two centuries ago- Italians were migrants. They travelled through the Atlantic Ocean in big crowded and insalubrious ships, to reach the promised land: La Merica (also known as United States).

The largest group of Italians moved to the United States in the early 1900s, while two million moved between 1900 and 1914. In 2009, the US government reported that 18,086,617 citizens of Italian origin were residing in the US, which is equivalent to 5.9% of the country’s population. Nowadays, Americans of Italian descent live mainly in the states of New Orleans, New York and New Jersey.

The dream of many Italians -mainly Sicilians- of starting a new life in the United States, full of possibilities and growth, gradually became a reality, thanks to the effort and collaboration of the small Italian neighbourhoods that were being formed on the East Coast of the country. Many managed to start their own businesses and lived through decades of great economic growth and prosperity. However, when Mussolini came to power on the other side of the Atlantic, American politics became xenophobic towards those they considered the “enemy” of democracy and freedom. Thus, Italian-Americans began to be persecuted, captured, and in many cases, executed, simply because they were Italians or descendants of Italians.

Swept up in xenophobic hysteria, Italians’ movements were restricted, their homes raided; in some cases, they were interned. Six hundred thousand Italian immigrants were forced to carry “enemy alien” identity papers — a requirement similar to the dehumanizing registration system used by Nazis to track Jews— where failing to swiftly provide proof of residency can put you on the next plane to danger in your home country.

In the coming years, the idea of Italian criminality would be baked into public perception by the media’s fixation on real-life Italian mobsters like Al Capone and Vito Genovese and their Hollywood equivalents, portrayed in movies like The Godfather and Mean Streets.

The Italian immigrants who arrived in the United States were mostly poor laborers fleeing poverty in southern Italy. As they left behind low-wage jobs in mining, textiles, and other areas of manufacturing, their arrival clashed with the burgeoning American labor movement. When American workers went on strike demanding better pay and conditions, business owners replaced them with Italians, who were so desperate that they’d take whatever work they could get. But not everything was that easy. Italian-Americans, disconnected from American political life, saw in the Mafia networks that began to spread, a protection from a greater power that understood and listened to their needs. However, the Mafia networks began to take more and more power until they became groups of great violence that terrorized the lives of families for decades.

There were two types of Italian migrants: those who went to the USA to stay, and those who went there to make money and then return to Italy with the promise of a more comfortable life. Unfortunately, due to the harsh work situation that many had to endure in the United States, they died on the job – both in large factories and in farm fields – and were unable to return to their beloved home.

Since the beginning of the 19th century, millions of Italian families have settled in the United States, becoming one of the most widespread cultural groups in the country. In fact, much of the culture of this multi-ethnic country would not exist were it not for the Italian contribution. La Merica, is thus, a past reflection of the situation that migrants are currently experiencing throughout Europe, and mainly in Italy. That is why we should not make the same mistakes that others made against the Italians when they arrived in the USA with a suitcase full of enthusiasm and will to live.

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LA MERICA: QUANDO GLI ITALIANI PARTIRONO PER LA TERRA PROMESSA

Tanto tempo fa, quasi due secoli fa, gli italiani erano migranti. Hanno attraversato l’Oceano Atlantico su grandi navi affollate e insalubri, per raggiungere la terra promessa: La Merica (conosciuta anche come Stati Uniti).

Il gruppo più numeroso di italiani si è trasferito negli Stati Uniti all’inizio del 1900, mentre due milioni si sono trasferiti tra il 1900 e il 1914. Nel 2009, il governo degli Stati Uniti ha riferito che 18.086.617 cittadini di origine italiana risiedevano negli Stati Uniti, il che equivale al 5,9% della popolazione del paese. Al giorno d’oggi, gli americani di origine italiana vivono principalmente negli stati di New Orleans, New York e New Jersey.

Il sogno di tanti italiani – principalmente siciliani – di iniziare una nuova vita negli Stati Uniti, ricca di possibilità e di crescita, è diventato gradualmente realtà, grazie all’impegno e alla collaborazione dei piccoli quartieri italiani che si stavano formando sulla costa orientale del Paese. Molti sono riusciti ad avviare un’attività in proprio e hanno vissuto decenni di grande crescita economica e prosperità. Tuttavia, quando Mussolini salì al potere dall’altra parte dell’Atlantico, la politica americana divenne xenofoba nei confronti di coloro che consideravano il “nemico” della democrazia e della libertà. Così, gli italo-americani iniziarono ad essere perseguitati, catturati e in molti casi giustiziati, semplicemente perché erano italiani o discendenti di italiani.

Travolti dall’isteria xenofoba, i movimenti degli italiani furono limitati, le loro case saccheggiate; in alcuni casi, sono stati internati. Seicentomila immigrati italiani sono stati costretti a portare con sé documenti di identità “alieni nemici” – un requisito simile al sistema di registrazione disumanizzante utilizzato dai nazisti per rintracciare gli ebrei – dove il mancato tempestivo rilascio di una prova di residenza poteva metterti sul primo aereo verso tuo Paese d’origine.

Negli anni a venire, l’idea della criminalità italiana sarebbe stata infusa nella percezione pubblica dalla fissazione dei media per i mafiosi italiani della vita reale come Al Capone e Vito Genovese e i loro equivalenti hollywoodiani, interpretati in film come Il Padrino, Goodfellas e Mean Streets.

Gli immigrati italiani arrivati ​​negli Stati Uniti erano per lo più lavoratori poveri in fuga dalla povertà nel sud Italia. Mentre lasciavano posti di lavoro a basso salario nell’industria mineraria, tessile e in altre aree della produzione, il loro arrivo si è scontrato con il fiorente movimento operaio americano. Quando i lavoratori americani scesero in sciopero chiedendo salari e condizioni migliori, gli imprenditori li sostituirono con gli italiani, che erano così disperati da accettare qualunque lavoro. Ma non tutto era così facile. Gli italoamericani, scollegati dalla vita politica americana, vedevano nelle reti mafiose che cominciavano a diffondersi, una protezione proveniente da un potere più grande che capiva e ascoltava le loro esigenze. Tuttavia, le reti mafiose hanno cominciato a prendere sempre più potere fino a diventare gruppi di grande violenza che hanno terrorizzato la vita delle famiglie per decenni.

C’erano due tipi di migranti italiani: quelli che andavano negli Stati Uniti per restare, e quelli che andavano lì per fare soldi e poi tornavano in Italia con la promessa di una vita più agiata. Sfortunatamente, a causa della dura situazione lavorativa che molti hanno dovuto sopportare negli Stati Uniti, alcuni morirono sul lavoro – sia nelle grandi fabbriche che nei campi coltivati ​​- e furono in grado di tornare nella loro amata casa.

Dall’inizio del XIX secolo, milioni di famiglie italiane si sono stabilite negli Stati Uniti, diventando uno dei gruppi culturali più diffusi nel Paese. In effetti, gran parte della cultura di questo paese multietnico non esisterebbe se non fosse per il contributo italiano. “La Merica”, dunque, è un riflesso passato della situazione che i migranti stanno attualmente vivendo in tutta Europa, e principalmente in Italia. Ecco perché non dovremmo commettere gli stessi errori che altri hanno fatto contro gli italiani quando sono giunti ​​negli Stati Uniti con una valigia piena di entusiasmo e voglia di vivere.

Written by Nora Aragón

Is Social Work Women’s Work?

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In words of different studies made by the most prestigious universities: “SOCIAL WORK IS WOMEN’S WORK

Caring professions such as nursing, teaching and social work have been traditionally viewed as feminine. Consequently, men’s entry into these professions has been challenging. Like women who enter historically masculine professions, these men experience social and cultural sanctions, which lead to tension, resulting in a questioning of their masculinity. Social work is a sector traditionally associated with women, and not just theoretically but practically, we can observe it everywhere. Women are more “caring”, more “kind” with people, which makes it easier for them to access this kind of job, whether they work with migrants, children, people with trauma, elders… Or at least, that’s what society tells us. Historically, gender was understood in normative terms, where women where defined as care givers whereas men were viewed as breadwinners able and willing to provide for the family. It became ‘normal’ for women to engage in caring work while men undertook the provider wage earner role. Stefania, who has been working in the social sector in Italy for many years, believes in the power of women working together, but thinks that they need to pay attention not to replicate some bad behaviours coming from paternalistic and patriarchal attitudes that might affect their work.

“I think that women are usually more attracted and connected with this kind of work because they have themselves strugge with a lot all their lives. They adopt this maternal figure and try to help people in need in every way possible” explains Javier, a male social worker from Spain.

A low number of men in the social work profession and men as clients has been naturalised and not problematised for decades, even though nowadays the situation is reaching new ways. These prejudices are maintained through gender stereotypes that typecast men who take up the profession and those who use social services as ‘gay’, whilst women are perceived as powerless disadvantaged victims.

Women dominate the social work profession internationally and nationally. In a UK study that looked at student’s motivations to train as social workers, it was found that from 2002 to 2005, 83% of total registrations for all pathways in social work were women. the entry of men into the profession was mainly, “into positions such as senior managers and heads of social work schools”.

Furthermore, even where men are a minority they gravitate towards positions of control such as probation work, management and the civil service. This tendency is because, “men take their gender privilege with them when they enter predominantly female occupations; this translates into an advantage in spite of their numerical rarity”. Golde, a German social worker, agrees with this: “Some stereotypes are true. It’s a question of prestige. Men are more interested in develop a career that gives them prestige, rather than helping people. Maybe to some it might seem that is not a very masculine sector, so they need to have a good self confidence to pursue that career. It’s not the “cool job” that other might envy you for”.

Another fact to highlight is that, in the case of working women and men in the social sphere, many women have observed different treatment. Golde comments that she had some problems with a team leader she had in the past, who didn’t allow her to bring her little daughter to work meetings (given that she always go with her). “But our team is very much dominated by women so we don’t usually have that many problems regarding male / female differentiations”. Stefania thinks that women have to prove their worth much more than men do –“as it happens with any other kind of job, really”. Javier shares this experience: “I have felt the difference in the treatment with other female colleagues. Specially coming from muslim men that I’ve worked with. They rely more on me than on female social workers”.

To seek a middle ground in this conversation, Golde ultimately deduces: “I believe that mixed teams are better than just female teams because there is much more exchange of ideas and points of view that maybe don’t happen in women-only groups cause we are too sisterly to each other. Both bring good qualities to the work.”

Stefania also adds another note: “We have the responsibility to work building a collective idea of care. I am sure that social work is a field both for women and for men.”


IL LAVORO SOCIALE È UN LAVORO FEMMINILE?

Secondo diversi studi realizzati dalle più prestigiose università: “IL LAVORO SOCIALE È LAVORO DI DONNE”

Le professioni assistenziali come infermieristica, insegnamento e lavoro sociale sono state tradizionalmente considerate femminili. Di conseguenza, l’ingresso degli uomini in queste professioni è stato impegnativo. Come le donne che entrano in professioni storicamente maschili, questi uomini subiscono sanzioni sociali e culturali, che portano a tensione, con conseguente messa in discussione della loro mascolinità. Il servizio sociale è un settore tradizionalmente associato alle donne, e non solo teoricamente ma praticamente, possiamo osservarlo ovunque. Le donne sono più “premurose”, più “gentili” con le persone, il che rende loro più facile accedere a questo tipo di lavoro, sia che lavorino con migranti, bambini, persone con traumi, anziani … O almeno, questo è ciò che ci dice la società . Storicamente, il genere era inteso in termini normativi, dove le donne erano definite come caregiver mentre gli uomini erano visti come capifamiglia capaci e disposti a provvedere alla famiglia. È diventato “normale” per le donne impegnarsi in lavori di cura mentre gli uomini assumevano il ruolo di lavoratore salariato. Stefania, che da molti anni lavora nel sociale in Italia, crede nel potere delle donne che lavorano insieme, ma pensa che debbano prestare attenzione a non replicare alcuni comportamenti cattivi provenienti da atteggiamenti paternalistici e patriarcali che potrebbero influenzare il loro lavoro .

“Penso che le donne di solito siano più attratte e legate a questo tipo di lavoro perché hanno lottato molto per tutta la vita. Adottano questa figura materna e cercano di aiutare le persone bisognose in ogni modo possibile”, spiega Javier, un maschio assistente sociale dalla Spagna.

Un basso numero di uomini nella professione di assistente sociale e di uomini come clienti è stato naturalizzato e non problematizzato per decenni, anche se oggi la situazione sta assumendo nuove strade. Questi pregiudizi sono mantenuti attraverso gli stereotipi di genere che caratterizzano gli uomini che intraprendono la professione e coloro che utilizzano i servizi sociali come “gay”, mentre le donne sono percepite come vittime svantaggiate impotenti.

Le donne dominano la professione di assistente sociale a livello internazionale e nazionale. In uno studio del Regno Unito che ha esaminato le motivazioni degli studenti a formarsi come assistenti sociali, è emerso che dal 2002 al 2005, l’83% delle registrazioni totali per tutti i percorsi di assistenza sociale erano donne. l’ingresso degli uomini nella professione è stato principalmente, “in posizioni come alti dirigenti e direttori di scuole di assistenza sociale”.

Inoltre, anche laddove gli uomini sono una minoranza, gravitano verso posizioni di controllo come il lavoro di prova, la direzione e il servizio civile. Questa tendenza è dovuta al fatto che “gli uomini si portano dietro il privilegio di genere quando entrano in occupazioni prevalentemente femminili; questo si traduce in un vantaggio nonostante la loro rarità numerica”. Golde, un’assistente sociale tedesca, concorda con questo: “Alcuni stereotipi sono veri. È una questione di prestigio. Gli uomini sono più interessati a sviluppare una carriera che dia loro prestigio, piuttosto che aiutare le persone. Forse ad alcuni potrebbe sembrare che non sia un settore molto maschile, quindi devono avere una buona fiducia in se stessi per perseguire quella carriera. Non è il “bel lavoro” per cui gli altri potrebbero invidiarti”.

Un altro dato da evidenziare è che, nel caso delle donne che lavorano e degli uomini nella sfera sociale, molte donne hanno osservato un trattamento diverso. Golde commenta di aver avuto dei problemi con un team leader che aveva in passato, che non le permetteva di portare la sua piccola figlia alle riunioni di lavoro (dato che lei va sempre con lei). “Ma la nostra squadra è molto dominata dalle donne, quindi di solito non abbiamo molti problemi per quanto riguarda le differenziazioni uomo / donna”. Stefania pensa che le donne debbano dimostrare il loro valore molto più degli uomini – “come accade con ogni altro tipo di lavoro, davvero”. Javier condivide questa esperienza: “Ho sentito la differenza nel trattamento con altre colleghe. Proveniente soprattutto da uomini musulmani con cui ho lavorato. Si affidano più a me che alle assistenti sociali”.

Per cercare una via di mezzo in questa conversazione, Golde alla fine afferma: “Credo che i team misti siano migliori dei team femminili perché c’è molto più scambio di idee e punti di vista che forse non avvengono nei gruppi di sole donne perché noi sono troppo sorelle l’una per l’altra. Entrambi apportano buone qualità al lavoro. “

Stefania aggiunge anche un’altra nota: “Abbiamo la responsabilità di lavorare costruendo un’idea collettiva di cura. Sono sicuro che il lavoro sociale sia un campo sia per le donne che per gli uomini “.

Article written by: Nora Aragón

Sources: Social work is ‘Women’s Work’: An Analysis of Social Work Students’ Perceptions Of Gender As A Career Choice Determinant Introduction by Roshini Pillai. 2012

Keita’s View on Guinea

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In 2010 Keita left Guinea, his country of origin, and came to Europe. Today he lives in Italy and he was kind enough to share with us his views on his country, its history, traditions and the current state of Guinea.

Guinea is a county on the western coast of Africa, its capital city is Conakry. It has approximately 13 million inhabitants, the majority of whom are Muslim (around 80%) and the rest predominantly Christian. Guinea’s neighbouring countries are Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, Mali, Côte d’Ivore, Liberia and Sierra Leone. There are many spoken languages in the country, including the dialects like Susu, Malinke, Kissi, Kpelle (known in French as Guerzé), Kuranko and Peule. These languages are used in different regions of the country, with the country’s official language being French, which is spoken everywhere. Keita explains that in schools, for example, if the classes are given in French, the students prefer to speak in their dialect when speaking among themselves.

There are many traditions in Guinea and they carry a big importance, as they originate in the ancient history. One of them, especially important for Keita, is “Fête de la mare” (Feast of the pond). It signifies the beginning of the fishing season in the ponds between the different villages of Baro, Koumana and Balato. The day is especially celebrated in the village of Balato, where they organise weddings and other festivities and prepare all the special food to commemorate this event. Guinean cuisine is based on mostly rice, fonio (small grains mostly recommended to ease any stomach problems) and “tô”, which is made from cassava (also called manioc).

Guinea was once part of an empire much larger than the borders that determine its current territory. It was a part of the Manding Empire, also known as the Mali Empire. The separation of the territory into different countries was done centuries later by the Europeans during the colonisation, which is also when these countries got the names by which we know them today. Up until then the inhabitants of that territory were organised in tribes, using different dialects but living together. The Manding Empire was founded by Sundiata Keita in the 13th century and it was very well organised. Before him there were plenty of emperors who were successful but their empire was never as great as the one that flourished under Soundiata’s reign.

In 1235 Soundiata Keita battled Soumaoro Kanté (king of Sosso) and defeated him by allying himself with other ethnic groups. The result of this battle unified the entire Manding Empire that became very populous, vast, and prosperous and expanded its borders to also include the previously uninhabited lands. The Manding Empire lasted until the colonisation, when Samory Touré (1830-1900) organised a rebellion against the Europeans. When he first came to power, his first goal was to promote the development of Islam. This religion was already present in the times of Soundiata Keita but less common than worship of the idols. Samory Touré consequently took the name of Almamy Samory Touré, a Manlinke title only reserved for imams. He then worked to promote the union of the Empire, wishing to establish a common language throughout the entire territory. He often fought against the other leaders of the Empire in order to unify power and to convince them to follow him in his command to fight the white people. His ambition was to become an emperor such as Soundaita Keita, but his efforts were not successful due to too many divisions in the country.

During his reign the Europeans arrived to West Africa. In the beginning they arrived as simple visitors, explorers or tradesmen. The came to study the land and its people, but this was also, in Keita’s opinion, a way to identify their weak points.

Even though Samory Touré together with the other leaders tried to fight the colonisation, the population of West Africa ended up being betrayed by the Europeans. Once they defeated Samory (he was arrested in 1898 in Guélémou, the territory of today’s Ivory Coast), West Africa entered the period of colonisation, accompanied by separation of the land. This also marks the beginning of the triangular trade, with the main gateway being in Senegal – the African population was sorted, the “bras valides” (valid arms) were sent by the Europeans to the American colonies as slaves, to supply Europe with New World products. Guinea, along with other countries of West Africa, became a French colony at the end of the 19th century.

In 1936 Sékou Touré, who later became the first president of independent Guinea, attended a French school. He was expelled after protesting a criticism of Samoury Touré, his grandfather. With a red stamp put into his file, he was forbidden to continue his studies. He went to Conakry and became active in political affairs of the country through trade unionism. This encouraged him to start working for independence of his country from France. France, however, was not willing to let go of these French-speaking African countries they colonised. General de Gaulle went on a trip to these lands, starting with Senegal, with a goal of preserving their influence in the territory. In 1958 he proposed a referendum to the population of colonised countries, offering them to vote for or against the independence. Sékou Touré, who was very invested in the politics of his country, started a big campaign for immediate independence. After becoming a member of the West African Federation and then obtaining a certain level of administrative autonomy in 1956, Guinea became the first of the West African countries to be completely independent. They refused to join the “French community” that was proposed by De Gaulle during the vote on 28th of September 1958, unlike other African countries that chose to participate. On October 2nd 1958 Guinea declared independence and Sékou Touré became the first president of the Republic of Guinea.

General de Gaulle didn’t appreciate this vote and saw it as a wish for secession. The French government consequently did everything in their power to slow down the development of Guinea, trying to create a diplomatic vacuum around the country but also refraining from recognising it as a state. Guinea found its allies in other independent African countries like Ghana but also in Eastern countries. Keita also spoke of another important moment in his country’s history: the attack on the capital in 1970. Portuguese troops, joined by a group of Guinean dissidents, made an effort to overthrow the Guinean regime. Conakry was attacked but with the help of other cities, especially Kindia, who came to help, the Guinean flag was brought back up again that same evening and the power remained in place.

The vote for independence of the country and its decolonisation from France didn’t happen without problems. Keita tells that after the defeat, France, in order to get its revenge, emptied Guinean banks in order to destroy the country’s economy. They also destroyed a lot of property: when he lived in Guinea, Keita claims that there were still cars and other objects that had been thrown into the river Milo in Kankan by the French. Following their departure the Guineans joined forces with other countries, including China, Russia and the United States.

Keita says that today in Guinea, president Alpha Condé is working on developing the tourism industry. However, according to him, this process doesn’t only lead to opening of the country but, at the same time, to the loss of certain traditions and knowledge that have been there so far. If Guinea opens up to tourism and therefore to relations with other countries, there will always remain a certain resentment of the French government due to their shared history.

Keita is sceptical about the current political situation in his country, in particular concerning the progress since 2010. In his opinion the government tries to divide the population to exercise its power and despite having an electoral system, the president is already elected before the citizens go and vote.

In 2015, Alpha Condé was re-elected in the first round. The result of the election was contested by the opposition who claimed that fraud was committed. In Keita’s opinion Alpha Condé won the 2010 election because the majority of people voted for him. According to him, this was due to the fact that different ethnic groups united to elect a leader who is not Peul (Alpha Condé is Malinké). The goal of this alliance wasn’t to prefer one particular ethnic group but rather to ensure that all ethnic groups are taken into account. Keita believes that the politics of the previous government had neglected the interests of different ethnic groups in favour of Peul, which is what the people were trying to change with their votes. However, regarding the last election in 2015, Keita explains his doubts and questions about the lack of clarity surrounding the re-election of the candidate. According to him Alpha Condé would have won the second round of the election, but the fact that there was only one is strange. The next election in Guinea is in 2020 and Keita doesn’t like the idea of electing the current president for the third term and hopes that a new leader will come into his place. He’s also not in favour of the current biggest opponent of Alpha Condé, Cellou Dalein Diallo, who has been, according to Keita, wanting the position of power since 2010 but doesn’t have plans for further development of the country. There are concerns that the investors would flee the country because of the general strikes he’d organise. Keita says that Cellou Dalein Diallo’s record hasn’t been positive so far, as he was already a part of the government of one of the previous presidents and they weren’t beneficial for the country.