In The Guardian, celebrated Italian writer Roberto Saviano denounces Italy’s new government for it’s cruel immigration policies and specious propaganda. Writing that “I have never felt a greater need to speak out,” Saviano singles out right-wing interior minister Matteo Salvini—leader of the League party—for his “zero-landing” migrant policy, which, notes Saviano, only ends up lining the pockets of smugglers. Here’s an excerpt from Saviano’s impassioned piece:
The wave of hatred whipped up against Africans who haven’t yet even set foot in the country is being visited on the migrants who are already living here. Italians are going backwards, socially, amid an upsurge of nationalism that displays racist animus against anything perceived to be an alien body. The first official statement made by the League’s new minister for the family and disabled people was directed against gay families and abortion. Lorenzo Fontana’s words were a bombshell in a country that has had to wait decades to get a law on civil unions, and where conscientious objection in public hospitals still betrays the referendum decision made on abortion in 1981.
The sad truth is that this government has many supporters and is popular because it identifies targets: categories of individuals that people can unleash their frustration on; enemies to be stoned. Whether Italians like to hear that or not, that’s how it is. But the huge numbers of suffering and angry Italians will not better their own condition by mobilising against migrants. On the contrary, in countries where rights are guaranteed to everyone, including minorities, it is the entire community that enjoys the benefit. It has taken decades for communities to integrate, but very, very little time for everything to collapse like a sandcastle, destroyed by a nationalism that is making everyone the enemy of everyone else.
Image: The Aquarius, a migrant rescue ship that was denied permission to dock at Italian ports last week. Image via abc.net.au.