The issue of immigration is increasingly in a hearth of question of the Italian political debate. This issue is being particularly delicate because most of migrants who are arrived in the recent months from Africa, by the sea and landed on the coast of Sicily, are later redistributed to the other Italian Regions.
The question of welcoming migrants is also felt by Italian citizens because there is the feeling –or a perception- of being invaded by migrants who keep arriving from the North of Africa. The Official data of Italian government attests the number of migrants arrived in 2014 to 140.000 people.
The most used words on this issue are “stop departures and invasion!” and actually there are more towns and districts of big cities that claim they can’t accommodate other migrants – putting excuse as “there isn’t work in Italy for them” or “there are already too many here”. However we often don’t remember that these migrants are running away from their countries to escape wars, poverty and terrible situations.
An emblematic story that shows how this issue is widespread in our society comes from Padua, an important city in Veneto. A lady of 61 years old has agreed to host in her own house, located in the city center, six young migrants who are waiting for the recognition of the refugee status. The lady hosts these migrants since the end of April and she didn’t ask even one euro for the rent neither to them or to the no-profit organization which deal with the reception in Padua area. So far so normal, it seems a simply act of solidarity but it has started a story of prejudice and hostility towards foreigners.
Many citizens, including the mayor of Padua, protest against this hospitality: they don’t want “immigrants of great boats” in their city, in the old town, inside private houses. These citizens glare at the six boys hosted and actually they never mind if the only thing the migrants are doing is go to school to learn the Italian language. One fear that they could even be a terrorists or carriers of diseases as Ebola. The protest isn’t limited to words: some citizens have organized at first a public petition and later a candlelight vigil to send these guys away from the house. Now the six migrants are still living in the apartment but the protest has led the landlady: she runs away from Padua because of criticism and insults.
The most relevant aspect of this happening is that the younger migrants are judged negatively only because they are foreigners and were arrived in Italy with boats from Libia. Sometimes we forgot who the migrants are, why they have decided to run away from their countries, what they have suffered and what they hope to find in Europe. The host for migrants is a human right which we must guarantee to these people because as we have the right to find a work and to make a family so they have the same right too. Obviously among migrants who are arriving in Europe there will be certainly someone who isn’t honestly at all but we shouldn’t judge on the basis of prejudice, negative preconceptions and then ask for chase them from our nation. It would be a great defeat for our democratic society and for our Western culture.