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Civic Nation Unity in Deversity

Anti-Xenophobic Rhetoric

Anti-Xenophobic Rhetoric Minister of Integration of Italy S. Kienge.

Left-wing Democratic Party was the first to condemn Silvio Berlusconi’s statements glorifying Mussolini (see below) on January 27th 2013 and called them “a disgrace for Italy”. “Our republic was born on the idea of defeating fascism, which is why such statements must not be tolerated, as they are absolutely incompatible with the democratic political system Italy has adopted”, - said the Democratic Party’s speaker Marco Meloni. This was not the first precedent of such remarks being made by the former Italian Prime Minister, as earlier that year he had argued that, apart from the racial laws, Mussolini developed the right internal policy.

On January 22nd 2013 it became known that a member of Italian Parliament, Fiamma Nirenstein was leading a protest campaign in Strasburg, attempting to prevent two MPs from European anti-Semitic parties (“Jobbik” and “Golden Dawn”) from joining the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). Nirenstein justified her position by arguing that the two MPs were acting members of “anti-Semitic and racist” political parties and their sets of values and beliefs were incompatible with the ideals of the European Council.

On March 25th 2013 a remembrance march took place in Rome to honour the memory of civilians that lost their lives to Nazi butchers. Italian president, Giorgio Napolitano laid a wreath at the monument of 335 victims of Nazism that were killed in 1944. “We shall never forget the martyrs that lost their lives to Nazism” – said the leader of the country.

In April and June 2013 mayors of the two major Italian cities – Milan and Rome, expressed their support for the Jewish community and decried the anti-Semitic graffiti that had been appearing on Jewish houses, as well as the desecration of Jewish cemeteries. In July 2013 Italian politicians had an overall dignified reaction to R. Calderoli’s insulting racist statements against the Minister of Integration – C. Kyenge, whose family immigrated to Italy from Congo. On July 15th the left-wing Italian Democratic Party, who was at the time in control, demanded Calderoli’s resignation. “Enough is enough. It is impermissible that a man holding such a high position would use his power to spread racism and make fun of a woman, who also happens to be a minister”, - said the Democratic Party’s official statement. Italian Prime-minister, Enrico Letta referred to Calderoli’s remarks as “unacceptable” and “crossing all borders”, while the president of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano stated that he was “dazed and aghast” by what Calderoli said. In spite of all that, senator Calderoli retained his post.

On August 31, 2014 Italian politician of Congolese descent, Cecile Kyenge, urged to prohibit Lega Nord and Forza Nuova as fascist parties. She said that “we must not allow parties that promote hatred and hate speech to exist”. In response, Lega Nord stated that it was created to oppose centralism and therefore does not comply with nationalism, which is based on centralism. He added that the movement was created as “antifascist”.

Mayor of Rome Marino condemned the “pig head” incidents as “insults to the Jewish community and the whole city”. From May 12 to May 18, 2014 Rome displayed rainbow flags in solidarity with the LGBT Movement. Mayor Marino said that he wants to turn Rome into an open and tolerant city. On June 6, he took part in a gay pride event and promised to introduce a resolution regarding same-sex civil unions in the city.

Marino called anti-Semitic rhetoric in late July an insult to the face of the city and each of its residents. He expressed solidarity with the Jewish community, noting that Rome should not become a barbaric city.

On November 10, Ignacio Marino said that the safety of Rome should not be endangered because of a group of extremists, calling their actions “unacceptable”.

On February 11, 2014 Parma province court condemned Italy’s war crimes during World War Two and proposed forming a commission of historians to investigate these crimes.

Mayor of Scafati condemned the attacks on teenage immigrants in the city.

On May 31, at a meeting with a pro-LGBT group Arcigay, mayor of Napoli said that the city council is prepared to recognise gay marriage that was concluded abroad. On July 6, Mayor of Napoli took part in solemn funeral of a football fan who was murdered by neo-Nazis. On July 14, the first gay marriage was officially registered in Napoli. The ceremony was attended by Mayor Luigi de Magistris. On July 7, Mayor of Bologna Virginio Merola, announced that the city will be ready to register the same-sex marriage of Italian citizens who got married abroad in September. President of Tuscany, Enrico Rossi supported the election of a black woman as “Miss Livorno”.

On October 9, 2014 heads of several municipal institutions reported that they do not intend to adhere to the exclusion of same-sex marriage registered abroad from the civil status register. Mayor of Bologna called this document “stupid”, noting that reacting in such a manner to “problems that affect real lives of many people is not just bureaucratic, it’s tragicomic”. Mayor Virginio Merola added that there is no legal ground to exclude such entries in the register. “If they want to annul them – let them do it themselves. I will not abandon my signature. I will not submit to this.”

In 2015, Laura Boldrini, speaker of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, along with several other political figures, criticised Salvini’s call to ‘’knock down the Roma Gypsies camps’’ that: “I find the verb ‘to knock down’ rather disturbing. Camps should not be knocked down but we must find an alternative solution.

This does not mean to annihilate those who live in the camps but rather, to follow a policy of habitability’’. The same source used for this report enlists other comments that we have decided to quote here to provide a significant sample of the political debate on those controversial topics. Eduardo Patriarchi (PD): “ let’s provide the Roma Gypsies with a serious alternative as already many city councils are doing and you will see that there won’t be any necessity to knock down anything’’. Furthermore, the statement made by Khalid Chaouki, PD national coordinator of the immigration inter-group: “[Salvini’s position] is sterile and ridiculous propaganda…to rise up the tones and to feed a climate of hate and intolerance is good only to hide the real responsible’’.

Speaking in Parliament on April 22, 2015, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said that Europe needed to end the mass death of migrants in the Mediterranean. On June 15, 2015, Renzi said that the Italian government will not “push out” migrants. “We must avoid returning to the walls, it is we who witnessed the fall of the walls.”

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