Italian children back burning of gypsy camps
A class of primary school children in Naples has shocked Italy after submitting homework which supported the burning of gypsy camps.
The children, aged between 9 and 11 years old, are pupils at San Giuseppe Bosco, near a camp at Ponticelli that has been repeatedly attacked by a xenophobic mob.
Locals first set fire to the camp two weeks ago in retaliation to stories that a gypsy girl had tried to steal a baby elsewhere in the city. Since then it has been repeatedly attacked, with more petrol bombs launched at its makeshift buildings.
Teachers at the school had set the children the task of explaining how they felt about the persecution of the gypsies. The response was an alarming series of drawings and essays, many of which supported the vigilante action.
“The gypsies steal children to transplant their organs,” wrote one child.
“We are not racist, but if they want to stay they have to stop stealing,” wrote another.
One crayon drawing showed burning buildings with a mob outside shouting “Fight, fight!” and “Get out of here, Roma!”
The attacks and essays come against a backdrop of growing intolerance to immigrants, fuelled by hard-line partners in the new government of prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.
A report by Amnesty International yesterday warned that Italy was now “dangerous” for illegal immigrants.
Mariano Coppola, the headmaster, blamed the parents of the children for their attitudes, and claimed that many of the children had actually participated in the attacks on the Ponticelli camp.
“Their teachers were working with them to help them understand what really happened, and to clearly show them that these violent acts should not be repeated,” he said.
“But in their families, or on the streets, these kids are learning a very different lesson,” he added. “Some of these children were fully involved and have told stories about taking part in the raids, and have firmly defended their position afterwards,” he said.
La Repubblica newspaper reported that one child called Francesco wrote: “The people who live in Ponticelli may have gone over the top, but perhaps they were right because they have been left alone for too long to deal with the problems from the Roma.”
Another student, Giuseppe, wrote: This was the right thing to do. The gypsies wouldn’t go when asked nicely so we had to get tough with them”.
In its report, Amnesty said it was particularly concerned about a new law which will deal hefty prison sentences to illegal immigrants.
“Amnesty International is extremely alarmed both by the contents and haste of these measures... and by the climate of discrimination which preceded them,” Miss Carboni, the head of Amnesty in Italy.
Mr Berlusconi’s government has also drawn up plans for 10 new “Centres of Temporary Permanence” in which to hold immigrants until repatriation.
Italy’s statistics agency, ISTAT, fanned the fires of anti-immigrant feeling yesterday by releasing numbers showing that immigrants are responsible for more than a third of the murders committed last year.
ISTAT said foreigners had committed 70 per cent of all petty theft, 39 per cent of the sexual offences and 36 per cent of the murders.
The damning figures confirmed the opinion of almost half the country that immigrants are “dishonest”. However, ISTAT also noted that many of the crimes committed by foreigners were against other foreigners.
Randoms Note - The article doesn't mention it, but Italy is now fingerprinting all of the Roma people so they can determine if someone is legal or illegal. Like travelling people can prove their identitiy if they don't have identification cards. A legal way to force those the new government finds undesireable out of the country. Makes me sick. Here's more on that: http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/07/03/news/Italy-Fingerprinting-Gypsies.php
---- Unrelated youtube. History though.
The toilet of the Tudors.