Italy’s anti-migrant bill spells trouble ahead

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Italy’s anti-migrant bill spells trouble ahead

Last Monday, the Italian populist coalition passed a decree which will make it easier for the country to deport migrants and strip them of their Italian citizenship if they are found guilty of serious crimes.

Amongst a number of these offences are rape and assault, which have long been a problem which has plagued the country due to the negative culture established against women. With Italy ranked 4th highest for crime in the EU, this has certainly appeased a vast number of the public who have been swept up in right-wing tabloid euphoria about the increase in refugees and migrants which has contributed to more crime and fear amongst the public, despite the fact that figures have revealed that crime has also fallen in recent years.

This will only be ignored however as the government continues its purge against migrants in the country, in which many have called home for many years.

However, many people continue to remain in ignorance and denial as this new bill will only pave the way for an even bigger threat to our society, democracy and humanity because there is no doubt that passing this policy will only allow it to grow into something bigger – something many innocent migrants and citizens will fall victim to eventually.

For evidence, look no further than during the fascist and communist regimes of the early 20th century. It begins with small motifs and propaganda which helps gather support, like the Nazi’s did when targeting the Jews. This then gave them freedom to start amplifying their hatred by moving them into ghettos as public support only continued to grow to eventually begin exterminating them entirely. If the Nazi’s would have just begun by murdering the Jews, there would have been too much opposition and condemnation; it had to begin slowly so that it almost went unnoticed. Hitler also did the same when taking land in Europe, other countries turned a blind eye and pretty much allowed him to gain even more power than he could have imaged; only stepping in when it was too late.

The majority of migrants who have arrived in Italy in recent years have humanitarian protection status, meaning they cannot be sent home. As a result, this will only cause further problems for Matteo Salvini and will not make Italy safer, as he so claims.

This bill only condemns many who are desperate to seek a new life and escape countries torn apart by war and dictatorships. The fact that we are happy to see them suffer and have them turned away and back across dangerous waters shows how society will never progress. I urge them to look at the images and media of the reality of these people’s lives to realise just what we are doing to them.

Granted, removing serious criminals does have its advantages as we are making the streets safer, and I am not saying that what the government will do will lead to destruction that we witnessed during the Second World War, but it is the fact that society continues to never learn its lessons and history is doomed to repeat itself once again.

However, this also begs the question, what will this bill do for those serial criminals who are born here? Nothing. Therefore, there has to be a more practical and efficient way of dealing with this situation that has a more positive long-term effect.

On 25th July 1943, the nation celebrated after Benito Mussolini was voted out of power by his own Grand Council, and after his execution two years later, we were able to celebrate the fact those years of oppression, persecution and intolerance were over. But yet, here we are today, embarking on a similar journey, encouraging these same views on migrants and minorities. We are fooling ourselves if we think Italy can prosper and shake-off its past if we are continuing to live in it.

There is now a 60 day period in which the government can debate the decree and vote it into law. Let us all hope they see sense and give Italy some dignity and prevent this from happening.

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    Paola Diana
    Ms Paola Diana is a renowned women’s rights activist bestselling author and female entrepreneur who has herself experienced harassment throughout her life because she is a woman. She is also a political activist who fights for the rights of women, especially during her time in Italy where she successfully helped with the campaign for former Prime Minister Romano Prodi.
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