Yesterday I posted about the Italian woman who was forced into a C Section because, according to British Child Services, she had suffered a mental breakdown. In my post, I said that I had heard similar stories about migrant women (not the forcible birth but the involvement of Child Services because their motherhood skills are questioned more often than their White counterparts). I had no data about the Italian woman in question so I did not feel comfortable speculating about her ethnicity. However, for the past 24 hours I have been monitoring a number of Italian news sites in the hopes that more info about the woman becomes available. English speaking media is behind its Italian counterpart in updating the development of this story. A moment ago I finally found what I had suspected. Via Repubblica (translation from Italian mine):
“I want my daughter back, I am suffering like an animal. I was forced into a C-Section without my consent. The day of the forced delivery I thought they were moving me from one room to another while I kept saying I wanted to return to Italy. Then I was sedated and when I woke up, she was gone. She was taken away from me.
Speaking like a wounded mother, Alessandra Panchieri, 35 years old, from Chainciano. She is the woman who suffers from bipolar disorder whose daughter was taken away in Essex, England. […]
The baby’s father, who is from Senegal, and an American relative of mine, Indra Armstrong, were both available to take care of the child but the British social services have ignored this. Why? Why did nobody help me?”
And there you have it. The baby’s father, who was willing and available to take care of the child, is from Senegal.
ETA: On Twitter, Rosa linked me to the court ruling. As I had speculated, turns out the father was an undocumented migrant as well:
Her mother is A. She is an Italian national. Her father is B who is a Senegalese national, he is currently living in Italy. His situation is unclear, as I understand it he travelled there under a student visa, at least on one version, and is an over-stayer. He certainly has no status in Italy and he is unable, as I understand it, as a result of his status, either to leave Italy at all , and is certainly not able to come to the United Kingdom.
This is what happens to children of color born from an undocumented parent. Given away like the spoils of the Empire, to decide their fate and future.
The hundreds who lost their lives off Lampedusa yesterday are Italian citizens as of today," Prime Minister Enrico Letta said on Friday - an official day of mourning for the victims.
EUobserver.com / Justice & Home Affairs / Italy grants citizenship to Lampedusa dead
The undocumented migrants who died in Lampedusa have been granted Italian citizenship. A noble gesture, one would say. However, the survivors, face this (from the link):
But for the survivors, crammed in a refugee centre hosting four times more people than its normal capacity, the situation remains dire. Under a law passed by the previous centre-right government, “clandestine immigrants” are considered illegal and have to pay fines of up to €5,000.
The death toll from a stricken boat off the coast of Italy carrying 500 African migrants has risen to 194 as rescue operations continue, officials have said. By nightfall on Sunday, 83 bodies had been retrieved, including that of one child. At least 150 more are believed to still be missing as many are likely trapped in the wreckage 47 metres below the surface.
Lampedusa boat-wreck death toll rises - Europe - Al Jazeera English
An update on the death toll of migrants in Lampedusa, Italy. (Content warning at the link for photos).
Previous posts on this still developing catastrophe here and here about a fisherman prevented from rescuing people.
From the link at Al Jazeera:
Nearly all of the 155 survivors of Thursday’s shipwreck - the vast majority of them men - remain at the island’s refugee centre.
My post about the lack of a feminist analysis in response to the plight of undocumented migrants in view of Lampedusa’s mass death toll.
A fisherman who rescued 47 people after a migrant boat sank off the coast of Lampedusa, Italy, says coastguards stopped him saving more people. He claims rescue workers refused to take people from his full boat so he rescue more, because it was against their protocol. More than 300 people are thought to have died in the disaster
Lampedusa boat sinking: fishermen ‘prevented’ from rescuing migrants - video | World news | theguardian.com
See previous posts about the ongoing tragedy in Lapedusa, Italy:
And here a post about the “corporate practices” (i.e. protocols) that rule the administration of migrant lives in Europe. These “protocols” place corporate “efficiency” above human life.
The Italian government has ordered an investigation into slurs on rightwing websites against the country’s first black minister, a case that has put Italy’s racial problems back under the spotlight.
Italy to investigate racist remarks against first black minister | World news | guardian.co.uk
You know, Europe, “the continent of human rights” and similar assorted empty rhetoric, once again showing its bare ass. More from the article:
Cecile Kyenge, an eye doctor and Congo-born Italian citizen, was named integration minister in the new government of Prime Minister Enrico Letta on Saturday. She is one of seven women in the government.
Since then, she has been the subject of taunts not only on neo-fascist websites but the butt of race-tinged remarks by a politician of the Northern League, which has been allied in the past with former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Equal opportunities minister Josefa Idem ordered an investigation by the National Anti-Discrimination Office into websites that called Kyenge a “Congolese monkey”, “Zulu”, “the black anti-Italian”, and other slurs.
This isn’t just some internet thugs leaving the usual offensive racist remarks we’ve all seen pretty much everywhere. Northern League European parliamentarian Mario Borghezio made references to a “bonga bonga government” because of Kyenge’s heritage.
I’m outraged by the normalcy that seemed to have spread to everyone like contagion. I am scandalised by the silence of Europe that has just received the Nobel Peace Prize and yet is staying silent in the face of a massacre that has the numbers of a true war. I’m becoming more convinced that European policy on immigration considers this offering of human lives to be a way to restrict the flows of people, or maybe a deterrent. But, if for these people, the voyage on the boats is still the only possibility of hope, I believe that their death at sea must be a reason for Europe to feel shamed and dishonoured.
- Mayor of Lampedusa: death of undocumented immigrants in the EU is a “massacre that has the numbers of a true war” | Space Invaders
via The Independent:
After several years of scandal in which the Catholic Church has faced allegations of financial impropriety, paedophile priests and rumours of plots to kill the Pope, the Vatican is now facing a new €600m-a-year tax bill as Rome seeks to head off European Commission censure over controversial property tax breaks enjoyed by the Church.
As the EC heads closer to officially condemning the fiscal perks enjoyed by the Catholic Church and introduced by the Berlusconi administration, Prime Minister Mario Monti has written to the Competition Commissioner, Joaquin Almunia, saying that the Vatican will resume property tax, or Ici, payments.
Mr Almunia said in 2010 that the exemption amounted to state aid that might breach EU competition law.
Now, if every government told them to stop meddling in the usual restrictive and oppressive politics that made them infamous in most of Latin America, we might be on the path to some change.
via International Business Times, an excellent piece about the commonalities between all right wing fundamentalists currently operating in Europe. From the link:
Florence far-right gunman Gianluca Casseri, who shot dead two Africans Tuesday and Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik may have more in common than expected, experts on far-right movements point out.
Described as an expert on right-wing European culture, the 50-year-old alleged member of far-right Casas Pound movement was also passionate about fantasy and conspiracy books. Its literary magazine La Soglia or The Threshold included monographic issues about Dracula, the author of The Lord of the Rings J.R. Tolkien, and H.P. Lovecraft.
This long-time engagement with fantasy genre is shared by Breivik, who killed 77 people in a twin attack in Oslo. “Breivik’s manifesto shows a fascination and an obsession with the fantasy genre, especially with Tolkien and Lovecraft,” Matthew Goodwin, experts on far-right extremism, told the International Business Times UK.
"It’s part of a wider discourse. Far-right movements are obsessed with narratives that put emphasis on apocalyptic scenario, in which they portray themselves as heroes."[…]
The Florence racist shooting also reflects “the neglected challenge of far right violence”, according to Goodwin.
"It’s interesting to notice that Florence shooting took place the same day as Belgium one, but it did not rise the same attention from the media," he argues. Before Norway, there was a tendency among European politicians to downplay far-right violence because it does not fit in focus with Al Qaeda and the anti-Islamist narrative post 9/11.
Read the rest here.
Worth noting, the BBC took seven hours (SEVEN!) to report the killing of the Senegalese men in Italy. As the writer points out, it seems that far right violence is not perceived as a challenge that requires urgent measures.
Far-right sympathiser Gianluca Casseri, 50, kills African migrants before shooting himself dead
Florence gunman shoots Senegalese street vendors dead | World news | guardian.co.uk
From the link:
A lone gunman with extreme rightwing sympathies has gone on a shooting spree in Florence, killing two Senegalese street vendors and wounding three others before killing himself.
You’ve probably have all seen this already as it happened a couple of hours ago, but just in case, there’s more at the link.
I swear I can’t anymore.
My latest for Global Comment about the EU, democracy and the rule of financial corporations:
There is hunger in Europe. For the first time since World War II, this hunger and extreme poverty are not limited to pockets of exclusion in Eastern nations but running across the continent. Greece, Italy, Spain are in international media almost daily with depictions of hardships, soaring unemployment and deprivation. The European summer saw the birth of “the indignant ones”, a wave of protests sweeping these nations and to an extent, replicated across France. These “indignant ones” clashed violently with police at the peak of the Greek anti austerity protests, expressing a collective discontent that went, for the most part, ignored. Now, two months after these clashes, the European Union is still not responding with the haste that would be expected to aid its own citizens. A European Union that was once portrayed as “strength in unity” is now more fragmented and disunited than ever since its creation.
Read the rest here.
From the article:
On the eve of the new season at Milan’s La Scala, one of the ballet company’s leading lights has dramatically revealed the extent of bulimia and anorexia among ballerinas.
Breaking an unspoken rule never to discuss eating disorders among Italy’s elite dance corps, Mariafrancesca Garritano told the Observer that one in five ballerinas that she knew was anorexic and, as a result, many were now unable to have children.
There is more at the link but I must warn about the content because the article does contain a lot of graphic depictions of eating disorders and health related issues.
I just finished making the reservations for my trip to Venice at the beginning of September. It’s something I do every couple of years because of the Art Biennial, since I have customers who are part of the exhibition teams and it’s a great opportunity for me to stay in touch/ network/ etc.
Now, because I know Venice quite well, I do not stay at the island itself. Instead, I stay in Mestre, a small(ish) town outside of Venice with three different local bus lines that reach the island in ten minutes. A good quality hotel costs less than one third of what a similar one would cost in the canals. Usually I stay at the Holiday Inn (points system means I get free upgrades) but this time I am unsure why but most hotels I know are fully booked. So, for the first time, I am staying at the Michelangelo (warning: 70’s Muzak on autoplay at the link). And I am mesmerized by some of the photos of the decor. It seems all I am missing is a disco ball hanging from the roof. Just look at this lobby:
And in case I miss the ‘70’s theme while having dinner, I am going to share with you the food presentation of one of my usual spots in the area, Ristorante Nadain:
Would you like some plastic beads with your oysters and ice?
This place serves some of the best food you can have while staying in this region, so it’s not like the presentation says anything about the quality, but their aesthetics seem to be trapped in an era of gold plated excess and an abundance of dichroic lighting.
After Venice I am spending a few days in Milano, the only place on Earth where I feel fully inadequate, shabby and genuinely ugly, no matter what I am wearing or how well put together I am. Also, the only place I know of where the entire city center seems to be a set for a fashion spread. Alas, I love it in spite of my obvious lack of style so they’ll have to deal with my shortcomings.
Following up on my post from yesterday about 25 African migrants who died near the Italian coast of Lampedusa, via Presseurop, reporting about Tragedy at sea and riots onshore with a facsimile of today’s edition of Italian newspaper La Stampa:
Turin-based daily La Stampa features two tragic pictures side by side on its front page: the first image shows the corpses of 25 Africans who died of asphyxiation in the unventilated hold of a boat loaded with 271 Libyan migrants which arrived in Lampedusa on 1 August. “They were prevented from escaping from the hold by their own travelling companions because there was no room on the boat”, witnesses told La Stampa. “They died like rats”.
The second picture, taken on the same day, shows the riots in Bari (Apulia region). Frustrated by delays in the processing of their asylum applications, African migrants, who have been held for seven months in a “filtration” camp, “chanted ‘papiers papiers,’ before rioting and blocking traffic. A total of 60 people including policemen and migrants were injured”. The protest, reports La Repubblica, spread to the Calabrian towns of Crotone, where “migrants emulated the riots in Bari,” and Nardò where “400 North African farm labourers went on strike for better wages”. Last year in Rosarno (also Calabria), African migrants, who complained that they were “being treated like animals by Italians,” staged violent protests.
via New York Times
Italy’s coast guard found twenty-five bodies in the hold of a boat coming from Libya on Monday.
The coast guard officials discovered the bodies of 25 young men after boarding the migrants’ boat less than a mile off the small Italian island of Lampedusa, which is closer to the North Africa than it is to the Italian mainland.
All the dead are believed to be Sub-Saharan Africans.
The 15-meter (50-foot) vessel carried 296 immigrants, including 36 women and 21 children, Coast Guard Commander Cosimo Nicastro said.
The causes of the 25 deaths were not clear, he added. Italian authorities are currently investigating the case.
“Some of them died from suffocation but some others were apparently beaten up by traffickers and members of the crew,” said Simona Moscarelli, an official with the International Organization for Migration whose colleagues in Lampedusa were conducting interviews with the survivors, some of which were traveling below deck with the dead.
More at the link above.
Those who do make it to Lampedusa, face dehumanizing and outright dangerous conditions at asylum seeker centers in Italy. I wrote about this a while ago at Tiger Beatdown. Sadly, it seems nothing has changed.
Interviewed on a popular radio show, Francesco Speroni, a leading member of the Northern League, the junior partner in Berlusconi’s conservative coalition, said: “Breivik’s ideas are in defence of western civilisation.
Ex-Berlusconi minister defends Anders Behring Breivik | World news | The Guardian
There is a reason I keep bringing up the European context of the Norway killings, especially considering Breivik was so keen on this trend of a pan European populist movement rooted in deeply xenophobic and Islamophobic ideas. Breivik is the violent, extreme manifestation of these ideas, but certainly, they are not bred in isolation. On the contrary, there is an entire set of extremist politicians feeding European Breiviks with more hatred.
Also, from the article, more Italian politicians justifying these ideas:
The Italian politician was endorsing the comments of another high-profile member of the league who had drawn fierce criticism for arguing that the killings might have been part of a plot to discredit hardline conservative thinkers. Like many in his party, Mario Borghezio, who sits in the European parliament, is an admirer of the writings of the late Italian journalist and author Oriana Fallaci, who popularised the term Eurabia to describe a future, supposedly Islamised Europe.[…]
While describing the Norwegian killer as “unbalanced”, Borghezio said: "Christians ought not to be animals to be sacrificed. We have to defend them."
I’ll leave the chilling implications of “Christians being worth defending” (which, in case someone wants to pin some dirt on me, let me vehemently clarify, OF COURSE THEY ARE), coming from politicians who have made a career out of the dehumanization of Muslims and other minorities.