The African-Italians who want to send migrants home

Tony Iwobi standing next to a Salvini t-shirt

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Senator Lee and Non are enthusiastic supporters of the league Mateo Salbini.

Tony Iwabi stands next to the bust of Giuseppe Garibaldi in the Senate building in Rome. Like the 19th-century general who helped the founding of modern Italy, Iwabi was called "history producer." He is Italy's first and only black senator.

Prime Minister Iobi confessed that he felt "like a child on the first day of school" when he sat down with the other 320 senators. He said he felt obliged not only to his Italian components, but also to the continent where he was born and raised. "What I do today is a country that I do not represent and a country that represents Africa." Black race! "

He was elected last year as part of a surge in support for the right-wing League party, which formed a year-long alliance with the populist Five Star movement. Lack of power, the league is still the most popular party in Italy by 33{7be40b84a6a43fc4fae13304fce9a2695859798abfc41afd127b9f8b21c5f9c5} in polls. Famous for its strong stance on migration.

Critics accuse the party's immigration spokesman, Iobi, as being used as a cover for "racist views." They point out the case in 2013 where Senator Rega referred to Italy's first black minister, Cecile Kyenge, as "orangutan."

Mr. Iwobi admits his colleague is "wrong," but rejects the claims his party is using. "Nobody uses me. I think with my brain."

& # 39; I stand with Salvini & # 39;

Nigerian immigrants arrived in Italy on a student visa in 1977. His plan was to return home after school, but it changed after meeting his Italian woman, who is now a wife.

He joined his political party, known as the Northern League in 1993, and was attracted to the pursuit of federalism. For 20 years he worked as a local councilor in northern Bergamo.

In his office across from his Senate building is a t-shirt hanging with the slogan "Stand with Salvini". Sign of support for Matteo Salvini, the leader of his party.

People immigrated to Italy by the sea

When in the government, Salvini made famous the immigrant ship that left last summer with hundreds stranded in the Mediterranean. But Lee and Lee insisted that the league was not anti-immigrant.

"We are for legal migration. Anyone who comes through the right path in a legal way is welcome. We are for refugees but we are opposed to the tunnel of illegal immigration and death," Iwobi explains. Died to reach Europe. "It violates human dignity."

Like his party leader, Iobi is seeing the arrival of hundreds of thousands of African immigrants who land in Italy across the desert and the sea due to the failure of the migration policy.

& # 39; Great Africa & # 39;

His views are shared by another black Italian, Paolo Diop. Diop, now 30, arrived in Italy when he was 2 years old in Senegal.

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Diop (C) says African immigrants should return to the continent

We are the party on the far right, Fratelli d & # 39; Italia (pastor of Italy) meets on the banks of the Tiber river in Rome where the annual festival is held. Diop is a party immigration spokesman rooted in the Italian fascist movement.

"I don't think it's a fascist party," Diop says. "This is a party with strong nationalist roots, but that does not mean racism. It is a party that wants to protect its national identity.

"I am the son of an immigrant who legally arrived in Italy when the Italian economy was growing. I can no longer welcome economic immigrants because they no longer exist."

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Among the books sold at the festival are English books titled White Guilt

Mr Diop stands out thanks to his tall frame and skin color. He is the only black party member at the festival.

Stalls around us sell posters and books nodding to the party's fascist roots, as well as t-shirts with the slogans "patriot" and "turn the boat back." Among the star speakers, Pan Africanists Kémi Séba and Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban warned against the "multi-colour" society.

Diop said he had never experienced discrimination, but in February 2018 his right-wing activist Luca Traini was shot and wounded in Macerata, where he lives.

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Protester of anti-racism race in Makeratta with shooting

Diop knew Traini, who is currently serving 12 years in prison.

"We were in the same politics. He was a good young man. I had no problem with him. I don't want to inspire anyone to do that.

"Markerata is a left-wing city and left-wing politics has caused hatred among citizens because immigrants are no longer able to walk the streets because drugged people and pesky girls and people are so threatened."

Diop says Italian immigrants in Italy must learn to trade and go home and make "Africa great."

But so far, the message is not delivered.

A terrible year

Outside Milan Central Station I found about 50 Africans, mostly young people. Some are refugees and some are economic migrants. Others exceeded their visas.

They are all homeless and make a living by twisting their hair, handling drugs, begging or selling phone cards. Sometimes police come and arrest you.

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Tommy Kutty thinks that white Italians are all black people

Musician Tommy Kuti believes that right-wing politicians are taking advantage of this scene. "They like situations that are in turmoil," he said. "It's right to surprise Italians and enforce discriminatory laws."

Like Senator Yiwu, Kuti was born in Nigeria, and his parents moved to Italy with their babies. Now a successful rapper, his music explores identity and politics and is important for the league.

"Toni Iwobi thinks it really works for immigrants in Italy when we need people to fight for us to get more rights."

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Kutty said that working in the league was hostile to foreigners. "This year was terrible. I'm happy. I could feel the tension on the streets.

"You tell people that you are with a Salvinie on your face & # 39; or this famous route where all the immigrants in Italy get 35 euros. Then on the street people & # 39; I I can & # 39; believe that I pay you 35 euros every day. & # 39; "

He believes that white Italians believe that "all blacks are immigrants."

& # 39; citizenship by blood, not land & # 39;

Angelica Pesarini has a deeply rooted competitive attitude in Italy. She lectures at Black Italia at New York University in Florence.

"The Italian colonial past, especially the fascist regime, has always been closely associated with the idea of ​​race and white, and still stands out today," she said.

The family of Dr. Pesarini was born in Italy, but from Eritrea and Somalia, it dates back to the Italian colonial adventure of the African Horn.

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Dr. Pesarini says Italian civil rights law is a colonial legacy.

People from Ethiopia, Somalia and Eritrea grew up learning Italian and absorbing culture. Those who moved to Italy were shocked by the fact that the Italians knew very little about themselves. Dr. Pesani says many Italians today are ignorant of their colonial era.

"I feel I should compliment my Italian. People think I can't be Italian. So even when people ask me:` `Where are you from? & # 39; & # 39; I'm & # 39; I'm from Rome and I'm asking & # 39; No, but where are you from? & # 39; Then I realized how today's race, colonialism and whiteness are linked to Italian identity. "

Dr. Pesarini sees the legacy of this idea in Italian law on citizenship. "It's spread by blood, not soil," she says.

African Voluntary Return

Activists want the government to make it easier for second-generation immigrants born and raised in Italy to claim Italian citizenship. Their biggest opponents are Paolo Diop's Italian brothers and Iwobi Senator League.

Iwobi dismissed activists' concerns, claiming that those who refused Italian citizenship did not comply.

Regarding illegal immigrants still living in Italy, Senator Iobi wants to help the government acquire new skills that allow them to call them "voluntary repatriation."

Rapper Tommy Kuti ignores the Senator's idea. "He thinks immigrants need to set a good example and take his ass to Africa to stay in Africa."

But Iwobi sees his proposal in his Senate as part of a bill to be introduced in the Senate as a way to protect the "dignity" of African people.

"Europe must help Africa develop itself. It must invest in Africa and create jobs in Africa. Europe must help Africa not leave young people. It should be a choice."


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