A Nigerian refugee died few days ago, following an altercation in a small town from the central Italy. Everything started, as they say, from an insult addressed to the victim’s wife. The one who is accused of murder is a local, who admitted the insult, but he presented a totally different version of the facts, which would place his reaction in the self-defense area. There are also witnesses, including two women, who, separately, confirmed the Italian’s version. The medical exams on the deceased and on his opponent are also favorable rather to the Italian: those who have started the physical confrontation seem to be the Nigerians. Meanwhile, at the refugee’s funeral attended the President of the Chamber of Deputies and one of the most important Ministers in the Government, the PM’s right hand. Right after the death, the IntMin himself held an emergency meeting in that small town. Almost one year ago, in a small town in Sicilia, a young immigrant from Ivory Coast brutally killed two old people. He raped the woman and then he threw her from the balcony. He was identified thanks to several stolen goods, as well as to the victim’s clothes, with which he changed his clothes, since they were blood contaminated.
Regarding the Nigerian, the signal issued by the Government and by the most of the media was clear: local racism kills and it must be fought by all means. His and his wife’s portraits seem to correspond to a fight against all kind of violence: run from the country to get rid of the Boko Haram Islamists’ massacres, barely survive to the drug dealers abuses, welcome with arms opened by a priest who defied all the local prejudices – a risky gesture, since it seems that xenophobic attacks haven’t missed against his activity. In the wife’s version of story, the Italian attacked them and beat them with bestiality. On the other side, the local’s portrait fully corresponds to the image of the “fascist”: a violent supporter on the stadium, where he wasn’t allowed to have access for this reason, a racist who was permanently mocking the black immigrants, a supporter of an extreme right party – to support this affiliation, a shirt belonging to him and having a slogan of a music band closed to the said movement was presented-, a simple bull raiser, an animal of a notorious aggressiveness with which he was easily likened. Regarding the other African, the prevailing message was to avoid any “political instrumentalizations”, in other words to reject any assimilation of the more and more large migrations phenomenon with the growing criminality.
We must hope, as in any other similar case, that the truth will come to light and Justice will take rightful decisions. But the alarming thing is the ideological confrontation behind such cases. For some people, the political option for accepting a growing number of immigrants must be strengthened by delegitimizing any contrary positions. And what can be more useful than to speculate the pity towards “innocent” victims? Especially by demonizing a right that is responsible for the victims of the racism and intolerance. For the others, the special political and Media concern for the migrants at the expense of the local people is a sign of betrayal and of perverse philanthropy.
What we know for sure is that racism exists and it has to be fought – let’s not imagine that among Romanians, for instance, the number of the racist people is smaller than among Italians, on the contrary. At the same time, migrants must be seen with compassion, solidarity and fraternity. They have to be treated with understanding towards their unenviable situation, but without naivety. If we invoke the moral or religious imperative of loving your neighbor, we cannot ignore the concern for all people. Without excluding our neighbors. If the Italian would have died – a hypothesis not completely excluded, if witnesses don’t lie – instead of the Nigerian, would there have had been so many politicians at his funerals? Maybe we don’t like his life options, but the right of not being aggressed is universal. It’s true that he started the dispute by insulting, but unfortunately insults are common among people. Nigerian didn’t reply with insults, but he struck first with a pole, knocking his opponent – a hypothesis which is sustained by witnesses for the moment. A migrant is not a saint a priori. He is one of us, and he often is more desperate and therefore he is at least as tempted as we are to have culpable options related to others. So lucidity must accompany solidarity, otherwise injustices will only have a different color. This is one of the reasons for which the number of Eurosceptic people is growing. Not all of them are racist, grinded by hate or selfish who do not want to share their welfare with the poorest people in the world – there are a lot of people of this kind, but not all of them. And if the balance will tip in this direction, it will happen also because some people are not feeling as safe as they got used to feel in their countries.
The problem are not immigrants themselves – an economic issue, by the way -, but their uncontrollable number and the lack of some selection criteria. Why “good guys” should risk to be returned into their countries, while “bad guys” should stay among us? It’s difficult to make a fair distinction in such situations between what “good” and what “bad” mean, but this is one of the politics’ responsibilities. Let’s not pretend that we don’t see it!
And if we invoke Christianity for not closing our gates, we must invoke it also to maintain a safe climate in the “neighborhood” as much as possible. It’s a moral duty to prevent any murder, regardless of who is the killer – an immigrant or a native.