(As promised in this thread)I live in wonderful

02/02/2010 - 13:16

(As promised in this thread)

I live in wonderful place.. wonderful for its environment, countryside, food and many other things that nature gave to humans on earth... when I wake up in the morning and listen to the "cip cip"* out of my window I feel thankful for another day spent in Sicily... Though, I'm aware of what is outside that window..

This morning I couldn't help noticing how a man looked at two muslim women - but at the same time I cannot avoid to think "those women may believe I'm a rebel" while I was parking my car, symbol of emancipation for them, routine for me)..

Sicilians are at the beginning of integration with immigrants. They are still trying to find a way to cope with them. People who were emigrants in the past (emigration from Southern Italy to Northern Italy in the fifties) are now seeing other people occupying their territory.

They are starting to understand that "those immigrants" are as honest as some Italians are, and as dishonest as some other Italians can be. In the last years, I'm starting to hear about weddings between Italians and Albanians or Romanians or about immigrants with regular documents and a job.

But there are still some problems. So I was not that surprised about Rosarno riots

I think that Northern people are used to have immigrants, but not sure about how non-EU citizens are integrated in society.

It would be interesting to know how many of you members have already experienced a long stay in Italy or that still live here. What are your impressions? Have you been accepted without problems? Which part of Italy do/did you live?

* "cip cip" is how italians imitate birds' sound, don't remember how it is in English/American.



 Please excuse me Valentina, but did you mean "Is Italy ready for immigration"? We've lived in Italy for many years now, Jean and I are both English by birth, and have experienced Italian life in both the north east (on the border between Lombardia and Reggio Emilia) - where there is a considerable immigrant population, and the central east region (Le Marche) where there seems immigration of differing origins. In the Lombardia area the non-Italian children sometimes outnumber the Italian children in schools, and are generally very hard working with a strong family ethic, determined through education to carve their niche in life and create a career pathway. I had the pleasure of working with many of these non-Italian children, and must say that I could not have wished for better 'subjects'. Many were of Muslim faith, but were descrete regarding their religion and culture. Here in Le Marche we find ourselves in the company of many Chinese and North African families and individuals, and again we don't have any problems so far. We do however worry that many of the North Africans are here to escape some sort of persecution in their homeland, and are living 'hand to mouth', even though they are often well educated but unable to find work. Unlike some others we 'meet and greet' with the young men selling their wares in the supermarket car park; we don't buy from them; but generally buy an extra loaf of bread which we give them. Engaging them in conversation often reveals an education and background that denies their ambulant salesman status, many speaking at least 3 if not more languages for example. Please don't label us as 'do-gooders', but we prefer to do things this way.  We have also experienced 'lightwieght' racism, in that a petition was created locally to try to remove a small Chinese industry from a residential area, without success however, with one local lady maintaining that she had to move out of her apartment as the noise from the Chinese industry was unbearable. (We later found out that the same lady suffered from insomnia). She however declined to become involved when I suggested that she could start a similar campaign to have stop the neighbour's  Alsatian dog from barking constantly from 7;00 a.m. until 6;0 p.m. or so. The dog's owner is obviously Italian. I feel that it's not necessarily that immigration needs to be controlled, but rather the verification needs to be of a higher quality, as it's obvious that thousands of immigrants are in fact here illegally.

I also live in Sicily, and in my part there is no problem with immigrants at all.   I live in an agricultural area, and North Africans have been working in the greenhouses and fields for years, for pitiful money.  There is a African community in the town and nobody looks at them strangely, and  as in the UK in the 50's, most people are aware that they are doing jobs that no Italian would dream of doing.  The chinese have set up shop everywhere, and are accepted widely.  Sicilians, (and southern Italians in general, are hugely accepting of others, having been ruled over and imposed upon for the last 2000 years.  Rosarno is a special case, the immigrants were being used as slave labour, housed in the most disgusting conditions and naturally felt aggrieved, the whole affair being stoked by the Ndrangheta.   Organised crime, (and governments, historically) know all too well that everyone needs a scapegoat, especially when the going isnt good.  In this case its the North Africans, it could have been the gypsies, the Jews in the 14 th century (and the 15th and 18th, 19th and 20th),   the Irish in England in the 20th century, the Italians in New York 100 years ago - and so on.  Unfortunately its human nature to want to feel superior to your neighbour and institutions stoke that fear.  However, compared to the north of ITaly which is actively racist in my experience, in the south it isnt the case.  After all most southern Italins were emigrants in the last 150 years, so they know all to well how the incomers feel. 

 Let's get one thing clear, problems with immigration are rarely about the individual people themselves, who probably are equally honest, hard-working etc etc as the locals. I have been privileged to have travelled over great parts of the world and have generally been delighted with the peoples of the world and their different cultures. In fact, is that not what inspires us to travel in the first place? To my mind, Italy seems to have dealt reasonably well with immigration, though I suppose in pockets of the country there may well be problems. I think the reason why Italy has coped well is because Italy has an extremely strong - and creditably uncompromising - sense of culture. But with mass immigration, that unique culture can become diluted - as is happening in many places elsewhere in the world. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to get a balanced discussion on the pros and cons of immigration because opponents are usually branded as "racists" by the proponents. Even though one may love the people of the world, but hold the view that it is culturally inappropriate for them to move into other countries en masse. But I still can't come to terms with how the UK robs the third world of its trained medical people (who need them far more than we do) to staff the (already excellent) NHS - just in order to meet some arbitrary  targets so the Government can score cheap political points.

 If we have a look at history, neither immigration, nor emigration are strange to Italy. From ancient times, Italy has been systematically invaded by people coming from other nations. And they have survived and enriched their own culture in the process. In tough economic times, the new immigrant is always regarded as a danger and a scape goat. This is nothing new and people tend to ignore history. Anyway, Italy - and Italians - will survive.

I see from a recent news report that Immigrants now account for 7.1% of the Italian population. The total population in 2009 rose from 60.04 million to 60.39 million, thanks largely to an influx of foreign nationals who helped to compensate for declining birth rates and the highest death rates in more than 50 years. Another drain on the native population was the emigration of Italians abroad. As was said above the history of Italy (and indeed Europe) is one of movement of peoples. Have to say that I find some lamentations about "pure" populations declining a bit ridiculous. 

Agreed on the birth-death rate:"Senza l'apporto degli immigrati la popolazione sarebbe calata. Per il terzo anno consecutivo, infatti, la dinamica naturale (differenza tra nascite e decessi) registra un saldo di segno negativo, in una misura, tuttavia, ben più accentuata di quella del precedente biennio: -17 mila 700 unità nel 2009, contro -8 mila 500 unità del 2008 e -6 mila 900 unità del 2007. "

Agreed on the birth-death rate:"Senza l'apporto degli immigrati la popolazione sarebbe calata. Per il terzo anno consecutivo, infatti, la dinamica naturale (differenza tra nascite e decessi) registra un saldo di segno negativo, in una misura, tuttavia, ben più accentuata di quella del precedente biennio: -17 mila 700 unità nel 2009, contro -8 mila 500 unità del 2008 e -6 mila 900 unità del 2007. "

It's "tweet-tweet" Valentina. Sicily has been a migratory stepping off point for millenia. Birds & humans alike. I don't suppose this process bothers the local bird populations much. Pilch

The subject of bird calls is to some a very serious & interesting one. It takes all kinds. However if you look in your bird book, we all have one don't we, & look at the huge variety of calls that are attributed to all the various birds, you might, like me, have an image of Bill Oddy describing them to you. Most interesting. Our Nightingale will be here soon with it's non stop, all night long, every damned night mellifluous call. Bet he don't have a work permit Bill. Anyway I'm reminded of how hunters lure migratory birds to their inevitable fate. They place a decoy on the ground in front of where they are hiding, scatter a few handfuls of feed on the ground & imitate the birds own call. It works every time. These birds have tiny brains & can do no other than their primitive instincts dictate. They land, they feed & the hunter has his fun. An irregular vagrant, the Nutcracker (Nucifraga Caryocatactes), member of the crow family has a loud grating call that goes griirr griirr, chek chek chek.    Can't find Peeking Duck in my Observer Book of Birds though.  Pilch-Pilch

In reply to by pilchard

WhatWhat iWhy hould I con Why do I feel obliged to comment? I really should not. But, Valentina posed a real question; there were some considered replies, then it segued into twittering.

I suppose it shouldn't but it always surprises me that very often countries that have a history of emigration themselves often have difficulty dealing with immigration. I would have thought Sicily in particular would have a long tradition of sending their young people abroad to try to make a new life for themselves be it to the north or to the US or elsewhere. Those were economic migrants in the most basic sense. We honeymooned in Siciliy and were struck by the number of delapidated and abandoned buildings in the centre of the island - presumably the inhabitants just moved on? Or maybe it's because of the long history of invasion and foreign rule that creates resentment - that coupled with a declining native birth rate maybe gives rise to insecurities.Sorry for the pop psychology!

emigration from the South to the North persists nowadays. Youngsters leave for better job opportunities or to study in important Universities (Roma, Milano, Firenze, Pisa, Bologna, Trieste, Napoli..) - not that Southern Italy has nothing to offer (I studied in the South and found a few but good job opportunities)  meanwhile Africans, Albanians, Indians and Arabians try and enter the country illegally. This is one of the main reasons why they are not well accepted by Italian citizens. Add to this different culture, religion (in the country where the Pope lives) and lifestyle. when I say "Sicilians are at the beginning of integration with immigrants" I compare Italy with France and other countries that seem to be better organized to host immigrants. another psyco-analysis 

There are certain groups of people who are attracted to UK and find that the channel crossing is their best chance of getting in illegally.If you read the UK tabloids they seem to think that all immigrants head for the UK.In fact UK is well down the list. They should be told to stop moaning.

(ANSA) - Milan, February 25 - Pro-immigration rallies will be staged in 60 city squares throughout Italy on March 1 to draw attention to the importance of immigration for Italy's socio-economic growth. "Different events will take place in different cities, explained Francesca Terzoni, national spokesman for the March 1 2010 - A Day Without Us committee which is coordinating the event.