Friday, January 29, 2010

Africans, Violence and Exploitation in Southern Italy



Before the end of this month we need to report the issue of African immigrant workers in Southern Italy. Early this month riots occured in Rosarno, Calabria sparked by shootings against Africans. These kind of shootings are not uncommon.

According to Saviano, author of Gomorrah, there are several hundreds of thousand African immigrant workers caught up in a brutal cheap-labor system ran by the Maffia. The Maffia organizes the immigration of Africans to the extensive vegetable and fruit farms of Southern Italy. These immigrants have to live in terrible conditions earning less than 3 euros per day for 10 to 14 hour working days. Thanks to them we can by cheap tomatoes, egg plants, zucchinis, olives, lemons .etc.. in our North European supermarkets.

These Africans live in tents, shacks and abandoned buildings on the margin of society. Repeated assault by locals against African immigrants have been reported in the last years. Unfortunately the local police is not sympathetic to the living conditions of the African workers. Disappearences are frequent and immigrants who object to low wages and poor working conditions are simply eliminated.

The Rosarno riots were reportedly sparked by local youth who fired air rifles at African immigrants. Unfortunately these kinds of shooting are not uncommon. In December 2008 a man shot without apparent reason two Africans who were sleeping in their shack, one got severely injured. Following this event the workers took to the street peacefully asking for protection. Approx. 2500 to 5000 Aficans live in the Rosarno valley. This is a huge number compared to a total of 15000 inhabitants.

After the second attack early this January several hundreds of workers went into the town of Rosarno and burned cars and smashed shop windows. Several locals replied with a severe attack on the African settlements.

It was the fourth outbreak of intercommunal violence in recent years resulting in the resettlement of about 1000 Africans in detention centers. Two years ago six Africans died in such a fighting in the coastal town of Castel Volturno, although these killings should be seen in relation to the drug activities of a local Maffia clan and Nigerian immigrants. Generally the European media is not too much vocal about these violent events.

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