Italy to fingerprint all Roma gypsy children
In a move that reeks of Mussolini's regime, Italy has decided to fingerprint around 80,000 gypsy children as they are looked upon as one of the groups being blamed for the country's crime problems.
Immigrants are also blamed for the rising crime.
Since Silvio Berlusconi became prime minister in April, gypsy camps in the south and north of the country have been burned by vigilante mobs.
The home minister, Roberto Maroni, has now announced that all the Roma will be fingerprinted, including children. "This is not ethnic cataloguing, this is the ultimate safeguard of their rights," he said.
"We will take the children's fingerprints in order to stop those occasions when parents send their children out to beg. It is a proper census to make sure that those who have the right to stay here can live in decent conditions," he said.
According to the latest figures, there are 160,000 Roma gipsies in Italy, almost half of whom have Italian citizenship. The last census recorded that 80,000 of them are children.
The move has triggered memories of the segregation of Jews imposed by Benito Mussolini in 1938. "I remember when I could not go to school with the others," said Amos Luzzatto, a former president of Italy's Union of Jewish Communities.
"There is a latent racism in Italian culture and it manifests itself cyclically," he added. "Taking the fingerprints of youngsters from one ethnic group implies that you consider them to be congenital thieves."
Unicef, the United Nation's children's rights body, said it was "shocked and deeply worried" by the plans. "We hope this is a provocative proposal that will never be carried out," said a spokesman.
"Roma children are no different from other children and children cannot and should not be treated like adults anyway," he added, citing the UN convention on the Rights of Children that was ratified by Italy in 1991.
This is not the first time the Italian Government has lashed out at the gypsy community.
Following the anti-Roma line of the what I would call pretty damn close to fascist, Italian government, vigilante attackers in late May set fire to shacks where Gypsies lived on the outskirts of the Italian city of Naples. The Naples arson attacks were apparently co-ordinated by clans of the Camorra, the Naples Mafia.
Today the State is doing pretty much the same in the capital. The government earlier this morning launched an assault on a Roma camp and chased out its residents.
When the new Cabinet of Silvio Berlusconi, who won a sweeping election victory in April, met in Naples last month, it set forth what it called an emergency decree on crime and immigration, but which was pretty much targetting the Roma community in Italy (for the time being anyway).
The Berlusconi coalition combines his Forza Italia with the anti-immigrant Northern League and the “post-Fascist” Alleanza Nazionale. All agree with Berlusconi that “Italians have the right not to live in fear” - which means targeting those who make Italians afraid.
Apparently Italians are afraid of the gypsies.
Eighty thousand Roma are legal Italian citizens, having fled from oppression, starvation, and unemployment in their "home" countries. Most Italian-based gypsies have been in the country for years, if not decades, and rarely have family or friends back in Romania, Bulgaria, or Hungary, where most of them started their wanderings.
Makes no difference to the new fascists in charge of the Italy.
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini (July 29, 1883 – April 28, 1945) was an Italian politican who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism. He became the Prime Minister of Italy in 1922 and began using the title Il Duce by 1925. Mussolini continued on in this role until he was replaced in 1943; for a short period after this until his death Mussolini was the leader of the Italian Social Republic.
Mussolini was among the founders of Italian fascism, which included elements of nationalism, corporativism, national syndicalism, expansionism, social progress and anti-communism in combination with censorship of subversives and state propaganda. In the years following his creation of the fascist ideology, Mussolini influenced, or achieved admiration from, a wide variety of political figures.