A replacement of population is under way in Italy. Niggers replace guineas! But if you open the mainstream newspapers, you barely find these news. No television station has dedicated any time to what is happening. No criticism is allowed. The invasion is considered a done deal.
Italy and its parliament are divided over the question of whether children born in the country but of foreign parents should be given automatic citizenship – a vote which is a litmus test for how the country will deal with its changing demographics. The parliamentary vote on the ius soli (right of soil) law was this week postponed until later in the year.
What is causing growing Italian anger is the role of charities and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the transport of migrants across the Mediterranean. The image the charities like to present is that of desperate people putting to sea in any vessel they can lay their hands on because whatever risks they run cannot exceed the dangers of staying in their homelands. Save the Children, for example, declares in heartrending prose on its website, between photos of young children wrapped in foil blankets, that ‘children are fleeing bullets, poverty, persecution and the growing impact of climate change, only to drown in European waters’.
The reality could not be more different. The vast majority of migrants from Libya are young men paying smugglers in what they see as a calculated risk to reach a better life in Europe. The business model of the smugglers does not include transporting their customers all the way to Italy, but rather to take them 12 nautical miles to the boundary of Libya’s territorial waters, so they can then be taxied the rest of the way to Europe. The people smugglers are quite open about what they are doing: what can only be described as a Libya-based migrant travel agency has set up a Facebook page offering ‘tickets’ to ‘passengers’ with ‘discounts for group bookings’ on ‘ferries’ — i.e., smuggler boats — complete with phone number. The journey, it says, lasts only ‘three or four hours’ before rescue by an NGO, Italian or EU vessel, which will complete the ferry service to Italy.
Debate over the issue has grown heated, leading to physical confrontation when Education Minister Valeria Fedeli was pushed into a table by Northern League senators, while protesters clashed with police outside the chamber.
It’s a hot-button issue for a number of reasons. For one thing, the country’s major parties are gearing up for an election scheduled for early next year at the latest, and as things stand, none look set to get a majority. The debate also comes as Italy is put under increasing pressure by the migration crisis that has brought thousands of niggers to its southern shores.
While the ius soli bill is not directly linked to these new arrivals – it would only grant citizenship to those born in Italy and who have gone through at least five years of Italian schooling – politicians on the right have seized the chance to link the two issues. Matteo Salvini who leads the anti-immigration Northern League party called the postponement of the vote a victory for his party, tweeting “stop the invasion”.
But the underlying question here isn’t how to deal with the latest wave of migration or even how best to integrate those who have arrived in Italy, often from very different cultures – some argue that offering citizenship would help achieve this by avoiding alienation and a sense of ‘otherness’.
While these are problems Italy must deal with, the question of ius soli relates to a different group: the New Italians, or those who were born in and grew up in Italy but have foreign parents.
‘These people didn’t migrate – so how can they be second generation migrants?’
Corrupt NGOs are colluding in a people-trafficking operation. If NGOs stopped providing a pick-up service a few miles off Libya, and if Italy started returning migrants to the North African countries whence they came, the smugglers’ boats would not put to sea. Those who are dying are the victims of a well–intentioned but thoroughly misguided operation which will come to be seen as great moral stain on Europe.
There are days when the Italian navy and coast guard rescue 1,700 migrants in 24 hours. The country is exhausted. There are Italian villages where one-tenth of the population is already made up of new migrants. We are talking about small towns of 220 residents and 40 migrants.
One of the major aspects of this demographic revolution is that it is taking place in a country which is dramatically aging. According with a new report from the Italian Office of Statistics, Italy’s population will fall to 53.7 million in half a century — a loss of seven million people. Italy, which has one of the world’s lowest fertility rates, will lose between 600,000 to 800,000 citizens every year. Immigrants will number more than 14 million, about one-fourth of the total population. But in the most pessimistic scenario, the Italian population could drop to 46 million, a loss of 14 million people.
In 2050, a third of Italy’s population will be made up of foreigners, according to a UN report, “Replacement Migration: Is It a Solution to Decline and Aging Populations”, which designs a cultural melting-pot that could explode in cultural and social tensions. The level of arrivals will fall from 300,000 to 270,000 individuals per year by 2065; during the same period, it is expected that 14.4 million people will arrive. Added to the more than five million immigrants currently in Italy, 37% of the population is expected to be foreigners: more than one out of every three inhabitants.
In addition, the humanitarian-aid system has been hit by new scandals. “The investigative hypothesis to be verified is that subjects linked to ISIS act as logistical support to migration flows”, was a warning just delivered in front of the Schengen Committee, to the Italian anti-mafia and counterterrorism prosecutor, Franco Roberti. There are now judges investigating the connection between the migrants’ smugglers in North Africa and the Italian NGOs rescuing them in the Mediterranean. People-smugglers bring the migrants to the NGOs’ ships, which then reach Italian seaports. Another legal enquiry has been opened about the mafia’s economic interests in managing the migrants after their arrival.
Only 2.65 percent of those migrants who arrived in Italy were granted asylum as genuine refugees, according to the United Nations. The other people are apparently not fleeing wars and genocide. Yet, despite all this evidence, one cannot compare the migrants to the Jews fleeing Nazism. Pope Francis, for example, recently compared the migrants’ centers to Nazi “concentration camps”. One wonders where are the gas chambers, medical “experiments,” crematoria, slave labor, forced marches and firing squads. Italian newspapers are now running articles about the “Mediterranean Holocaust”, comparing the migrants dead by trying to reach the southern of Italy to the Jews gassed in Auschwitz. Another journalist, Gad Lerner, to support the migrants, described their condition with the same word coined by the Nazis against the Jews: untermensch, inferior human beings. These comparisons are spread by the media for a precise reason: shutting down the debate.
To understand how shameful these comparisons are, we have to take a look at the cost of every migrant to Italy’s treasury. Immigrants, once registered, receive a monthly income of 900 euros per month (30 euros per day for personal expenses). Another 900 euros go to the Italians who house them. And 600 euros are needed to cover insurance costs. Overall, every immigrant costs to Italy 2,400 euros a month. A policeman earns half of that sum. And a naval volunteer who saves the migrants receives a stipend of 900 euros a month. Were the Nazis so kind with their Jewish untermenschen?
The cost of migrants on Italy’s public finances is already immense and it will destroy the possibility of any economic growth. “The overall impact on the Italian budget for migrant spending is currently quantified at 2.6 billion [euros] for 2015, expected to be 3.3 billion for 2016 and 4.2 for 2017, in a constant scenario”, explains the Ministry of the Economy. If one wants to put this in proportion, these numbers give a clearer idea of how much Italy is spending in this crisis: in 2017, the government is spending 1.9 billion euros for pensions, but 4.2 billion euros for migrants, and 4.5 billion euros for the national housing plan against 4.2 billion euros for migrants.
Marco Antonsich, a Senior Lecturer in Human Geography at the UK’s Loughborough University, has carried out extensive research into demographic change in Italy and second-generation migrants in particular.
He uses the term New Italians to refer to those born in Italy to foreign parents, but adds some caveats.
“The term ‘new’ makes a distinction, instilling a difference where there shouldn’t be one and possibly suggesting they are not ‘real’ Italians. ‘Second generation’ is not a proper term either – these people didn’t migrate, so how can they be classed as second generation migrants?” Antonsich told us.
People belonging to this group usually speak fluent Italian as well as a second language at home; they belong completely to two different cultures. While there are distinct groups of certain nationalities or religions, including Moroccans, Chinese, Sikhs, and Muslims, Antonsich stresses that Italy is one of the countries home to the highest number of different nationalities, and organizations set up for New Italians cover all of these smaller groups.
At the moment, ‘New Italians’ are eligible to apply for citizenship once they turn 18, but this process takes around two years, and costs a significant sum of money.
They are constantly reminded of their ‘difference’ through small, administrative tasks their native-born peers are able to do without thinking. For example, taking part in the Erasmus exchange programme, travelling overseas, or voting in Italian elections.
Others want to be able to represent the country they see as their own by standing for office or competing in international sporting events; one 17-year-old boxer wrote to the Italian president last year to ask for citizenship so she could represent Italy.
For Antonsich, the ius soli law is the major litmus test for politicians to show how they will deal with the country’s changing demographics – something he feels they have thus far failed to do.
“There’s a sense of not having a future, common to all young Italians but especially affecting the New Italians,” he told us, noting that significant numbers of New Italians emigrate away from the country.
When Cecile Kyenge, Italy’s former Integration Minister who campaigned for a change to the citizenship law, first came into power, around 67 percent of Italians were in favour of giving citizenship to this group, but a recent Corriere survey showed the majority (54 percent) are now against the move. In a survey in Rome-based Il Messaggero last week, that number had fallen to below a third of those questioned (32.3 percent).
Antonsich sees the migration and economic crises as major reasons for the change. “They have impacted massively on the sense of who we are. We’ve seen an increased sense of a need to protect the Italian culture, heritage, and individual wealth – it creates division, and children of migrants carry that difference in their own bodies,” he explains.
“At the moment, everyone is afraid: of more people coming here, of globalization, of perceived security threats, and the political machine responds to that fear,” he said.
The past few years have seen a surge in support for the far-right Northern League, which in 2013 received just over four percent of votes in the general election. Now, the party is polling at around 15 percent nationally.
And the left-wing parties are moving further right when it comes to migration policy. Democratic Party leader Matteo Renzi has said Italy should only take in a “fixed number” of migrants, and this trend is not specific to Italy, with populism and defensive politics strong across many other parts of the world.
However, Antonsich argues that this kind of rhetoric ignores the changing reality in Italy. “Societies are becoming more diverse and will become even more so. Globalization is not the exception, it is absolutely structural to the economy,” he says. In Italy, several industries, including agriculture and the production of its prize products from Parmesan cheese to wine, rely heavily on immigration and New Italians.
“Longer term, the distinction between majority and minority will fade away. The question is, what sense of collective will emerge, and how will politicians be able to follow and respond to this big demographic challenge? At the moment, frankly the signs aren’t good. Italy is not an exception here; no country has managed this totally successfully.”
In fact, in Switzerland last week, a 25-year-old woman who was born in Switzerland, has lived there her whole life, works locally in a technical profession, speaks fluent Swiss German and is engaged to a Swiss, had her citizenship application turned down.
The reason was that authorities ruled she was “not sufficiently integrated” after answering 70 questions set to determine her ‘Swissness’, including whether she liked hiking.
The ruling has prompted calls for a rethink of how eligibility for Swiss citizenship is decided, and will have given food for thought across the border in Italy as to the difficulty of setting criteria for nationality in a globalized world. How can those who were born in and grew up in a country be told they ‘are not integrated’, and is the government setting double standards for people based on their parents’ home countries?
As to whether Italy will be able to reach a solution to the issue, Antonsich is not hopeful it will happen fast. “The kind of politics I’m seeing right now makes me very pessimistic,” he says. “There are clear tensions on the political level and the everyday level in society, and it usually takes a long time for society to evolve.”
The Italian cultural establishment is now totally focused on supporting this mass migration. The Italian film nominated at the Academy Awards last year is Fire at Sea, in which the main character is a doctor treating the migrants upon their arrival. Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi carried with him 27 DVDs of the film to a session of the European Council. Italy’s commercial television channels produced many television programs about the migrants, such as “Lampedusa”, from the name of the Italian island. 100,000 Italians even took the streets of Milan for a “rally of solidarity” with the migrants. What “solidarity” can there be if half a million people have been rescued by the Italian government and the whole country seems determined to open its doors to all of North Africa?
While the ports of southern Italy are filled with thousands of newly arrived immigrants, the deputy for the Brothers of Italy [Fratelli d’Italia, FDI], Edmondo Cirielli, launches a new, ominous warning that, at least until now, has not been taken into account. “Those who land on Italian shores,” he points out, “come primarily from Nigeria, country with the second-largest number, after South Africa, of people living with AIDS.” He now wants to know whether the government is doing something to prevent, or at least monitor this risk.
Supposedly, according to estimates, at least 20% of the Nigerian population is HIV positive. “And,” calculates Cirielli, “because in the last three and a half years more than 80 thousand Nigerians have arrived, it is to be assumed that more than 15 thousand of them are HIV positive”. Nigeria is, moreover, the fourth country in the world for tuberculosis, and 22% of people with this disease live with HIV. “This is a very serious situation when you consider that too many people are not in treatment,” says the representative of the Brothers of Italy who, at this very hour, has submitted a parliamentary question demanding to know “what initiatives the government intends to take to ensure the safety and health of members of law enforcement, volunteers and all those involved in the landing and rescue operations on our shores and in the immediate following phases.”
Cirielli wants to hear from the government “whether unions of all workers and cooks in the military who intervened at the time of landing and throughout the national territory” have been informed of the risk of contracting HIV “since you are multiplying acts of delinquency of immigrants.” “The government of Renzi’s Democratic Party,” concludes the supporter of the Brothers of Italy, “says it is for prophylaxis, to protect all Italian citizens.”
Winston Churchill was convinced that the Mediterranean was the “soft underbelly” of Hitler’s Europe. It has now become the soft underbelly of Europe’s transformation into Eurabia.