A few weeks back, when Michael Brown was killed, I was so angry I wanted to write something about it. But I know I am impulsive, I knew I didn’t have enough information to write an unbiased piece so I put it on the back burner and kept looking for news and articles that would help me get a better understanding of what happened and if it really was a race related killing.
A lot has been said about white privilege and it would be crazy and naive to believe it doesn’t exist and that we are all the same. We clearly aren’t, coz if we were people wouldn’t be protesting against white privilege but against police killing innocent people.
Because this is what it is, above all: it’s people who are in charge of our safety being unable to evaluate potential threats and taking disproportionate action against them.
Now, Italy, on average, has a serious problem with racism. The problem is being highly exacerbated by the financial crisis and the fact that some political parties have been surfing the wave of “immigrants steal your jobs” to transfer the problem of unemployment and finally find an easy target to take the blame.
(Just to clarify… the vast majority of unemployes Italians are those who are just out of university and those who lose their job due to cuts. Immigrants are often too poor, too little educated, unable to speak Italian or have degrees that our country does not recognize, therefore they would be cut out of that kind of employment even if there was no crisis…).
We also do have a problem with detention. A lot of people die in detention every year.
And this brings me back to the misuse of force by those who’d be in charge of administering it to protect us.
Since a frightening number of people who died in detention in Italy in the last decade were bearing signs of extreme torture (anal rape, burns, testicle crushing, denutrition and dehydration) it’s difficult to believe that, even if they were drunk or e-d out of their minds, they provoked that kind of harm to themselves.
And since a lot of them were normal people, with normal lives and normal dreams, this does make us wonder who will be next.
One story that hit me more than others is the story of a handsome carpenter, Aldo Bianzino, who was taken from his family for allegedly growing cannabis in his backyard.
It is a crime in Italy, but most people get away with a scold. Aldo Bianzino was taken to a police post where he died “of natural causes”. When it turned out that the causes weren’t so natural his case went to into the pile of “suspicious deaths”.
But although the pile grows higher every year Italy seems to be ridden by a domino system where there is always someone covering for someone else and justice is never fully made.
Aldo is dead, no justice will give him back to his son.
Stefano is dead, no justice will give him back to his family.
So are Michael, Eric, Giuseppe, and Fedrico and all of those we will never know about.
There is only anger in me right now. Because what is happening in America and is being pinned as a racial crime has indeed a racial root but it is also the expression of a society, in America, in Italy and in a number of other countries, that somehow justifies preventive violence.
And when you justify that you have to know that you may be next.