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October 3 2008

Press Release: "Racist beatings". The Community of Sant'Egidio condemns the violence and calls for acts of solidarity

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The succession of racist deeds in Italy is appalling: Naples, Milan, Parma, Rome. But there are those in positions of responsibility in public administration and in Parliament who continue shamelessly to incite contempt towards immigrants, Roma, Rumanians, and Moslems, each in turn.
Following a very disturbing beating inflicted in Parma by public officials, and the death by blows of a dark-skinned Italian citizen close to Milan’s Central Station, beatings in Rome’s Torbellamonaca zone confirm a climate dominated by unbridled ignorance, racism and brutality, which is spreading to infect one milieu after another. It is an atmosphere at once irresponsible and stifling; one of hunting down whomever’s different, placing at risk our capacity for getting along with others in our cities. It is an atmosphere in which violence is thought of as the ‘normal’ state, excusable because it has become such an ordinary feature of our cityscapes.
The Community of Sant'Egidio condemns this violence and the climate of hunting down the scapegoat which has been taking over public discourse and causing breakdowns of cognition and behaviour right down to the youngest of our generations. In the name of the City of Rome and of our Nation we feel a need to apologise for this violent intolerance to all of its victims, and we invite everybody to react with deeds of solidarity and to isolate those who continue to justify or to feed the climate of contempt towards citizens of foreign origin who already face enough hurdles in their paths to acceptance and integration into our nation.

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