I’ve just got back from five days in Milan as a visit to my Grandma was long overdue. We had a great time, exploring the bars of the trendy Brera area, watching AC Milan snatch a 3-0 win in the last 15 minutes at the superb San Siro and sniggering at the old women tottering along with pooches and dead racoons on their backs. When I was little I loved Italy and everything about it but as I’m becoming older, I’m becoming more cynical about what I believed was once a perfect country – it would seem the rose tinted specs are clearing. This is the country that claims to be the fashion capital of the world – what I see now is a bunch of clones dressed in black wearing sunglasses in all weathers clutching matching Louis Vuitton bags. The chav phenomena clearly hasn’t reached Italy yet either as Burberry still have a booming business.
With the Italian elections looming you can’t turn a corner without seeing an election poster with Berlusconi’s orange face grinning back at you. The right coalition government are trying to grab every opportunity to stay in power with last minute appeals declaring ‘no to homosexual marriages, no to immigrants’ and ‘what kind of life would it be if the left got in?’ A much better one I would say.
This is the country that has given us some of the best food and wine in the world, reliable cheap transport and a good education system. Yet ignorance still prevails. I was shocked to hear my 20 year old cousin declare that all the Albanians should be sent back to their own country as it’s not her problem. Fair enough, the crime rate in Milan has escalated since the immigrants started coming but even if they do rape, steal and generally cause trouble - as is the common view -surely it’s not as simple as just sending them back. It’s scary hearing a young person with such blinkered racist views. What ever happened to charity? This is the home of the head of the Catholic church after all. It seems obvious to me that the problem is rife because the immigrants aren’t offered enough jobs and help. If you visit Italy you’ll admire the warmth and hospitality of the people, their sense of humour and good spirit - with this in mind, it surprises me to hear such bigoted opinions. Don’t get me wrong, I still love this country despite all its faults but I can’t understand why Italians can’t think for themselves. Surely its obvious that the right wing government is inciting hatred and racism and if something isn’t done soon I dread to think what will happen. Is Italy moving back towards a fascist state?