“Content is king,” say the marketers, and even racist bloggers are aware of the main principle driving traffic to a new website. That’s why a group of rightwing bloggers and activists behind the Facebook page Resistenza Nazionale and the blog Identità.com have launched a very special news aggregator: Tutti i crimini degli immigrati (“All the immigrants’ crimes”). The site collates online news about the involvement of foreign-born Italians citizens in any kind of crime in our country (Italy). They don’t just publish the RSS feeds of the stories on a unique webpage; they do real editorial work to present the news to their readers making sure they understand the “dangers” of being surrounded by immigrants.
The title of the aggregator’s news is usually reformulated in such way that you can’t doubt the origin of the people involved. This will be followed by a direct quote from the original news source (be it from a national newspaper or from a press release) and the pictures included in the posts are often not related to the news, but are remixed versions to serve a different purpose.
It seems that Tutti i crimini degli immigrati’s goal is to establish the idea that immigrants are dangerous for the Italian society. The same authors publish editorial posts in the blog ‘Identità Nazionale’ where their intent is usually the defense of a supposed pure national identity of Italians (white, born no matter where but with Italian blood in his/her veins) against the invasion of foreign people from all over the world. Special mentions are often given in opposition to the integration program implemented by the Minister of International Cooperation Andrea Riccardi, who takes the positive view towards a new citizenship law which allows children born in our country, no matter what the nationality of their parents, to become Italian according to the principle of the ius soli.
Here is what they write against his “insane” idea:
Per caso un Africano nato in Giappone, nasce con gli occhi a mandorla? No, perché l’ambiente non ha alcuna influenza sull’identità dell’individuo, se non trascurabile in ambito epi-genetico dopo decine di anni. Un Ghanese nato a Stoccolma, è identico ad un Ghanese nato ad Accra. / Pensate all’idolo attuale degli xenofili in crisi d’astinenza: Mario Barwuah Balotelli. Immaginate di non sapere chi sia e di incontrarlo per strada – si, lo so, ci sono incontri migliori – con lui un Ghanese e un Italiano: a chi somiglia Barwuah?
(Have you ever seen an African born in Japan with almond eyes? No, because the environment doesn’t have any influence on the individual identity, if not insignificant after many years … A Ghanaian born in Stockholm is identical to a Ghanaian born in Accra. / Think about the current hero of xenophiles: Mario Barwuah Balotelli. Pretend not to know who he is and to run into him in the street – I know, you could imagine a better chance encounter – with him a Ghanaian and an Italian: who does Barwuah look like the most?)
For a few weeks now, the authors of Identità.com have been publishing posts on freedom of expression rights after the shutting down of the neo-Nazi website Stormfront. Four people were also arrested. The national press agency Ansa reports that the four editors are accused of “inciting racial and ethnic hatred on the site, which has regularly posted anti-Semitic and white supremacist propaganda.”
Last year it emerged that the murderer of two Senegalese immigrants in a market place in Florence had links to this group. Messages of sympathy started appearing on Stormfront’s forum from members who knew the killer and admired his “brave” act (the man was killed in action by the police).
Warnings have arrived also against Tutti i crimini degli immigrati: civic society organizations such as ‘Osservatorio 21 luglio’ who monitor the spread of violent and racist messages in the media have launched a plea to the authorities to shut down their activities online.
But what about mainstream Italian media?
Stereotyping immigrants and xenophobic reporting are widespread. It’s very difficult not to find an article or news bulletin which doesn’t indicate the nationality of the people involved. Even leftwing papers fall take part in this practice. The Left, who are supposed to be the most careful when speaking about immigration, often fall into the same trap to attract readers. One recent example was an ambiguous cover from the popular Espresso magazine (above). It combined the words “scandal” and “immigrants” on the cover with a photograph of a black man. However, when you read the story, it turns out the reporter actually did an expose about Italian citizens who ‘stole’ public money designated for refugee care. The government had spent €20.000 on each migrant, but none of them had directly received any of the money.
This, conveniently, was a story which Tutti i crimini degli immigrati did not report.