On the 13th of December, in my birthplace Florence, an Italian gunman killed two street vendors from Senegal, wounded another three, and committed suicide when the police reached him. The killing was racially-motivated and Gianluca Casseri, 50, was a writer for and member of CasaPound, a neo-fascist group. The Senegalese street vendors he killed (Samb Modou, 40yrs old, and Diop Mor, 54yrs old) lived in Italy for a considerable time and leave behind their wives and children in Senegal. The life of migrants in Italy, in particular for Muslims such as the Senegalese, is known. The xenophobic Lega Nord has built its political reputation on the exploitation of Italians’ frustration with a badly managed migration policy and an increase of refugees. Continue reading
Recently I have been in Italy. Many things have changed since I was last there. Yet one of the features of the hot Italian summers, the so called ‘vu cumprà’ (literally ‘do you want to buy?’) were indefatigably patrolling the empty streets of Italian cities or the busy shores of the increasingly expensive (and restrictive) bathing establishments.The so called ‘ vu cumprà’ are in majority Senegalese immigrants, whom use the summer to sell their, often fake, products while looking for a more remunerative job, or while trying to collect enough money to send to their families for the winter. It is not a nice work to do, particularly in a country such as Italy that is facing a very aggressive anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim campaign. To be Senegalese means to be both.