Journey to the Rosarnos of Italy,from the civilised Trentino to the wealthy Lombardy,to the red Emilia and the cultured Tuscany.
It is January 7th 2010 and with the help of a long holiday break, there is still a Christmas atmosphere in Italy. In Rosarno, a young man from Togo is coming back to the ex Opera Sila, a run-down and abandoned factory on the way to Gioia Tauro, that is the shelter for him and more than 900 immigrants. Suddenly, an air rifle pulls off some shots at him. A few minutes later, next to another run-down factory named Rognetta (that is the shelter for 450 immigrants), two other african guys are shot by the same rifle. What is this? An intimidatory gesture? A boasting? Anyway it’s the umpteenth insult against the african labourers. The news spreads very quickly. In a second, the anger overflows and becomes uncontrollable. The images of the revolt of Rosarno are seen the world over. The repressed issue of off-the-books work and slavery in the countryside, his link to ‘ndrangheta, suddenly become topical. The young Africans who lay waste to the town certainly direct their resentment against a mistaken target. However, their determination shows that there’s a limit beyond which human beings, whether legal or not with the Immigration Office, cannot be pushed. Since then, the name Rosarno has been used to refer to a specific place where certain events occurred, but also to indicate the other situations of injustice and/or exploitation scattered over Italian territory, which risk exploding. These other powder kegs are Rosarnos, too. Contrary to what one might think, they are not all located in the country, and are not all concentrated in the South. In this book, Stefania Ragusa recounts her journey to the Rosarnos of the North: from civilised Trentino to wealthy Lombardy, to “red” Emilia and cultured Tuscany.
A journalist and writer, Stefania Ragusa is among the founders of the Primo Marzo – Foreigners’ Strike network. Vallecchi published her Bangladesh inferno di delizie in 2008. She keeps a blog: www.stefaniaragusa.com.