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On Saturday, February 3rd in Chioggia (Italy): “Side By Side”, marching for rights and humanity

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24 January 2018

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Last year, after several and worrying racist episodes happened in our region (Veneto), we decided that a unanimous answer was extremely needed; a message from the other side able to show the real Veneto, a region which wants and which is able to welcome and to integrate, that refuses racial hatred and that does not let itself get scared by the alarmist and narrow-minded announcements on the arrival of migrants.

We attempted to build a horizontal path that could be as shared as possible. This finally lead to the creation of assemblies and public gatherings in many cities, with the aim of rounding up and walking all together, side by side, through the narrow alleys of Venice on 19th March last year.

This path is the outcome of the work of many and different entities (associations, cooperatives, informal groups, social workers and areas, single individuals…) and produced unexpected results, restoring strength and hope for changing to many. The great involvement into the demonstration proved that a social fabric that refuses hatred and intolerance does exist and it is also deeply involved on a daily basis into integration paths, social cooperation and mutuality, where the barriers of “us” and “them” gradually crumble down. Such a mobilization demonstrated that migrant women and men have a primary role and this factor, as well as it occurred in a disruptive way in Cona during the dignity march last November and later in Rome on December 16th during the great demonstration Rights without Borders, has to be taken into great consideration as well as strongly supported.

Moreover, it is thanks to the relations started during the setting-up of the demonstration in Venice on March 19th, and strengthened in these months, that the proposal of taking to the streets arrived again, this time in Chioggia.
Social backgrounds promoting the demonstration “for humanity” on the next February 3rd, originated even in this case from the necessity of countering a local context that saw many xenophobic events and happenings. Just to mention few of them: the fascist beach in Sottomarina, the coward aggression against the migrants in Portogruaro, the beating of a young refugee in Sottomarina, the indecorous conditions of the welcoming procedure in the centre “Al Bragosso” in Chioggia.

Nonetheless, the demonstration on February 3rd originates especially from a public engagement in the rights of migrants as well as from welcoming and solidarity practices, born from the supportive realities of the Venetian area, that thus together are building an anti-racist shelter openly against the inhuman policies directed towards migrants.

The march is part of a specific political context, where it is clear the point of no return of Italian and European policies against immigration, willing to do whatever just to stop the flow of migrants to Europe and to make the life harder for immigrants already living our countries. This is the context in which the Italian Minister of the Interior Minniti made an agreement with Libya, which includes the use of their criminal militia and lagers as enforcers of Europe; the context in which the Italian Prime Minister Gentiloni went on a mission to Niger in order to externalize the government/interruption of migrations in the African crossroads; the context in which we find the Minniti-Orlando differential law, the criminalization of solidarity and the de-legitimacy of the NGOs’ work in the Mediterrenean Sea saving many lives, whereas the number of the victims derived from the impossibility to freely move between continents terribly increases.

From the beginning of the year 160 deaths have been already identified, while the year 2017 finished with over 3000 victims of the fortress Europe! However, it is necessary not to get accustomed to this backdrop of death, barriers and barbed wire but to try to constantly build different stories, languages and common wills to fight for rights and dignity.

For this reason, on February 3rd in Chioggia we have to continue claiming safe and regular routes, through which people could have the possibility to move across continents and within the European space, since this should not constitute anymore an ethnically or rank based right.

We must call strongly for a humanitarian permit of stay for all the migrants who are currently living in Italy, to give them the opportunity to leave their invisible condition, to build up a respectable life and to free themselves from blackmails derived by their condition of being without papers.

We have to demand the immediate abolition of both Minniti-Orlando and Bossi-Fini laws.

We thus have to overcome the current reception system and completely transform it into a new welfare system that does not segregate people in concentration places, yet it truly offers social inclusion possibilities for all women and men.
We have to fight against any form of institutional racism that fosters the war among the poors and we have to embrace all together a new horizon of social redemption and justice.