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Racism in Italy. On the day of Barack Obama’s triumph...

EveryOne Group | 13.11.2008 10:25 | Anti-racism | Repression | World


Anton Caldarar
Anton Caldarar

Racism in Italy. On the day of Barack Obama’s triumph...

The case of Anton Caldarar.


CESENA, November 4, 2008 – Anton Caldarar is a young Roma father. He has lived in Italy for the last eight years and is familiar with all the aspects of discrimination, racial hatred, violence and racist authorities. In the video-
testimony, Anton himself tells of the recent ill-treatment the railway police subjected him to.
We accompanied Anton to the Casualty department at San Salvatore Hospital in Pesaro, where doctors
confirmed the effects of the beating and the physical humiliation suffered at the railway station and a
police station in Cesena.
His assailants were not satisfied with just beating him up, they also charged him with “resisting a police
officer” mocking him and announcing that if he didn’t have the money for a lawyer, he would end up in
jail. We have given voice to his testimony, which is not an isolated case, but one of the many violations of
human rights towards the Roma people that are taking place every day in Italy, and which practically all
the Roma citizens in our country can testify to.
Intimidated, insulted, humiliated, beaten up, hunted down by the police force, kicked out of their
makeshift shelters and thrown out into the street with children and sick relatives, oppressed by
institutions and the law, burnt alive in arson attacks, the Roma people are a vulnerable and marginalised
minority who have no rights in Italy, not even the right to live.
Over the last 12 months the Roma originating from Romania have suffered inhumane treatment in Italy,
and the persecution from the authorities has reduced their numbers from about 40,000 to about 3,000 -
all living in desperate conditions. In spite of the charters for human rights and the EU directives and
resolutions, no programmes of integration and assistance have been created for them, while newspapers
and TV channels have conducted a campaign of unscrupulous racist propaganda, spreading lies and false
stereotypes (many dating back to Medieval times): the same shameful propaganda the Italian politicians
used to conduct their electoral campaigns.

We hope episodes such as the one Anton experienced, symbolic of the Roma people’s condition in Italy,
can help to stir the consciences
(consciences that appear to have grown sluggish) of those who claim to care for the modern ideals of
democracy, justice and universal brotherhood. If the virus of racism which has developed with
unprecedented destructivity in Italy were to spread to other EU countries (and there are signs that this is
happening) dangerous ghosts of barbarism and intolerance could very quickly take shape and restore new
strength to the “monsters” the new Europe is trying hard to distance itself from.

Anton Caldarar interview (with english subtitles)

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Cesena, November 4th, 2008. Anton Caldarar is a young Roma father. He came to Italy eight years ago to escape a life of poverty and marginalization in Romania. Italy, however, has reserved for him new forms of social exclusion and he is forced to beg on the streets to survive. His wife suffers from a serious neurological disorder.

Anton and his family are now living in Pesaro in an abandoned, derelict building without any heating or running water. The social services and local institutions, who are well aware of their situation, have chosen to ignore it: “We don’t want these “fish” in our waters,” the councillor of the social services recently declared.

On the day of Barack Obama’s triumph, the first black President of the United States, Anton was feeling very proud. He was proud of being a Rom and was convinced that if a black man had succeeded in being elected to the White House, then maybe a “gypsy” too could contribute to changing society.

Anton stood in Cesana station, smiling to himself. When some policemen approached him and told him in a threatening and offensive tone of voice to move along, the boy did not bow his head: “No, I’m not leaving the station, because I have to buy a ticket and wait for the train that will take me home”.

The policemen listened to his words and were stunned: “How dare that “gypsy” talk to them that way? How dare he contradict them, that little dark-skinned man? Didn’t he know what happened to Roma who refuse to obey men in uniform? Like Rosa Parks (who over fifty years ago on a bus travelling through the streets of Montgomery, Alabama, said “no” to racial discrimination and refused to give up her seat reserved for white people) Anton too said “no” to the persecutors of his people.

While the handcuffs were being secured around his wrists and punches and kicks rained down on his body, Anton felt like his idol Barack Obama: a man who refused to give up his dream. “The road is long and an uphill one. But we will get there.”

For further information:
Gruppo EveryOne
Tel: (+ 39) 334-8429527 - (+ 39) 331-3585406 ::


RIMINI, November 11, 2008 – Last night someone attempted to kill a tramp in Rimini, by setting fire to him while he slept on a public bench in Via Flaminia, They had first poured a can of petrol over him. The resulting burns were
so serious the man had to be transferred to a special burns unit in Padua where he now lies in a critical

Racism in Italy: a spiral of violence and intolerance which calls for an active commitment from everyone.

Let us take, for example, the Romagna-Marche coastline, which has a reputation for being an area of
hospitality and tolerance. From Pesaro to Forlì, from Cesena to Rimini the situation of the homeless and
the Roma communities is totally unacceptable, due to increasingly violent and widespread intolerance,
aided by the enthusiastic support of politicians (both right-wing and left-wing) and the authorities. This
persecution is looking more and more like the period of the racial laws, and it appears the ethnic and
social cleansing underway suits everyone.
The events on the Adriatic coast, however, are just a small part of what it taking place all over Italy where
the effects of racism are now out of control. The members of EveryOne, instead of receiving support for
their commitment, have received all kinds of intimidation and threats, both from the institutions and
from racist groups. Roma members of the group have been beaten up, they have received death threats,
insults and other forms of police and judicial persecution.
EveryOne Group, however, will continue to report this frightful sequence of crimes against humanity and
to call on the intervention of all those who consider themselves anti-racists (if there are any left).
We are combining the news of the latest attack on a homeless person and the video-testimony, complete
with medical report – of a young Roma man who was subjected to the usual “treatment” from members of
the police force. But that’s not all: today (November 11th) a young girl was beaten up in Florence.
EveryOne is collecting witness accounts and medical reports in order to take further action.

Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro, Dario Picciau
EveryOne Group

Gruppo EveryOne - Tel: (+39) 334 3449180
or (+39) 334-8429527 ::

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