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Building walls, not bridges

23 July 2009
Published in Attualità, Politics
by Luna Brozzi

picarticle1317I’m sitting in Charles de Gaulle Airport, ed patiently waiting to board my plane, recipe my mind is flying all over the place, search one thought turns into another. The airport is filled with people from all over the world, different languages, skins, perfumes, cultures, customs. People continuously moving, mixing. No time like today has it been so easy to connect different corners of the world in a matter of seconds and yet there is lack of communication.

Only in the past few years has Italy become a “victim” of immigration, a phenomenon that other European countries have been battling for decades. One of the major problems has been the integration of these immigrants, the solutions vary, the effectiveness doubtful. The latest has been Sarkozy’s grand idea of proposing to ban the burqa for fear that it poses a threat to the secular nature of the French constitution. Are you being Serious?! How can these people integrate if they can’t follow what is dear to them. The answer I have received: Let them go back to their country if they don’t like it here, if we go to their country we would have to do what they want. Again, are you being Serious?! Should we not be setting an example of tolerance and respect with the hope that others follow? People move with the hope of building a better life for themselves, giving their children more than they had. Instead, they have a difficult time integrating, they become more extreme, more marginalized, and hating where they are but forced to stay as back in their country of origin the prospective of work is almost inexistent. Imposing such a ban does not improve anything. Rather it enforces the hostility that exists. Muslim women have the choice to wear the veil just as Jews have the choice to wear the Kippa, it’s a matter of tradition, of belief. Why can we not accept this? If France is worried about women’s dignity and freedom, let us show these women that we respect their choices, let us provide them with jobs, let us educate them, let us make them feel at home that way they may go back to their country of origin and share their positive experiences with other women and bring change where equal rights don’t exist.

It seems to me that we are building so many walls in different sectors and places of the world, from the invisible ones to the physical ones, the worst example being the one constructed between Israel and Palestine. Did you know that at some points the wall is 8 meters high and 680 km long? The Berlin Wall was 4 meters high and 155 km long.    Have we learned nothing from history? Do we consciously repeat what has happened? As children, we were continuously taught to learn from our mistakes, to do good, to lend a helping hand, what has happened? How can we expect peace in this world when we teach our children from a young age to hate a People that they have never met? What has perplexed me the most is how we can do unto others what has been done to us and caused us great suffering. I don’t think that I will ever have an answer to this question.

In Italy we are at a crucial moment trying to decide what to do with immigrants, testing different methods, what will we opt for at the end? Will we be able to learn from the mistakes of others and set an example to be followed? I have faith: Build Bridges, Not Walls.

One Response to “Building walls, not bridges”

  1. MSK says:

    Dear Luna,

    first of all I don’t see the point of comparing,or just mentioning a fake comparison, between the fence situated between Israel and the West Bank and the issue of immigration in Italy. Is it just because it sounds nice to talk about walls and bridges?

    Second of all, and here is my point: France has a long tradition from the French Revolution on of supporting secularism and leaving the religion between the walls of each and every one’s home. The hijab was banned as any big religious symbols of ANY OTHER RELIGION. Furthermore we could debate about the freedom of choice of Muslim women to wear the veil…

    Thirdly it does not seem that anyone is proposing a serious solution to illigal immigration, but signing agreements with dictators as Gheddaffi who, if you (in general)haven’t understood yet, is just making fun of us and using our sources and sense of guiltiness for his own porpuses.

    Sorry Sonia but I don’t see any serious reflection of today’s problems nor a suggestion for a possible solution in your article. And that picture you posted is just meaningless.