Are we happy? Delighted, but also aware that we cannot enjoy an afternoon like this forever, spent in one of Europe’s most beautiful squares. We will return to the harsh reality, but that will be tomorrow. Today even the organizers are overwhelmed by one of the biggest demonstrations in years.
The parade Saturday in defense of immigration was an enormous hit, thank God. It will register in history not only as the most impressive anti-racist demonstration ever in Italy, but also because it has materialized as if by magic in one of the worst moments in recent history.
Numbers matter: About 100,000 real people. Kilometers of different stories, united by the same feeling, perhaps confused but sincere. Milan-Barcelona, 1-1. And so, Milan — and we hope that it really is always ahead of its time — since Saturday, has truly become a “top player” among welcoming cities.
Mayor Beppe Sala would say so. He’s one of the protagonists of this event. It seems he is the only politician (although he is not really a politician) who is quietly aware that “the issue of immigration will impact our lives for decades to come, and I want to be a builder of bridges, not walls.” And again: “Facing the momentous issue of migration, we cannot turn away. I promise you I will not. I work every day to build a greater Milan, but this would not make sense if the city were to lose its soul of solidarity. I will attempt to make Milan great but without forgetting solidarity.”
We will see in the facts if he is able to honor this unquestionable success. Even Senate President Pietro Grasso — “those who are born and study here are Italian” — climbed on the stage in Piazza del Cannone. Until the evening, this stage has collected the thoughts of those who wanted to confirm their presence (with the live transmission of Radio Popolare, doing the honors). Emma Bonino looked ahead: “Milan today expresses what the future of the country will be, like it or not.”
May 20 also expressed a liberation for all. From a nightmare that has paralyzed for years and continues to demoralize the best part of society. It is the fear to declare themselves and make anti-racist policy, even raising their own voices. But maybe it can be done, though to be persuasive, we must work hard, keep up to date and get our hands dirty.
There is homework for the left movement. All the leaders of the new jagged course were in Milan (including MDP). Adviser Pierfrancesco Majorino set the example (hats off, please), when he shouted against Matteo Salvini and his “infamies,” uttered to insult those people who accepted his invitation to participate, each one specifically stated and not without some bitterness.
The true reason the parade was so impressive was the massive presence of foreign citizens — never before we have seen so many together. They were not guests, they are protagonists in their own home. Their world is already here. We hope that a documentary filmmaker has registered the complexity of the multitudes that have reappeared with their dramatic or resolved stories, wearing T-shirts or in traditional costumes, as if it were the opening of the Olympic Games.
Everyone was there. Ukrainians, Chinese, Sinhalese, Salvadorans, Mexicans, Senegalese and refugees, legal aliens, all waiting to know if Italy will make them citizens or new prisoners to be returned somewhere, where they will perhaps die.
And going back to the immigration issue, after a day like this, it would be good not to consider our conscience clean and backslide into inaction, without taking into account that the laws passed by the government make waste paper of just about everything that was said Saturday in Milan. New prisons, racial legislation, mass expulsions and deportations to Libya agreed with militias to be trained.
The 100,000 who walked in Milan are demanding something else. Opposition to the Minniti Orlando law was expressed in different forms along kilometers of parade. With signs, waving strips of gold and silver thermal blankets, those worn by surviving migrants. Look around and realize that this common feeling does not mean an oversimplification of the political fact.
Everybody has reiterated it in his or her own way. All those Catholic associations that agree, have shown a great capacity for mobilization (they have a credible leader). All secular associations that deal with immigration were there lecturing on the damage caused by the Democratic Party’s law. The youths of the social centers, those that share the platform “No one is illegal” shouted it in the faces of a few party leaders who Saturday took courage and holed up in the first segment of the parade. Those protected by bodyguards and others who felt a little bit less safe, were surrounded by a cage to soften the protests. They were insulted but nothing special, the only Democratic Party banner that was displayed was a nice fake that marred the look of the first plastered files: “[Democratic Party], worse than the right.”
By the way, a sincere applause to the Democratic Party immigration adviser Pierfrancesco Majorino. He has believed it from the very beginning. Now? It’s time to put our feet on the ground. On Saturday, 358 migrants landed in Trapani, 560 in Vibo Marina and 734 in Augusta.