Ugly, dirty and obviously bad. Migrants, refugees, fugitives, survivors. We do not want any more of them. Put them in some other city. As of now, Rome is a closed city.
Mayor Virginia Raggi issued an anxious and spirited letter. In this letter, she asked prefect Paola Basilone to stop the flow of migrants into the city: We do not want any more strangers. Welcoming them is “impossible and risky.” And Beppe Grillo contributes to amplify this message through his sacred blog, threatening deportations and raids: We will do in Rome what no one did in 20 years.
Here, the racist impulse of the 5 Star Movement emerges. It is certainly a reflection of the election, as mechanical as it is primitive. A direct consequence of the disappointing result in the administrative elections held on Sunday, when all those reactionary votes went back to where they came from (that is, the right).
But there is something more. It is part of the middle-class cultural horizon with which Grillo’s movement managed to get an undifferentiated consensus. By interpreting and stroking the narrow-minded egos, the self-righteous distress, the misguided anger, the xenophobic fury. Then, blaming the Roma who beg at the Metro stations or the African kids who camp at the Tiburtina station, reassuring a darkened respectability and dull minds.
So far in Rome, the authorities had limited their actions to a removal of a few asylum seekers and rounding up a few illegal street vendors, while the municipal police are behaving more violent and dismissive.
And nothing had been set up for the reception of migrants. They quickly saturated the existing structures. An inefficient and frightened administrative inertia has not regulated the streams or deployed the new arrivals. Consequently the impact of migration into the city has been magnified.
Not that the capital shines for efficiency and speed, but in Rome there is little ability to handle a social emergency, with acceptance and accommodation plans. There are unused public spaces, abandoned hospitals, barracks acquired by the city, abandoned factories, as well as thousands of hectares along the edge of the city. However, Mayor Raggi has chosen to be lulled into lethargy: not to subtract from the municipal assets for sale and not to establish new shelters in less-populated districts.
So it is better to stop everything, stop everyone, and who cares about all those poor desperate people.