Last July, Padua, in the northern part of Italy, built a wall around an immigrant estate with a high crime rate. The wall is about 270 feet long and about 10 feet high, and constructed of metal.
This was done by a leftist, multiculturally orthodox town government following riots in the area. In addition to building the wall, the authorities have “relocated” all the illegal immigrants they could find.
Now there is a new initiative, aimed toward restoring peace and attempting to integrate a large variety of ethnic groups into the local population. The new fix will send out 18 immigrants to patrol trouble spots and do “cultural” mediation.
The one-year-long experimental project is innovative in Italy and its objective is to boost the integration of immigrants and improve relations between foreigners and local citizens, said Maria Luisa Ferretti, a deputy city police chief.
“The ‘cultural mediators’ will help immigrants relate in a positive way with local police forces and help their lives along with that of locals,” Ferretti told Adnkronos International (AKI). The 18 will wear a special uniform when they patrol the city, which they will do on a daily basis.
“The main thing is that they talk to people, help them out of difficult situations,” Feretti said.
Once you look at the relative numbers of Italians to immigrants, you know where this “experiment” is headed. Padua has a native population of about 250,000 people. The immigrants number 70,000; they consist of French and English speaking Africans, Arabs, Chinese, Tamil, and Hindi speakers along with some central Europeans. They also reproduce at a rapid rate: a third of all newborns are of foreign born parents.
The report says that much of the conflict comes from the disputes among native Italian and Muslim gangs, fighting a turf war over drugs. If this is the case, then the city ought to take out insurance on this brave patrol of 18 people. Drug dealers responding to “cultural mediation”???
This scheme is doomed. A Moroccan volunteer member claimed:
“Moving towards a multi-cultural society means just this: recognizing the rights of people to maintain their identity while respecting the rules of the country they live in,” she said.
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I’d offer to do a follow up in a year to let you know how this turns out, but my intuition tells me this is another pie-in-the-sky utopian fix-it job. The wall? Good idea. Removing the illegals? Bound to improve the situation. But 18 people to patrol a polyglot of 70,000 non-native, multi-ethnic people? Dream on.
This “experiment” will fall down the memory hole before the year is gone.