Three sisters have perished in a presumed arson attack on a Roma family in Rome. They lived together with their parents and eight other siblings in a caravan parked outside a shopping centre. Italy's press is shocked and calls for urgent action in view of the moral decay in the capital and the failed integration of minorities.
The brutalisation of the Eternal City
Shocked by the incident, author and journalist Corrado Augias tries to explain how it could happen in La Repubblica:
“Rather than looking at the chronology of the events I seek historical connections, I return to the parameters of cruelty in our past, to the many books about concentration camps. A transformation took place in the minds of the torturers back then. The bodies were covered in rags, the empty stares no longer belonged to men and women but to indefinable creatures, devoid of all humanity. They were invisible. I believe a similar process took place in the minds of the murderer last night. .. It has become increasingly easy to feel abandoned and invisible in Rome. Rome has become an undefined mass where the incompetent city administration reflects a population among which the worrying symptoms of regression and violence can be found ever more frequently.”
No integration without equal rights
The Catholic daily Avvenire calls for action:
“We need to understand the reasons behind tragedies like the one that took place last night. And we must take action to ensure that no one grows up cooped up in a camper van and dies in an arson attack. … Those who are religious can pray for the victims. At the institutional level the national strategy for taking in and integrating Roma must be implemented in order to put an end to this persistent crisis. That strategy is based on four fundamental rights for everyone: long-term and adequate accommodation (not barracks in camps, but houses), the right to medical care, a proper education programme and integration into the working world - with financial incentives as well as stringent regulations. Proper accommodation, healthcare, education and work can prevent tragedies and ensure that deep-rooted prejudice and mutual distrust finally give way to true integration.”