Slippery Italian Slope

Many folks close to me know my obsession with many things Italian. While I’m only one quarter Sicilian, the prominence of my full-blood grandmother in my upbringing and the associated happy memories have fostered a deep love for the food, language, culture, and country of Italy.

But lately, I’m kinda pissed at the Italian government.

You see, it seems that they’re performing a fingerprint census of all Roma (or Gypsy) people in their country – including the 90% which claim Italian citizenship – in an effort to “crack down on crime.” This fingerprinting includes Roma children, but doesn’t include any non-Roma Italians (sounds confusing, but this doesn’t refer to residents of Rome).

I hope this sounds as obviously horrific to readers as it did to me and many in Italy’s population. This is terribly similar in concept to how Germany treated Jews leading up to WWII; blame a minority ethnic group for societal woes (in Italy’s case, theft and such) and set them apart, treating them differently than the rest of the population. That certainly snowballed into one of the greatest human tragedies in history.

Thankfully this isn’t the 1930’s, and the European Union took notice early on, so I don’t foresee any larger-scale escalation without the intervention of the international community. There are currently political efforts within Italy and without to stop this practice, and I hope it picks up steam.

2 thoughts on “Slippery Italian Slope

  1. While it may prove to be a slippery slope, I wouldn’t jump to such conclusions yet. I don’t have any issues with a fingerprint census. If you don’t commit a crime, there is no concern. When/if they start rounding up the gypsies, housing them together, etc, then there is cause for concern. If you would like to be concerned about that, look at China. A friend of mine who is a missionary there told of the “sanitation” the country has been going through for a couple years now prepping for the international exposure for the Olympics. Literally rounding up and jailing all homeless OR handicapped (mental or physical) before olympic representatives came through and viewed the city (talk about a strange public relations campaign). Amazing.

  2. @chriswho: The reason why it alarms me is not that it’s a fingerprint census, but that it’s restricted to one ethnic group, 90% of which are citizens of Italy.That would be like our country requiring a fingerprint census of an ethnic minority in this country, and nobody else.If it was a census for everybody, it would be more palatable. I’m sure privacy advocates would still take issue with collecting everybody’s fingerprints, though, but that’s a separate issue.

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