Immigrants ate my country

Another translation of an article by the Neapolitan writer Rosario Dello Iacovo. The original is here.

In the beginning were the terroni, scroungers and ruin of the nation. Then it was the turn of the Chinese, but the Chinese had money, opened businesses, and kept to themselves; they were too powerful to take on with some reasonable chance of success. So the average Italian thought the time might be come to aim up and take on the politicians, but the anger against the caste did not last long: the politicians shrugged their shoulders, as if they gave a fuck. Some new face from some new movement entered parliament and it all ended as it had started.

Then it was the turn of the refugees on the boats. “Perfect,” said the average Italian, because they were weak enough to have all the sins of the world dumped on them, without the slightest consequence. Like a charm, the dormitories became five star hotels. Even better than a share dividend or a stock exchange index, the maximum figure of 2 euro 50 cash per person per day rose to 1200 euros a month. In the province of Trento someone came forward to affirm that they got up to 2000. Everybody, ah, if it were only the refugees. And saying that it was European Union money, only one twenty-seventh Italian. After a devastating flood, caused by climate change, prolonged excessive heat, but most of all soil erosion, building speculation and planning corruption, the expression was coined: “Immigrants ate my country.”

They were too easy a target, those illegals. One of those within reach of the proverbial courage of the average Italian, for whom during the second world war the British coined the phrase “Italian tanks have one gear to go forward and four to reverse”. And if someone dared to disagree—because those communist devils are never annihilated to the last one—there was always a twist of well-meaning language, used freely in the new crusade against evil. A target so agile that the average Italian even began talking about the Italian poor, for whom they had notoriously never given a fuck, only ever ignoring them or supporting the police who beat them, when they took to the streets to protest.

But even the xenophobic fury was not enough for the average Italian. The odd beating here or there, a Roma camp torched, one more parliamentarian for the Padanian leader who rehabilitated the terroni, promoting them to the Italian second division, listening to De Andre and taking advantage of the fact that Fabrizio is dead and cannot spit in his face. It could not last. In fact, it all calmed down with the coming of winter and the reduction in disembarkations. It seems that on especially clear nights, the average Italian is observed with an anxious gaze turned to the heavens. They say that they expect the arrival of extraterrestrials. Who, so as not to blame themselves, they think will ruin the country.

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