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From our correspondent in Italy

The Romanian who denounced Italians' racism on Facebook

Luni, 14 septembrie 2009, 11:39 English | Regional Europe

Ovidiu Deculescu
Foto: Arhiva personala
Ovidiu Deculescu is a Romanian Italian young man, "just like any other", as he likes to describe himself. He is 22. Ovidiu spent half of his life in Bucharest and then came to live in North-Italy, with his mother who works as a nurse. He is currently studying Foreign Languages at the University in Padua, where he took his passion for Romanian culture and computers. For a year now, the Romanian is fighting against numerous racist groups set up on the internet and he is actively engaged with the Italian police to unveil those displaying a xenophobe attitude towards Romanians.

He's been using Facebook for four years, first to stay in contact with his friends, then to participate to the virtual life and so he subscribed to several groups matching his interests. At some point, he discovered a series of Italian groups whose main aim was to denigrate the Romanian nation. Intrigued, he started to follow them and he soon realised that these groups were not only about objective critics, but about generalisations of exaggerated description lacking any genuine shred.

He was introduced by a friend to a group whose symbol was a swear phrase against Romanians. There were reactions to the TV add broadcasted by the Italian channels: "Romania, piacere di conoscerti" (Romania, a pleasure to meet you), a campaign funded heavily by the Romanian government. Many Italians seemed to be disgusted by the clip and started to bring offences to the Romanian nation.

At first, Ovidiu joined the groups and tried to discuss with their members, trying to break down false stereotypes and to show aspects from Italy's society and history that can stand as a counter-argument to the offences they laid against Romanians. He also indicated to the massive emigrations that Italians themselves were once subject to. He did not forget to stress that old Italians were cared for by Romanian social assistants. But he only managed to attract more hatred. But he also managed to find a few groups looking for a solution for the problems raised by immigration and delinquency.

"Many answered my messages with words like 'All Romanians are criminals' (i romeni sono tutti delinquenti), 'Romanians kill' (i romeni ammazzano), or 'Romanians are an inferior race' (i romeni sono una razza inferiore)," Ovidiu said. Many of these groups were set up after a Romanian raped and killed an Italian woman - the Mailat case - and a Romanian woman killed an Italian with an umbrella. There is also a very high number of Romanian immigrants in Italy.

According to Ovidiu, most of the virtual racists are persons younger than 40, who spend much of their free time consuming TV programmes. One message he received from an Italian woman convinced him to address the Italian Police. A.G. wrote to him:

  • "You, Romanians, are an inferior nation. You don't have moral principles, you don't have feelings, you don't have anything good. Nicolae Ceausescu (n.b. Romanian communist dictator killed in 1989), before he ran away and was caught, should have finished your race."

He built a dossier and submitted it with the Police, alongside a penal complaint. Messages like the ones he received are forbidden by law. "I documented my self on what I had to do, something that all of us should do when attacked because we're Romanians. Not to shut up and stick one's head in the sand. Unfortunately, many Romanians have no idea how many things one can achieve when the law is on your side".

Some of the groups were shut down by Facebook administration. The worst messages read "I'll grab a Molotov cocktail and throw it on Romanians", "Let's kill all Romanians", "Romanians in furnace, burnt alive", "rather a slow death for Romanians full of s...". There are also group who militate for a better image: "Say no to Romanian's mediatic hanging" (No all’impiccagione mediatica dei romeni), with about 500 members, and "The 999,999 Romanians that don't rape" (I 999 999 romeni che non violentano).

Some Facebook Italia groups' names mock Romanians. One title goes "More Romanian women, less Romanian men" (+rumene, - rumeni), a rude suggestion brought to Romanian women working in Italy; others go "Do we want to chase away the Romanians from the Peninsula? Increase the beer price!". An Italian furious with Romanians wrote: "I can't stand walking through Rome and having the impression that I teleported myself in Bucharest".

Citeste doar ceea ce merita. Urmareste-ne si pe Facebook si Instagram.

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