Life As Immigrant At The Notorious Pantanella In Via Casilina Rome

Ex Pastificio Pantanella occupato da centinaia di immigrati asiatici provenienti dal Pakistan e Bangladesh.Ex Pastificio Pantanella occupied by hundreds of Asian immigrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Roma Novembre 1990 Ex Pastificio Pantanella occupato da centinaia di immigrati asiatici provenienti dal Pakistan, Bangladesh, Africani tra cui (Joel Savage) Panoramica della Pantanella. Rome

As a child growing up in a strongly religious family, I was thought that everything which is opposite to the teachings of the Holy Bible, including laziness is a sin. I tried my best to live a clean life. We were thought to believe that Israel, Jerusalem, and other Biblical countries were all in heaven, without a slight knowledge those countries were on the same earth we are living today.

When I left my family looking for a job, I tried to be sincere and prevented doing anything wrong which could land me in jail. I read that jail changes people’s attitude to be good or worse. But I wasn’t interested to know the positive or negative influences of jail on people. My only interest is never to be there because it’s not the right place for me.

In the year 1990, from Lagos, Nigeria, I made a transit in Rome, on my way to German. In Rome, I was detained at the Fiumicino airport. The Italian immigration regularly does that to many foreigners, especially Africans. Like a tourist, I walked around the airport lounge without a room to sleep and food for three days. On the third, I was really starving, so I approached one of the immigration officials and said to him that I am hungry. He looked at my face and asked me “Am I your father?” Then he walked away.

Without knowing what the officials have in store for me, I handed over an application for asylum as a journalist and it worked, because I have some few publications over my profession on me. On the fourth day, from nowhere came one of the immigration officers, he said to me: “Your application has been accepted, today the police will come to take you to Rome.” I was shocked beyond expression.

Ex Pastificio Pantanella occupato da centinaia di immigrati asiatici provenienti dal Pakistan e Bangladesh.Ex Pastificio Pantanella occupied by hundreds of Asian immigrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Roma 31 gennaio 1991 Ex Pastificio Pantanella occupato da centinaia di immigrati asiatici provenienti dal Pakistan e Bangladesh. Le forze dell’Ordine sgombrano la Pantanella. Rome, January 31, 1991 Ex Pastificio Pantanella occupied by hundreds of Asian immigrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh. The Police evacuate the Pantanella.

 The good Samaritan didn’t only deliver the unexpected message, but he pulled out from his pocket a number of notes and said to me: “I don’t want my colleagues to see me giving you money, buy some food to eat at the airport.” I didn’t take the money. I told him: “This important information you have given to me has taken all the hunger away, thank you.” He walked away with his money.

On the fourth day, the police came, just as the officer told me and took me in a police car to the city, Rome, and left me there to fight for my survival. Without anywhere to sleep, I passed all my nights at the Central Train Station. Among other Africans, we watched a big television screen during the day to forget our misery, then in the night, I go to sleep at my hiding place. The police and the workers at the train station never discovered the place I slept.

After some time, I discovered places where I could eat every day without paying for food. I could take my bath and take some clothes. One of such places was at ‘Via Dandolo.’ Daniela, the head of the Caritas (Charity) at Via Dandolo, was a very good woman, but one of her female workers was a very bad woman. A thief. Since we had no address, our letters passed through the Caritas at Via Dandola and this woman took the opportunity to steal money from our letters.

I caught her twice, so I wasn’t surprised when I lost the 10 pounds a friend sent me from England, but I didn’t tell Daniela about it. Through the Caritas, I had my initial lessons and attended classes to learn the Italian. I was one of the best immigrants who could write and speak the language fluently, yet my life was miserable because I was still sleeping at the train station.

In Rome, I was robbed, admitted and operated at a hospital, but the nurse refused to touch me, because of my color, thus; every morning when on duty, she calls someone to attend to me, but she had time for every Italian patient at the hospital. I was once sitting in the hospital’s garden after the operation, when an Italian old man, one of the patients came close to me, looked at my face and said to me: “Marocchino motaccizoa.” – an insult, after mistakenly taken me as a Moroccan. I didn’t say a word.

Then all of a sudden, as if it was announced on the radio, all the immigrants in Rome, without accommodation, discovered an abandoned Pasta factory called ‘Pantanella.’ Pantanella is notoriously known for all criminal activities, including drug peddling and crime, similar to drug cartel zones of Mexico. One needs strength, courage, heart and braveness to survive at that place. Italians think they are brave, but many of them dare to pass Via Casilina, the street Pantanella is located in the night.

That was the place I lived and worked as a toilet cleaner for thousands of immigrants, using six containers as toilets, to raise money to feed. I was employed by the Muslim head at the place. It’s terrible and frightening to live at Pantenella. It wasn’t a prison, but the place, I think was tough like Alcatraz, because of the criminal activities many illegal immigrants engaged in feeding.

 

Ex Pastificio Pantanella occupato da centinaia di immigrati asiatici provenienti dal Pakistan e Bangladesh.Ex Pastificio Pantanella occupied by hundreds of Asian immigrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Roma 31 gennaio 1991 Ex Pastificio Pantanella occupato da centinaia di immigrati asiatici provenienti dal Pakistan e Bangladesh. Le forze dell’Ordine sgombrano la Pantanella. Scoppia un incendio durante lo sgombero Rome, January 31, 1991 Ex Pastificio Pantanella occupied by hundreds of Asian immigrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh. The Police evacuate the Pantanella.A fire during the evacuation

The abandoned factory accommodated both soft and hardened criminals from various countries, including Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Africa etc. I lived in Pantanella for four months, and the Italian government tired of the crimes going on in that abandoned Pasta factory ejected all the foreigners.

But the Italian government did something great for the African immigrants. Something we weren’t expecting. The government paid for two weeks stay in a hotel for all the Africans, with the ultimatum that before the two weeks expired, we should find a place on our own to live.

Through a very good sympathetic woman called Nana, (she died in Rome a few years ago) I got a job as a houseboy to serve one journalist called Claudio Lavazza, working at television station TG2, belonging to the former Italian Prime Minister, Sylvio Berlusconi. He provided me accommodation and paid me well. Besides, he gave me the new version of Fiat Cinque Cento (500) to drive. It may be likely that I was the first black man in the entire Italy to drive the new Fiat Cinque Cento when it freshly came out. I met other journalist friends of Claudio, including Michele Cucuzza.

After three years, I said goodbye to Rome and returned to Africa. I married and returned to Europe once again but this time choosing Amsterdam. ‘Overseas Chronicle: The Rome and Amsterdam Experience’ is a book once started you’ll find it hard to put away, because of the shocking intriguing stories in the book. Find out more of what happened to me in Rome and later in Holland, which led me to detention in Amsterdam.

 

Come sono sopravvissuto come un immigrato nella Pantanella pericoloso può essere letto in: 
Chronicle 3

Overseas Chronicle-The Rome & Amsterdam Experience: One Man’s Encounter as an Illegal Immigrant

 

The struggle of an illegal immigrant in Europe

Author Joel Savage explores the struggles of being an illegal immigrant in Europe in his book, Overseas Chronicle: The Rome and Amsterdam Experience. In his third memoir, Savage documents his travels from Rome to Amsterdam.

Author Joel Savage explores the struggles of being an illegal immigrant in Europe in his book, Overseas Chronicle: The Rome and Amsterdam Experience. In his third memoir, Savage documents his travels from Rome to Amsterdam.

Surviving encounters with the Mafia and sleeping in abandoned factories, including Pantanella, and the central train station in Rome, Savage decided to move camp to Amsterdam, hoping for a better life. Instead, he realized the hard immigration policies and liberal abuse of drugs and alcohol  had taken a toll on the immigrants in Amsterdam and he wanted no part of it.

Hoping to obtain documentation to rid him of his immigrant status, Savage ended up in many difficult situations, one of which included being arrested and put behind bars. In this passionately written book, the reader gains insight into the pain and agony of being an outsider stuck in a foreign country when all one wants is to be a part of it. Joel Savage’s novel is a must‐read for those hungry for a cultural experience.

Savage was born in Ghana before becoming a citizen of Sierra Leone. His father influenced him at an early age to pursue journalism, and since then he has written for numerous newspapers in Ghana and Belgium.

He currently lives in Belgium with his wife and three children. He freelances for newspapers, magazines, and television and is a member of the Flemish Journalism Association in Belgium.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B013SLNWFC

A Blue Millions Books Interview With Author Joel Savage

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Featured Author: Joel Savage

Joel Savage, author of Overseas Chronicle-The Rome and Amsterdam Experience, and he’s here today with Virtualbookworm Publishing to talk about the book and writing in general.

About the book:

The Roman Catholic priests continuously abused the young boys they had provided accommodation and in Amsterdam the liberal laws on drugs have destroyed a lot of people that there are walking dead on the streets.

In Amsterdam, the police successfully have impounded hundreds of kilos of drugs which are brought into the country through the airport Schiphol, yet marijuana and other harmful drugs find their way into the coffee-shops for customers. Where do those drugs come from? Who is controlling it? The government, the army, the police, or the Queen?

Rome

Catholic Rome

Interview with Joel Savage

Joel, how long have you been writing, and how did you start?

I have been writing since I was a teenager. I grew up in environment where I witnessed the experiences of those dying in desperation, and it deepened my understanding and knowledge to start writing books inspired by true events.

What do you like best about writing?

Writing has been my passion. It may be a hereditary thing since my father was a journalist and writer.

What’s your least favorite thing?

I don’t have any least favorite thing but I feel restless when a particular book I’m working on is left uncompleted.

Do you have another job outside of writing?

Yes, when I am not behind my desk, I work as a cleaner or sometimes as a forklift driver to support my family.

How did you create the plot for this book?

I was aware of the subject I wanted to write about and since it falls in the genre of non-fiction, I made the book very interesting to read, letting the reader feel that he or she is witnessing firsthand.

Do you outline, write by the seat of your pants, or let your characters tell you what to write?

Having the story in mind, I just plan the outline and the story continues as the book is inspired by true events.

Did you have any say in your cover art?

I love being creative and adventurous. I therefore design the cover illustration of every book I have written.

What books have you read more than once or want to read again?

The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peal

What’s your favorite line from a book?

There was an advice to a certain lady to refrain from thinking in order to prevent wrinkles from forming on her forehead.

Tell us a book you’re an evangelist for.

The Devil that Danced on the Water by Aminatta Forna.

What do you do to market your book?

I write little feature articles on my blog relating to my books before they are published.

Joel, tell us about your favorite scene in the book.

When I was invited by the police in Amsterdam for my documents, I went without any idea that I was going to be arrested and thrown behind bars. The police told me “We knew that woman more than you; she takes money from foreigners under the pretext of helping them.” I couldn’t say anything.

What song would you pick to go with your book?

I don’t have any song which suits my case but I remember that time the African-American musician, R Kelly’s lyrics, “I believe I can fly” supported me spiritually through faith to survive.

Who are your favorite authors?

Norman Vincent Peale, Aminatta Forna, Jeffery Archer and Ryszard Kapucinski.

What are your favorite books as a child, as a teenager, and as an adult?

Books inspired by true events.

Which author would you most like to invite to dinner, and what would you fix him?

Harrison Ford. I will first ask him what he likes best.

Do you have a routine for writing? Do you work better at night, in the afternoon, or in the morning?

I write when time is available. It can be morning, evening and even at midnight.

Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?

At home at night.

Do you ever get writer’s block? What do you do when it happens?

At the moment I haven’t experienced any writer’s block because I’m still working on other scripts.

What’s one of your favorite quotes?

“Whatever happens to me benefits me, because it educates me morally and spiritually.”

What three books have you read recently and would recommend?

Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less, by Jeffrey Archer; My Laugh Comes Last, by James Hadley Chase; and Cry My Beloved Country, by Alan Paton.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Watch a favorite program on the television.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?Australia

If you could take a trip anywhere in the world, where would you go?
United States of America

What are you working on now?

My new script The Passion of Reggae and African Music.

Joel Answers the Dirty Dozen:

1.    Name one thing you couldn’t live without.

The Holy Bible

2.    If you could only keep one book,what would it be?

  The Power of Positive Thinking

3.    Your last meal would be…

Last meal wouldn’t taste well. I prefer to request the Bible.

4.    Would you rather work in a library or a bookstore?

I prefer any of them because both are the best way to increase your knowledge and interact with people.

5.    You won the lottery.What’s the first thing you would buy?

A house.

6.    Would you rather be stranded on a deserted island or the North Pole?

Both aren’t a good experience if one finds himself in any of the two. I will therefore pray for this never to occur.7.    You’re given the day off, and you can do anything but write. What would you do?

I will still use that precious time to write.

8. You’re driven to a private plane and told it will take you anywhere your want to go. Where would it be?

A place I haven’t visited yet, United States of America.

9.    You can be any fictional character for one day. Who would you be?

Sammy Davis Jr.

10.    Where would your dream office be?

A place where business thrives with friendly people.

11.    If you could do only one, would you rather read or write?

Write.

12.    One of your main characters has to die. Which one would you kill off?

That’s a hard decision. I am happy I’m not working on anything like that at the moment.
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http://www.amazon.com/Overseas-Chronicle-Joel-Savage/dp/1621371271