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

The Embrace Of Illiteracy As Traditional Value In Africa

Female circumcision

A traumatized woman after circumcision

Africa is a vast continent filled with varieties of customs, traditions, cultures and languages. Some of these outdated traditions and customs are seen as senseless, useless, valueless, illiteracy and complete ignorance.

Female Circumcision: It is estimated that about 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with disastrous effects of female circumcision. Horrific procedures have severely traumatized and psychologically affected thousands of women. Female circumcision is practiced in 26 countries across Africa.

In the Republic of Sierra Leone, an ethnic group called “The Bondo Society” still carries this outdated tradition. Gambia launched a three-year program aimed to abolish Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Female circumcision is the number one on my list as illiteracy taken as traditional or custom.

Tribal deformity in Nigeria

Horrible tribal marks of a Yoruba woman

Horrible tribal marks in Nigeria: In the olden days, tribal marks were used as identification, especially in Yoruba lands, such as Ogun, Oyo, Ondo States, and Benin. Should in case something happens to you, your tribal marks would help to identify the tribe you originate or where you come from. The illiteracy behind this barbarous act has disfigured the face of thousands of Nigerians.

Some of the marks are so horrible that they attract people and gossip. Some women have to live with it for the rest of their lives without husbands.  Time changes as we step into the world of technology and development. Disfiguring of the face as tribal marks is gradually fading away or completely stopped in many places thought out the country.

 

In South Africa, is a relatively landlocked country called Swaziland. The king of the country, Mswati III has 14 wives. This illiteracy which had been in existence for years is followed as a tradition.

The 46-year old monarch has ruled over Swaziland, which is on the brink of economic disaster for 28 years. He can’t even solve the problems of 40 per cent of Swazis that are unemployed, the country’s highest HIV infection rate per capita in the world, and the life expectancy of 46 years among the world’s lowest, yet at every annual reed dance, the king takes the opportunity to take a new wife. Is this king ignorant, serious or a joker?

Illiteracy swapped as a custom

Swaziland King Mswati III chooses a wife annually during Reed dance. Photo credit: Reuters

He recently married a girl of fifteen. Apart from the continued abuse of young girls, the king’s  wealth includes  expensive cars (fleets of top-of-the-range Mercedes and BMW cars, at least one Rolls-Royce and a $500,000 Daimler Chrysler flagship Maybach 62) and the private jet ($17 million), while the citizens wallow in poverty. This money can be invested into education and health care to develop his country. Have you seen how stupid and ignorant some of these African leaders are?

 

Illiteracy swapped as a traditional value

Ignorance or illiteracy? Swaziland King Mswati III has made Africa a laughing stock in the eyes of the Advanced World.

When Asia is making headlines around the world, it’s about business, but in the case of Africa, it’s about poverty, corruption, war, conflicts and such stupid traditions and customs, draining Africa’s coffers and under-developing Africa. I have said this and I will repeat once again “If African leaders want the Advanced World to respect them, they should show a little intelligence and maturity because they underestimate and laugh at Africa.

What Has Happened To The Precious Dignity Of A Woman?

 

Nude celebrities spoiling the names of other women

This is not a fashion but the abuse of the precious dignity of a woman.

The concept of life is a reality to me. If there is no baby, there is no woman and if there is no woman, there wouldn’t be a baby. They all come from the mother’s womb. Woman’s creation is therefore seen as a symbol of crown, dignity, honour and beauty. Women are therefore special. I believe women see themselves in the same way too, that’s the reason all over the world they are fighting against disrespect, discrimination, sexual harassment, abuse, and violence because the importance of women has been marred for centuries.

Unfortunately, the fight against factors affecting or degrading women in the circles of life, is far from victory, because the same women (Some celebrities) and porn stars are spoiling the essence of the dignity of woman, by flooding the internet with pornographic materials and naked pictures for everyone to see. A woman’s body is meant to be sacred, secretive etc, but today all you see is woman’s vagina staring at you on the internet.

Some celebrities now prefer to attend functions, parties, fashion shows and entertainments without underwear. It sounds strange but it’s a reality. They deliberately set to expose their hairy or shaved vagina, while others pose by lifting up their dresses for photographers and everyone around to see them nude in public. What a world are we living in? It saddens me, as women meant to be decent mothers and industrious, yet they do this to themselves.

I am not a celebrity, therefore I don’t know how one feels to be one, but if being a celebrity triggers mental instability, I wouldn’t like to be one for even a second. In the African society; women are held in high esteem, despite their domination by some religious sects. In some clans and tribes, because of the importance of a woman in the society, during a marriage ceremony, the man is prevented from seeing the woman, until the ceremony is over.

It may take weeks or months to see the nude legs of your wife, let alone her thighs or the golden box. This is not the case in Europe and America. It seems when a celebrity doesn’t appear online nude she isn’t classified as a human being among the human race, while in the African culture, a woman who doesn’t wear pant is considered a lunatic.

In another development, a Kenyan pastor has told his female congregation to feel free in their mind and body and stop wearing underwear and bras to church on Sundays. Reverend Njohi of Nairobi’s Lord’s Propeller Redemption Church further warned there would be grave consequences if the female members did not adhere to the rules. Hearing of such things reminds me of the fulfilling of the scriptures. “Many false prophets will rise, and will deceive many,” said Jesus. Matthew 24:11.

Why do some women do such things in public knowing that the dignity of a woman lies in moral and physical purity? The thirst for fame, publicity and the challenge of doing something (stupid) they think it’s extraordinary, for the press to write something about it, is all that they are looking for. Media attention and cheap publicity have blinded them to the extent that they don’t know what shame is.

Adults that need to educate the children from such immorality are now exposing their naked parts on television and in the public for the children to follow. No wonder teenage pregnancy and rape have significantly increased. It is disgusting and an eyesore to see the precious and sacred body of a woman advertised for public view. It takes a million people to build a good reputation but one stupid fool to destroy everything they had done. These celebrities are tainting the dignity of women and dragging their faces in the mud.

The range of female influence and experience in the society has slowly been brought to the fore: from politics, powerful leaders, model women to the social and religious power of female priests. Is it necessary for women to fight against disrespect in the society when they continue disrespecting themselves? The hardest problems have solutions. The restoration of women’s dignity should be a priority to every woman. They can fight to make the internet clean by discouraging nudity on the internet, to make the internet safer for the children.

Exploring Slave Dungeons At Cape Coast Castle

castle 2

Tourists exploring a slave dungeon at the Cape Coast castle

The mere mention of slavery brings bad memories, as it harboured unimaginable evil act, as thousands of Africans were captured under inhuman circumstances in overcrowded dungeons and transported across the Atlantic to the New World. Even though slavery is long abolished, the African still bears the psychological scars, as he fights to regain his lost identity and respect among mankind on the surface of the earth today.

The slave trade in Ghana mainly took place at coastal towns, but I wish to write about Cape Coast, my country of birth, which was the center of the British slave trade for almost 150 years. Cape Coast is located in the central region of Ghana. It was the capital of Gold Coast between 1700 until 1877 when the capital was shifted to Accra. Ghana replaced Gold Coast when the country achieved its independence in 1957.

Echoes of sad music in the air can be heard from Cape Coast, attracting thousands of tourists including African-Americans and other Africans in the Diaspora to visit the place, where their ancestors were packed like a sardine into ships for slavery. There is a proverb in Ghana which says “Man don’t cry.” I’m beginning to question this proverb if it has any elements of truth because many Africans in the Diaspora who visit Cape Coast castle can’t hold back their tears.

The psychological effect and emotions over Cape Coast Castle, which still has the remnants of the slave trade, are unbearable. President Obama, wife, Michelle and children can’t forget the experience of touring the preserved sites. One can’t escape the cold waves which go through the spine. Even though many Africans in the Diaspora haven’t been to Ghana to trace their roots or visit Cape Coast, others had. The Pan African Historical Festival, simply called PANAFEST is a cultural event which has brought thousands of African-Americans to visit Cape Coast.

Visiting Cape Coast Castle to understand the pain and suffering endured by the millions of slaves is an important step for African-Americans and other Africans in the Diaspora to be closer to Africa. It is sad to note that many hate to be referred to as Africans, even though history about their origin isn’t a fabricated story. It seems that’s the way to help forget this bitter experience, but there is nothing satisfying than visiting the continent of your origin to discover the reality aspects of a sad journey.

Forts and castles built by Europeans between 1482 and 1786, serving as slave depots are still visible in Ghana. Apart from the Cape Coast Castle, are also Elmina and Christiansburg Castles.  Ghana invites you. Be part of other tourists to visit Cape Coast, to see the male dungeon, female dungeon, remnants and the reality of cruelty of slavery, committed by White Slave Masters.

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