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

An African Female Politician’s Bitter Experience Of Racism In Catholic Center Rome

 

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Cécile Kyenge: Has suffered a great deal since she became Italy’s first black minister.

Worldwide, governments, associations and organizations, continue to fight for women trapped under the burden of religion, politics, discrimination, sexual abuse and violence. Many underestimate and regard women as domestic care providers, thus they are denied the respect they deserve in the society, despite many occupying high positions within different professional careers.

To create a peaceful society and discourage violence and racism, racial offence carries a heavy fine or possibly jail sentence in certain countries. For example in Britain, a person who uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, is guilty of an offence with intention to stir up racial hatred. The offence carries a maximum sentence of seven years imprisonment or a fine, but this is not the case in many European countries, including Italy, Belgium and Holland. Racial comments against others pass  daily with impunity in these countries.

Italy is one of the countries which has broken every rule in regard to racial issues, in the name of Catholicism. The Mafioso infested country encourages racism, sodomy and child abuse, right under the nose of the Vatican City. Lack of good leadership, corruption and Mafioso activities, have spread Italians all over the world like a virus. Instead of dealing with corruption and crime which have weakened the country’s economic and industrial infrastructure, Italian government promotes racism.

Cecile Kyenge

Cécile Kyenge

Since Cécile Kyenge became Italy’s first black minister of integration, she has openly been insulted by the media and many politicians with impunity. Cristiano Za Garibaldi, the deputy mayor of the town of Diano Marina in the northern region of Liguria, posted on his public Facebook page that Miss Kyenge used to be on a road patronized by prostitutes for soliciting clients, of whom many were black. Racist taunts come in daily against her. At a rally someone hurled bananas at her.

Roberto Calderoli, a senior party member, also last year compared the black minister Cecile Kyenge to an orangutan. How can a minister suffer this kind of discrimination and racism, while European leaders meet daily in the heart of Brussels, to discuss political issues without doing anything about this?

Even though Diano Marina apologized after making the offensive comments on his Facebook page, in any civilized world or country, such a person shouldn’t continue to serve Italy in any office. Certain comments shouldn’t be tolerated. Racial problems whether it affects white or black shouldn’t be encouraged in any way.

America always demonstrates to be a great country on such issues, whether the president of the country is black or white, but recent racial activities in the country, reveal America now encourages racism than discouraging it.

Nevertheless, during the inauguration day of Barack Obama, among other politicians and leaders who were at the US Embassy in Brussels, was Philip de Winter, the leader of ‘Vlaamse Belang’ a political party which seeks the interest of the Flemish people and speaks much against foreigners. Unfortunately, he wasn’t accepted to attend the inauguration. He went home disappointed and furious. This is how it should be if the world cares about peace, racism and discrimination.

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I find it a total disgrace, as European leaders converge at Brussels daily for summit and European Union programs, yet such disturbing racial issues of this kind going on in Italy and many places, but haven’t become an issue of concern to European leaders.

Racial problems should be a priority in every part of the world, because when violence erupts, it affects everyone. They shouldn’t ignore because it doesn’t affect them. A healthy nation thrives on peace, justice and respect but not racism and violence.