Daily Archives: February 17, 2018

Italy used to be a tolerant country, but now racism is rising


https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/18/italy-used-to-be-a-tolerant-country-but-now-racism-is-rising

THE GUARDIAN

Italy used to be a tolerant country, but now racism is rising

Angela Giuffrida

Pape Diaw, originally from Senegal, arrived in Florence to study engineering in the late 1970s. Part of a group of 15 African students, he inspired curiosity among his Italian counterparts and the wider community, but never encountered racism. “I remember walking along the street and people would ask to have a photo taken,” he said.

“We were seen as a novelty, but never insulted. When we went to process our residency permits, the police officers would give us coffee.

“Yes, Italy might have been behind [other countries] when it came to cultural mindset, but we were well-received.”

Different times. Ahead of national elections on 4 March, xenophobic rhetoric is dominating a campaign that has turned nasty and divisive. Matters took a toxic turn earlier this month, when 28-year-oldLuca Traini injured six African migrants in a racially motivated shooting spree in the central city of Macerata.

Traini had been a candidate at local elections last year for the Northern League, one of two anti-migrant parties that form part of a motley coalition led by Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia. Both the League and its junior ally, Brothers of Italy, are crusading on an “Italians First” platform, targeting the 600,000 migrants who have landed on Italy’s southern shores over the past four years, fleeing war, poverty and oppression. For immigrants of longer standing, the rising hostility towards outsiders has been a profoundly depressing development after years of gradual integration.

Diaw, who helps integrate newly arrived migrants on behalf of Il Cenacolo, aFlorence-based social cooperative, traces the change in feeling towards immigrants back to 2007, the year the financial crisis took hold. “When Italians are doing good, when they have money and work, they don’t worry about immigrants. But when they suffer, they lose their heads and look for someone to blame.”

The depth of the growing animosity hit home in December 2011, whenGianluca Casseri, a supporter of the neo-fascist group CasaPound, opened fire at two central markets in Florence, killing two Senegalese street vendors and injuring three others before turning the gun on himself. One of the survivors is paralysed from the neck down.

The political climate at the time was as tense as it is today: the Arab Spring-driven migrant surge had begun earlier that year and Italy was in between governments, after Berlusconi was forced to resign from his third stint as premier amid an acute debt crisis.

Others date the shift from even earlier. Johanne Affricot, born in Rome to a Haitian mother and Ghanaian-American father, first got an inkling of a racist undercurrent in 1994 when she was just 11. It was the year Berlusconi seized power for the first time, within a coalition made up of the Northern League and the National Alliance, a party that had emerged from the post-fascist Italian Social Movement. National Alliance later became Brothers of Italy.

“At school I was the only black person in the class, but I didn’t experience racism from classmates,” she said. “However, I remember watching the TV news and there was a demonstration organised by the League. When a journalist asked someone why they were there, they said they wanted to preserve their Italian identity. It was a moment that made me think that maybe things for me were a little different.”

Affricot is the founder ofGriot, an Italian-language online magazine that celebrates African culture and creative diversity. She said the Macerata attack made her feel afraid, not only for immigrants but for Italian society as a whole.

“This campaign has helped advance the far-right parties and has set a precedent that will be very difficult to fix,” she said. “I’m fearful of retaliation against recent migrants and also against those who were born here or have lived here for years.”

Social media is helping to amplify the toxicity of the campaign. In January, Attilio Fontana, a League candidate standing for governor of Lombardy, claimed that the migrant influx threatened to wipe out “our white race”.

Last week a photo of a black passenger on a Rome to Milan train was posted on Facebook, with the adjoining message claiming he had boarded without a ticket. The man was accused of not being able to speak Italian and having “no money and no luggage”, although the writer noted that he “owns a Samsung S8”. The post circulated rapidly before the conductor came forward to confirm the man had a valid ticket.

Diaw and Affricot are among the five million people of foreign origin who have either Italian citizenship or a permit to stay.

“They work, pay taxes, contribute to society … but we never talk about these people,” said Cécile Kyenge, an MEP who moved to Italy from the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1983 to study medicine. “Instead a big fuss is made when 12 migrants move to a town.”

Kyenge had bananas thrown at her and was likened to an orangutan during her brief tenure as integration minister under Enrico Letta’s government in 2013.

She has always maintained that Italy is a tolerant country, and that the attacks came from a small group of ignorant people. But the country is now multicultural, she said, and must do much more in terms of integration. Her role was scrapped when Matteo Renzi, leader of the centre-left Democratic Party, became prime minister in 2014.

Diaw lays the blame at the door of the government, and in particular the weakened leftwing parties, for the racial divisions.

“This is a very ugly period, because leftwing parties used to be very strong, also in the fight against racism and discrimination. Today they are weak.”

Still, he feels buoyed by the way 30,000 people took to the streets of Macerata last weekend to march against fascism.

“It was beautiful … especially to see so many young Italians there. We can only hope that these elections go in a different direction from the one we fear.”

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Today’s Holiday: Holetown Festival


Today’s Holiday:
Holetown Festival

The Holetown Festival, which takes place in the historic town of the same name in Barbados, marks the approximate date of English settlement and has been an annual event since 1977. The opening celebrations are held at the Holetown Monument, which commemorates the settlers’ landing. There are fashion shows, beauty contests, exhibitions, an antique car parade, and a carnival. Along with music concerts showcasing authentic Caribbean music and dancing, there are traditional hymns, folksongs, and a music festival at the historic St. James Church. More…: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Today’s Birthday: Isabelle Eberhardt (1877)


Today’s Birthday:
Isabelle Eberhardt (1877)

As a Swiss explorer traveling in North Africa, Eberhardt often dressed as a man to move more freely through Arab society. Intensely independent, she took the side of Algerians fighting against colonial French rule. She converted to Islam, was initiated into a Sufi brotherhood, and married an Algerian soldier. She wrote about her travels in books and newspapers. She survived a murder attempt—in which her arm was badly injured by a saber—only to die at the age of 27 in what unlikely fashion? More…: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

This Day in History: H. L. Hunley Becomes First Submarine to Sink an Enemy Warship (1864)


This Day in History:
H. L. Hunley Becomes First Submarine to Sink an Enemy Warship (1864)

The US Civil War-era submarine Hunley required an eight-man crew—seven to power the propeller with a hand-crank and one to steer. Within months of its launch, the Confederate sub had sunk and been salvaged twice, taking the lives of five crewmen the first time and the entire crew the second. Manned with a new crew, Hunley became the first submarine to sink a ship in battle, yet the achievement was marred when the sub itself sank, killing all aboard yet again. When was it recovered? More…: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Quote of the Day: Oscar Wilde


Quote of the Day:
Oscar Wilde

Nowadays we are all of us so hard up, that the only pleasant things to pay are compliments. They’re the only things we can pay. More…: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Article of the Day: Hiroo Onoda


Article of the Day:
Hiroo Onoda

When Lubang Island in the Philippines was reclaimed by the Allies at the end of World War II, Japanese army officer Hiroo Onoda hid in the dense jungle and refused to surrender. He remained there for 29 years, dismissing all attempts to convince him of the war’s end as ruses. Later found by a Japanese student, Onoda refused to surrender unless given the order by his superior officer, who was then flown to Lubang by the Japanese government to do so. What happened then? More…: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Idiom of the Day: the low road


Idiom of the Day:
the low road

Any method, practice, or course of action that is unethical, unscrupulous, underhanded, or otherwise base or vile. (Most often used in the phrase “take the low road.”) Watch the video…: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Word of the Day: verdant


Word of the Day:
verdant

Definition: (adjective) Green with vegetation; covered with green growth.
Synonyms: green, lush
Usage: Habituated to arid landscapes, the desert dwellers were shocked by their first glimpes of the verdant pastures.: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Watch “New Action Movie 2017 ☯ Top Action Movies 2017-Kung Fu Martial Arts Full Movie English HD” on YouTube


Watch “The Color Of Magic 2006 – The Movie” on YouTube


Watch “Life Of Brian – Monty Python full movie 1979” on YouTube


Watch “Airplane! 1980 – Leslie Nielsen, Robert Hays, Julie Hagerty Movies” on YouTube


Peter Paul Rubens: Ana Dorotea, Daughter of Rudolph II, a Nun at the Convent of the Descalzas Reales, Madrid


Peter Paul Rubens: Ana Dorotea, Daughter of Rudolph II, a Nun at the Convent of the Descalzas Reales, Madrid

Peter Paul Rubens: Ana Dorotea, Daughter of Rudolph II, a Nun at the Convent of the Descalzas Reales, Madrid

Semi-presidential system – Wikipedia


Forms of government.svg
Systems of government
Republican forms of government:
Presidential republics with a full presidential system
Presidential republics with a semi-presidential system
Parliamentary republics with an executive presidency dependent on the legislature
Parliamentary republics with a ceremonial/non-executive president, where a separate head of government leads the executive https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semi-presidential_system

A semi-presidential system is a system of government in which a president exists alongside a prime minister and a cabinet, with the latter two being responsible to the legislature of a state.

It differs from a parliamentary republic in that it has a popularly elected head of state, who is more than a purely ceremonial figurehead, and from the presidential system in that the cabinet, although named by the president, is responsible to the legislature, which may force the cabinet to resign through a motion of no confidence.[1][2][3][4]

While the Weimar Republic (1919–1933) exemplified an early semi-presidential system, the term “semi-presidential” was introduced by a 1959 article by journalist Hubert Beuve-Méry[5] and popularized by a 1978 work by political scientist Maurice Duverger,[6] both of which intended to describe the French Fifth Republic (established in 1958).[1][2][3][4]

Advantages and disadvantages

The incorporation of elements from both presidential and parliamentary republics brings some advantageous elements along with them but, however, it also faces disadvantages related to the confusion from mixed authority patterns.[15]

Advantages

Providing cover for the president — it can shield the president from criticism and the unpopular policies can be blamed on the prime minister;
Ability to remove an unpopular prime minister and maintain stability from the president’s fixed term — the parliament has power to remove an unpopular prime minister;
Additional checks and balances — while the president can dismiss the prime minister in most semi-presidential systems, in most of the semi-presidential systems important segments of bureaucracy are taken away from the president.
Disadvantages

Confusion about accountability — parliamentary systems give voters a relatively clear sense of who is responsible for policy successes and failures; presidential systems make this more difficult, particularly when there is divided government. Semi-presidential systems add another layer of complexity for voters;
Confusion and inefficiency in legislative process — the capacity of votes of confidence makes the prime minister responsible to the parliament.
Republics with a semi-presidential system of government

Premier-presidential system :

Algeria
Armenia
Burkina Faso
Cape Verde
Democratic Republic of Congo
East Timor
Egypt
France
Georgia
Haiti
Lithuania
Madagascar
Mali
Mongolia
Niger
Northern Cyprus
Poland
Portugal
Romania
São Tomé and Príncipe
Sri Lanka
Tunisia
Ukraine

Honoré-Victorin Daumier (1808-1879)


Honoré-Victorin Daumier (1808-1879)

Honoré-Victorin Daumier (1808-1879)

Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City‎, Canada (photo by Emmanuel Coveney) via: http://bit.ly/2rTFYi1


Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City‎, Canada (photo by Emmanuel Coveney)
via: http://bit.ly/2rTFYi1

Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City‎, Canada (photo by Emmanuel Coveney) via: http://bit.ly/2rTFYi1

Fără cuvinte!


A quiet evening in Montmartre, Paris via: http://bit.ly/2H49lBP


A quiet evening in Montmartre, Paris
via: http://bit.ly/2H49lBP

A quiet evening in Montmartre, Paris via: http://bit.ly/2H49lBP

Musical moments worth repeating…just push Play On…:Watch “Cote De Pablo – Temptation (full version)” on YouTube