More vile abuse for Italy’s first black minister Cecile Kyenge
Cristiano Za Garibaldi says his comments were ‘in bad taste and offensive’
Italy’s minister for integration Cecile Kyenge. Photograph: AFP
An Italian politician has likened the country’s first black minister, Cecile Kyenge, to a prostitute in the latest of a barrage of racist insults that has shed light on resistance in Italy to racial integration.
He wrote that it was unlikely he would meet Ms Kyenge because “I don’t hang out at night on the Rettilineo di Ceriale,” the name of the road in question.
Ms Kyenge (48), who was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and moved to Italy 30 years ago, has grown accustomed to the intolerance of right-wing Italian politicians, notably Roberto Calderoli, a former government minister with the Northern League party, who compared her to an orangutan in July.
Since being appointed minister for integration in April, Ms Kyenge has pushed for a law granting Italian citizenship to the children born in Italy to immigrants, and more recently suggested second homes in Italy could be rented out to the homeless.
That provoked Mr Za Garibaldi’s comments, as well as an even stronger reaction from respected northern Italian winemaker, Fulvio Bressan, who allegedly called Ms Kyenge a “dirty black monkey” on his Facebook page last week, prompting a debate in the wine world about boycotting his wines.
In May, Northern League member and European MEP Mario Borghezio predicted Ms Kyenge would force “tribal conditions” on Italy and create a “bongo bongo” government. Africans, he added, had “not produced great genes”.
In June a local councillor for the Northern League called for Ms Kyenge to be raped, so she would understand the seriousness of the attempted rape of two women in Genoa by a Somali.
Bananas were thrown at Ms Kyenge during a public speech in July.
Mr Za Garibaldi has admitted his comments were “in bad taste and offensive”, adding he had made them because he was under stress from having to pay high taxes in Italy.
“This is the umpteenth episode in a constant attack that is not only targeted at me, but anyone in this country dares to think differently,” said Ms Kyenge. – (Copyright: Guardian News & Media 2013)