Sunday, June 16, 2013

SENZA PAROLE

The story of the insulting sexist menu featuring a "Julia Gillard dish" went around the world last week and of course, as this Guardian report proves, it was neither the first, nor will it be the last, time that a woman politician has been the victim of sexism. [Our old friend Silvio naturally appears in the Guardian article.]

However, an appallingly sexist and racist comment aimed at Italy's first black cabinet minister, Cécile Kyenge, the Minister for Integration, did not make international headlines. A quick internet check revealed that the British Daily Mail and the Toronto Sun had the story but I did not find it elsewhere in English. I report it here because every now and then, in Italy, a public figure makes a remark which simply could not be uttered, much less written, in Britain and when I first read about it the incident rendered me speechless.

On Thursday Dolores Valandro, a Lega Nord Councillor in Padua suggested, on her facebook page, that Minister Kyenge should be raped, "so that she would know what it feels like."  [This was in response to an online article about crimes allegedly carried out by immigrants.]  Cécile Kyenge said that such language was an incitement to violence and that all Italians should feel ashamed. Prime Minister Enrico Letta quickly agreed with the Minister and condemned the remarks, as did  Dolores Valandro's own party, who said they would expel her. Laura Boldrini, the Speaker of the Camera dei Deputati [Lower House] also expressed her outrage and said that the original remark was made worse by the fact that it came from a woman with a political role.

Dolores Valandro has since apologised and her facebook page has been taken down. Cécile Kyenge, speaking from Genova's Suq [multicultural] Festival today, said that she would always meet the language of violence with the language of non-violence.  All Italians I have spoken to about the incident have expressed their shame that a remark such as the one made by Dolores Valandro on Thursday could be made by a public figure in their country.


7 comments:

Winchester whisperer said...

Disgraceful , WL. Did you see the response by Michael Gove to Diane Abbott in the HoC regarding his education reforms? He said, "I have fallen in love!" It makes me sick. Women's rights seem to have gone backwards.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, WW: No, I missed that one! Disgraceful....

Lee said...

Gillard can be and has been as sexist along with the rest of them. I have no time for the woman. The sooner we are rid of her, the better.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Lee. I rather admire her. But the menu was appalling, wasn't it?

Liz said...

Shocking!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...


Hi, Liz. Yes, unbelieveable.

Lee said...

I have to disagree with you re admiring her, Pat. I've yet to find one admirable quality about the woman. I've never liked her...even long before she became PM. It's a pity, in my opinion, that it had to be her who became our first female PM. She's untrustworthy and I can find no redeemable feature. I'm not alone in thinking this way. She's not popular here; and being a woman has nothing to do with it.

I could care less about the menu, to be honest with you. It wasn't passed around to the public at the time; it wasn't meant for public consumption...it was leaked by a disgruntled staff member, from all reports. That's the pros and cons of social media I guess. Nothing is sacred these days. Sure, it disrespects the position of prime minister; but then, Gillard disrespects the position she was handed, anyway. I guess you've gathered by now that I can't stand the woman! ;)

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