Sunday, August 19, 2007


249 clandestini [would-be illegal immigrants] arrived at the port of Lampedusa this morning, among them 18 women and 2 babies, one of whom is reported as being 15 - 20 days old. I find myself, on the one hand, gasping with astonishment that people can be so desperate as to risk the life of one so tiny and so vulnerable, whilst yet again trying to imagine what they are fleeing and, on the other hand, sympathising to some extent with the exasperation of the inhabitants of Lampedusa, where , it seems, an understandable feeling of "Charity begins at home " has taken root: the lampedusani fear that the image of their beautiful island has been tarnished, tourism is said to be down by one third this year, and the Mayor complains that the schools cannot be reopened because the buildings need repair and the funds for this have not been received from central government. Lampedusa, he says, is at the end of its tether.

An irony of the situation is that in May the islanders elected a right-wing coalition [you may need to click "try the request again" on this link] which includes in its ranks members of the Lega - the very party that had had enough of the "hopeless" south and desired an independent state in the north of Italy.

Now it emerges that the Sardinians are worried, too, as there is talk of their island becoming a "second Lampedusa", with boatloads of clandestini from Algeria, in particular, making for there. That will please the hoteliers and others catering for the jet set , won't it?


Crushed said...

How is the quest for Padania going?

It's not that silly an argument. There is a lot in Metternich's argument that italy is simply a geograhic term.

The Italian language is really little more than the Romance Dialect of Tuscany imposed on the other Romance dialects of the peninsula.

The north is culturally very different to the South.

Lucy Dee said...

So you're in Sicily? Great! I just met a fan who is from Sicily living in the US. I'm intrigued. I really would like to visit. Now, I have two reasons to go. Although, in order to do a standup comedy tour, I would have to learn the language, right?

Nice coming across your blog.

James Higham said...

Algerians might affect tourism - it's a fraught issue.

Anonymous said...

Odd business isn't it? Can't you find them jobs as waiters and things?

PinkAcorn said...

An exodus occurs here in the USA in California due to illegals from Mexico. Although we can move legally and have no rivers to swim it has been a hot topic for Cali's especically with election year coming up. It has impacted Cali's taxes, health care costs and schools. Could that be why I'm in Idaho?

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Crushed. Well, I think the League still has a lot of support but I don't think separation will ever happen. It is true that Italy was until the 1860s a loose geographical union of city states. Only television ensured that everyone began speaking the same language. Hi, Lucy. Nice to meet you. I've had a look at your interesting site and will be back over soon. There is no Brit ex-pat community here as in, say Spain, so you would have to be fluent in the language and even then, perceptions of humour vary. But come and visit because Sicily would fascinate you! Glad you found my blog. Hi, James. Yes - a very difficult issue. Ciao, Mutley. Odd and tragic. And another difficulty is that in the sector where most non-EU immigrants were employed, ie., agriculture, they are often now not wanted because Eastern Europeans will work for less. So now there is internal immigration as well, with N Africans who had been settled in the south leaving for the north where they hope to find work in the service sector. Interesting comment, pink. It sounds how a lot of people feel in the UK.

Crushed said...

The distinction between Spanish, French and Italian is not as easy as it appears.
Originally, the languages blended into eachother, as regional dialects of Romance Vernacular (as opposed to the book form, or high latin.
French was orginally merelt the dialect of Paris, Modern Spanish is Castilian, Italianis Tuscan.

Orginally a Gascon would have understood an Aragonese better than a Parisian, and a Lombard understood Provencal better than Neoploitan.

The National monarchies of France and spain made the Metropolitan dialects national.

In a similar way, the Danish of the danelaw has been eroded into a view dialect words and the Northern accent.

Wolfie said...

I decide to throw a party at my small London flat.

I've invited a suitable number of friends so that everyone would have similar values and nobody would feel uncomfortable or left out. I buy alcohol and food to feed everyone with a little extra for good measure - after all I'm a generous fellow.

All is going swimmingly well by 10:00pm and everyone is having a good time. Alison brought a an old school friend, William brought his cousin and his girlfriend but there's plenty to go around and everyone loves them.

At 11:00pm Claudia arrives with her gym instructor, he seems alright but he starts hitting the vodka hard and he seems to have a bit of a chip on his shoulder and starts an argument with William because he's an aristocrat. Half an hour later there's a ring at the door and its three friends of the gym instructor, I don't want to let them in but Claudia insists. They behave at first but while I'm out on the balcony they phone some more friends and let them in themselves; so I come back in to find we are getting low on alcohol and one of the new joiners are playing jockey with my stereo. None of my friends like his taste in music and some of the girls decide to leave.

While I'm arguing with this drunk, one of them lets some more friends in. Two of them are having sex and taking cocaine in my bathroom so I decide to call the police.

By the time the police arrive there's been a fight and some of my furniture is broken, almost all of my friends have gone, there's nothing left to eat or drink and the place is a mess.

This is immigration.

Ellee Seymour said...

I wonder if your island could apply for extra EU funding for helping these displaced citizens? Perhaps you could raise it with your MEP, or suggest to your mayor that he does. It's shocking to think that your local people should be suffering this way.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Crushed. Yes, and that is why a Spaniard and an Italian can understand each other, but not necessarily converse, today. And of course Tuscan became the national language because of migration from the south to the north, urban development and young men travelling around Italy on military service. In 1861 it was estimated that only 2.5% of Italians spoke Italian. The effect of TV and cinema and of course compulsory education here cannot be underestimated. I was fscinated by linguistics at uni - it was one of the most enjoyable parts of the course - and it is nice that you share my enthusiasm.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Thanks for the comment, Wolfie. It's an excellent analogy for how the lampedusani must feel. Hi, Ellee. I'm not near Lampedusa and we see very little evidence of immigration in this area. But I can quite see that the inhabitants of the little island have had enough. I think they have applied for extra funding and I know that a year or so again the Spanish police were brought in to help patrol the sea and the borders. It's the rate of arrivals that is overwhelming everybody.


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