Monday, January 11, 2010


There have been some ugly scenes in Italy during the past week and this is my reaction:

First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.”
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer [1906 - 45].

Only this time, Italy and the world cannot plead ignorance as an excuse.

Update - 14.1.10: Thanks to jams at The Poor Mouth, who corrected the attribution of this quote. It is, in fact, by Martin Niemoller. Apologies.


Emily said...

I hadn't read this, so thank you for bringing attention to such an important topic. The immigration issue in Italy seems like its becoming increasingly problematic and emotionally charged, to say the least, but I feel like I keep hearing about the plight of immigrant labourers when I never hear anything about the (almost exclusively African) prostitutes I see all around me in Sicily. Of course the rumors are that these girls are being trafficked here, but I've never read or heard any concrete information. Nobody seems to talk about it. Nobody seems to write about it. Am I the only one who's noticing? Or am I just very misinformed about the problem?

Whispering Walls said...

Seems to be a global phenomenon caused by the recession. Let's hope it's not a recurrence of 30s Fascism leading to another war.

Saretta said...

Hundreds of Africans are returning to Bari from Calabria to escape the violence there. It's a horrible state of affairs when people act in violence.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Emily. You are right - it is a very emotionally charged issue. The African prostitutes are mostly victims of crime and their situation is written about in papers such as Il giornale di Sicilia, though you are right when you say they do not get the media coverage that the labourers do. Violence will always grab the headlines. Thank you for making this point here.
Hi, WW. Let's hope not, indeed.
Hi, Saretta. Yes, a horrible and tragic situation.

jams o donnell said...

It is a horrible state of affairs that does Italy no credit at all.

Btw the quote is by Martin Niemoller rather than Dietrich Bonhoffer.. two great men.

There is a memorial to Bonhoffe at Westminster Abbey. He is one of the twelve modern martyrs portrayed over the main door.

annechung said...

I love Dietrich Bonhoffer, read all his books, his life and death is so awe inspiring.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, jams and thank you for the correction. I just looked again on ther internet and I see the quote is attributed to Bonhoeffer a lot. I always thought it was by him. Do you know why there is confusion about it?
Hi, Anne. A teacher introduced me to his work when I was about 16.


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