news 6 of 21
January 22, 2012
Welcome to Italy
On 27th January 2012, at the same time in five different Italian cities (Milan, Naples, Rome, Venice and Verona), the International Holocaust Remembrance Day is celebrated by the national opening of Benvenuti in Italia (Welcome to Italy), a documentary, directed by the Archivio delle Memorie Migranti (AMM), with the support of the Open Society Foundations and lettera27. Moreover, from 27th January onwards, the movie will be available on the new AMM website.

Benvenuti in Italia is a community movie, directed by Aluk Amiri, Hamed Dera, Hevi Dilara, Zakaria Mohamed Ali and Dagmawi Yimer, all young men and women arrived in Italy following different paths, living different experiences, and all willing to tell how they have been welcomed by our country. The authors have been chosen not taking into account their skills with audiovisual products: professionals together with people who have never used a camcorder. Within an audiovisual training workshop promoted by the Archivio delle Memorie Migranti, they, side by side, have undertaken the experience of telling about themselves, their own stories, the contexts and the places where they have arrived. Now this path turns into a movie thanks to Aline Hervé and Lizi Gelber, the movie editors.

From different roads, lives and expectations they meet in Italy, the place they have in common: Zakaria Mohamed Ali has escaped from Mogadiscio after his journalist teacher had been killed; the wish for fame of Dadir, a football player, famous in his own country, who nowadays plays in the “Rome Somali national team”; Hevi Dilara, a Kurdish refugee telling the story of a young couple’s life with their baby in a CPA; Mahamady Dera, a Burkinabè reopening the guesthouse “Chez Margherita”, a reference point for the Burkinabè community in Naples, before its upcoming closing down; the Ethiopian filmmaker Dagmawi Yimer follows the Senegalese cultural mediator and actor Mohamed Ba, while he recalls the day someone decided to stab him in front of the bus stop.

Beside recalling the experience of those who, for the first time, have arrived in Italy as migrants, the documentary shows a country and its welcoming system, which is very different from the one that is usually portrayed by politics and media, which merely displays a list of figures or things. In the last twenty years in Italy it has been promoted the creation of a national consciousness or a local one that keeps on perceiving foreigners as people belonging to a different humanity. And this is boosted if they belong to a different culture and live in underprivileged conditions. The racial violence outbreaks recently occurred in Florence and Turin are not lonely events, but clear signs of a culture funded on hate and racial discrimination that has wholly pervaded the Italian society.

Italy needs to know and acknowledge itself through the migrant gaze, in order to avoid the decline that often leads to the replacement of the value of a person with paradigms of exclusion and dismission of foreigners and their rights.
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