The case of Palestinian refugees in Calabria: 'A sad story of of lies and meanness'
WRITTEN 21/10/2011 IN THE NEWS
Angela Lano, from Reggio Calabria.
"Even mafioso ... I was called." Domenico Lucano, the mayor of Riace and historical Calabrian activist for the rights of immigrants, puts his hands to his face as if to contain incredulity and indignation.
Yes, in Riace, and Caulonia, people are outraged, and with a particular group: Palestinian refugees from the refugee camp at-TANF, between Syria and Iraq, and housed in these two villages since December 2009 to May 2011, on request of the UNCHR and decision of our Ministry of Interior, and escaped to Sweden before the end of the host project.
Mayors, social workers, volunteers, citizens reject the extremely serious accusations of personal assaults, rapes, persecution on racial grounds, and more else and refer them to the sender. "They are making it up - tell Maria Paola Sorace and Giovanni Maiolo, operators of the consortium Goel of Caulonia - and they know it well. The only real fact is that they did not want to come to Italy, and are gone, moreover, in some villages of Calabria. All the rest are lies. There were'nt physical violence sexual ones, racism or otherwise. We welcomed them with enthusiasm. We have prepared every detail of hospitality, the houses and the staff who would follow them, schools, health care. After all the work for them, these accusations are seemed improbable. "
"I wrote to the Palestinians fled in Sweden - said the mayor of Caulonia Ilario Ammendolia - to understand why they have told so many lies. And one answered me saying: 'We love you, but we must build our future.' And here I realized that they had concocted a plan, before to depart from Calabria, then to convince Sweden and the UNHCR not to send them back in Italy. "
ven the families of Palestinians remained in Riace deny decisively: "What violences! Here no one has abused of us - said Hisham Al-Shaban, explaining well the terms of the issue -. Our problems are practical: we are not good, we want to go to countries where we can have support for life and unemployment benefits, disability pensions and old age. A future, in short. "
It 'a sad story, of daily practical materialism, ranging from new air conditioners to computers, bridal clothing of famous designers, cars, to the understandable fears and expectations for a "future" that Italy don't warrant to refugees or immigrants in general or to their citizens also.
This attempted to explain to the group of refugees both the local authorities and the educators, but without great success. "We used standards in Iraq, under Saddam, where we had privileges and we were good," was the response of many of them.
"Even in the tent city at-TANF, we were better than in Italy," said Hisham. Shame that the reports coming from that area, in 2008, told completely the opposite.
IRAQ: AL - TANF CAMP: TRAUMA CONTINUES FOR PALESTINIANS FLEEING IRAQ
Iraq: al - Tanf camp: Trauma continues for Palestinians fleeing Iraq
At least 729 Palestinian refugees who have fled Iraq are stranded in appalling conditions in al-Tanf camp in the no-man’s land on the Iraq-Syria border. UNHCR considers Palestinians, especially those at al-Tanf, to be among the most vulnerable among the 2 million refugees who have fled Iraq. UNHCR believes that resettlement in third countries is the only possible durable solution for these Palestinians at the present time.