Sunday, May 18, 2008

Black and black unite and fight

The Rainbow Nation seems not to be as inclusive as all that :

The violence in Alexandra started on Sunday evening when an enraged mob marched to a hostel in London Road, targeting foreigners mainly from Zimbabwe whom they accuse of stealing precious jobs and contributing to worsening crime rates.

The crowd beat the immigrants, forced others from their rooms and shot dead two men – one a South African who refused to take part in the attack.

Scores of refugees, many “illegal” immigrants, flocked to Alexandra police station for protection. Despite extra police with riot gear taking up positions across the township, violence again erupted on Monday night, drawing condemnation from politicians and soul-searching on the part of other South Africans.

“Is this the new South Africa?” screamed the front page of the South African Times under a picture of a bloodied Ms Ndlovu. The ruling African National Congress (ANC) has condemned the attacks, but others point to frequent warnings of mounting tensions in townships that the ANC Government has ignored.

Complaints of jobs being taken and a government ignoring tensions ? Sounds familiar. But in the UK the natives don't go in for this sort of stuff. Instead, a Labour leaflet accusing the Tories of not wanting foreigners to carry ID cards is seen by the the massed and hysterical ranks of Guardianistas as one step away from requiring them to wear yellow stars.

For once, I agree with idiot CiF poster tooter, a glass-three-quarters-full kind of chap whose motif is 'surely, comrades, you do not want Mr Jones back ?'. His thesis is that this is all just part of the cut'n'thrust of politics and that the end sometimes has to justify the means. Horrified lefties point out to him that this means using the language of the right and ipso facto conceding that their arguments may have a point.

Both tooter and his critics are right. It's true that Labour are using language that sits better with the right - or with Old Labour. I don't think Bevin or Attlee would have had trouble distinguising Brits from non-Brits. Whereas, as every post-60s leftie knows, foreigners are exactly like "us" - and anyway, who's "us" - we're a nation of immigrants, don'tcha know ?

But the simple fact is that a campaign of 'we welcome immigration and see no upper limit to it', while pretty well describing the de facto Labour position, would lead to an even greater hammering than the one they're going to get. Labour have always been prepared to talk tough on crime and immigration, while letting all the prisoners out and the asylum-seekers in. It's what they do. And it worked pretty well (electorally) for ten years.

I've said before that the Brits don't do fascism.

Can't say that about the Italians. They invented it. I must say I can't imagine scenes like this in the UK, where the travelling community are the ones with the unity, the willingness to use force, and the firepower.

Italian police began a nationwide round-up of nearly 400 illegal immigrants from the Balkans and North Africa yesterday in the midst of a series of arson attacks on Roma gypsy camps in the suburbs of Naples.

The first step in a drive on crime promised by the new centre-right government of Silvio Berlusconi targeted temporary encampments on the outskirts of cities from Naples to northern Italy. Some 118 people held in the operation were ordered to be expelled immediately for offences ranging from drug dealing and robbery to prostitution.

But in Naples local people have anticipated the new policy, taking the law into their own hands.

This week’s assaults on Roma shanty towns by scores of youths on scooters and motorbikes wielding iron bars and throwing Molotov cocktails were sparked off by the capture of a 17-year-old Roma girl who last weekend entered a flat in Ponticelli and tried to steal a 6-year-old girl. Chased by the mother and neighbours, she had to be rescued by police from being lynched.

The city erupted in fury, with local women leading the marches on the Roma camps to the chant of “Fuori, fuori [Out, out]”. Night after night young men — allegedly acting on the orders of powerful local clans of the Camorra, the Naples Mafia — have set the sites ablaze, blocking attempts by the fire brigade to put out the fires, with exploding gas canisters completing the destruction. The women jeered at the firemen, shouting, "You put these fires out, we start them again”.

Plumes of smoke were still rising yesterday from the smouldering, blackened ruins of a Roma gypsy camp attacked and burnt to the ground by local vigilantes in Ponticelli, a rundown industrial suburb in the east of Naples in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius.

The charred remains of the makeshift wooden shacks at the site on Via Malibran crunch underfoot. The only sign of life is dogs scavenging through the neighbouring mountain of uncollected, rotting rubbish.

There are similar scenes of devastation at camps nearby, including one in the incongruously named Via Virginia Woolf. At one squalid “nomad camp” beneath a motorway flyover, intact but deserted, a policeman guarding the site said that the inhabitants had fled during the night to avoid being attacked.

Hmm. I've always thought of Naples as the Scallyland of Italy.

The Naples arson attacks, however, are the result of long-festering anger throughout Italy over rising crime levels and urban degradation, much of it blamed on Roma gypsies and the estimated half a million Romanians who have emigrated to Italy since Romania joined the European Union.

But I can't see even the Scallies going in for this sort of thing. Rising crime levels and urban degradation ? If that were the criterion, Kirkby would have been a heap of smouldering ruins long ago.