This is Genoa.
Also known as ‘La Superba’. Proud tyrant of the Mediterranean. You might labour under the illusion
that this is Europe. But you’re wrong, my friend. This is Africa. I live in this city. And I’d love to show it to you. Migration is the most important
geopolitical development of our age. And the northern Italian port of Genoa… …with its back to Europe
and its face turned towards Africa… …has always been a migration hub,
historically speaking. Right now, Genoa is a city
where many immigrants end up… …both from North Africa
and Sub-Saharan Africa. In Via di Prè, many new Europeans
are trying to find a home. Is this what’s awaiting the new Europe? Excuse me, may I ask you something? Why are you dressed so nicely today? It’s the Sacrifice Feast today. On this day, the entire Muslim world
remembers… …the sacrifice God forced
the prophet Abraham to make. So it’s the Sacrifice Feast.
– We’ve been praying in the mosque. Now we’re going home
to prepare the lamb. I and many other immigrants here are not
allowed to slaughter a lamb at home… …so we all buy a few kilograms of meat. Which we eat with our families.
– A major feast. Yes, that’s all fine. See you.
– Enjoy it, and goodbye. Good afternoon. Today is a holiday, right?
– That’s right. Are you celebrating as well?
– We’ll close in a minute and go home. A real family celebration, is it?
– For the Sacrifice Feast… …every family buys an entire lamb.
– It’s huge. An entire lamb, head and all. There it is. Look, it forgot to brush its teeth.
– Such small teeth. And he’s still got his bits.
– That’s right. Immigration is creating resentment. In the past, Italy has proved susceptible
to fascist ideas. The Fratelli d’Italia feel
this day and age… …requires a revival of national pride
and protection of old traditions too. Do you know what they used to sell here?
– Focaccia. Traditional dishes
that are part of our culture. There’s still a shop like that, though?
– Yes, one. There’s still one showing us
how it used to be. These are all knickknacks,
made in China. It’s a nice shop.
– Vibrant. Lots of light. But I’ll admit it doesn’t add much. That’s right, and it means no local
products are being sold here. This is part of the decline.
We’re in Sottoripa… …and this arcade dates back
to the 12th or 13th century. This is where important maritime activity
took place. It looks like a pretty vibrant street to me.
So what decline? It’s pretty vibrant, but the problem is:
Do you see any tourists? Is anyone buying anything? Be honest. You know what I mean by decline?
The decline of our traditions. We’ve got a rich history. But there’s
not a trace of it to be found anymore. Because of that history, we should be
selling things like books here. Look at that arch, and that advertising. You should be breathing in
our culture here. Instead, there’s kebab.
– Other people’s culture. These people come here,
and we’re open to those cultures. But it’s causing our Italian culture
to go extinct. It’s not right, letting a 1000 year old
culture disappear in a few years. This is my home. You like it?
Fine, you can live here. But you have to obey my house rules.
Otherwise you can just get out. You’ve made your point. I don’t know that I agree,
but your point is clear. We accept that.
– You’ve explained it very well. We accept different views. We visit Kumuna in Pontedecimo, in
the furthest northern reaches of Genoa. An hour and fifteen minutes by bus
from the centre. He’s currently in a shelter there. Good afternoon. I’d like to buy a beautiful
bouquet of flowers. Something cheerful.
– All right. How long have you lived here?
– I was born here. Born and bred. I’ve been in Via di Prè
for 22, 23 years now. 23 years come March.
So a very long time. In that time, my clientele
has changed four times. Different people kept moving here. What kind of customers do you have
now? Do many Africans buy flowers? No, it’s not part of their culture. In the 90s, it was the South Americans,
and there was money to be made. In the past, customers would ask me,
and they still do: ‘Why don’t you move?’
I get that a lot. But I like the idea of introducing
a bit of poetry… …to a place that really needs it.
– I like that idea. The problem is that reality
doesn’t always match your dreams. I think immigration is like water. If you channel and guide the water… …you get a lot out of it,
like in agriculture, industry and life. If you don’t do that, it will lead
to flooding, damage, death. It’s very simple. Of course you will get lost, my friend. You’ll get lost between continents
and lose your way among the centuries. You will be amazed by the fresco’s in
palazzi the old nobility still inhabit. And around the corner, the call to
prayer sounds just like in Dakar. And hundreds of shiny black men
in their prime… …are forced to their knees
by Allah’s might. The mosque is at the corner
of Via della Croce Bianca… …which has been transvestite territory
for over 50 years. Hello.
– Good evening. I’m happy to finally meet you.
– Come in. I’ve read this beautiful collection
of poems. They’re really beautiful. They’re old and new poems, all mixed up. I wrote them in the 50s and 60s. Then I stopped.
– You did? I stopped when I came to Genoa
and started doing this work. I was no longer interested
in reading or writing. I was focussed on developing myself… …both physically and mentally.
– I see. So I put the reading and writing on ice. It was like putting my soul on ice.
But I didn’t lose it. I’ve found it again. A poem that really moved me
is dedicated to your mother. ‘To my mother’.
– That’s right. We’d really love it
if you could read it to us. This poem is dedicated to my mother. Gay, transvestite or transsexual,
I always asked for your love, mother. Your love was there, but only
for someone who wasn’t there. Mother, now you’re no longer here,
I’m sorry that you loved me… …but not for who I was. Beautiful. Thank you. From a young age, I said: I want to be the person I feel I am. If people accept that, great.
If they don’t, tough. I’ve made Pablo Neruda’s motto my own: Hate me for who I am… ….but don’t love me for what I’m not. Of course, that went for everyone,
but not for my parents. I was afraid to cut off ties,
because they were strict Catholics. They never would have understood
my way of life. I assume you’ve had
a lot of different clients. It’s mostly been Italians,
simply because we’re in Italy. Or clients from countries
where they’re not used to this. Who want it, but who are
sexually repressed. Like Iranians. You can find enthusiasts the world over,
there are plenty of those. Have you ever had any priests? Several. I’ve had lots of priests as clients. How many clients in total? I haven’t been counting.
I’ve been doing this for 50 years. I don’t want to have to add everything up. Just to give an idea of the experience
you have. I don’t know, about ten people a day.
So 3 to 4 thousand a year. Multiplied by 50. I have clients who’ve been back a
thousand times. Half of them come back. So we’re talking about contacts, not men. So that would be about 150,000… Contacts, not customers. Impressive.
– About 50,000 customers. In His holy book, Allah says: People, fear your Lord, who
has created you from one being… …and who has created his wife,
and many men and women. We beg Him to protect us from the evil
in us and in our bad deeds. Whoever is led by Allah, will find his way. Whoever is made to err, won’t find
any protector pointing the way. This is Ursula. She’s been here
since the 60s as well. One of the few still left. It’s clear that the neighbourhood
is changing. You get Ecuadorans, Pakistani
and Africans from Central Africa. Moroccans, Tunisians, Rumanians.
A little bit of everything. Italians. I’m mostly curious to hear… …what it’s like for you, having
to live around Muslims. Between us and immigrated Muslims,
there’s a kind of unspoken respect. They’ve tried a few things. At one neighbourhood meeting,
a Muslim took the floor… Because there’s a mosque nearby.
– That’s right. He said: We can’t allow
transvestites to stay near our mosque. The mosque has been there
for 4 years, transsexuals for 50. You’ve come to live where they were
already living, not the other way around. You’re not afraid that…
– They’re very… They tend to try and impose
their culture, uses and laws. Some imams call for violence. Others are calmer, but they do nothing. They’re waiting for someone
to do their dirty work. I have little faith in moderate Islam.
Probably because I’m a pessimist. What do you believe?
– That there’s an unspoken agreement. Between them.
– Yes. Can I ask you a few questions?
– I don’t speak Italian, so slowly please. Is it hard for your brothers
to be devout Muslims in Italy? They’re all doing fine. It’s easy. But there are many temptations. Everybody is free to do what they want.
That’s freedom. You can do what you like. Can I ask another question? In this
neighbourhood, where your mosque is… …you have transsexual prostitutes
as neighbours. How do you live together?
– It’s all fine. They’re doing what they want to do.
It’s a free country. It’s not a problem for you?
– No. They’re good people. They always greet me when I pass,
and I greet them. There is no problem.
– There’s respect. Just ask them.
– We all do what we like. There’s respect. You get this kind of thing in Morocco
as well. I’ve been told that during
a neighbourhood meeting… …you proposed
that they had better move. I never did. Just ask them. Just ask what I say in the mosque.
I’m always the first to greet them. There are no problems. The Italian word for house is casa. Whoever has left his home behind on
a different continent, in desperation… …will have to learn new words… …which will hopefully allow him
to build a new home. How much perseverance
and heroic courage does it take… …to travel to a new language
to dream in? Will any of them ever be able to say, in
whatever language, that they’re home? What word am I writing? Easy, right? Casa. I’ve divided it into two parts. What does this say? Ca. Who knows another word beginning
with ‘ca’? Go ahead.
– Sa. Casa. Now another word starting
with ‘ca’. Cavallo.
– Very good. Cavallo is one. What else? Cartello.
– Very good. The longer I live here,
the better I understand… …that the similarities between Genoa
and our homeland… …where you bemoan your predictable
existence and well-oiled career… …are only superficial. This is a different world… …weighed down
by its impressive history. Of course, you can build a career here
and dream of a future. But the past has to sanction it. Good afternoon. Go ahead.
– I’d like a nice mix… …to give to a marquise.
So it has to be marquise-worthy. Would you like to try these chocolates?
Nuts, caramel and honey with chocolate. Delicious.
– Marrons glacés with a bit of rum. Some candied fruit, to add some colour? That should be fine.
That should be enough. All right? In reality, Genoa is still an oligarchy… …like in the glorious days
of the old Republic. A handful of families rule the roost. What matters is who you are,
not what you can do. Your career prospects are determined
solely by your surname. Good afternoon. Hello. We’ve brought you a little something. Thank you.
– You’re very welcome. In the Netherlands, gifts have
to be unwrapped immediately. I’ll get right to it.
– It’s up to you. It’s a Dutch tradition.
You open a gift straightaway. May I offer you a coffee?
– Please. Milk?
– No, thank you. Sugar?
– A little. Maybe you could explain
where we are first. In this lovely home. This is the home
of the last scion of the Adorno family. One of my mother’s aunts left it
to her grandchildren. It used to all belong to the family?
– That’s right. And it still does, except for one floor. We still live together as a family. Our history goes back 1000 years. They were very active in the maritime
trade in the eastern Mediterranean. They weren’t just focussed
on themselves… …but were open to the world as it was
in those days. Genoa was a port, and received
a lot of outside visitors. Strangers were always
considered guests. Foreign guests brought in a lot of money. In the past, the port of Genoa… …had over 700 places to eat. I think you know the history of this town
like no other. So you know how much it
has changed recently. It’s true that a lot has changed,
if you look at the centre of town. It’s the part I know best. Some alleys in the centre have
become very run-down. You have to be careful,
walking around there. In the late afternoon and in the evening,
it’s more dangerous than it used to be. Aggression, robberies, that kind of thing.
– You’re talking about immigration. It’s something we have to
get used to, like all of Europe. People who have managed to find a job
are appreciated. But there are areas full of immigrants
who haven’t yet found their place… …and who are finding it hard to
integrate into Italian society. I am Genoa. My family and I
are part of the Knights Templar. An order which has existed
for a 1000 years, like our city. We have the largest historic centre
of Europe. We can see it from here. A thousand years ago, it looked
exactly like it does now. When you see Genoa from here
and you’re talking about immigration… …it’s like a fairy-tale. This is one of
the most beautiful places in the world. We’re here with some well-dressed
men, everybody is smiling. Where are the immigrants? Look at it from my perspective.
When I look at the centre from here… …I see Africa, not Europa. You say immigration entails
those kinds of problems. Give me an example. You can see people spitting
at churches now. It happens. People spitting at churches. Or urinating against a church.
There’s no respect. When I visited mosques,
in Cairo and elsewhere… …I behaved according to the rules there. My girlfriend wore the headscarf
that she was offered. I behaved the way I was supposed
to behave. It’s normal. I’m in someone else’s home,
and there are different rules. As a civilized person,
I have to abide by them. If I don’t like it, I’ll leave. Catholic churches are open to everyone. They’re even open to non-Catholics. Unfortunately, we’re not allowed
into certain public spaces… …where they practice their faith. There are public spaces
where they gather to pray… …but no-one is allowed in,
not even those who are curious… …or who want to learn about their culture. So they’re not willing to integrate
and let us get to know them better. Do you see the difference? They have no respect
for the people taking them in. They’re demanding
more comfortable hotels. When they don’t like the food…
They’re protesting lasagne. Not because it’s got ham in,
we’ve made sure there isn’t. For now, we can still offer them
hotels and lasagne. But should we no longer have them,
one day… …what will we still have to offer
these people? When there’s no work even for Genoans?
What will happen then? Do you think they will remain calm? Or will they revolt? I fear and anticipate that,
a revolution. It could happen. I hope I’m wrong. more revolution Hello, Simona,
I’ve brought some guests. We can put some tables together. Okay, we’ll make one big table.
How many of you are there? You’ll have more luck in English. If you arrive in Genoa, you’ll probably
take Via Garibaldi to Piazza De Ferrari. You won’t encounter a single
black person along the way. Maybe one umbrella salesman,
or a guy selling roses. If you take the parallel street, about
50 meters to the right, Via di Prè… …you might only see a few white people. Almost all tourists take the high street,
between posh palazzi… …and have no idea of the jungle
waiting at their feet. Hello. Do you need one?
– Yes, one umbrella please. A black one?
– Yes, a black one. How much is it?
– 10 euros. This one is blue, I want black.
– No, it’s black. With a white edge. Where are you from?
– Senegal. You don’t get a lot of rain there, right?
– We have a rainy season. But it’s stopped raining there now. Do you always sell umbrella’s?
– No, I sell hats in summer. When it rains, I sell umbrella’s. Here’s 10 euros. There you go. Good luck.
– Thanks. Yesterday over dinner, I told Stella… …about our adventures,
everything we’d seen… …and especially about our encounter
with Kumuna. An encounter that moved me. Because we’ve seen
how complicated it is… …how many pitfalls this new existence
in Europe has to offer. You see this guy, who is
undoubtedly very intelligent… …but perforce also very naive. His vision of the future is going to
school and learning the language. Because it’s important to learn
the language, he said. But we’ve been talking to Mamadou… …a Senegalese working
to help his countrymen… …in this bureaucratic jungle. We asked him what future he saw for
people arriving in the street right now. He said: No future at all. Yesterday he asked us to help him.
He needs a phone. We discussed it.
Some people said we shouldn’t. It’s unethical. As journalists,
we have to keep our distance… …and remain objective. But fuck that, you know. I like him… …I admire him,
and I’m buying him a phone. Hello, sir.
– Hello. We want to buy a phone.
– For you or for him? For him. I hear you sigh, my friend.
Shaking your wise head. You think me sentimental and naive… …for wanting to help Kumuna
by giving him a smartphone. You think it embarrassing that
I’m silencing my guilt with my bankcard. That I’m feeling good because of a gift
that requires no sacrifice on my part. We need a proof of identity
to register the number in his name. Because in Italy…
– That’s a problem. Just put it in my name.
– Fine. We can transfer it to his name
once he’s got his papers. Excellent. That will be 169 euros. Will I be there for him
when he really needs me? When this film is finished,
when I’ve told his story… …when the credits are rolling…. …and I no longer need him… …to prove myself a good person
to you and the audience… …will I still be his friend then?
- Aïd el-Kebir
- documentary Genoa
- Eid al-Fitr
- Free documentary
- Genoa Italy
- italy immigration
- italy migrants
- italy refugees
- Migrants Genoa
- migrants italy
- migration italy
- muslim celebration
- muslim Eid fest
- Muslim immigration
- muslim refugees
- muslim refugees in italy
- muslims Eid italy
- Muslims italy
- muslims via di pré
- refugees Eid italy
- refugees italy
- sacrifice fest
- subtitled documentary
- vpro world stories
- world stories