Genoa is a haven city in Italy. In Genoa, tens of thousands of african migrants arrive, and the city and its inhabitants are overwhelmed by this flood of men. Administratively, the migrants are stuck in Genoa, and the locals have to live with the migrants, the ciminality, and the shift in Genoa’s culture, highly visible in the emblematic street Via di Pré.
In the first episode of the VPRO travel series Via Genoa, Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer leads us through the Italian port city of Genoa. He speaks with residents about their changing city, and is looking for stories about migration.
In this first episode Ilja identifies the problems: in the neighborhood, many unemployed African migrants live, and many migrants do not have a residence permit. To have a residence permit they need an employment contract. But there are no jobs for migrants. For this reason,via di Prè became a criminal street, where you avoid eye contact and keep on walking. Even locals do not want to go on Via di Pré anymore.
The new police boss, Sergia Bracco, increased the number of patrols in central Genoa. The reason for this was the neighborhood residents and shopkeepers complaining, the terrorist attacks in other European cities and the various fake bombings in the city. Regular military and police patrols roam the city.
Every day, new Africans arrive in Genoa looking for work that doesn’t seem to be real. At present, these are mostly young men from West Africa. In Lampedusa and the reception centers in Sicily they are divided among the Italian municipalities. Genoa currently has over 3000 registered asylum seekers. In the last month of December, tens of thousands came up daily. During the winter season, there are fewer arrivals on the southern Italian coasts, but the prospects are that 2017 will be another record year.
This shows how Italy has changed on the wings of migration over recent decades. Italians traded their salami, cheeses and vegetables and fruits for Senegalese seafood restaurants, Nigerian barbers and Moroccan kebab stores. During the nightly hours, the Italians in this part of the city can be counted on one hand.
In this VPRO travel series Via Genoa, writer Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer speaks with the colorful inhabitants of his hometown, the Italian port city of Genoa. Pfeiffer shows how Italy changes politically, socially and economically with all the newcomers.
Director: Hans Pool
Presented by: Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer
© VPRO January 2017
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