Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Netanyahu deletes tweet featuring photo of James Foley

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 22 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 22 August 2014

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Read more

FOCUS

Lifting the veil over China's air pollution

Read more

ENCORE!

Tango Takeover in Paris

Read more

WEB NEWS

Calls for ISIS media blackout after execution of James Foley

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Steely resolve of reporters exploited by pared-down employers'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

US judge calls Argentina bond swap offer illegal

Read more

  • Merkel in Kiev amid Russian aid convoy ‘escalation’

    Read more

  • US brands journalist’s beheading a ‘terrorist attack’

    Read more

  • ‘European GPS’ satellites launched into wrong orbit

    Read more

  • Philippines to repatriate UN troops in Liberia over Ebola fears

    Read more

  • Besieged by problems, Hollande faces unhappy return from summer holidays

    Read more

  • Rights group sues US government over ‘deportation mill’

    Read more

  • Colombian army and FARC rebels begin work on ceasefire

    Read more

  • US National Guard starts to pull out of embattled Missouri town

    Read more

  • PSG fall flat once more against Evian

    Read more

  • Fed Chair says US job market still hampered by Great Recession

    Read more

  • August 22, 1914: The bloodiest day in French military history

    Read more

  • Central African Republic announces coalition cabinet

    Read more

  • Hamas publicly executes "informers"

    Read more

  • French firebrand leftist to quit party presidency, but not politics

    Read more

  • Fear of Ebola sky-high among Air France workers

    Read more

  • US says Islamic State threat 'beyond anything we've seen'

    Read more

  • Malaysia mourns as remains of MH17 victims arrive home

    Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

Europe

Italy’s first black minister shrugs off racist slurs

© AP

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-05-04

Italy’s first black minister, Congolese-born Cecile Kyenge, has responded to a string of racial and sexist insults after her appointment last week by declaring she is proud to be black, not coloured, and that Italy is not really a racist country.

Italy’s first black minister has responded to a barrage of sexist and racial insults by saying she is proud to be black, not coloured, and that Italy is not really a racist country.

Cecile Kyenge, an eye doctor and Italian citizen originally from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), was named integration minister by Prime Minister Enrico Letta last Saturday, one of seven women in the new government.

Since then, she has been the subject of taunts on far-right websites, which have branded her with names such as “Congolese monkey”, “Zulu” and “the black anti-Italian”.

She also faced race-tinged insults from Mario Borghezio, a European parliament member of the pro-devolution Northern League, which has been allied in the past with former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

In reference to Kyenge, Borghezio called Letta’s coalition a “bonga bonga government” - a play on the “bunga, bunga” antics under Berlusconi - and said she herself appeared to be “a good housewife but not a minister”.

Kyenge dismissed the comments, which the speaker of the lower house Laura Boldrini labelled “racist vulgarities”. Kyenge plans to push for legislation, opposed by the League, that would allow children born in Italy to immigrant parents to get automatic citizenship instead of waiting until 18 to apply.

“I arrived in Italy alone at 18 years old, and I don’t believe in giving up in front of obstacles,” Kyenge, who left DRC so she could pursue her studies in medicine, said.

She also rejected the term “coloured” used to describe her in many Italian press reports, saying: “I am not coloured, I am black and I say it with pride”.

Millions of emigrants left Italy in the 19th and 20th centuries but the country has had difficulties integrating citizens from other countries who come seeking work.

Kyenge, who is married to an Italian, said she did not view Italy as a particularly racist country, and believed that hostile attitudes stem mainly from ignorance.

“Italy has a tradition of welcoming and offering hospitality towards others. We need to recognise these traditions and apply them day to day,” she said.

Boldrini herself told a newspaper on Friday that she had received daily death threats online and a stream of messages containing sexually violent images.

“When a woman takes up public office, sexist aggression sets off against her, and whether simple gossip or violent...it always uses the same vocabulary of humiliation and submission,” Boldrini told La Repubblica newspaper.

“We shouldn’t be afraid to say that this is an underground culture, shared in some way. In my view: an emergency in Italy,” she said, pointing to regular cases of Italian women being murdered or abused by men, often by husbands or partners.

(REUTERS)

Date created : 2013-05-04

  • ITALY

    Italy’s new government wins final confidence vote

    Read more

  • ITALY

    Italy swears in new government

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    'Miss Black France' pageant raises eyebrows

    Read more

COMMENT(S)