Ashini Fernando

Toni Iwobi

Lega Nord is known to be a racist political party. Italians are used to its leader, Matteo Salvini, addressing immigrants and foreigners as people who don’t deserve anything from his country, second class citizen who should be sent back to their countries.

His motto is “Italians first”. He incites a climate of fear and violence, stating that the government should get rid of anyone who is not Italian.

Of course, he forgets that ‘Italians’ are now from different backgrounds.

In addition, Salvini is known for also hating people from the South of Italy, asking for a free North. Next to the accounts of racism, there is also homophobia and sexism. The ideals of his party reflect his words and actions.

It was deeply disappointing to wake up on the 5th March and find out that Lega Nord was one of the parties to win the election, after the Movimento Cinque Stelle, the Five Star Movement.

These results hurt many Italians and put many others at risk, threatened by a racist, homophobic and conservative future. All the good things achieved in the last few years, such as the civil unions, are now endangered.

What comes as a bitter surprise to me is the election of the first Black Italian senator, Toni Iwobi.

What in another circumstance would have been an event to celebrate, this time left me deeply disappointed. Iwobi, who has been living in Italy for the last 30 years and originally from Nigeria, was running for election with Lega Nord. His main point is to send back immigrants. It hurts to see that someone who should be fighting on your side, agrees with values that you condemn.

During his campaign in 2015 he stated that the Lega Nord is not racist, but realist. Obviously like many others who voted for them, he is deaf to Salvini’s frequent hate speech.
Iwobi strongly believes that not all immigrants run away from wars, but rather try and come here to have a rich and easy life.

For a long time, racists have been perpetuating the myth of immigrants and refugees living in five stars hotels and been given money they don’t deserve. For a long time, it has been said that we should help them in their own countries. As if colonisation by the hands of Europeans isn’t one of the main reasons these people come here.

Racists tend to forget the awful conditions these people suffer from to come here, because if they could have a better life in their country of origin they would have stayed there.

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