ON-COMING GUEST (Osptiti In Arrivo): When Helping People In Need Is A Crime In Italy

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Most of you have heared about Udine in the past, because of the Udinese football team, Moroso, Fantoni and Gervasoni luxury furniture, the Chair District or the International Far East Film Festival. From today you need to remember this town every time you intend to drink a Friulano or Prosecco wine or eat the famous San Daniele prosciutto. Why that ? Because few days ago, we discover a really “dark side” of the people living in this “apparentely” perfect town. We are talking about RACISM but also homophobia, islamophobia and sexism. Yes… seems that this quite city is now considered to be in the “top list” as most racist and homophobic city in Italy.

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Of course we don’t want to point the finger to every single citizen in this town. Nice people are everywere, but generally talking seems that racist people, including authorities, are really racist. Even the local newspaper confirm us that. Concretely talking, we all know the difficult situation that most European countries (including Italy) addresses concerning the huge emigration from Siria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Africa. As Udine town is located close to the Austrian border, most of the immigrants (usually just in transit to other EU countries like Germany, France, UK or Scandinavian countries) are making their first “pit-stop” to meet the emigration police and apply for asylum in the EU.

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After weeks of traveling escaping from war and oppressions, this families arrived by train in the town, catapulted in a totally different world, without understanding the language, or the local culture, they don’t know which is the direction to take to meet thecharity organisations or the local authorities. In this context, a small group of citizens formed the ON-COMING GUEST (Osptiti In Arrivo) assosiation with the simple goal to attend every evenings the emigrants in the railway station, offering them the firs help: some hot tea, blankets, dry clothes and shoes, as well first information concerning the charity points and authorities addresses.

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Sometimes they drive this people to destination as well some of them offered their mobile phones to let them call relatives in their countries or the final destination countries, to let them know simply that they are alive. What’s bad in that? Of course any conscious citizen arround this planet would do the same. But for the local authorities in Udine this was considered even a “CRIME”…

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The Power Of Attonery accused this voloteers of “aiding the stay of foreigners illegally in Italy in order to gain illegal profit “(?) Italian newspapers and blogs are now full of this news and reasons why this happened. We really don’t know were the truth is… but what is clear, that helping people in need, can never be considered as a crime. The local authorities in Udine probably have to re-consider their position agains the group of volonteers and support their efforts on helping the emigrants.

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The emigration problem not belongs to people, but to governs. People need to hepl each other every time is necessary… this is a human instinct. And we are all “humans”. Humanity is an instinct that can be not stopped by rules and regulations. The volunteers of this association have done a lot in terms of humanity. They collect primary goods to offer to this people, they spend a lot of their time (FOR FREE) to help this people to understand the rules and culture in Western countries, they even organized an “Artist Caravan” and travel to the refugee camps of Idomeni’s in Greece (a location called “Jungle” by the locals and ONGs) an un-authorized camp area where around 500 people have been living during and after Idomeni’s main camp eviction.

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You can see below some documentary images of this travel made by film director Yassine Marroccu (which is also volonteer in this association). We all send our gratitude to ON-COMING GUEST staff, and thanking them for their contribution on helping people and kids in need. And unfortunately we will remeber Udine for his general bad attitude.


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We dedicate “The Guest House” by Persian poet Rumi ( 1207-1273 ) to all Udine’s citizens:

This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.