florian schneider on Tue, 14 Mar 2000 22:05:10 +0100 (CET)

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[Nettime-bold] "I love computers" - Interview with the last detained migrant in viaCorelli

 From: "Giuliano" <acunzoli@tin.it>


After 14 months of struggle, mobilizations, monitoring, public
denounce... After 2 large mass demonstrations, people climbing on roofs,
lots of meetings and quarrels, national and international campaigning,


following the large mass mobilization of January 29, another national
day of action on February 26 and the protest of Ya Basta! Leoncavallo
white coveralls which chained themselves for 6 days on the roof of one
of Milan's ancient city doors to force the Ministry of Home Affairs to
keep its promises.

And yesterday some 20 white coveralls gathered in front of those gates
of shame to seal them simbolically and forever. Now, after the closure
of the detention camps for migrants in Trieste (1997) and Milan (2000)
due to the mobilizations of the antagonist movement, there's only one
more detention camp opened in Northern Italy: via Brunelleschi in Turin
-- the next target.

Meanwhile, newspapers are already making a mess because to bring the
migrants cought in Northern Italy to the lagers in the South, there will
be needed about 2.500 policemen yearly to guarantee a satisfactory
escort. The theory of the grain of sand, therefore, worked perfectly,
and one of the deadly mechanisms of globalized society looks clogged
enough, at least in Italy.

But now, the entreview with the last migrant locked up in the huge cage
of via Corelli. She was freed, not deported, but she has to pay a price.
Read below.

The last migrant detained in via Corelli is a Moldavian girl, she claims
to be 18 but the Red Cross voice says she's 24 (and I wonder how many
minors have been put in this lager thanks to this kind of official
"guessing"). She was locked up for one full month without having
committed any crime -- she stayed "free" in Italy only for two weeks,
since she arrived six weeks ago from Moldavia with her valid passport,
but without a visa -- an unofficial offence costing (if you are lucky) a
month of your life in a place worse than a jail and a quick return...
home? Not always. You might find yourself in the other side of the

Still, Maria (that's her name) is not exactly what you could name a
person without chance in the globalized world: she speaks 3 languages,
has studied information technology and would like to keep on studying. A
very attractive young girl with a child profile and a pair of clever
eyes, filled with tears behind a pony of red hairs while she tells her
story to the journalists and to us. "But now, it's over" she keeps on

She refers to via Corelli, but not only. There's more. This is the story
of how the life of a young girl can turn into a nightmare thanks to the
limitations to people's freedom of movement enforced by the Schengen


- How did you arrived in Italy?

"Last December, a men I knew told me that I could go to Italy to work as
a waitress. I did not trust it so much, but then I met a very nice lady
and I was told that she was the person I was going to work for. You
know, in Moldavia there's really no work, and a lot of misery. So, I was
very happy. I spent New Year's Eve with my friends, then I prepared to

"But there was a problem I did not think about: the visa. I tried but
the embassy denied it, so the lady told me not to worry, she had ways to
bypass this problem and she really wanted me to work for her in her
beautiful Italian house. So I trusted her, and left with her car."

"I have a valid passport, so I could enter Romania without problem.
Then, she told me that we had to pass through Yugoslavia, and I had to
hide in a van. In Yugoslavia, she introduced me to a friend of her
saying that he would bring me in Italy, then she left. Two days later,
this man literally delivered me to an Albanian man speaking Russian. I
did not like him, but I could not run away. He told me that we had to
reach Tirana, in Albania. But I could not pass the border openly, so we
went by feet through the "green border". We approached the border with a
car, then walked for kilometers till, on the Albanian side, a car picked
us up and brought us to Tirana. There, a girl opened my eyes: there was
no work for me as a waitress -- I was going to be a prostitute in Italy,
and the nasty Albanian man had bought me. "You belong to him now," she

"I yelled and cried, I rebelled as much as I could, I didn't want to be
a whore, but I was kept prisoner in a hotel and continuously beatened
and threatened with rape. Few days later, I was sold again to an
Albanian pimp which brought me to Italy with a "skafo" (NOTE: the small,
superfast Albanian boats)."

- Where did the Italian police cought you?

"I was arrested in the south (NOTE: In Puglia, the region of the Straits
of Otranto), while I was prostituting -- the pimps were nearby in a car
checking me, but they just went away. I was kept few days in a police
station down there, then one day they came in and, laughing, they said:
"You are going for a tour in Milan. Aren't you happy?" So, I came to
know via Corelli."

- How was your month in via Corelli?

"From via Corelli, I remember especially the meals. In Moldavia, we
wouldn't feed our dogs with that stuff. And I remember the frighten of
the first days. I felt dying inside as soon as I saw it. I thought:
"Jesus, where am I?". I cried for days, then I met somebody I could
trust and I asked: "How long do I have to stay here?" Only then I came
to know that it was for 30 days at most. Another thing really horrible
is that, if nobody brings them to you, you have no clothes to change --
now I wear the clothes with which the police arrested me (NOTE: a
T-shirt and a miniskirt, and there are about 8 degrees celsius). Thanks
God a girl I met here left me her coverall when she was deported, other
way I would have no clothes..."

- Did you see a translator during this month? Has your embassy being
contacted? Did you see a lawier?

"I never saw a translator, neither here or down in the South where I was
arrested. I don't know about my embassy, but however, they did not move
a finger for me anyway, so... And the only lawiers I have seen are the
ones coming with the volunteers visiting here... you, I mean.. the
people which closed this place."

- How did the Red Cross people behaved with you?

"I quarrelled with them many times. I remember once they did not take us
our meals, and when we complained they laughed and answered that they
forgot to order them. Another time, I was very ill -- it was freezing,
and I have no coat -- and I had to wait for days before seeing a doctor.
And then there were the continuous quarrels due to the fact that they
used to enter the girl's showers without even knocking!"

- Can you tell us something about the way you were released?

"Friday evening, we were there in 4: a Serbian, a Tunesian, a girl from
Eastern Europe -- I don't know precisely from where -- and me, none of
us could sleep because we knew that during the weekend this place was
going to be closed, so we were happy and worried at the same time. We
spend the whole night before the gate. Saturday morning, at midday, they
called us one by one. Me, the Serbian and the Eastern girl were
released. The Tunesian was deported. But we were hungry, because the
food wasn't delivered."

"When I came out of the gates of via Corelli walking on my own feet,
free, with a temporary permission to stay in Italy, I could not believe
my own eyes. I WAS FREE, free from via Corelli and free from
prostituting. It was like waking up from a nightmare. The three of us
reached the first pub asking if they had something to eat for us... and
the people behind the counter gave us sandwiches and croissant for free!
I was really happy. Then the Serbian guy gave me a coin to make a phone
call... and here I am."

- How did you get your permission to stay?

"During my first days here, I was so scared and sad that I did not speak
with anybody. Then, I took some courage and spoke about my situation. A
Tunesian boy told me that the Italian police delivers a permit to stay
to the prostitutes which accept to sue their exploiters, I mean the
pimps, and help to identify them and to get them arrested and condemned.
So, I did. I sued them and described everything to the police. And this
morning, before releasing me, they put in my pocket my permit to stay!"

-- Will you be protected for that? It's dangerous, you know?

"Protected? You mean to have some policemen that checks you all the
time? No, thanks."

- What are you going to do now?

"First, a very long shower. Then I'll look for a job. I want to send
some money to my mother, which is hearthsick. And I'm thinking about
studying: I love computers." 

This was a direct entreview, partially reported also on national
newspapers on March 13.

So, now at least we know what you have to do if you are a Moldavian girl
and want a permit to stay in Italy according to the Schengen rules: be
forced to prostitute yourself, get cought, sell your pimp to the cops
and risk again your life: a clear procedure. Again, my best compliments
to our illuminated globalized rulers!


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