Strange fruit

Two items in today’s newspapers here that throw an oblique light on each other and on Italian society as a whole. The first is about the decision of the Ku Klux Klan to conduct a recruitment campaign in Italy on the grounds that recent government legislation against immigration provides a more attractive model (in KKK terms) than that of any other western government. This fertile ground has been prepared by the notoriously racist Northern League, with the connivance of their Berlusconian cronies, and an almost inaudible demurral from the opposition, presumably on the ignoble principle that defending immigrants on your own patch does no elected politician any good. (Recent anti-immigration laws here have been roundly condemned by the United Nations and the EU, but have no doubt gone down a treat in BNP headquarters.)

The second is an EU ruling that crucifixes should not be displayed in classrooms, following a case brought by an Italian woman whose request that the cross be taken out of her children’s classroom was ignored at every level of the judical system. The government, which now has to pay the woman 5000 euros for ‘moral damage’, will be appealing. The Vatican, in the meantime, is ‘pausing for reflection’. This decision will no doubt be grist to the mill of those who whine on about ‘islamification’, although the woman who brought the original complaint was defending the right of her children to be educated in a superstition-free zone rather than one in which a variety of nonsenses jostled for space. Good luck to her. Good luck to us all. If the EU’s ruling is ignored or overturned, what’s to stop all the new KKK recruits dressing their children like the unfortunate tyke in this photo?
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