Friday, January 22, 2010

Itamil (it's not a medicine) - Bangkok, Thailand

One night in Bangkok I meet D. If you close your eyes and listen to him you know right away where he comes from. "I was born in Reggio but I'm a Bolognese." Short, slim, with waiving black hair. Under his dark skin there runs Tamil blood, his Indian features are of a southern variant. After having said to me that he is from Bologna he tells some English guys that he's not Italian. "If you have an Italian parent or you were adopted, being granted the citizenship is not that hard. But if your family is from somewhere else it might almost be impossible. D. is nice, self-confident, he studied in Italy and Australia, he's enterprising and smart, a precious human resource. He eats bolognese and tortellini with his Italian friends and he feels quite awkward at a Tamil meal. I'm amazed and bewildered, I can't get it out of my mind, a fraction of guilt is lying in my stomach. I think of the debate about granting citizenship to immigrants. What are they talking about, and with what credibility? In Italy there are thousands of people like D.

Photo of an Italian passport of 1901 (PD), from

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