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RACISM

Boys who shot blanks at Gambian national “did it for a laugh”

Two Italian youths who shot blanks at a Gambian man in Vicofaro in the Tuscan town of Pistoia last week are just 13 years of age, it has emerged.

Boys who shot blanks at Gambian national “did it for a laugh”
Photo: ChiccoDodiFC/Depositphotos

The boys, who cannot be charged with a crime as they are below the age of 14, told police they did it for fun, and that the act of aggression was not racially or political motivated.

But their victim, 24-year-old Buba Seaasay, told La Repubblica that his attackers shouted racial abuse at him, calling him “bastard” and “black”, before shooting the blanks.

Seaasay told reporters he was headed down the street with his back to the boys when he heard the shouts, followed by the sound of two gunshots. He gave chase, but the two managed to escape.

“People always talk rubbish like this, but I never expected they would shoot a gun,” Seaasay said.

“It's too much.”

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The Gambian national, who is staying in the town as a guest of Vicofaro parish priest Don Massimo Biancalani, showed one of the cartridge casings to the priest, who then accompanied Seaasay to the local police station to file a report.

Police used CCTV footage to identify the minors and received a confession after searching their homes and finding a blank gun and approximately 200 blank cartridges.

 

Racist attacks have been on the rise in Italy in recent months.Two weeks ago 22-year-old discus-thrower Daisy Osakue, who was born in Italy to Nigerian parents and represents Italy in international athletics competitions, was assaulted in a drive-by attack that left her with a black eye.

Interior Minister Matteo Salvini was criticised for saying the attack on Osakue was not racially motivated.

The opposition to Italy's current populist administration have accused it of stoking hatred and creating a climate of intolerance.

ANALYSIS: As racist attacks increase, is there a 'climate of hatred' in Italy?

 

DISCRIMINATION

‘Sweden should apologise to Tornedalian minority’: Truth commission releases report

The Swedish state should issue a public apology to the country's Tornedalian minority, urges a truth commission set up to investigate historic wrongdoings.

'Sweden should apologise to Tornedalian minority': Truth commission releases report

Stockholm’s policy of assimilation in the 19th and 20th centuries “harmed the minority and continues to hinder the defence of its language, culture and traditional livelihoods,” the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for Tornedalians, Kvens and Lantalaiset said in an article published in Sweden’s main daily Dagens Nyheter.

“Amends must be made in order to move forward,” it said, adding that “acknowledging the historic wrongdoings” should be a first step.

The commission, which began work in June 2020, was to submit a final report to the government on Wednesday.

Tornedalen is a geographical area in northeastern Sweden and northwestern Finland. The Tornedalian, Kven and Lantalaiset minority groups are often grouped under the name Tornedalians, who number around 50,000 in Sweden.

The commission noted that from the late 1800s, Tornedalian children were prohibited from using their mother tongue, meänkieli, in school and forced to use Swedish, a ban that remained in place until the 1960s.

From the early 1900s, some 5,500 Tornedalian children were sent away to Lutheran Church boarding schools “in a nationalistic spirit”, where their language and traditional dress were prohibited.

Punishments, violence and fagging were frequent at the schools, and the Tornedalian children were stigmatised in the villages, the commission said.

“Their language and culture was made out to be something shameful … (and) their self-esteem and desire to pass on the language to the next generation was negatively affected.”

The minority has historically made a living from farming, hunting, fishing and reindeer herding, though their reindeer herding rights have been limited over the years due to complexities with the indigenous Sami people’s herding rights.

“The minority feels that they have been made invisible, that their rights over their traditional livelihoods have been taken away and they now have no power of influence,” the commission wrote.

It recommended that the meänkieli language be promoted in schools and public service broadcasting, and the state “should immediately begin the process of a public apology”.

The Scandinavian country also has a separate Truth Commission probing discriminatory policies toward the Sami people.

That report is due to be published in 2025.

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