Anti-German election campaign in Italy

Finally I know what it feels like to be part of a group of foreigners used as scapegoats in an election campaign. It feels weird. Despite being aware that they are not targeted against me personally, I always feel affected by these election posters when I walk past them:

Europei non tedeschi

“Europeans not Germans”, this is the slogan chosen by Italia dei Valori (“Italy of Values”) to compete for votes in the European elections of 2014. This is not even a right-wing or generally xenophobic party (of which there are a few in Italy as well), but a rather left-leaning liberal party, founded by Antonio Di Pietro, one of Italy’s most well-known prosecutors, who himself had lived and worked in Germany for two years as a young man. Italia dei Valori currently hold 7 of Italy’s 73 seats in the European Parliament, so they are not some irrelevant splinter group either.

As a German living in Italy, I feel queasy in light of these posters. Somehow, it’s a strange situation to sit in the park, to talk with Italians and to tell them that I am from Germany (which I cannot hide due to my accent when speaking Italian) while on the billboard behind us, anti-German slogans poison the political discourse.

If a party picks such a slogan, they must assume that there is actual anti-German resentment. Now I am insecure whether among all the Italians who approach me in a very friendly way, there might be some who would much rather have me deported. Thus far, I have felt it a few times that I am being made responsible for some economic crisis or some decision by the European Central Bank, just because I am from Germany. “Why don’t you go back to Germany” is the sentence which is sometimes dropped, which is not only particularly anachronistic in a united Europe, but which is even more out of place in my case, not having lived in Germany for 5 years, than it would be if hurled against German tourists. But the tourists don’t need to worry because by the time the main holiday season will kick off, the posters for the European elections will have disappeared again.

(Diesen Artikel gibt es natürlich auch auf Deutsch.)

About Andreas Moser

Travelling the world and writing about it. I have degrees in law and philosophy, but I'd much rather be a writer, a spy or a hobo.
This entry was posted in Europe, Germany, Italy, Politics and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Anti-German election campaign in Italy

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  2. Conrad says:

    Italia dei valori – Are the values they have at heart, so much so they gave their part such name, so racist? Who the hell would vote for them? Di Pietro is a powerful, but very weird personage

  3. Pretty much how I feel when I read “Ami go home” scrawled on walls. I know it basically refers to the Army base here, but still, as an Ami, it makes me quezy.

    • Sounds like we are both being attacked for our respective governments, you for wars in Iraq and the NSA, and me for austerity.

    • djgarcia94 says:

      I’ve always been of used to the collective guilt many people feel towards us Ami (love learning new words), but Europei Non Tedeschi has rather unfortunate implications. One has to wonder if Italia dei Valori is genuinely concerned about the EU being dominated by any one state, or if they are just upset that Italy isn’t the dominant one.

    • And I am also not sure about this claim that Europe is dominated by Germany. All other EU countries could block anything that Germany wants, if they wanted to.

      It’s not Germany’s fault that other countries are bankrupt. It’s not Germany’s fault that other countries spend a lot on their military, while Germany uses the money to provide free university education. Of course the German economy grows stronger with such policies. It’s not Germany’s fault that other countries don’t force their students to learn at least one foreign language to make them more competitive. And I could go on and on.

    • dino bragoli says:

      Are you in the Italian Air Force. I only ask as I am not sure if Ami means something else…

    • “Ami” is a German colloquial term for “American(s)”.

    • Ami – a nickname for Americans here. No, just an American living in Germany. Not military at all.

  4. Pegaso says:

    I cannot begin to think of a reason why someone in Italy should have told you, a German, to “go home.”

    Racism is rife here in Italy, specially now that immigration is so out of control, but I have never been aware of it being directed anywhere north of the Alps.

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  8. I get away with most people thinking I am English. I drive a UK registered Jaguar and speak English to my English Springer Spaniel, which is fair enough considering the poor darling was born and bred in Scotland and I never spoke anything else to him….. I keep the fact that I am German quiet. I don’t exactly lie but I don’t correct people when they think I’m from the UK originally. They really don’t much like the Germans down here in general….

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