italy and immigration

Immagine25-800x397Aaron Robertson at The Point:

When it was discovered last fall that one of Rome’s beloved sculptures, Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s Elephant and Obelisk, had been vandalized, the tip of the marble elephant’s left tusk snapped off, Igiaba Scego used the opportunity to diagnose what she understood as a peculiarly Roman sickness. Scego, writing for Internazionale, called Rome a “lonely and indolent” city where the stench of uncollected trash chokes every breath and aggression is diffuse. Perhaps these would be pardonable sins were the city more hospitable to the “other”—even a symbol like the Indian elephant—but something like the opposite seems to be the case.

This has been a year of great exposure for Scego, the Roman-born daughter of Somali immigrants who left their home after the 1969 coup d’état of Siad Barre, a former auxiliary soldier for the British and Italian empires. The English translation of her fourth novel, Adua, was released by New Vessel in June. She also published Lend Me Your Wings (Prestami le ali), an illustrated children’s book set in eighteenth-century Europe about a Jewish girl from the ghettos of Venice and a young African slave boy who help liberate a rhino from its cruel Dutch owner. A blending of the fabular and historical, filtered through the eyes of society’s castaways, is the trademark that has made Scego something like Italy’s most obvious answer to Toni Morrison.

more here.