Who was Joele Leotta? Many people do not have a clue. He was a 19 year-old boy from northern Italy, who decided to move abroad to look for some job opportunities, since the situation in Italy is not really one of the easiest and happiest. Many young graduates like him do the same choice, and that’s what I am aiming to when I will be done with my Bachelor’s studies. The fact is that Italy doesn’t offer people anything right now, it seems like it has gone back to the mid 20th century, when many Italians left to go “anywhere but home” to be able to earn a couple of coins to give food to their family or to just build one.
Joele reminds these immigrants who left with nothing and went to countries which could offer them something more than just unemployment and poverty.
What may actually surprise many people is that Joele is not from the rural South of Italy. He was born and raised in a small town in the northern part, not very far from Milan, one of the most developed areas of the country which is now facing the same economic problems as well as the whole country. The mayor of his little town was shocked to hear that he had to leave to look for a better future and not being under full support of his family. But this is today’s Italy.
Joele was not one of those “choosey” kids mentioned by the previous Head of the Ministry of Economy Elsa Fornero, nor a “bamboccione” like young unemployed Italians were labeled by 2007 Minister of Economy Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa: he dropped out of school during his third year of studies (out of 5 – Italian high schools last from grade 9 to grade 13, so 5 years) and started working as a gardener, night shift worker at a factory, pizza chef – he changed jobs many times, making no more than 600-800 Euros a month, until he started to think he could try moving to another country and look for a better opportunity outside Italy.
He chose the UK, where he arrived with a close friend of his on October 14th and started working the day after at an Italian restaurant as a waiter. He was very enthusiast of his new life in England, where he made many friends as soon as he arrived there. He was living with his friend Alex in the apartment right upstairs from the restaurant where he worked. He didn’t know what was going to happen two weeks later, when he left his workplace after his shift and was going home with Alex. A group of East-European guys, insulted them and followed them home, where they broke through the door and started hitting Joele shouting “Italian Sh*t! You are stealing our jobs!”. Alex was also injured, but he survived. Joele didn’t make it. He was seriously injured and died when he reached the local hospital.
The authors of this tragedy have been arrested and should now be charged with prison, although there have been many remittals already and a couple of them have already been released on bail. Four of them are still charged with murder and they all are from Lithuania and were unemployed, which might explain the reason of this tragic beating, which according to these people was not intended to end with murder. Investigations are still open though and there will be a sentence soon, hopefully.
The Italian community where he came from is shocked. He has always been a friendly person, never went into trouble, so his family can’t really explain how he could have gone through this and why these people killed him. The racist reason is the only one which applies in this period, and it’s something that is happening very commonly nowadays, especially around London. In fact, an American guy who has been to the UK for only three days and wanted to study there has been beaten by some “locals” who happened to be Asians according to the Police. This guy survived but needed 23 external stitches on his face and will have a permanent scar on his face.
Why is this happening in the UK nowadays? What is happening among people of different nationalities (and not necessarily ethnicities – as both Lithuanian and Italians are considered white)? On a previous post the UK immigration problem was presented and many people are overstaying there even if they have no right to do so and probably attack people who arrive there with a visa or have better job opportunities, better skills. But why doing this? There is still NO answer to violence, but ignorance.