“Who is a migrant? Is he/she just a person that decides to move from his/her country of origin to another?. Can our experiences also be considered as ‘migration’, even if, as ‘western’ people, we have the privilege of being free to move and go almost wherever we want, without particular restrictions?” These were the main questions we had in our mind when we decided to interview some people on the topic. In order to avoid western-centred description of what migration is, we decided to interview non-italian people, with migrant background. We thought that only who has really experienced migration could tell us what does it mean to live in a country that is not ‘yours’, what are the feelings you have, as a migrant, when locals look at you or talk to you, what is your perception of inclusion.
So we decided to have a walk in the streets of the neighborhood where we live, “Bolognina” in Bologna, and look for people to interview.
Our first idea was to make video interviews, but we understood soon that it was not possible because, already when explaining the idea, people started to tell us about their personal stories of migration and we weren’t able to stop the flow…
We went to the open market of Bolognina, Albani Market, where we met Awais and Said, two sellers living in Italy from 16 years. They are from Pakistan. For them to sell fruit and vegetable at the market is a way to be recognized as “good people”, even if sometimes they feel italian people looking at them in a ‘different’ way.
Said told us that he found his house through a customer of the market. He said that he was lucky because it is not for a foreigner to find a place to rent in Italy.
When we asked them about what is inclusion for them,, they looked at us in a strange way and said “What does inclusion mean?”. They didn’t even know what is the meaning of the word.
Then we met Sara and Andres, two wonderful peruvians, that told us about their love story and their daily lives.
Sara arrived in Bologna 16 years ago, but she was travelling a lot to go to Florence because in Bologna there were no places where peruvian people could meet to party and dance. There she met her husband, Andres. They decided to marry and come to live in Bologna, where they now have 3 children that attend italian schools. Also if they are not Italian, they feel italians, first of all because they were born in Italy.
( To know something more about the issue of citizenship in Italy you can read: http://www.meltingpot.org/A-comment-upon-the-new-rules-concerning-Italian-citizenship.html#.WB8pbFv4WRM ).
Sara affirmed that their children will face the challenge about their future. To be italian, even if you are not, means that you have to create a new way to define your identity.
Sara and Andres work in cleaning. Through their work they managed to buy an house where they now live. They don’t really think about going back to Perù. Maybe when they will be old and their children will be able and free to decide for themselves.
Finally we find the answer to our first question…when we talked to Yasir, a guy from Iraq. He came first to Italy and then continued his long trip to The Netherlands, where he was rejected and sent back to Italy. When we asked him what is migration for him, he just answered us with a smile, saying: “I am a migrant”.