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Security Human Rights Migration Justice Regional Stability

The Eclipse of Europe: Italy, Libya, and the Surveillance of Borders

Image: Flickr.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published by E-IR on 30 March 2014.

Bilateral Agreements between Italy and Libya: Security without Human Rights

Not much has been said about the Ministerial Conference held in Rome on the 6th of March 2014, where foreign ministers, high-level delegations from Libya, and representatives from international organisations gathered to discuss the current situation of Libya. At the forefront of the conference were the economic ties between Libya and its partners, the disarmament of paramilitary groups necessary to defend those ties, the patrolling of borders, and the subsequent issue of illegal migration. These last two points come as no surprise, given that Libya is among the signatories of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (CTOC) protocol to prevent human trafficking. Yet not even a word was spent on the life-straining conditions of Libyan migrants who ­– despite coming from countries such as Syria, Eritrea, Somalia, Togo, and Mali – are not regarded as potential asylum-seekers, but rather considered “illegal” and “unwanted” people, as they were under the Gaddafi regime.

Categories
International Relations Security

The Evolution of Jihadism in Italy: Rise in Homegrown Radicals

'Jihad' graffiti
‘Jihad’ graffiti. Photo: laughing spinning dancing/flickr.

Jihadist terrorism in Italy has recently undergone significant demographic and operational changes. The first generation of foreign-born militants with ties to various jihadist groups outside Europe is still active in Italy, albeit with less intensity than in the past. During the last few years, however, Italian authorities have increasingly noticed a shift toward forms of homegrown radicalization similar to that experienced in other Western European countries. Two recent incidents highlighted this trend: the conviction of a young man from Brescia who, without any connection to established jihadist groups, formed an

online network of jihadist enthusiasts; and a Genoa-born convert to Islam who was killed in Syria. These two incidents marked some of the first cases of homegrown jihadist radicalization in Italy.[1]

This article looks at the first generation of jihadists in Italy, and then shows how the jihadist scene in Italy has progressively changed with the formation of a new generation of homegrown radicals. It finds that although the recent instances of homegrown jihadist radicalization are worrisome, it still remains a small phenomenon in Italy compared to some other European countries.

Categories
Gender

Being Italian and a Woman These Days

Photo: Associazione Orlando/flickr

Italy is one of those countries where a lot of wild contradictions regarding gender, misfortune, and economic circumstance can occur simultaneously. Take the word “mignotta,” which is Roman dialect for “whore,” “bitch,” or “slut”—when referring to a woman. Or a gay man. Or a transsexual man. Or, for that matter, simply an untidy woman. But which originally, back in the Middle Ages, was an acronym referring to an abandoned child whose mother was unknown to the local authorities.

Nothing since that time has changed much in Italy, a country where it is still (a) not a good idea to be a woman, if you can possibly avoid it, and (b) a great place to be a woman, but only under special circumstances. Such as if you’re extremely beautiful, very young, and never met former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

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Uncategorized

ISN Weekly Theme: The Rise of the Right

Europe turning right? Courtesy of: Rene De Paula Jr/flickr

One hallmark of Europe’s changing political landscape in the past decades has been the steady rise of parties on the extreme right. This week the ISN explores the ‘family’ of right-wing parties and the implications of their rising popularity and clout across the continent.

Our Special Report offers the following content:

  • An Analysis by Dr Michale Bruter on the concept and reach of the extreme right in Europe.
  • A Podcast with Dr Andrea Mammone of Kingston University London on the rise of the right in Italy and the political, economic and ethical crisis engulfing the country.
  • Security Watch articles on the popularity of right wing parties among foreigners in Switzerland and on the rise of right-wing extremism in the UK.
  • Publications housed in our Digital Library, including a Centre for Eastern Studies commentary on Germany’s integration and naturalization policies and a Danish Institute for International Studies paper on multiculturalism in Denmark and Sweden.
  • Primary Resources, among them Geert Wilders’ speech in the House of Lords and a report on violence against Roma in Naples, Italy.
  • Links to relevant websites, including an article on populism in Europe and a swissinfo page on Islam and Switzerland that details last year’s minaret debate and its aftermath.
Categories
Journalism Elections

Italian Media Monopoly

Silvio Berlusconi, photo: vas vas/flickr

When speaking of press freedom, Western European countries usually score highest in rankings from institutions like Freedom House or Reporters Without Borders. They are all declared as “free” with one notable exception: Italy.

In the 2009 report Freedom House downgraded Italy from “free” to “partly free”, highlighting worrisome trends that have been underlined by recent events.

In February of this year four managers from Google Italy’s YouTube branch had to stand trial because of accusations regarding privacy violations. This was only one month after Italian officials proposed a new law against online copyright infringement which holds responsible companies that host and broadcast copyright protected content illegally (i.e. YouTube). Meanwhile, Google is still engaged in a similar legal dispute with Mediaset, a private media corporation controlled by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

On 2 March 2010 the administrative council of Italy’s public television network RAI announced that two popular political talk shows will not be allowed to broadcast for one month until regional elections are over. State officials justified the decision by pointing to a law that guarantees equal opportunity of representation on public media channels to all parties. However, opponents argue that the decision is purely political as the two talk shows “Anno Zero” and “Balla-rò” have heavily criticized Berlusconi in the past.