Jululu

MigrArti Film festival 2017 has decided to grant the ‘best director’ award to JULULU during the 74th Venice Film Festival. Jululu is described as a “musical journey in a corner of Africa situated in Southern Italy”, which brings us to the problems of farm labourers in the region of Puglia.

The shortfilm, which was born from an idea of ​​Sestilia Pelicano and Yvan Sagnet, was produced by Lazy Film. The photography is by Stefano Usberghi and directed by Michele Cinque. The storyboard comes from the dual perspective of Yvan Sagnet and Badara Seck.

Badara Seck is a Senegalese musician and griot, who navigates the Italian farmlands in search of Jululu, the African collective soul. To end up in one of the ghettos where immigrant agricultural workers live during the harvest season.

Yvan Sagnet is an important exponent of migrant labourers’ revolts in Italy. His movie gets awarded two months after the SABR trial, issued by the Court of Lecce on 12 July, which -thanks to the key witness of Sagnet – condemned in the first instance gangmasters and  agricultural entrepreneurs, which had been denounced during the 2011 revolt at Bonardi’s farm in Nardo.

 

At the same time, migrant labour conditions have for from improved, and ghettos continue to spring up in the fields of Puglia, Basilicata and Calabria -despite the frequent destruction that has been repeatedly reported on these pages. Notably in Rignano, where regional authorities have eradicated the informal settlement, which hosted over 2000 labourers during the Summer months, a new ghetto has arisen, this time in the form of a ‘camping’. Commenting the release of a recent report by the syndicate FLAI-CGIL, president Giovanni  Mininini says that “substantially nothing has changed” in the way labourers get recruited and subjected to exploitation in this hidden corner of Southern Italy.

ghetto deaths: new accusations

Days after the mass eviction of the Grand Ghetto of Rignano, new accusations arise as to who is responsible for the deaths of two of its inhabitants. On 2 March, Mamadou Konate (33) and Nouhou Doumbia (36) died in a fire that destroyed their barracks and left their bodies carbonised. In a press stamement, released after a protest manifestation in Foggia held on 8 March, the Unione Sindacati di Basi (USB) writes: “These are the tragic conclusions of years of absent political solutions and migrant witch hunts.” They assign particular responsibility to the chief attorney of Foggia, who decided to proceed with the eviction without involving the workers who live there, an act they describe as “institutional arrogance”. In the meantime, the activist movement Campagne in Lotta cites eyewitness who claim -so far without material evidence- that the fire has been ignited by the police, with the aim to intimidate those present to leave this “parallel city”, as superintendent Antonio Piernicola Silvis called the ghetto.

In a recent reaction to the closure of Rignano, the new Minister of Internal Affairs, Marco Minniti claims the eviction is just the beginning, and that the plan is to eradicate all remaining informal labour settlements across the country.

Arama

Allow me a bit of publicity for a band I’ve closely followed over the last three years. ARAMA is a ensemble, which performs music from the whole Mediterranean region, covering East, South and North. The three lead musicians, Laura Francaviglia (classic guitar, saz, oud, riqq, darbouka, daff), Chiara Trapanese (vocals and middle eastern percussions) and Elio Pugliese (accordion and vocals), have chosen this Turkish name for their band, which means “search”. After a long period of gigs and fieldwork in Sicily they decided to record their first album in Emilia Romagna. VersOriente (Toward the East) also includes Olivia Bignardi (clarinet), Daniele Gozzi (double bass) and Frida Forlani, who sings a traditional piece from the Appenino Bolognese.

please sustain their project here:

ARAMA are also on facebook:

Pro/fuga

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An interesting report on Pro/fuga and the way it tries to confront the exploitative conditions of migrant workers in the Foggia area of Puglia, Italy, just came out on Meltingpot. Definitely worth the read. More information on the current situation is being regularly collected by OMB.

Doreen Massey

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Sadly receiving the news about the passing of Doreen Massey, I would like to flag two obituaries that describe well her life-long dedication to an understanding of space that is “complex, porous and relational,” as Noel Castree put it. Massey is, concretely, the reason why I am in(to) geography now. I still remember my colleague flagging up her brilliant piece Politics and Space/Time when I was about to finish my PhD. Together with Michael Watts’ ‘Sinister Life‘ it greatly influenced my thinking for the next decade. So I am extremely grateful to Massey -and to my colleague of course- for having brought me onto this path. Words can’t describe her career better than these two separate obituaries by Noel Castee (for PiHG) and David Featherstone (for the Guardian).

 

migrant detention

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The Global Detention Project has just published its new report, The Uncounted, on migrant detention in Europe and the US. Here is what it says:

“Based on a two-year investigation seeking basic details and statistics about immigration detention practices in 33 countries across Europe and North America, this joint report by the GDP and Access Info Europe reveals that in many countries it is impossible to obtain an accurate picture of the number of migrants and asylum seekers being held in
detention. Information is frequently unavailable, many countries refuse to answer freedom of information requests, and when information is released or publicly available it is often incomplete or based on unclear measures that do not fully capture what is happening on the ground. The report concludes that in Europe in particular there is not sufficient transparency in detention regimes to be able to develop a coherent picture of the treatment of detainees or to make informed policy decisions, a fact that is all the more alarming given the large number refugees and asylum seekers currently being apprehended across the continent.”

Read report here.

Mediterranea

Mediterranea has finally reached Europe’s movie screens.

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The critics were enthusiastic about this debut movie of Jonas Carpignano, a young Italian-African-American director who received the critic’s prize during this years’ Cannes festival. The movie (a coproduction between Italy, France, the US, Germany and Qatar), which was filmed in Morocco and Calabria, tells the story of two immigrants from Burkina Faso who reach Italy after a long journey through the Libyan desert, and get involved in the revolt of Rosarno of 2010. Mediterranea is a story about the precariousness of globalisation, the author mentions, but also about prejudice and what being a migrant in contemporary Europe is like.

I must admit I haven’t yet seen the movie, but as soon as I do I will post my impressions. In the meantime you can read the Guardian’s review here.

Adua

elephant-601783_640 Camille Hawthorne just posted an extensive review of Igiaba Scego’s novel ‘Adua‘, on Africa as a Country. Hawthorne, whose research analyses the politics of Blackness in Italy, diaspora theory, and postcolonial science and technology studies, situates the novel in the persistent expressions of racism in Italy, but also in experiences of a more liminal kind. Rather than depicting subjects “trapped between two worlds,” she writes, Scego’s novel succeeds in portraying a range of experiences that–while still structured by racism, misogyny, and other axes of power–can do justice to the changing face of Italy today.

Colonial representations -if at all admitted- have been pretty much dominated by the Italian conquest perspective, but that image is slowly starting to change, thanks to the contribution of Sego and others. Also have a look at the interesting lecture Sego gave at NYU.