Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Saturday, September 22, 2018 02:16:56 PM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter
BREAKING NEWS:

Bangladeshi community in Rome

By
12th-Mar-2018       
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

Maged Srour :
The Esquilino market, built at the end of the 1800s, is a pillar of Roman traditional daily shopping. It managed to survive the Fascist period and two world wars: it's a veteran of the city.
After being outdoors in the square of Piazza Vittorio for more than a century, on Sep. 15, 2001 it moved inside the former Sani barracks, just behind the square. Meanwhile, the social and demographic reality of that part of Rome had changed. Migrants of multiple ethnicities were moving to the Esquilino borough and their determination and resilience in building a new life and starting new businesses changed the shape and colour of that neighbourhood.
In Rome, after Romanians and Filipinos, Bangladeshis are the largest community of foreigners and today many of them are concentrated in the Esquilino borough.
Von Below, a historian, described the importance of the market in 1923: "Markets and periodic fairs contribute to the internal and external growth of the community, simply as the political and judiciary institutions do…a flourishing market attracts immigrants, who increase the number of visitors, of merchants and of population."
Looking at the vibrant dynamism in the Esquilino Market in the heart of Rome, it's easy to agree with von Below.
Once you pass through one of the four entries, crossing transparent curtains, you feel you have entered a world apart. It's the market par excellence: colourful, vendors shouting and trying to attract clients, a mixture of smells which include not only traditional Italian food, but also crispy spices from India or Peru, exotic vegetables such as the 'ampalaya' from Sri Lanka, African fabrics of blinding tonalities, and so forth. Being here feels like being in Dhaka or Beijing's food markets: a dynamic melting pot, both of sellers and of buyers.
Farhad was born in Bangladesh forty years ago. He has lived in Italy since 2005 and has no plans to move back since his wife and two children joined him two years ago. He's one of the over one hundred Bangladeshis working in the market of Esquilino, which is a stronghold of Chinese and Bangladeshi presence in Rome; indeed, you can barely find Italians working there.
A fish seller, Farhad agrees to speak with this IPS correspondent. His compatriots are friendly but when I started asking pointed questions, many looked a bit suspicious. Farhad is more open. He talks about his life in Italy and about working in this multi-cultural environment. He looks relaxed and deems it a normal affair that people coming from five different continents work under the same roof.
He says that some of the Bangladeshis are owners of the stores while others work for Italians. This doesn't seem to be relevant for him: Farhad works for a Bangladeshi, so he's a day worker or labourer, but he seems satisfied with his life.
"I feel safe here. I am not saying that living in Bangladesh was dangerous. I was not suffering war as many other migrants from Syria do. I decided to come in Europe to look for opportunities and despite the financial crisis, I still feel that there is no place where I could live better today. My children go to school and receive a good education. Plus, there are many Bangladeshis here in Rome and so we miss less our homeland."
When I ask him if he ever had problems with Italians inside the market, he responds: "No, we are all friends here. We have to work daily together. We are all Italians, because that's what we all share: Italy."
Farhad is one of the 132,397 Bangladeshis residing in Italy. Most of his compatriots arrived in Italy through dangerous routes that pass through Libya, where many of them suffered exploitation and violence. When I ask him about his journey he grows tense and avoids answering. He doesn't feel comfortable in that noisy environment, and one can imagine his trip to Italy was a difficult one.
He continues describing the market's routine: "Clients are mostly foreigners but many Italians come here as well, curious to mix with this coloured hub". Farhad looks behind me and says: "Now I go back to work my friend, or my boss could be upset."
I try to speak with other merchants. It becomes clear to me that in addition to the palpable energetic excitement, there is also a lot of diffidence and caution among workers. Moreover, the melting pot harmony is a bit superficial: there's a clear division between the sellers of different nationalities.
Chinese, Egyptians, Romanians, Italians: every store works individually, engaging in a rigorous exercise of competition to catch the client. There is not much communication between them. Even clients prefer to buy from sellers of their same nationality - although that is not necessarily the rule, as I also saw Chinese clients buying from Egyptians or Ukrainians from Indians.
Before leaving, I speak with one of the few Italian vendors. Antonio, 65, has worked here for decades. Asked what he thinks about the market, he replies succinctly: "It sucks." I thought he might be angry about the presence of so many immigrants but he adds: "No, it's not about them. It's this financial crisis that is still killing us." With no hesitation, Antonio blames the Italian government. The only problem, for him, seems to be the fact that he's not selling enough products. As James Carville would say: "It's the economy, stupid."
I leave the Esquilino market after having bought some dates from a Bangladeshi, crossing the transparent curtains again and still hearing the loud voices of sellers. In my mind, I hear the last words of Farhad saying "We are all Italians." Indeed, there are vendors from all over the world, but all of them share the same roof, like a family.
And I feel perplexed. Yes, we do agree with von Below and with Farhad: the market is an opportunity of growth for the community, but that social unity that is still missing - a bitter reality reflected in the outside environment too. Maybe, that missing cohesion is the last dowel that could lead to a real multicultural and integrated Rome, at least in that borough.
Courtesy: IPS

Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Editorial »

Rohingya crisis: UN is helpless without active cooperation of int'l community


THE United Nations was established with a mission to stop brutality and promotion of human rights across the globe but at present is apparently helpless to stop the Myanmar military atrocity on Rohingya ethnic community. Though the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the ...

Cricket »

India rout Pakistan by eight wickets in Asia Cup


AFP, Dubai :India crushed Pakistan by eight wickets in their long-awaited Asia Cup match which failed to live up to its hype in Dubai on Wednesday.Pace spearhead Bhuvneshwar Kumar (3-15) and part time off-spinner Kedar Jadhav (3-23) sent Pakistan, who won the toss and batted, collapsing to just 162 all ...

Football »

We aim to play SAFF U-16 Women's final: Choton


Bangladesh U-18 national women's football team head coach Golam Rabanni Choton said they aim to play the final of the SAFF U-18 Women's Championship which is scheduled to be held from September 28 to October 7 in Thimpu, Bhutan.He was speaking at a pre-departure press conference on Thursday at the ...

International »

US-North Korea relations making 'tremendous progress': Trump


President Donald Trump on Wednesday said US relations with North Korea are making "tremendous progress" from the days before his presidency when the two countries appeared close to "going to war."Trump said a recent letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un confirmed the positive track, which he said has ...

City »

Newly elected executive members of Bangladesh Photo Journalists Association paid a courtesy call on Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan at his ministry on Thursday.


Entertainment »

Not always necessary to do issue-based films: Yami Gautam


Actress Yami Gautam, who stars in Batti Gul Meter Chalu, says it is neither necessary nor possible for an actor to do issue-based films all the time. Yami was interacting with the media here on Wednesday at a promotional press conference of the film that releases on Friday. She was ...

Football »

Japanese MMA star Norifumi 'Kid' Yamamoto dies at 41


Tributes flowed Wednesday for charismatic Japanese Mixed Martial Artist ( MMA) Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto, who died at age 41, three weeks after announcing a battle with cancer.Born to a family of wrestlers and martial artists, the wiry, tattoo-covered Yamamoto took on larger opponents in a wide range of MMA events, ...

Editorial »

Ecological danger for destroying forest by Rohingyas


A STUDY has revealed that 4,300 acres of hills and forests have been razed in Cox's Bazar to set up refugee camps and cooking fuel for Rohingyas who fled ethnic cleansing in Myanmar. Quoting the study, news media reported that about 3,000-4,000 acres of hill land at Teknaf and Ukhia ...

International »

Kim agrees to dismantle main nuke site if US takes steps too


AP,  Pyongyang :The leaders of North and South Korea announced a wide range of agreements Wednesday which they said were a major step toward peace on the Korean Peninsula. But the premier pledge on denuclearization contained a big condition, with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un stating he'd permanently dismantle ...

International »

Sex with Trump 'least impressive' she's ever had: Daniels


Stormy Daniels, the porn star who claims to have slept with Donald Trump over a decade ago, says in her upcoming tell-all book that it may have been the "least impressive sex" she'd ever had, The Guardian reported Tuesday.In her book, "Full Disclosure," Daniels also provides a graphic description of ...

Entertainment »

I`m seen as a fierce and opinionated woman post Bigg Boss: Hina Khan


Actor Hina Khan believes Bigg Boss helped her showcase her real personality, which is that of a woman who does not shy away from speaking her mind. The actor became one of the most talked about contestants on the 11th edition of the reality TV show, which has just begun ...

City »

Dhaka University teachers formed a human chain programme on the campus on Wednesday demanding release and proper treatment of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia.


Editorial »

We welcome Islamabad for awarding Bangladeshi-origin refugees Pakistan`s nationality


PAKISTAN government has decided to grant nationality to all Pakistan-born refugees of Bangladeshi and Afghan origins staying there for decades. Prime Minister Mr Imran Khan on Sunday made this announcement during his maiden visit to Karachi, saying the Bangladeshi and Afghan refugees who were born in Pakistan would get National ...

Sports »

Argentina's Facundo Conte (left) and teammate Alexis Gonzalez celebrate during the Men's World Championships' volleyball match between Argentina and Slovenia, in Florence, Italy on Monday.


Football »

FIFA president Infantino has doubts about La Liga match in Miami


AFP, Barcelona :FIFA president Gianni Infantino has expressed concern about La Liga's proposal to stage a fixture between Girona and Barcelona in the United States.The two clubs have each approved a request submitted to the Spanish Football Federation for the match to be played at the Hard Rock Stadium in ...

 
Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
 
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Email:
Write a comment to this news