Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Monday, June 25, 2018 05:32:10 PM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

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

Sports »

Members of England's rugby league team celebrate a win over New Zealand by raising the Rugby League Football International Challenge Cup on Saturday in Denver. England won 36-18.


International »

First Russia air strikes hit southern Syria as govt assault looms


AFP, Beirut : Russia bombed rebel-held parts of southern Syria late Saturday for the first time since brokering a ceasefire there nearly a year ago, a monitor group said, as allied regime troops prepare a ground assault.Southern Syria is a strategic prize for local and global players involved in the country's ...

International »

Zimbabwe's President narrowly escapes assassination bid


The Washington Post :Zimbabwe's election campaign season took a worrying turn Saturday afternoon when a crude bombing at a speech delivered by President Emmerson Mnangagwa appeared to be an attempt on his life.Mnangagwa had just finished giving a speech in a stadium in Zimbabwe's second-largest city, Bulawayo, when the blast ...

City »

Newly -appointed Nepalese Ambassador Dr Chop Lal Bhusal called on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her office yesterday.


Editorial »

Fatal accidents are increasing, make roads and highways safe for passengers


TERMING it as the deadliest day, the news media reported that at least 55 people were killed in separate road accidents in different districts across the country on Saturday. Bangladesh Jatri Kallyan Samity said it was the highest number of casualties in a single day in recent times. An 11-member ...

Entertainment »

Richi returns to country tomorrow


Entertainment Report :In last January, popular TV actress Richi Solaiman came to Bangladesh to pass times with her mother and brother by own way. After five months, she is returning to her motherland tomorrow. This time she is coming for several reasons including to celebrate Eid-ul-Azha with her mother, to ...

Editorial »

American people rose against inhumanity of Trump`s immigration policy : Trump remains un-American


US President Donald Trump took an U-turn and changed his own policy amid strong protest by American people.  There are huge criticism and outcry in America over the way undocumented parents and children have been kept forcibly apart. He said he changed his mind by seeing images of children who ...

International »

UN Chief appeals for end to fighting in south Syria


AFP, United Nations :UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday called for an immediate end to a military escalation in southwest Syria and a return to ceasefire arrangements agreed by Russia, the United States and Jordan.US Ambassador Nikki Haley separately urged Russia to pressure its Syrian ally to uphold the truce. ...

Football »

Nigeria`s John Obi Mikel (left) and Iceland`s Gylfi Sigurdsson compete for the ball during the group D match between Nigeria and Iceland at the 2018 soccer World Cup at the Volgograd Arena in Volgograd, Russia on Friday.


Football »

Portugal's Ruben Dias talks to journalists during a news conference prior the training session of Portugal at the 2018 soccer World Cup in Kratovo, outskirts Moscow, Russia on Saturday.


City »

Prime Minister and Awami League President Sheikh Hasina inaugurating the newly constructed building of the party's central office by releasing balloons in the city's Bangabandhu Avenue on Saturday.


Entertainment »

Sunny Leone hospitalised


Bollywood star and reality show host Sunny Leone was hospitalised on Thursday. Leone was taken to Brijesh Hospital Kashipur in the Udham Singh Nagar district of Uttarakhand on Thursday after she complained of stomach ache. However, her state was declared satisfactory on Friday morning.The doctor attending her has given the ...

Editorial »

Trump disregards the American core human right values : He is against America`s greatness


The United States withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday, condemning the "hypocrisy" of its members and its alleged "unrelenting bias" against Israel vividly face-off US stance in favour of rights violation. National and international news outlets reported that the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, ...

Entertainment »

Kriti Sanon shares glimpses from her IIFA performance


Actress Kriti Sanon took to social media to share glimpses from her upcoming electrifying performance at the IIFA awards. Kriti Sanon who landed in Bangkok on Thursday morning for IIFA wasted no time as she took to rehearsals for her much-awaited performance. Sharing insights into her performances, Kriti Sanon posted ...

Entertainment »

A fan paints a wall with Nidhhi Agerwal’s graffiti art


An ardent fan of Nidhhi Agerwal took to Twitter to share a Graffiti art of the actress painted on a wall. The fan artist painted a wall with the actress’ image giving showcasing his love for Nidhhi. The artist spent a huge amount of time getting every detail right to ...

 
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