New Humanity Movement

Ethnicities and Cultures




Daily life in the city of the Lantern: reciprocity in relationships with the Roma and Sinti communities, working towards a respectful integration. Four friends tell us …

Little is known about the origins of the "Lantern", as the lighthouse of Genoa has always been called.  In 1129 a decree assigned to the inhabitants of the district the task of being the armed guard of the city, while the citizens had the task of guarding the lighthouse. Genoa was already at that time a very important Mediterranean port.  Over the centuries this port welcomed many people from different backgrounds.  From here they moved on to other places to try their luck and build a better life.

A vocation to build relationships is what Genoa expresses even today.

Maria Grazia, Luisa, Gabriella and Maura (together with many others!) have been working for years in their cities to foster dialogue between peoples of different cultures.

"What we are living is an experience shared with the Community of S. Egidio and is going beyond our expectations. It all started with some friends in Genoa who were helping others, especially those most in need. Last year, wondering what to do with the Roma, we began by proposing to start a school.  But nobody came, so we thought of having a party. We had already found a beautiful place, but the people around that area were not happy for us to hold the party there. So we opted to hold the event in the same field where the nomads live."

Our friends are full of enthusiasm, showing the vitality of a project that today makes the Ligurian city an example of a place where friendship among peoples is a source of well-being for the whole city.

At the end everything went very well, the field was all dressed up: colourful balloons, exhibition of drawings and photos, music prepared by the Romas, and a big buffet banquet prepared by us.
Also present were the Chairman of the Town Hall, Dr. Giannelli, the Councillor for educational policies, volunteers from the community of Saint Egidio, and Pino Petruzzelli actor and dramatist but also artistic director of the Centro Teatro Ipotesi.”

During all summer fruitful contacts with the various communities continued, and in September in the schools arrived a program, approved by the institutions, which seeks to foster exchanges between the Italian and the Roma culture, through cooking workshops, stories and art, along with the help of the Roma actor Sergio Citnic. 

"The municipality gave us a little square, the human rights square, where the Romas could meet and tell their life stories.  A meeting was held at the Palazzo Ducale in Genoa (one of the main historic buildings, home of the Duke of the ancient Republic, and also currently one of the main museums of Genoa) with assessors, experts and volunteers of various associations.  The Chief Roma, Ismet Cizmic, was also present and said he had never ever spoken in front of such an important audience. It is during this meeting that a programme of future work is planned that included the celebration at the Palazzo Ducale in February, of the "day of remembrance" to mark the Nazi extermination of Gypsies in concentration camps. And then, again, presentations of books, Roma feasts and much more, needless to say that the story continues..."

Saturday June 11 2011 Benedict XVI met the Roma and Sinti communities in a special audience organized by the Community of Sant'Egidio
From Genoa two coaches and several cars arrived, a nice surprise for our four friends.

It was an intense meeting during which the Pontiff recalled, echoing the words of Paul VI: "You in the Church are not sidelined, but in some respects you are at the Centre, you are at the heart. You are in the heart of the Church". I repeat today fondly: you are in the Church! You are a beloved part of the pilgrim people of God and He reminds us "For we don't have here an enduring city, but we seek that which is to come" (Heb 13.14).

And then one last significant step: "The search for accommodation, and decent jobs, and education for the Roma children: this is the basis on which to build the integration, that will benefit you and the whole of society. Give also your active and loyal collaboration, so that your families will be woven into the fabric of the European society!"

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