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Distance, not differences, at root of Pakistani integration in Italy

April 7, 2010

Dear Friends,

I’d like to share with you an op-ed piece by Amer and me which was published yesterday in the latest edition of Common Ground News Service. This piece was written on the basis of information and reporting for the project story.

Here is the link: “Distance, not differences, at root of Pakistani integration in Italy”

I look forward to the feedbacks, since after its publication in Italian language, by one of the leading newspapers in Italy, our project was picked up by several blogs and media outlets.

I received many feedbacks and comments on it, especially from immigrants, coming not only from Pakistan, and living in different regions in Italy. They appreciated the fact that media covered their condition without depicting them as criminal or religiuos fanatics. They appreciated the chance to speak by their own voice.

I had many feedbacks from Italian people too: from people working with immigrants for integration and mutual understanding, but also from people who could see immigration from a different point of view. They asked me to write more stories about these topics and that’s what I’m trying to do.

I realized that many immigrants like talking about their own experience in Italy and share their perceptions and opinions about Italians and life in Italy. They also have stereotypes and prejudices towards Italians.  Unfortunately, the piece was picked up also by some blogs and websites promoting racism and hatred towards immigrants. This made me work even harder to go beyond prejudices and help shifting people’s perspective, making diversity an asset and not a barrier. I believe that as journalists we have powerful tools – words – and a big responsibility, too.

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