So – good news this past week – Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi has backtracked on his plan to turn working without legal papers into a criminal offense!

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From El País: (why couldn’t I find anything about this whole episode in English language press?)

The Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, has backed off in his battle against illegal immigration. After his government approved of making illegal immigration a crime at the first Council of Ministers of this legislature, on the 21st of May, he has now declared that this circumstance “will be an aggravating circumstance” in the case of the commission of another crime.

“Personally, I believe that you can’t persecute someone for staying in our country illegally, condemning then to a punishment, but this can be an aggravating circumstance is they commit a crime,” he said in a press conference after meeting with French president, Nicolas Sarkozy.

Really? You don’t believe that someone should be persecuted for being “illegal”? Then wtf was this whole thing about? Guh?

And of course this doesn’t mean all the news is rosy. On the Independent’s website I did a quick search for “immigration italy” and here are four of the articles on the first page of results:

Italian Tolerance Goes Up In Smoke as Gypsy Camp Is Burnt to Ground

Italian Fascism is Once Again On The Rise

Neo-fascist Sweeps in As Rome’s Mayor

The Demons of the Far Right Raise Their Heads Again

But hey, to be fair, it’s not just Italy, in yet another article on this topic, the Guardian tells us of the Return of the Right, all over Europe.

One after another, governments are falling into the hands of the right: in Austria, Sweden, and Denmark, as in Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic. The new rightwing wave sweeping across the continent has also seen the far right not only win more supporters and sympathisers on its margins, but penetrate into the mainstream itself.

Sigh. C’mon lefties! WTF!?! Surveying the situation outside the borders of my adopted country makes me wanna give Zapi and his freaky weird eyebrows a big hug.

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