With the influx of Middle Eastern “refugees” and immigrants, Europe is facing some important questions. One of which centers on its embrace of the failed multiculturalism experiment that has swept across the western world in recent decades. Everyone from Angela Merkel to average BBC viewers realize that it’s been a mistake, but no one has yet proposed a viable means of correcting it.
One of the myriad problems with multiculturalism is that in its proponents haste to embrace other cultures, the existing culture is belittled, ignored, and if followed to its logical conclusion, ultimately, destroyed. An Italian city, Verona, is now taking steps to preserve its own culture by limiting the number of ethnic eateries permitted in its historic city center.
A ruling came into effect in the city of Verona this week prohibiting the openings of any new restaurants offering mostly “ethnic” or deep-fried food.
“Thanks to this provision there will be no more openings of establishments that sell food prepared in a way that could impact the decorum of our city,” said Verona Mayor Flavio Tosi, who was elected as an independent after breaking from the far-right Northern League party he adhered to for years.
“This protects not only our historic and architectural patrimony of the city centre, but also the tradition of typical culture of the Verona territory.”
In the land of creamy cheese-smothered polenta and slow-cooked duck ragu, Middle Eastern kebabs, Greek gyros and take-away deep fried food typical of southern Italy are the unwelcome newcomers . . . .
. . . . Despite apparent growing demand for late-night kebabs, the city has been coordinating with the local diocese for years on a strict management plan to safeguard its Italian cultural values and traditions.
While this move flies in the face of a conservative’s natural inclination to defend the rules of “supply and demand,” it’s not difficult to understand the impulse to protect one’s own culture, including one’s own culinary culture.
Another aspect of this decision and its appeal in other Italian cities is the economic importance of the tourist industry.
The Telegraph continues:
Despite apparent growing demand for late-night kebabs, the city has been coordinating with the local diocese for years on a strict management plan to safeguard its Italian cultural values and traditions.
It is not alone. So-called “Unesco laws” are under consideration in a number of Italy’s top tourist destinations as local residents have become increasingly flustered by immigrant-run take-out eateries, service points and trinket shoppes they complain degrade their neighbourhoods.
Following is a brief video of gorgeous Verona:
Needless to say, critics of the plan don’t anchor their criticism in capitalist notions of supply and demand; instead, they are citing discrimination against immigrants and refugees.
Critics, however, say some proposals supposedly aimed at protecting Italian heritage effectively discriminate against Italy’s growing immigrant population, especially the country’s 1.6 million Muslims.
Earlier this week, Italy’s highest court nullified a regional law in Lombardy regulating religious buildings, which made it harder to construct mosques. With only six official mosques in the country, hundreds of make-shift “garage mosques” have cropped up as unofficial places of Islamic worship.
In addition to the ethnic eatery restrictions in Verona, Venice is considering much more wide-ranging limitations on small businesses within its city limits.
City officials in Venice are considering restrictions to limit mini-markets, trinket shoppes, money transfer points and internet call centres that have proliferated in recent years and are often run by Chinese or Muslim immigrants.
“Some of this gimcrackery, especially when we don’t know even know where its made, is difficult to reconcile with the city,” said Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro, who complained that cheap souvenirs of dubious provenance are contributing to the “Disneyfication” of the city. “These are things that have nothing to do with our history and frankly create discomfort.”
It will be interesting to see how this plays out in Italy. It’s also a discussion worth having here in our own country; the tension amongst supply and demand, support for small businesses, and the protection of one’s own culture and heritage is something we’ve handled quite well historically. But we aren’t faced with the huge influx of immigrants in a short period of time with which Europe is currently grappling.
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