After 12 attempts to try to get a 50 year old Moroccan man ‘to swear (in Italian) to be faithful to the Republic of Italy, to be loyal to the Italian Constitution and the Law’, Mayor of Minerbio Lorenzo Minganti decided to halt the process of granting citizenship.
These are the words that all applicants must say to gain citizenship and ones that a man who has lived here for 12 years was unable to say at the swearing-in procedure. For this reason, Minganti said ‘no’ to citizenship in the council offices of Minerbio in Via Garibaldi.
“An interpreter provided by the prefecture had the task of helping the Moroccan man in his own language until the ceremony was concluded.”
“130 immigrants in Minerbio became our co-nationals and were photographed beside the Tricolour.”
The 50 year old man moved to Italy 12 years ago and works as an artisan. When he was asked to repeat those fateful words, he was unable to do so, despite the numerous attempts. Thus the mayor put his citizenship ‘on-hold’. Until that moment, Minganti had already passed 130 neo-citizens through the exact same process.
Every opportunity was afforded the man to repeat the phrase. But after 12 failed attempts – even though the translator on hand and council secretary tried to assist him, the mayor concluded the session.
Minganti confirmed: “Obviously, there’s no type of racism behind this decision as until this moment I’ve never rejected anyone before. There are photos and videos on youtube showing foreigners who become Italian really believing in what they’re doing. Often, I’ll find that some of them put their hands on their heart because they are very proud. I realised that, apart from not being able to read the 16 words, he didn’t understand the actual significance of that process. I think this is a real paradox in a country that unfortunately does not accept the ‘Ius Soli’ persons (rights for those born here of foreign parents). We have children who live and study here the whole lives but despite everything, they are not considered Italian; meanwhile, we have people who don’t even know our language and can obtain citizenship.”