Donnerstag, 31. Januar 2013


Justice for Noureddine and for all immigrants working as door to door salesmen in Palermo.
Noureddine Adnane, a Moroccan door to door salesman committed suicide by setting himself alight on 10 February 2011 in Via Enrico Basile, Palermo, after having been subjected to a series of checks by the traffic police. No charges were brought against the police officers and, since the investigation into instigating suicide closed, the case has become as well known for its dismissal (on the request of the Palermo Public Prosecution's Office) as it is for the prosecution of a member of the police department. 

It's really difficult to not see, however, that Noureddine was actually killed more than once. Even after his death he remained a victim of the ignorance of those who believed it was possible to get rid of him by phoning the police; of the arrogance of those who performed the checks on Noureddine; and, of the code of silence of those who witnessed what happened yet did not come forward to speak out against it. Even if these facts would not stand up legally in a courtroom, they are nevertheless facts that the local community cannot continue to ignore.
For the citizens of Palermo and the authorities, following the last request for the dismissal of the case of an abuse of office by some members of the traffic police, Noureddine no longer exists.  There will be no trace of him among the paperwork, there will be no trace of the warnings which he repeatedly disputed with the traffic police for not conforming to the local norms by failing to move around often enough, even though he had a permit of stay and the correct license to work as a salesman. And as a result of all this, he went through a series of controls and his belongings were confiscated by the authorities, which in turn drove him to desperation to the point where he actually set himself alight. Yet it appears that today there is no trace of all those official warnings which were administered.
There can be no doubt, however, that the absence of any official paperwork connected to the confiscation of Noureddine's affairs can only mean that his things were taken without the accompanying documentation being completed. Other door to door salesmen reported similar experiences during the period following Noureddine's suicide.
It is not known if other investigations are underway or at what point they are, but many immigrants who were able to survive as door to door salesmen have since been forced to work as slaves in the countryside. Rather the countryside than the risk of losing their merchandise (or their freedom or their permit of stay) on a daily basis on the streets of Palermo.
So no charges were pressed, the charred remains of body were sent back to Morocco and a family was left in mourning along with a daughter and wife who will never again see their father or husband. Yet for the people of Palermo who live near where Noureddine lived and worked and for the authorities, everything that happened between the traffic police and the foreign door to door salesmen seems to have now calmed down and gone back to normal. The Observatory against discrimination "Noureddine Adnane", which has recently become an association, will continue its activity of speaking out against infringements of human rights of all the people who, like the immigrant door to door salesmen, are simultaneously exposed to racism and xenophobia by Italian citizens, as well as different forms of institutionalised discrimination, be they direct or indirect. It will also depend on us, all of us, whether the sacrifice of Noureddine's life remains a desperate gesture or becomes an occasion to reignite the discourse for those who even today, still find themselves facing the same situation.