Samstag, 1. Oktober 2016

Press release: A Country's Humanity Can Be Seen in the Smallest of Things. But Also the Big Ones.

It seems that the postal workers, when collaborating with the Ministry of the Interior in relation to the “envelope” containing news of foreign nationals' leave to remain, see themselves as sheriffs. The directors of the local post office branches, again in virtue of this agreement, see themselves in turn as members of the government, with delegated powers relating to immigration.

The facts: a foreign national makes a request for the issuing of leave to remain for family reasons. The kind of permit is regulated through the mechanism of the 'envelope' which is, alas, sent via the Italian postal service. As written above, here we are dealing with the issuing, not renewing, of a permit. This means that the woman in question lacks the analogous previous documentation. Consequentially the postal workers at Piazza Roma (the only branch in Caltanissetta to which this important work is assigned), refuse to accept the envelope insofar as the woman is missing a document. They are notified (in writing) that as she is dealing with a first issuing it is clear that there is no preceding document. Nevertheless, the postal workers are resolute in their decision. The woman and her child then attempt to avail themselves of more sympathetic postal workers, with no success. They are as intransigent as stone. She now asks only that they put the refusal to accept the envelope in writing, so that she does not become – for the umpteenth time – a ping pong ball volleying between Pian del Lago and Piazza Roma, but still nothing. The attitude of the director of the branch resembles that of Alberto Sordi in the The Marquis of Grillo. But not carried off so well.

And here the director's intelligence makes an appearance, our delegate for immigration: the woman ought go to Pian del Lago, make them give her a permit for three months, and return to present the envelope. As we are no newcomers to matters of immigration, we ask if the woman must come up with a reason for requesting asylum in order to receive a functioning notice of leave to remain at the presentation of the envelope. The director extends his arms. That's not his problem. He sends us away rudely. We call the 113 (the police hotline). They forward us to 112 (the local police), who are responsible for the area.

The telephone operator tries to find a solution, to his credit. We quietly note that perhaps a car could be sent to check if there have been any omissions or abuses of approach. He calmly responds that the logic of the reasoning is spotless. But in Italy logic is completely out of the question, which means everything is fine.

The moral of the story: the woman and her child will make the umpteenth trip to Pian del Lago, where very likely they will be told, again for the umpteenth time, that they have to present the envelope to the post office.

For the umpteenth time a call to an emergency number could have been avoided over a cup of coffee, in the Sicilian way. And we're lucky not to have been invited, as has happened in the past, to make use of a private investigator. But only because, this time around, it wasn't necessary as everything took place in the light of day.

Sportello per Immigrati
Via Re d’Italia, 14

Translation: Richard Braude