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Postcards for Salvini: activists to deliver thousands of pro-migrant cards to Italy's Interior Minister

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Postcards for Salvini: activists to deliver thousands of pro-migrant cards to Italy's Interior Minister
A girl puts a postcard for Salvini in a "postbox" outside the Pantheon on September 30, 2018. Photo: Elaine Allaby
16:30 CEST+02:00
A campaign started by four young Italians to inundate Italy's far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini with postcards denouncing migrant deaths in the Mediterranean has collected thousands of cards following all-day signings in Rome and Milan Sunday.

Campaign co-founder Michela Locati said they had the idea for the project after Salvini put out a message in late June vowing that NGO migrant rescue ships would “see Italy only in a postcard”, having announced a policy to block the ships from docking on the country's shores.


Photo: Elaine Allaby

Locati and her friends Nicole Romanelli, Pietro Gregorini, and Verdiana Festa, who all work in the country's creative industries, put together the campaign within three days and subsequently received more than 300 different designs for political commentary “postcards” from graphic designers and NGOs across the country, after their call to action was publicised by La Repubblica, Ansa, Vanity Fair, and Huffington Post Italia.

"Lampedusa, the Black Pearl of the Mediterranean" Design: Alberto Casagrande and Ilaria Cairoli

More than 12,000 people then voted on an online poll for their 10 favourite designs, and 1,000 of each – 10,000 in total – were printed on recycled card for members of the public to sign, along with their own messages for Salvini.


Photo: Elaine Allaby

The friends travelled across Italy to publicise the campaign, stopping by Bari in the south and Turin and Como in the north, before holding day-long signings in the centres of Italy's two metropolises of Rome and Milan.

The signings were held from 10am until 6pm Sunday outside the Pantheon in Rome and at Piazza Duomo in Milan, timed to coincide with the latter city's “Zero Tolerance” demonstration against racism organized by the Sentinels of Milan.

READ ALSO: Salvini vows to end all migrant arrivals to Italy by boat


Photo: Elaine Allaby

Supporters who were unable to attend the signings in person sent messages via email and social media for the team to write on the cards.

The group will deliver the postcards to Salvini's office at the Ministry of the Interior on Wednesday.


Photo: Elaine Allaby

Speaking at the group's stall outside the Patheon in Rome, local artist Bruna Esposito said she came to sign a postcard after she saw the event advertised in a local online news outlet.

“It looks like a minor initiative but I think this is a very good way for younger people to channel a pacifist message against the increasing brutality and violence, which starts verbal but then becomes physical, against not only immigrants but then the Roma, homosexuals, and the Jewish,” she told The Local.

“It doesn't look like it – you think ah, the Pantheon, there are tourists, it's sunny, there's ice cream, but it's not only that. It's happening again”.

READ ALSO: Italy demands new regulations for migrants at tense EU summit


Photo: Elaine Allaby

Francesca Ciardiello, who works in Italy's energy sector and volunteers with the organisation Refugees Welcome, said she came to sign a card because she felt the current government's rhetoric around migrants “isn't just inhumane, but creates social conflict that prevents us from growing as a society”.


Photo: Elaine Allaby

The response wasn't universally positive, however.

“People die all the time!” shouted one woman eating at a restaurant patio on the street when some members of the team went to drum up support with a megaphone.


Photo: Elaine Allaby

Gregorini, an art director who created the campaign's website and logo, said he was excited to put out a call to the country's artists and graphic designers because “most of the time creative people don't take a position on political arguments, but we felt it was time to not stay silent anymore.”

“It's a subtle message to say, hey, there are at least 10,000 of us saying what you're doing is not right, just think about that,” he told The Local.

“Italians were mostly emigrants in the last century, sometimes people don't recall that,” he added.

“We also needed to go abroad and find our fortunes.”


Photo: Elaine Allaby

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