Racism, coronavirus and an Italian conservatory/Letter to the director

Racism, coronavirus and an Italian conservatory/Letter to the director

maandag 17 februari 2020 23:42
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RACISM, CORONAVIRUS AND AN ITALIAN CONSERVATORY/LETTER TO THE DIRECTOR

SEE ALSO
TO
THE DIRECTOR OF THE ACADEMIA NAZIONALE DI SANTA CECILIA
MR R. GIULIANI
Subject:
Your barring out from class of students from East Asia, over coronavirus concerns
Dear Mr Giuliani,
From different reliable newspapers I’ve learnt, that you recently have singled out
students from East Asia, barring them from class because of your concerns about the coronavirus. [1]
This was the mail you sent to all 160 teachers, adding that students concerned would also receive a mandatory doctor’s visit.[2]
I quote:
“Dear colleagues, because of the well-known events relating to the Chinese epidemic, the lessons of oriental students (Chinese, Korean, Japanese etc.) are suspended, as well as others who have come from the countries concerned.

“The conservatoire’s doctor will visit them all on Wednesday 5 February at 2pm. Only those who pass the visit will be readmitted. In the meantime, absence will be considered absence due to illness. Please let them all know, make sure they’re free on 5 February at 2pm, and remind them to bring the booklet. Best regards.” [3]

In Italian [I quote source]

Care Colleghe e cari Colleghi, a causa delle ben note vicende legate all’epidemia cinese, sono sospese le lezioni degli studenti orientali (cinesi, coreani, giapponesi ecc.), nonché di altri che provenissero dai Paesi interessati. Mercoledì 5 febbraio alle ore 14 il medico del Conservatorio provvederà a visitarli tutti. Solo quelli che passeranno la visita potranno essere riammessi alla frequenza. Nel frattempo l’assenza sarà considerata assenza per malattia. Siete pregati di avvisarli tutti, di convocarli per il 5 febbraio alle ore 14, e di ricordargli di portare il libretto. Cordiali saluti”. Firmata dal direttore, Roberto Giuliani.” [4]

If this is not right, I challenge you to send me denying evidence, vut I think evidence is overwhelming, that this actually happened.

The reason why I wrote ” If this is not right”, is that, to my view, it is hardly to believe, that now, in the 21st century, a director of such a prestigious music institute as the Academia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia,

has sent a message like this!

It is like travelling through history, and well landing in one of the most backward periods. at  the nineteen century, the time of racist superiority theories, which included all sort of sick prejudices against people of Asian descent.

You, mr Giuliani, should be ashamed of yourself!

However I am pleased to learn, that you has been criticised by colleagues after your racist email regarding the ”oriental” [your word for among else Chinese, Korean, Japanese students] students. [5]

YES, RACIST, MR GIULIANI!

You should be ashamed of yourself!!

ADDITION

It is unbelievable, that I have to explain, why your mail is not only racist and dangerous, but also, excuse me for the word: stupid.

The Coronavirus is (official name COVID-19] broke out in 2019 in Wuhan, a Chinese city. [6] So people, who live in Wuhan or have recently visited Wuhan, are risk factors.

This has NOTHING to do with ethnicity or descent!

When you and I were visiting Wuhan, or living there,  we both  being not Chinese, was the risk that we were infected or could infect other people a reality.

That applies to everyone who lives there or visited the regio, Chinese or not!

Chinese, Japanese and Korean students, living in Italy have no more chance to infect other people that you and I.

However, Europeans, who lived in Wuhan or recently visited the city, are a real danger.

So it has nothing whatsoever to do with ethnicity, being Asian or not, but with the recent presence in Wuhan.

From a director of a prestigious conservatory might be expected, that he understands this

That is the stupid side of your mail.

But since I can’t believe that a conservatory director is ”stupid”, your

mail is especially racist, singling out Chinese, Japanese and Korean students, because in their country of origin [or that of their parents or grandparents] there was a dangerous virus outbreak!

Not to speak about  Japanese and Korean students, since they have no connection whatsoever with China or Chinese cities!

Especially your language use ”oriental students” [7] convinces to me of your racism.

Again, you should be ashamed of yourself!

DANGEROUS!

Yes, I am not done with you yet!

Because apart from racist, your mail is dangerous, especially seen in the light of recent outbreaks of racism and xenophobia in Italy! [8]

Because since you are an educated and respected director of a prestigious conservatory, people look up to you and find in hateful, racist mails like yours a confirmation for their xenophobia and an encouragement to go on with racism.

EPILOGUE

As a director of a high profile conservatory you have a special and moral responsibility to advance civilization and culture.

One of the aspects is to cherish and promote the ideals of Liberte, Egalite and Fraternite [9], for especially music is a cultural Road to unite people.

What you did is to divide people and that is a destructive Path.

So I hope you have learnt something of the just criticism on your

racist mail and never do it again.

Eventually racism leads to chaos, destruction and Evil.

Think of that.

Kind greetings

Astrid Essed

Amsterdam

The Netherlands

NOTES

[1]
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION
CORONAVIRUS DISEASE (COVID-19] OUTBREAK
THE WASHINGTON POST
A TOP EUROPEAN MUSIC SCHOOL SUSPENDED STUDENTS FROM EAST ASIA OVER CORONAVIRUS CONCERNS, AMID RISING DISCRIMINATION
31 JANUARY 2020
TEXT

ROME — The prestigious Santa Cecilia music school in Rome on Wednesday singled out students from East Asia, barring them from class over coronavirus concerns.

The students learned of the move in a message from the conservatory’s director, Roberto Giuliani, sent to faculty members, who forwarded it by email and WhatsApp to those affected.

The message — which used the term Oriental, an adjective considered derogatory when used to describe people — asked East Asian students not to show up for at least a week “due to the well-known events related to the Chinese epidemic” and to undergo medical examinations before readmittance.

The announcement caught many students by surprise. Authorities had yet to confirm a single case of the virus in Italy.

For 25-year-old South Korean voice student Yoonseo Kim, the only possible explanation for the suspensions was racism.

“My friends don’t want to leave their homes because they’re afraid — of racism, of stares, of bad words,” she added. “It’s normal now.”

Shortly after the announcement, discriminatory comments appeared online, according to social media posts reviewed by The Washington Post.

The school asked affected students to leave classes shortly after the announcement went out, and staffers later stopped them in the lobby to bar them from entering the building, said one student, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution. Several students described being mocked as they left the building by non-Asian students, who covered their faces in imitation of face masks and laughed.

“I was frozen. I couldn’t talk,” said 23-year-old South Korean student Sumin Hwang.

Giuliani said in an interview Friday that he never meant to discriminate and that students found to have used racially motivated insults would be punished. The school, he said, was inherently international and dedicated to students from abroad. He had in hand a message from a Chinese student who appeared to support the suspension order.

The required medical checkup, which the school would provide, he said, was supposed to help those without full access to the public health system.

Despite the controversy, the suspensions have not been lifted.

The episode underlined concerns East Asian communities around the world have expressed in recent weeks as misinformation about the new coronavirus spreads, fueling stereotypes and discrimination. In one instance, widely circulated footage of a woman drinking bat soup provided supposed evidence that Chinese eating habits had allowed the virus to spread. The video — which was not even filmed in China — has since been debunked by fact-checking groups.

In Malaysia, an online petition that appeared to blame the spread of the virus on China’s supposed “unhygienic lifestyle” and called for a ban on Chinese visitors garnered more than 400,000 supporters within days.

In France, those facing discrimination took to social media — using the hashtag #JeNeSuisPasUnVirus, “I’m not a virus” — to push back against stereotypes.

“Institutionalized racism can easily be triggered by narratives of crisis,” said Aleksandra Lewicki, a senior lecturer in sociology at the University of Sussex in Britain.

Discrimination tied to the coronavirus is “reminiscent of the way Muslims have often had to explain themselves after terrorist attacks,” she said.

Some experts have also drawn parallels to the 2003 SARS outbreak that spread from China to countries including Canada and the United States, along with an attendant rise in discrimination against Asian minority communities.

At the time, Canadian lawyer Avvy Go represented Asian Canadians whose landlords were trying to evict them because of the virus, or whose employers were seeking to reduce their working hours.

“We are [once again] seeing a lot of stigmatization and misinformation about the source of the virus,” she said, citing messages on WhatsApp and other platforms “telling people not to go to some of the local Chinese supermarkets,” along with “outright racist, hostile comments online.”

In recent days, nearly 10,000 Canadians signed a petition to temporarily ban some Chinese Canadian students from classrooms.

But much more so than in 2003, officials and members of the public are pushing back. A local school board swiftly rejected the petition.

Chinese diplomats have urged the international community to fight stigmatization. After Italy declared a state of emergency on Friday in the wake of its first two confirmed cases of the coronavirus, the Chinese Embassy in Rome asked the government to focus on the prevention of “episodes of intolerance” and to “protect the legitimate rights of Chinese citizens and communities in Italy.”

“We are [once again] seeing a lot of stigmatization and misinformation about the source of the virus,” she said, citing messages on WhatsApp and other platforms “telling people not to go to some of the local Chinese supermarkets,” along with “outright racist, hostile comments online.”

In recent days, nearly 10,000 Canadians signed a petition to temporarily ban some Chinese Canadian students from classrooms.

But much more so than in 2003, officials and members of the public are pushing back. A local school board swiftly rejected the petition.

Chinese diplomats have urged the international community to fight stigmatization. After Italy declared a state of emergency on Friday in the wake of its first two confirmed cases of the coronavirus, the Chinese Embassy in Rome asked the government to focus on the prevention of “episodes of intolerance” and to “protect the legitimate rights of Chinese citizens and communities in Italy.”

In Milan, Italian media outlets reported that groups of mothers were pushing for their children to be separated from Chinese students at school.

In Venice, Chinese tourists reported being spat upon.

At the Santa Cecilia music school, some Italian students said they were considering a strike in support of their classmates from abroad.

“We want to show solidarity with colleagues who were arbitrarily denied the very important right to study,” said Francesco Campora, 26, a student at the school.

For some of the suspended students, that might not be enough.

“I used to love Rome,” said Sumin Hwang, one of the students told to stay home. “For two days now, I’ve been thinking of moving.”

“I cannot stay in a place that hates us,” she said.
THE GUARDIAN
OUTBREAKS OF XENOPHOBIA IN WEST AS CORONAVIRUS SPREADS

Chinese people in western countries where there have been cases of the Wuhan coronavirus have said they have been the target of racist abuse as paranoia mounts over the outbreak.

In Italy, the European country with the highest annual number of Chinese tourists, the confirmation of two confirmed cases – a couple who arrived in Milan from Wuhan on 23 January on a lunar new year holiday – coincided with incidents of xenophobia and calls to avoid Chinese restaurants and shops.

Roberto Giuliani, the director of the Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome, one of the oldest music institutes in the world, was criticised by colleagues on Wednesday after telling students from China, Japan and South Korea not to come to class until after a doctor had visited their homes to ensure they have not contracted the virus.

La Repubblica published a photograph on its website showing a cafe near the Trevi fountain in Rome with a sign outside saying “all people coming from China” were barred from entering.

More than 300,000 Chinese people live in Italy and 5 million visited in 2018.

“Unfortunately, one of the inevitable impacts of this illness is xenophobia,” Marco Wong, a local councillor in the Tuscan town of Prato, home to a large Chinese population, told the Guardian.

“Parents aren’t sending their children to school if there are Chinese classmates and people are writing on the internet not to go to Chinese shops and restaurants. There is also a lot of fake news spreading – for example, an audio of an Italian guy claiming that he is in Wuhan and that he knows of a secret laboratory where this virus was created.”

Fears over the coronavirus have affected Chinese populations in other countries, too. On Wednesday, the mayor of Toronto condemned racism against Chinese-Canadians, and there have also been reports of anti-Asian racism in the UK.

In France, Chinese residents have been sharing their experiences using the hashtag #JeNeSuisPasUnVirus (I am not a virus). One young woman calling herself Forky wrote on Twitter: “Not all Asians are Chinese. Not all Chinese were born in China and not all have been there. An Asian who coughs doesn’t have the #coronavirus. Insulting an Asian because of the virus is like insulting a Muslim because of the bombings.”

There has been particular criticism of a front-page headline on the Courrier Picard, a local newspaper: “Alerte Jaune” (Yellow alert).

One man told France TV he had been approached while buying vegetables in a supermarket in Strasbourg by a woman who demanded what nationality he was and “if I had the virus”. He added: “I wouldn’t say what happened was racist, but it was a strong prejudice.”

Sacha-Lin Jung, a representative of the Association of Chinese Residents in France, told BFMTV: “People are refusing to be served by Asian people in shops … a woman was thrown off a train because she was Asian and so it was obvious she was carrying the virus. This adds to the racism and stereotypes about the Chinese that already exist.”

On Friday, Italy declared a state of emergency that will be in place for six months. It will spend an initial €5m on trying to prevent the spread of the virus.

Matteo Salvini, the leader of Italy’s far-right League, seized on the panic to plug his anti-immigration message and attack rivals in government. “Every day dozens of flights arrive in Italy from China: we need checks, checks and more checks,” he said.

Other episodes reported in Italian media include two Chinese tourists being spat at by a group of children in Venice, and three Chinese tourists being insulted in a restaurant in Turin.

One tourist was reportedly prevented from entering Pompeii’s archaeological park, another was insulted on a train, and a Chinese boy playing in a football match near Milan was told by an opponent: “I hope you get the virus too.”

There have been long queues in chemists across the country to purchase face masks. Roberta Siliquini, a former president of Italy’s higher health council, told the Guardian the paranoia was unsurprising even if it went “beyond logical sense”.

“In Italy, we have a strange relationship with immigration but also with health aspects – it’s a country in which people don’t want to be vaccinated against measles but they are scared of a Chinese person standing 50 metres away,” she said. “And while it is very possible that we could import cases of this virus, we have one of the most efficient control systems in the world.”

Tests carried out on two Chinese tourists onboard a cruise ship in the port city of Civitavecchia were negative, the cruise company, Costa Crociere, said in a statement.

• This article was amended on 31 January 2020 because an earlier version understated the number of Chinese people living in Italy. That figure is more than 300,000, not more than 30,000 as an earlier version said.
[2]
OUTRAGE AS ITALIAN CONSERVATOIRE BANS ALL ”ORIENTAL” STUDENTS OVER CORONAVIRUS FEARS
31 JANUARY 2020
TEXT

Rome’s prestigious music conservatoire is facing criticism for its decision to suspend all “oriental” students, as Italy’s first two cases of coronavirus are confirmed.

One of the oldest music institutes in the world has suspended all “oriental students” over concerns surrounding coronavirus, in a move that has been heavily criticised by teachers – notably for its choice of language.

An email was sent to all 160 teachers at Rome’s Santa Cecilia Conservatory, adding that students concerned would also receive a mandatory doctor’s visit.

The message (translated from Italian), signed by director Roberto Giuliani, reads: “Dear colleagues, because of the well-known events relating to the Chinese epidemic, the lessons of oriental students (Chinese, Korean, Japanese etc.) are suspended, as well as others who have come from the countries concerned.

“The conservatoire’s doctor will visit them all on Wednesday 5 February at 2pm. Only those who pass the visit will be readmitted. In the meantime, absence will be considered absence due to illness. Please let them all know, make sure they’re free on 5 February at 2pm, and remind them to bring the booklet. Best regards.”

The move comes as two cases of coronavirus are now confirmed in Italy – the first in the country since the outbreak in Wuhan, China.
[3]
”The message (translated from Italian), signed by director Roberto Giuliani, reads: “Dear colleagues, because of the well-known events relating to the Chinese epidemic, the lessons of oriental students (Chinese, Korean, Japanese etc.) are suspended, as well as others who have come from the countries concerned.

“The conservatoire’s doctor will visit them all on Wednesday 5 February at 2pm. Only those who pass the visit will be readmitted. In the meantime, absence will be considered absence due to illness. Please let them all know, make sure they’re free on 5 February at 2pm, and remind them to bring the booklet. Best regards.”

OUTRAGE AS ITALIAN CONSERVATOIRE BANS ALL ”ORIENTAL” STUDENTS OVER CORONAVIRUS FEARS
31 JANUARY 2020
[4]
Care Colleghe e cari Colleghi, a causa delle ben note vicende legate all’epidemia cinese, sono sospese le lezioni degli studenti orientali (cinesi, coreani, giapponesi ecc.), nonché di altri che provenissero dai Paesi interessati. Mercoledì 5 febbraio alle ore 14 il medico del Conservatorio provvederà a visitarli tutti. Solo quelli che passeranno la visita potranno essere riammessi alla frequenza. Nel frattempo l’assenza sarà considerata assenza per malattia. Siete pregati di avvisarli tutti, di convocarli per il 5 febbraio alle ore 14, e di ricordargli di portare il libretto. Cordiali saluti”. Firmata dal direttore, Roberto Giuliani.”
 
 
AMID VIRUS FEARS, SANTA CECILIA SHUTS OUT ASIAN STUDENTS
31 JANUARY 2920
 
 
 
TEXT
 
 

The following message has been sent to 160 teachers at Rome’s Santa Cecilia Conservatory:

Dear colleagues and dear colleagues, because of the well-known events related to the Chinese epidemic, the lessons of the Oriental students (Chinese, Korean, Japanese, etc.) are suspended as well as others who have come from the countries concerned. The conservatory doctor will visit them all on Wednesday 5 February at 2.00 pm. Only those who pass the visit can be readmitted to attendance. In the meantime, absence will be considered absence due to illness. Please advise them all to convene on February 5 at 2 pm, and remind them to bring the booklet. Best regards. Signed by the director, Roberto Giuliani.

Care Colleghe e cari Colleghi, a causa delle ben note vicende legate all’epidemia cinese, sono sospese le lezioni degli studenti orientali (cinesi, coreani, giapponesi ecc.), nonché di altri che provenissero dai Paesi interessati. Mercoledì 5 febbraio alle ore 14 il medico del Conservatorio provvederà a visitarli tutti. Solo quelli che passeranno la visita potranno essere riammessi alla frequenza. Nel frattempo l’assenza sarà considerata assenza per malattia. Siete pregati di avvisarli tutti, di convocarli per il 5 febbraio alle ore 14, e di ricordargli di portare il libretto. Cordiali saluti”. Firmata dal direttore, Roberto Giuliani.

Just like medieval times. Or even German occupation.
 

We hear that many teachers are appalled, both at the exclusion and at the language of the message.

The Korean students feel particularly aggrieved as their country has barely been affected by the coronavirus.
 
 
[5]
 
 
Roberto Giuliani, the director of the Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome, one of the oldest music institutes in the world, was criticised by colleagues on Wednesday after telling students from China, Japan and South Korea not to come to class until after a doctor had visited their homes to ensure they have not contracted the virus.”
[6]
WIKIPEDIA
CORONAVIRUS/OVERVIEW OF OUTBREAKS
ORIGINAL SOURCE
WIKIPEDIA
CORONAVIRUS
[7]
”The message (translated from Italian), signed by director Roberto Giuliani, reads: “Dear colleagues, because of the well-known events relating to the Chinese epidemic, the lessons of oriental students (Chinese, Korean, Japanese etc.) are suspended, as well as others who have come from the countries concerned.”
OUTRAGE AS ITALIAN CONSERVATOIRE BANS ALL ”ORIENTAL” STUDENTS OVER CORONAVIRUS FEARS
31 JANUARY 2020
[8]
”In Italy, the European country with the highest annual number of Chinese tourists, the confirmation of two confirmed cases – a couple who arrived in Milan from Wuhan on 23 January on a lunar new year holiday – coincided with incidents of xenophobia and calls to avoid Chinese restaurants and shops.”
…..
….
”La Repubblica published a photograph on its website showing a cafe near the Trevi fountain in Rome with a sign outside saying “all people coming from China” were barred from entering.”
….
….
“Parents aren’t sending their children to school if there are Chinese classmates and people are writing on the internet not to go to Chinese shops and restaurants. There is also a lot of fake news spreading – for example, an audio of an Italian guy claiming that he is in Wuhan and that he knows of a secret laboratory where this virus was created.”
…..
……

Matteo Salvini, the leader of Italy’s far-right League, seized on the panic to plug his anti-immigration message and attack rivals in government. “Every day dozens of flights arrive in Italy from China: we need checks, checks and more checks,” he said.

Other episodes reported in Italian media include two Chinese tourists being spat at by a group of children in Venice, and three Chinese tourists being insulted in a restaurant in Turin.

One tourist was reportedly prevented from entering Pompeii’s archaeological park, another was insulted on a train, and a Chinese boy playing in a football match near Milan was told by an opponent: “I hope you get the virus too.
THIS IS THE ARTICLE AND PHOTOGRAPH ON THE
WEBSITE OF LA REPUBBLICA
LA REPUBBLICA

Coronavirus, “Non entrate”: il cartello in cinese in bar a Fontana di Trevi. Palumbo: “Ignobile”

ITALIAN TEXT
Un cartello scritto in cinese e in inglese per invitare chi arriva dalla Cina a non entrare è stato affisso questa mattina davanti a un bar davanti a Fontana di Trevi, in via del Lavatore, accanto ad un hotel. “A causa delle disposizioni internazionali di sicurezza, a tutte le persone provenienti dalla Cina non è permesso di entrare in questo posto. Ci scusiamo per il problema”, dice il cartello che poco dopo è stato rimosso.
“Ignobile il cartello affisso e poi rimosso dalla vetrina di un bar  a Fontana di Trevi nella giornata di oggi” commenta Marco Palumbo, consigliere del Pd capitolino. “La situazione già seria, diventa davvero grave. Comprensibile la paura del contagio, inaccettabile però pensare ad una discriminazione razziale in un momento così delicato e dove le persone  dovrebbero essere semmai rassicurati e aiutate. Alimentare il panico affiggendo cartelli di divieto appellandosi a ‘disposizioni di sicurezza’ fai da te e non dichiarate ufficialmente da nessun organo di governo è gravissimo e rammenta quei funesti cartelli affissi sulle vetrine delle botteghe negli anni più bui del Novecento” conlude
Sul caso interviene anche Raggi. “Stop psicosi e allarmismi. Ascoltiamo solo indicazioni e pareri delle autorità sanitarie.
#Coronavirus”. Lo scrive su Twitter la sindaca di Roma.

Mentre gli altri negozianti della zona prendono le distanze dall’iniziativa.  “Ci dissociamo da quanto accaduto. E’ un cartello forte che è una pessima pubblicità per il nostro quartiere di Trevi” sottolinea la proprietaria del negozio di pelletteria di fronte al bar accanto all’osteria Trevi.

“Ci dissociamo da quanto accaduto. E un cartello forte che è una pessima pubblicità per il nostro quartiere di Trevi”. Lo ha detto la proprietaria del negozio di pelletteria, che fa parte dell’associazione commercianti Trevi, di fronte al bar su cui era affisso il cartello che vietava l’ingresso a persone di nazionalità cinese.

“I commercianti – ha sottolineato il presidente dell’associazione, Fabrizio Patrizi – prende le distanze dal cartello e dal suo contenuto ma siamo oggettivamente preoccupati della situazione. Il turismo cinese è abbondantemente presente a Trevi e non abbiamo ricevuto alcuna informativa dalle autorità su come comportarci e cosa fare. Al 90 per cento i due turisti cinesi, positivi al coronavirus, sono passati da Trevi. Non chiediamo rassicurazioni ma informazioni, tipo ‘utilizzate le mascherine’. Il rischio di psicosi è facile. Noi stiamo navigando a vista. Il pericolo che c’è nel rione Trevi è maggiore che a Tor Tre Teste”.

Preoccupata anche la proprietaria di un ristorante della zona. “Certo non facciamo bella figura, ma come dobbiamo fare? – ha affermato – Non si sa che giri abbiano fatto queste due persone, non mi sento di dissociarmi completamente da quel cartello. Ci sono persone che possono entrare da me e stare due o tre ore. Io un po’ di paura ne ho”.

END OF ITALIAN TEXT
[9]
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN: ODE AN DIE FREUDE
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