Bananas Thrown at Italy's First Black Minister Once Compared to 'Orangutan'

Stop "Wasting Food" She Responds

2
Sign Up for Free eNewsletter ››
By Leonardo Blair , CP Reporter
July 29, 2013|2:11 pm
Cecile Kyenge (Photo: Reuters)

Cecile Kyenge, Italy's first black minister.

Italy's first black Minister, Cecile Kyenge, once compared to an orangutan by a fellow politician, had pieces of bananas thrown at her during a speech at a rally last Friday. The defiant woman, however, simply told her detractor to stop "wasting food".

The incident has since drawn outrage and condemnation from the Italian public and media, according to The Telegraph.

"Another shameful and disgraceful gesture. Solidarity with the Minister Kyenge. Now let's just isolate the idiots," said Gianni Alemanno, former mayor of Rome.

"I am ashamed to share the country with people like this," wrote Twitter user, Eugenio Iannelli, one of many decrying the racist act on social media.

Kyenge, a successful eye surgeon and Italy's Minister of Integration, has suffered an onslaught of harassment, including vehemently racist slurs from far-right groups who disagree with her push to make it easier for immigrants to gain Italian citizenship. A part of her campaign is to allow anyone born on Italian soil automatic citizenship.

The minister who is originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, was giving the speech in Cervia, a town on the Adriatic coast of Italy.

According to a report in The Guardian, Kyenge scolded the banana thrower for "wasting food" after the missile narrowly missed the stage where she was making her address.

"I cannot hide that at times I feel tired of the repetition of such serious insults. I did not expect them to be this strong," she reportedly told daily newspaper La Repubblica on Sunday.

"But I will not stop or dwell on the attacks themselves. I am trying to look ahead, to reflect on the discomfort that we must understand is behind these incidents and on how politics and society as a whole can best respond."

Earlier this month, Roberto Calderoli, vice president of Italy's Senate and a prominent member of the anti-immigration Northern League Party compared Kyenge, to an orangutan.

"I love animals… but when I see pictures of Kyenge I cannot but think of - even if I'm not saying she is one - the features of an orangutan," said Calderoli, according to the BBC.

He also claimed that Kyenge was attracting illegal immigrants to Italy should be a minister in her "own country".

Kyenge suggested, however, that if Calderoli could not translate his views into appropriate political discourse he should perhaps step aside as the Senate's vice-president.

 

Videos that May Interest You

So Interesting Talking To Orangutan In Sign Language, But What The Girls Told Breaks My Heart!

Advertisement