Friday, July 24, 2009

The South verses the Italy

Beaches near the town of Monte Di Procida, southern Italy

These populated beaches last year are now vacant due to sewage spillage

Trash build-up in southern Italy

When you think of Italy, you may think of food, fashion, fast cars and a prosperous country. What you may not think of is the mafia, trash, prostitutes and hunger. This is the difference between the north and south of Italy. Here are some facts for you: 60% of the Italian GDP comes from an area immediately surrounding the northern city of Milan. However, were you to draw a line south of Rome, the area below is considered one of the poorest areas in Europe. In summary, northern Italy is thriving and southern Italy is not.

Southern Italy is home to a deep recession with people who are their own worst enemies. The mafia has an incalculable amount of control in this area. Prostitutes imported from both eastern Europe and northern Africa on the side of the road are common as you drive along. These women are promised a better life in Italy and so they move here in such hopes. What they don't realize at the time is the mob in their countries is tied to the mob in southern Italy so once they are enslaved as prostitutes in Italy, if they try to run, their families' lives are compromised.

Why are the southern Italians their own worst enemy? Because in frustration and anger they hurt themselves. Strikes are rampant. If train employees believe they are not getting paid enough, they strike and trains stop running. If fuel truck employees are unhappy with their benefits, they strike and don't deliver gas to the gas stations, thus making gas unavailable. If trash employees are unhappy, the trash will stop getting picked up. And while the trash issue is much more complicated than mentioned (going back to years of accumulated trash with no place to put it), the southern Italians have done something new this summer. They have taken it to a new level.

One of the biggest sources of income in this area, especially during the warmer months, is tourism based on the use of their beaches. And this summer these beaches have not been available. The sewage employees decided that it would be a good idea to release sewage into the ocean water. Can you even imagine? Again, while trying to make a point, they have worsened their own living conditions. This seems to be a common theme and has been for decades. They make a point while hurting themselves. I have seen them do it with not picking up trash, not providing gas at the gas stations and not allowing trains to operate. Yet, this is a new one, dropping pounds and pounds of sewage into their own water. As a result, the beaches in this Campagna area, are now vacant and off-limits. Moreover, another tourism attraction, southern Italian food which is based primarily on seafood, is not available. The seafood is contaminated from the sewage. There is fecal bacteria residing in the water which can be very dangerous. So now, at a time where this area needs tourism and money more than ever, both are virtually nonexistent because of their own people. And as we would say down south in the U.S. with the deepest sincerity, "what a shame."

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