Dear Enrico Letta,
Dear Enrico Letta,
My name is Ryan Bensen, I am 23 years old and currently studying Film&Politics at university in Scotland.
I was born near Siena (Italy), the city in which you were voted for this October, and grew up in the province of Lucca, not too far from your city of birth: Pisa. This is to state that we are both more or less from the same area, we are both Tuscan (proud Tuscans, I would add). We both have a similar background in that sense.
I am writing this letter to encourage you to speak out about a possible ‘Ius Soli/Culturae law’ which was introduced back in 2015 but was not passed in the Italian Senate in 2017. Since then, people have stopped talking about it, as if it is not important because it “only” concerns a minority of people in Italy; “only” a few 100 thousand young Italians that were born and raised in Italy, attend Italian schools, go out with Italian friends, eat Italian food, enjoy Italian hobbies etc, etc.
As you know Enrico, Italy, since the year 1992 has had the so-called ‘Ius Sanguinis’ law. A law in which if you are born in Italy and grow up there, but have foreign parents, automatically you are not eligible for Italian citizenship until you are 18/21 years old.
So what is the issue here? The fact that these people, that love Italy, believe in Italy and consider themselves Italian since they are very young, are not registered as Italians by the Italian government. These young people have to wait almost 20 years of their life before they are even eligible to receive Italian citizenship, something that should be theirs since they are born.
When Matteo Salvini (leader of Lega, extreme right wing Italian party) says to “forget about this law and actually start thinking about immigrants arriving onto Italian shores” or when he says “Not all of these kids want Italian citizenship, so it’s right to make them wait until they are at least 18 for them to decide”, or when Giorgia Meloni (leader of ‘Fratelli d’Italia’, also an Italian extreme right wing party) says that “it’s absurd that people are thinking about this possible law”; these politicians have never actually spoken to any of the kids that have been in this situation.
I, am an example of only one of the thousands of ‘foreign Italians’ that had to wait almost 20 years of their life before receiving something that should have been theirs since they were very young. It is true, my parents grew up in another country, my name may not be Italian, and perhaps I do not look like the stereotypical tanned and dark-haired Italian; but that does not mean that I don’t feel any less Italian than anyone else. Many centuries have passed since the end of the Middle-Ages, the time in which Europeans began to believe that communities actually should have been made out of people of the same culture, not of
the same blood or physical appearance.
There are multiple examples of people in other countries, such as Argentina, that are born with an Italian passport just because one of their relatives migrated from Italy years before they were even born. Many of these people have never been to Italy, do not know the language or the culture and do not know how to properly cook themselves a good plate of pasta. I am not saying that if you have a parent or grandparent that is Italian than you shouldn’t automatically receive citizenship, what I am saying is that if they are able to, why
not extend that right to people that in my opinion deserve it even more?
Lastly, the law that wasn’t past in 2017 (due to not enough politicians present in the Senate) should be re-introduced because it’s a law that also regards school, and in my opinion education stands at the core of citizenship (from the Ancient Greek ‘civitas’, city-state). I would be an entirely different person if I had not taken part in the Italian educational system. If you go to school in American you become a certain person, if you go to school in Russia same thing, or in Argentina, or the UK.. The fact that I went to an Italian Liceo, and
learned history, philosophy, art history and Latin made me the person that I am today. The reason for that is because I was born and raised in Italy, not because of my name, where my parents come from, or even how I look.
In conclusion, I would recommend to speak out about this issue. Continue talking about the possibility of a new law: ‘Ius Culturae’, in which if you are born in Italy and attend at least five years of school there automatically you become Italian for the State as well.
Do not speak out about this issue for me, but do it for the thousands of ‘foreign Italians’ that are suffering because of this issue. Just like I did. Young people that deserve to be recognized as Italians and they are not.
Italy is a beautiful country, full of passionate and inclusive communities. This law would only enforce that.
Kind regards (con stima)