In July, a petition was launched online, on www.change.org, to request a Commission of Inquiry on cases of people who took their own lives in Italy due to lack of job or a survival income: “Let us stop this genocide: 4,000 suicides every year in Italy.” In less than two months, the petition has already been signed by thousands of people, despite the apathy of the media during the “summer break”. It gave origin also to an oral Parliamentary interrogation to the Prime Minister, filed on July 27, whose first signatory was Matteo Dall’Osso, along with Silvia Chimienti, Roberta Lombardi, Davide Tripiedi, and Claudio Cominardi.
In Terris had written about the tragic situation faced by thousands of Italians, telling the story of Augusto Orlandi in the article “Without a Job, I’m Doomed to Death.” Since May 2005, he has been living near the Montecitorio Palace, the seat of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, mostly on charity. Despite having worked and contributed for 26 years, he does not have any income or compensation at present. According to law, he is not entitled to either pension or unemployment benefit.
Stories about unemployed people or people who do not find a way to make money and commit suicide are registered on a daily basis. According to a EURES report (Economic and Social Research), a suicide a day is registered in the Lombardy region. Unfortunately, Mr. Augusto’s situation is not an exception to the rule. Prayers are never unnecessary or wasted, but we also need to take responsibility for our actions and try to do something to fix this situation. Starvation is complicity with those who cause it or do nothing to change things that do not work. To do something to stop this genocide is everyone’s duty.
Mr. Orlandi, where does the idea of this petition come from?
“It comes from the dramatic awareness that the tragedy I have been living and denouncing for over a year and a half now has been entirely disregarded by those who have the power to help me and other people in the same situation if only they had the good will to do so. It is a matter of justice. Whereas these deaths, which I call ‘State deaths’, of people who have lost their job late in life or have not found one, remain unpunished, buried under heavy silence that stifles even hope. Before the Fornero law, I would have received a pension of about 900 euros, based on the contributions I had paid. Instead, They do not give me pension nor allowed me to return to work. They do not allow me to live, in short. And even to pay taxes. They defined it as a ‘pension reform’, but it something else. Minister Damiano said that over 900 billion euros were denied to those who were entitled to receive these money. I am tired, but I have not given up. I feel the duty to do something, not only for me, but for all those people who are living through the same tragedy, for young people, to make a better future in a fairer Italy possible.”
How was the parliamentary question promoted?
“As you know, for a year and a half I have been in the Montecitorio square, opposite the Parliament, trying to raise awareness of all politicians, regardless of their party or affiliation; I have been doing the same with local representatives. Unfortunately, I have come across a lot of indifference. Yet, most of them know what is going on and know well how to fix the situation. For some reason, which I do not know, they wash their hands of this problem and ignore it. Mr. Dall’Osso signed this petition and decided to present an oral parliamentary question to the Prime Minister. In September, when they return, I will try to involve more parliamentarians from all parties, because it is a national problem of civility, not an ideological issue concerning a given party. It is the duty of every parliamentarian to address this humanitarian crisis and find a solution; otherwise they will be all guilty of numerous innocent deaths, which I call a genocide.”
What do you hope to achieve?
“First of all, I want the State to acknowledge this tragedy, without waiting for thirty years of national mourning, to establish a Day of Commemoration for the victims of the economic crisis. I hope that the situation will be finally dusted off and that immediate action will be taken to help the Italians in difficulty. Today, because tomorrow it will be too late. It is already late today. The highest offices of the State are organizing to defend refugees and asylum seekers and immigrants; it would be right to do the same for thousands of Italian families who are facing difficulties. They should help those who cannot exercise their fundamental right to work and to a dignified existence. The next step is to file a complaint to the European institutions. I do not think that international treaties contemplate the price of this genocide”.