It was almost a year ago today when I arrived in Treviso and marveled at the sheer perfection of what would be my home for the next year. Cobblestones so clean they glistened, store fronts gleaming with class and color, people dressed so meticulously that I felt the sudden and immediate urge to revamp my entire wardrobe with designer labels.
It was also about a year ago when I first learned of Giancarlo Gentilini, the Vice Mayor of Treviso who is largely responsible for the city's image of pefection. At first I thought it admirable for a man to make such valiant strides to clean up a city and make it safe. But after learning of Gentilini's statements supporting ethic cleansing and denouncing homosexuality I quickly realized that so-called "perfection" comes at a cost.
One year later Gentilini's got a new ridiculous nickname, "The Sheriff," and is not surprisingly back in the press. Seems Islamic scholars don't like his nickname or his crusade against immigrants and this week they've issued a fatwa in reaction.
This video from WorldFocus.org gives a good overview of the ongoing immigration debate that plagues Treviso and many other Northern Italian cities.
I was lucky to have met people in Treviso who were proof that homogeny, apperance and wealth aren't the only fundamentals important to the Trevigani. My hope is that, with time and pressure from more world leaders, Gentilini will step out of the dark ages and see the light...in all its brilliant colors.