Something awful is happening in my country (Italy) these days, with many implications on public relations (specifically in the sense of public diplomacy) which I feel we should all be aware of. …
Of course I have personal opinions and I will not even attempt to ‘hide’ them.
The centre left government (which, by the way, I voted for…) is in a prolonged state of coma, and its internal hysteria is such that it can no longer be held rationally responsible for its actions (the sooner a deus ex machina unplugs, the better it is).
A couple of days ago, the Cabinet issued a decree (i.e. an immediately actionable decision to be approved by Parliament in sixty days, otherwise it is nil together with all actions taken in the period…) by which special powers are given to city prefects to expel -besides clandestine or criminal migrants from non EU countries which is already in place- also EU citizens with criminal records and/or no demonstrable means of basic sustainment.
The decree is ‘overtly’ aimed at expelling Romanians, who have become the largest and most visible migrant ( now member of the EU) community in our country.
Of course, most Italians also believe that Romanians and Roms (nomads from all countries, the majority in Italy are in fact Italians) are the same, which is everything but true.
This decision was taken following a brutal and horrible murder in Rome of an innocent middle aged woman by a young Romanian thug, an act which succeeded in lighting the final fuse to a mounting national public opinion upsurge protesting the increasing lack of personal security, and its relationship with the wild and totally unmanaged wave of migrant communities in our urban areas and the daily terribly bloody tragedies on our southern coasts, where desperate migrants are disembarked from rickety-rackety boats, at intolerable prices, by contemporary slave dealers.
There are, of course, tens of variables and issues to better explain this upsurge and I will not even attempt to address them.
But the fact of the matter today is that since the second world war, Italy has never witnessed such an intolerable and irrational explosion of xenophobia and racism.
Our political and media communities byandlarge, with remarkable but tiny exceptions, are bipartisanly nurturing this, without even thinking of its dramatic economic, social and cultural consequences.
Ok, this is the scenario, however evolving.
If we set our mind to the new public diplomacy concept of ‘sociological globalism’ referred to in this blog (link) it could be argued that, under the tutorship of CERP (confederation of european public relations associations) and of its mother organization the Global Alliance, the two Italian and Romanian national associations (FERPI and AARP) should immediately join forces, each tie up with the representatives of the migrant communities in both countries (one million Romanians in Italy, less than 50.000 Italians in Romania, but at least another 20.000 small, medium and large Italian companies operating there with considerable benefits), draw together a pool of private business organizations interested in improving the deteriorated relationships between the two countries, and implement a symmetric public diplomacy initiative by which the Romanian community in Italy influences romanian public opinion in Romania, and the Italian community in Romania influences public opinion in Italy.
Could this be a good vehicle to prove the relevance of contemporary public relations, or, as the GA says, the public benefit of public relations.