21 Pages

Introduction: tourism and citizenship – points of departure

During the spring and summer of 2008, neo-fascist vigilante squads orchestrated a series of violent attacks on Roma gypsies in several Italian cities, including Naples, many of whom were in fact native Italians, urging their expulsion from Italy, aided and abetted by members of local organized crime syndicates or camorristi (Kington 2008 ). Subsequently, the Italian interior minister at the time embarked on a scheme to fi ngerprint tens of thousands of Roma, a move which bore dark echoes of Italy’s fascist past and cast a dark shadow over Europe’s own increasingly miserable record with regard to the treatment of the Roma and other ‘ethnic minority’ peoples (see Sigona and Trehan 2009 ). At around the same time, two Italian-born Roma girls, who had been selling trinkets to sunbathers on a popular beach in Naples, drowned after briefl y entering the water to cool down. Apparently, the two girls lay on the beach for three hours until an ambulance fi nally arrived. During that time the holidaymakers continued to sunbathe nearby and play ball games seemingly indiff erent to the macabre scene before them (Popham 2008 ).