Thursday, May 19, 2011

Family Units

There are no social issues in Italy, as far as I can see. How wonderful it is to be able to walk around the streets and not see people bouncing off the walls or sitting on a box with a sign held up saying "No money, No work, Family to feed, Please help, God Bless!"

We spoke to one of the locals about why this would be and he could only think that it was because the Italians have a very strong family unit. Generally, the family are in business together. The parents would own a business - whether that is a restaurant, gift shop, or deli and all the family members would work there. From a very early age the children are involved in the daily running of the business.

Children are seen with their parents as a family unit. Teenagers are not running all over the place creating havoc. Lionel Shriver once said the following; "When left to their own devices, children will do one of two things: get up to no good, or do nothing at all". I think that is such a profound statement and probably why there are so few social issues here in Italy - they are not left to their own devices.

Our new friend told us that the only real issues here in Italy are caused by the Mafia. He also mentioned that recently the family structure has been breaking down, to such an extent that in 2010 there were 30 000 divorces here. In 2009 there were 8 000 in total. The extreme jump in one year is devastating for him as an Italian and his family. He said this is totally unheard of. By world standards this is still a very low number, but the point is that it has not gone unnoticed.

He acknowledged that the Mafia are responsible for a lot of crime and hardship, but that in the past few years the Albanians who have come to Italy to live, have joined forces with the Mafia making them far more dangerous. The Nigerian immigrants are also a force to be reckoned with he said, but if one kept far from their bad influences one could live a very happy life.

I feel so empowered here in Italy! I am a big person. I must admit I never realized that the Italians were so small. I can now fully understand why they have a Mafia, in English it would be called "Revenge of the little people".

~ Vanessa

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