Italy's highest court, the Court of Cassation, has handed down a decision which essentially says that it is OK to discriminate against gypsies because they are all thieves. Hey, did I fall asleep and wake up in the dark ages?
Italy is now governed again by the billionaire telecommunications expert and alleged corrupter Silvio Berlusconi. However, it is the Interior Minister who has decided that all of the Roma that are resident in Italy must be fingerprinted, including all Roma children.
The ruling was not about the fingerprinting issue per se but rather it overturned the convictions of a group of six people who signed a pamphlet which essentially said that all gypsies must be removed from Italy because where ever there are gypsies there are robberies. One of the six, Flavio Tosi, has since become Mayor of Verona.
The fact that the Court made the decision that it did would suggest that any legal action taken against the fingerprinting measure would be likely to fail as the Court appears inclined to accept the proposition that all Roma are thieves.
The Court of Cassation held that Mr Tosi was not a racist, but that he had "a deep aversion [to Roma] that was not determined by the Gypsy nature of the people discriminated against, but by the fact that all the gypsies were thieves". The Court then went on to say that his dislike of the Roma was "not therefore based on a notion of superiority or racial hatred, but on racial prejudice".
Yep, if you're lost a little on this reasoning then join the queue. This seems to be an exercise in hair splitting between the words hatred and prejudice.
It should not be too long and the government in Italy might require Italian Jews to wear a big yellow Star of David on their clothes. If Italians are going to start fingerprinting people then it must be non-discriminatory and all Italians must be fingerprinted and not just selected racial groups.