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Cecile Kyenge: Italy’s First Black Minister Responds to Banana Insult

Italy’s first black minister Cecile Kyenge has responded via Twitter after having bananas thrown at her while making a speech.

Kyenge responded to the gesture on Twitter, calling it “sad” and a waste of food.

“The courage and optimism to change things has to come above all from the bottom up to reach the institutions,” she said, the Guardian reports.

Police are trying to identify the culprit.

According to Reuters.com:

“Some of Italy’s top politicians on Saturday rallied behind the country’s first black minister, a target of racist slurs since her appointment in April, after a spectator threw bananas at her while she was making a speech.

Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge, who is originally from Democratic Republic of Congo, was appearing at a political rally in Cervia in central Italy on Friday, when someone in the audience threw bananas towards the stage, narrowly missing it.

“Kyenge has faced almost daily racial slurs and threats since joining the government. Earlier this month a senator from the anti-immigration Northern League party likened her to an orangutan and only apologized after a storm of criticism.”

According to the BBC:

“Roberto Calderoli, from the anti-immigration Northern League, told a rally that the success of Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge encouraged ‘illegal immigrants’ to come to Italy.

“Ms. Kyenge is an Italian citizen born in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is the latest in a series of rows over racism in Italy.

‘”I love animals – bears and wolves, as everyone knows – but when I see the pictures of Kyenge I cannot but think of, even if I’m not saying she is one, the features of an orangutan,’ Calderoli said in a speech to a rally in the northern city of Treviso on Saturday.

“He also said Ms. Kyenge should be a minister ‘in her own country.’

“Calderoli who is also a senate vice-president of the Northern League political party is not the only member of his party to make very personal and vitriolic statements about Kyenge.”

 The Guardian reports:

“Mario Borghezio, a member of the European parliament for the League, said in April that Kyenge wanted to ‘impose her tribal traditions from the Congo’ and branded Letta’s coalition a ‘bongo bongo’ government. ‘She seems like a great housekeeper but not a government minister.'”

In June, a local councilor for the League was ejected from the party after she posted a message on Facebook suggesting Kyenge should be raped.

Referring to an alleged attempted rape in Genoa, Dolores Valandro wrote: ‘Why does no one rape her, so she can understand what the victim of this atrocious crime felt?'”

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