Racism kills. Yes, it does and it has indeed killed Seid Visin, a 20-year old football player in Italy. The former AC Milan and Benevento youth player committed suicide and was found dead at his home in Campania, Italy, on Friday.
A heart-breaking letter he wrote a couple of years ago reveals racist abuses he was subjected to.
Born in Ethiopia in September 2000, Visin was adopted by an Italian family from Nocera Inferiore.
In the deeply touching note, Seid Visin narrated in detail how he suffered racist abuses. “Wherever I go, wherever I am, I feel the weight of the sceptical, biased, disgusted and frightened glances of people,” Visin wrote.
Though he was born abroad, the young man never considered himself an immigrant having lived most of his life in Italy. “I am not an immigrant,” he wrote in the note, adding that he was adopted when he was a child and everybody used to love him at the time.
Racial discrimination has increased significantly in Italy
Visin’s note highlights how racial discrimination has increased significantly in Italy in the recent years. “I remember everybody used to love me. Everywhere I went, everybody was talking to me with joy, respect and curiosity. Now it seems that everything has turned upside down,” Visin wrote.
Seid Visin who was a promising young player retired from sports in 2016 to focus on his studies but continued to play five-a-side with Atletico Vitalica.
When he left football and went to look for other jobs, Visin found a job as a waiter but he had to give it up because many people, especially the older ones, refused to be served by him.
Many even accused him of stealing jobs from young white Italians. Visin said he felt the pressure to prove to people that he was like them, that he was Italian even though he was black.
“We suck a little. All.”
His death has revived debate on racism in Italy. Addressing Visin’s death in Facebook post, Italian footballer Claudio Marchisio said: “We are the country of integration when you are a young talent or when you score the decisive goal in an important match, but which refuses to be served in a restaurant by a black guy. We are the country of integration when an athlete wins a medal at the Olympics. We are the country of integration that seeks unlikely Italian origins when an actress who makes us excited wins an Oscar,”
Marchisio added that the same people who celebrate the success of black athletes turn up their noses when they hear that there are black pupils in the same class with their children.
I can’t even imagine what Seid Visin felt, but I am sure that a country that pushes a young boy to make such an extreme gesture is a country that has failed. Think about it when you make your idiotic jokes, when you make stupid and cynical speeches about rafts and skin color, especially on social networks.
We suck a little. All.”
Visin’s death and note should be an eyeopener. It should make the racist people aware of what their racism can lead to. And it should make politicians from all parties commit to fighting racism by approving laws that severely punish racial discrimination and racist statements especially by prominent politicians and celebrities.