This morning is different. Why? Because on yesterday's afternoon walk, this time past a small jungle gym in Green Acres, I noticed not just the out of place pleasant puppy on the No Dogs (of any breed) Allowed sign but the small swatiska in the bottom left corner with the English words "Stop Non-White Immigration".
Though I've always felt that Green Acres was a bit too provincial for my tastes-- it's a gossipy neighborhood where children go to the same schools that their parents and grandparents went to, nuns happily tell me that their school is integrated with two Jews and a Christian Muslim, and the Bangladeshi bag boy ( 1.92 m and 30 years old) has been cloned, working at the supermercato, cafe, fioraio and benzinaio, I didn't think this 'hood was just plain dumb. Whoever placed the English-written sticker at the park has a lot to learn about xenophobia.
In a city that has tilted towards an extreme and absurd fear of Others-- gay men and women receving fines for kissing in public (and getting beat up on the streets), mini-skirts becoming illegal (especially for Eastern-bloc prostitutes), and immigration control measures that follow the fundamentals of down-home, racial profiling (i.e. no one is checking for permessi for any of the well-dressed patrons of Campo de' Fiori's cafes)-- it just doesn't make sense to stick up your companion hate message in the wrong language. However appropriate it may be for Rome's recent climate (because yes, neo-Nazism is en vogue in Italy now), hate messages in anything but the national language (i.e. Italian) kind of defeat the point, don'tcha think?
Knowledge is Power.