Day in, day out, newspaper columns in Italy and Spain are full of negative stories about African migrants. But in a break with tradition, over the weekend. papers in northern Italy were full of praises for one African migrant, a Gambian called Kebba.
Christian Zarantonello is a 42-year-old man from Schio, a town in the province of Vicenza. On Friday morning he sat for a while on the stairs of a church, then got up and went shopping. But when he was about to pay for his goods, he realised he did not have his wallet with him. He realised that the only place it could have gone missing was on the church stairs where he had sat. Unfortunately, when he went there and looked, there was nothing. In desperation, Christian tried to call the pastor of the church on his cellphone, but he did not receive a response. So he left a message for him at the church. Luckily for Christian, the pastor contacted him telling him that one of the men he was assisting had found the wallet.
The young man who found Christian’s wallet was Kebba, a young refugee from The Gambia. Kebba went to the church stairs shortly after Christian had sat there and found the wallet. He reported it to the priest, his reference figure in Italy. The next morning, Christian met Kebba, who returned the wallet intact. Inside there were 200 euros, credit cards and papers.
Christian said when he announced he had lost his wallet on the church stairs, many people told him he would never find it again, as the neighborhood was full of non-EU citizens, criminals and unscrupulous people.
In reaction he said: “I’m happy to have recovered all my personal belongings, but even more so it has changed my preconceptions. In the media, especially during this period, it is more than ever necessary to bear witness today to such gestures of honesty and fraternity. I call it fraternity because in my embrace with Kebba I felt at home in the arms of a brother. There are so many like him.