Until recently, Ramzi Harrabi felt at home in Sicily, where he has lived for more than 20 years after leaving Tunisia.
But he reconsidered his place in Italian society after the 2018 election of a populist government, championed by former Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini.
Watching Salvini’s latest attack against the Tunisian community in Italy last January partly confirmed his worries.
“I couldn’t believe my own eyes. I was sure I was watching a parody video with dubbing,” said Harrabi.
As the historically left-wing region of Emilia Romagna in northern Italy prepared for local elections last month, the far-right figure posted a live video from his League party’s campaign.
In the clip, he and a group of local supporters, escorted by policemen and journalists, ring the Labidi family’s doorbell. He then asks the Tunisian family, through an intercom system: “We heard rumours you are drug dealers, is that true? Let us in.”
The incident caught international media attention and sparked a diplomatic dispute between Italy and Tunisia.
Moez Sinaoui, the Tunisian ambassador to Italy, wrote a response to Italy’s Senate speaker criticising Salvini’s lack of respect towards Tunisian migrants, a deep-rooted minority in Italian society for decades.
Harrabi, an artist, felt compelled to respond.