This is the gym where I go every day to train. I work in a disco near here, as a doorman.
Have you always had doorman or security jobs? Just because you don't look like an agressive man.
I studied music. I was a musician. I play keyboards, traditional Arabic music. But there's an arabic proverb that says that the wind always blows from the opposite direction to that which the boats need, more or less like that, do you understand? So, even if I don't like to be agressive, I'm forced to do this job. But I also think that to it doesn't necessarly mean that you're an agressive man, or that you like to beat people if you're a doorman. For me, being a doorman means that you're responsible for the security. This is the job I could find 'cos Moroccans have a bad reputation (and a "brutta figura") so the first job they can find is as a doorman, 'cos Italians just don't want to do this job. Because there's the risk, this is a risky job. When there's a fight in the discotheque where many are drunk, it means that to be in the middle you have to risk having at least a bottle thrown on your head by mistake because even in these circumstances there's a kind of respect towards the doorman, since he represents the security of everyone, do you understand? the other risk is when someone becomes agressive because of alcohol, starts trying to be a tough guy, even in front of the doorman, so a kind of duel can occur between them, you know. So, in these cases, the doorman has to risk his life for the owner of the place. This is the risk. At the end of the day, the problem has to remain between the doorman and the client 'cos the owner is always out of the game. He doesn't take any responsibility. If the carabinieri come then they ask him if he wants to denounce the doorman, too, as any normal person because being a doorman is not an employment, it's not a profession. It doesn't exist like this: name, first name, profession: doorman - this doesn't exist. It's just a common word that we use to cover what we do, but it's not official.
Is it because of this job that you go to the gym?
No, it's normal for me. I like to be fit. I used to go even in my country, I did body building, a bit of personal defence. This is a psychological thing. As you've observed, I'm not agressive. For example, when I feel angry, I go to the gym, I lift weights and feel the anger being relieved. Or when I take a shower afterwards, already everything is alright. I think of it as a psychological thing. A sound mind in a sound body.
This is the Parini school where I go to learn Italian. I have been here in Italy for one year and 5 months, but I only started this course four months ago. The thing that pushes me to learn Italian is that before I spoke a kind of touristic language. I was able to communicate well enough - Moroccans are normally very at doing this, so I communicate nomally with people, I can understand them, I'm able to make a simple discourse. But I don't like to be someone that seems like he knows something but who doesn't know anything. If I have the possibility to learn something better then I go for it. You can't make jokes with language. I don't want to be able only to say: 'I want this or that, I need this or that', I also want to know the technical terms, maybe the literary words, too.
Do you read in Italian?
Yes. At the beginning I read comics, Donald Duck etc. - even this helped me a lot. Now I read newspapers too, everything I find before me, I just read it. I like to read anyway, but I don't have much time for it.
This is Piazza IV. Marzo, near Via Milano. I've choosen this place because I don't like it. In this photo I don't think there are any Italians, only Moroccans and people from Eastern Europe. I'm not criticizing Italy or the government but I don't know why they allow this place to be like this. Because the neighbourhood is bothered by it for sure. Fights break out and so on. IÕve observed that Italians have a tremendous, absolute fear of agressivity. So, maybe you're allowed to steal, but you can't beat someone. To beat someone is much more grave. Since I'm a doorman, I can observe how the fights happen here. It's not like in my country or like in France where it's a normal thing, a kind of challenge. Here nobody wants to start it.
Why do you think these people spend their time here? In your country people don't gather in places like this? Maybe they don't drink but...
Sure they drink. Even though drinking alcohol is a sin according to our religion, they still drink. We have our bars, or cabarets. Even though there's no licence to sell alcohol in shops, in coffee bars or in cremeries, there are places to sell alcohol to tourists. So, you can drink discretely but you can't get a bottle of beer and walk around like they do, through all of Turin. You can find drunk people but they are hidden. The shopkeepers that have the licence to sell alcohol are smart because they claim that they want to sell alcohol to tourists but in fact they sell it to anyone. Tourism is just a good excuse for it. Getting back to the question, these people spend their days here because they don't have anything to do, they don't have a job. Because there's racism in Italy. Terrible racism. I haven't spend much time in France but in Italy this hidden racism is much stronger. I have some money now, I could probably have a permit to stay but normally it happens like this: if you want to rent a flat, you go through a newspapaer, find a number where they offer flats to rent and you call it: 'hello, I'd like to rent a flatÕ ÔWelcome, we have a great choice for you. Where are you from?' 'I'm Moroccan'. 'Wait a minute, I have to talk to our administrator...sorry, we only have flats to sell, very sorry.' Being a clandestine, I'm living in this condition.
It's also interesting that the first time I was searching for a flat, I found one in Via Cercenasco, Mirafiori, at number 13, because for Italians the number 13 is bad luck, so in that house only "extracommunitari" (foreigners) lived and only one Italian but he was a guy with a dog, a rebel who didn't mind about this thing. The same is valid for houses near the graveyard. I don't know, Italians when they hear someone mention death, they touch their bollocks (laughs). So, it's an advice for everyone in this situation that they should look for a number 13 or a graveyard.
So, these people in the photo don't have anything to do. It can be that they would be able to but they havenÕt found a job, I don't know. There are many that are regularly in Italy but when they're looking for a job, they only find black (unofficial) work. It means a job without taxes, without contributions (for health care), so that the employer can earn more. The one that looses is always the "extra-communitari". If you have an problems, you get nothing, no public health care, no insurance.
Giardini Reali, where the tram 18 passes. This place is important for me because it was here that I met a Tunisian girl, a year ago, before my birthday in April. We aren't in contact anymore, it only lasted for a while, I don't know... she changed her mobile number and I haven't heard of her since. We went to Sicily, we spent our holidays there in August, then we didn't meet again after. It's strange but I think the world is small and Turin is smaller than you imagine. I have friends for example that I hadn't seen for 7-8 years, then I met them again here in Turin. Friends from childhood. And, you know, everyone has his/her life, there's the separation, people just don't meet.
Do you know this monument?
I think it represents a period of war in italy. There are these figures in strong movement, that's why. I forgot what's written on it.
I took it from the bus. This is on Corso Vittorio Emmanuele at the corner with Via Carlo Alberto. Look, here's written: 'Face to the wall'
It's not "face", ma "Fasci", that means, "Fascists" I think.
Well, I thought it was the 'face', because I've heard this phrase already. It's not that the carabinieri would have stopped me. But I have a cousin who's been here for 13 years, he has everything - a permit to stay, a job, a flat, everything. But he wears strange clothes, very traditional ones, he has his way of wearing clothes.
Once, at Ramadan, we were walking in Via Mondari where there's an Arabic restaurant, we wanted to eat there because from time to time, I get nostalgic for Moroccan food, you know, so we walked towards Porta Nuova, to the restaurant and I heard: "Signori, stop, documents" There were two policmen, one stayed in the car, the other was approaching us. But he didn't ask for my documents but my cousin's documents. They didn't say anything to me. He was sure 2000% that my cousin didn't have any documents. So they judge the person by his/her clothes. You can be a mafioso but if you wear the smoking jacket, the tie, then they'll tell you: 'Good evening, Sir'. So, my cousin gave them his documents that they checked them, it's a normal thing. Then he turned to me and asked for my documents but I only had and have a tax code, then he said: 'How come you don't have the permit to stay but you have a tax code? This is illegal.' Then I said: "Excuse me, it wasn't me that wrote this but your government, you can't criticise it." It went like this, with a tone provocative enough from their part and sincerely - I don't speak about everyone of them, but the majority, they provoke the "extracommunitari". They use a totally different tone with Italians to the "extracommunitari". They treat them in a bad way.
To get back to the phrase: 'Face to the wall', it happened to me at Porta Palazzo. There was a friend - a friend of my brother, but you know, among us, if you are a friend of a friend of mine then you're my friend, because I trust in my friends, that is, that I suppose that the friend of my friend is a good person. There's this kind of trust that doesn't exist in Italy, if more people meet and there's someone that another one doesn't know, then they don't sey hello to each-other. they don't say a word to each-other as if the other wasn't there. For us, this would be impolite. Here, itÕs normal. So, I had a flashback when I saw this graffiti, about this friend who has citizenship, Italian wife, etc, but once the police stopped him to check his documents while he was speaking to someone else, so he told them 'just a minute, please' and they thought this was a provocation and yelled 'Face to the wall!' So, this came to my mind about this graffiti.
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All these three pictures have only one reason: there's not these kind of statues in my country and I like them very much. I like art. Those who made these statues are great people, in my opinion, they have all my respect. It's a pity that in my country we don't preserve these things. The antique things. Because there was a tribe in Mecca, before Islam, a tribe that considered the statues to be gods and prayed to them. That's why our prophet ordered the statues to be destroyed. You know, when for example someone eats a croissant every morning, then someone comes along and says that the croissant isn't good, you mustn't eat it. Things donÕt change so fast and so, in the same way, people werenÕt convinced about what our prophet told them, they had their grandfathers and grandmothers that all prayed to the statues as if they were gods, so when our prophet came to say 'no croissant', it didn't work out and our prophet had to suffer a lot. They treated him badly, they pursued him, so he he emigrated with his friends and his followers to Medina, near Mecca. This is the event when our era started, the 'year of emigration'.
So in Morocco arenÕt there any monuments like these?
There aren't that many. There are those left by the French. There's one before the French Consulate in Casablanca. There are a lot more of them here. Also, on the antique palaces, there are frescos everywhere. It's a normal thing here. The first monument I photographed is near Moncaliere, on the bridge, the other one is near to the Parco del Valentino.
Do you also read what's written on the monument or only look at them as statues?
No, only as statues. I don't even know what these things are, kind of numbers? I can't read them (the latin numbers).
Do you think that you'll stay in Turin?
It's possible, but here in Italy, I had the feeling, from a materialistic point of view, so from the point of view of someone that says 'two and two make four', I could live, I could stay. IÕve had a lot of possibilities, I had my compatriots that deal with drugs, things like that, and they told me not to worry, they were gonna help me, because for them this kind of work is a normal thing. On the other hand, if they didn't find clients to sell the drugs to, they would find another job, anyway. But my principal was not to do anything that is a sin, but instead, I wanted to work. The other thing is that in Italy people take "extracommunitari" for poor guys that in their home didn't have anything to eat and this is why they came here - which is slightly humiliating. My family in Morocco arenÕt that poor, they have a certain income, at least. So, as I said, from a materialistic point of view, Italy is a place where - if you have the permit of stay, you can work for, let's say, eight years, have some money then go back to Morocco. Because, sincerely, none of the countries in the world is so sweet like your own country. But the things I've seen here during these months, that is, the treatment of the immigrants, goes against my sense of pride. I'm searching for some calm. I need some money, enough to have my bread, but also enough to have some sweets, you know what I mean. You have to have a hat and a jacket, maybe also a pair of sunglasses, but the principal things are the jacket and a hat.