All Criminals? Italian Police Raid Romanian Actress’s Hotel Room

Last May, the Romanian actress Laura Vasiliu was in Cannes, France. The star of Cristian Mungiu’s film “4 months, 3 week, 2 days,” Ms. Vasiliu was there for the Cannes Film Festival, where Mungiu’s film would be awarded the prestigious Palme d’Or. Tuesday night, Ms. Vasiliu was in Turin Italy, where at two in the morning the door to her hotel room was broken down by Italian carabinieri. The Italian police had somehow managed to confuse Ms. Vasiliu with a child trafficker. They searched her room and were reportedly preparing to arrest her, when they finally recognized their mistake and offered their apologies.

According to the Romanian daily Gândul, which broke the story, Vasiliu was in Turin to shoot her latest movie, “The Night.” Ironically enough, in the movie, she plays a Romanian immigrant in Italy who suffers a series of humiliations.

Moved by what the Romanian daily calls “an incredible mistake” and, in particular, by the brutality of the methods employed by the Italian authorities, the Romanian consulate in Turin has opened an investigation into the episode. Nonetheless, the mistake is not so incredible after all when one considers the Italian media’s increasing tendency to paint all Romanians as “criminals” in the aftermath of the murder of Giovanna Reggiani.

For more on this, see my article, “The Italian Government’s Plans for Romanians: the Return of Collective Expulsions?“.

The consequences of the anti-Romanian atmosphere thus created extend beyond the unfortunate experience of Ms. Vasiliu. According to statistics cited by Romanian President Traian Basescu [link in Romanian], since Oct. 30, nine Romanian citizens have been the victims of attacks in Italy, resulting in two deaths and four persons being injured.

Photo: Laura Vasiliu at Cannes (Source: Cannes Film Festival)