BUONGIORNO AND BISMILLAH,
On the 16th of February this year STARBUCKS installed in Milan’s centre, in front of Piazza Duomo some Palm Trees. This big american coffe company plans on opening their first store in Italy in 2018. They still didn’t open one in all these years because Italian coffe is the best in the world and everybody knows that. The trees are part of the contract and they are supposed to stay there for three years. I also read that Starbucks will change the trees every now and then with other plants to give more color to the gothic style of the city. Not only Palms but also Banana trees are part of the project that is taking place all over the metropolitan city.
A couple of days after the settle in of the plants someone set a poor Palm tree on fire. The city got devided into a political debate between the centre-right party and the anti-immigrants Northern League Party. Basically the people that are fine with the palms are the “liberals” and those that are against are the “racists”. But why did we have protests and fire in the city because of some trees? Well it wasn’t just a matter of opinions, it transformed into a matter of “africanization” as the Northern League Party says. The leader of the Party, commented: “Now we only need sand and camels for the illegal immigrants to feel at home”.
Some people are just against the trees because they say they don’t really look suitable with the architechture of the city, others say they feel bad for the trees as they think that tropical plants can’t survive in our climate.
Architect Marco Bay responded to these critics by noting that there are hundreds in the city already and reminding us that palm trees were present in the same Piazza during the 1800s. The variety he planted, Trachycarpus fortunei, is well-suited to Milan’s continental climate resisting temperatures as low as 15 degrees Celsius below zero (5 degrees Fahrenheit).
My personal opinion is that they are just trees, I love plants, I think they look better on the beach (since in Italy we have them there too), I believe that maybe Starbucks wanted to give us an L.A. vibe (even if Starbucks was founded in Seattle), but probably if they planted more Northern Italy typical trees people would have been less racists.
So my question is what do you think about this? What do you think about the palm and banana trees? What do you think about this free racism used where race isn’t the topic at all? What do you think about western political parties that forgot history and the era of colonialism when they destroyed african and asian countries and now blame us for some trees?
Let me know in the comments below * highfive if you got the sarcasm*.
The four pictures up here are not mine. But the one down here is one I took and it’s the header image of this blog.