Racism, coronavirus and an Italian conservatory/Letter to the director

Ma 17 Februari 2020 23:06 | Astrid Essed | 252 keer bekeken | 0 reacties | 0 x aanbevolen | Artikel voorlezen


Your barring out from class of students from East Asia, over coronavirus concerns
Dear Mr Giuliani,
From different reliable newspapers I've learnt, that you recently have singled out 
students from East Asia, barring them from class because of your concerns about the coronavirus. [1]
This was the mail you sent to all 160 teachers, adding that students concerned would also receive a mandatory doctor’s visit.[2]
I quote:
''“Dear colleagues, because of the well-known events relating to the Chinese epidemic, the lessons of oriental students (Chinese, Korean, Japanese etc.) are suspended, as well as others who have come from the countries concerned.

“The conservatoire’s doctor will visit them all on Wednesday 5 February at 2pm. Only those who pass the visit will be readmitted. In the meantime, absence will be considered absence due to illness. Please let them all know, make sure they’re free on 5 February at 2pm, and remind them to bring the booklet. Best regards.” [3]

In Italian [I quote source]

''Care Colleghe e cari Colleghi, a causa delle ben note vicende legate all’epidemia cinese, sono sospese le lezioni degli studenti orientali (cinesi, coreani, giapponesi ecc.), nonché di altri che provenissero dai Paesi interessati. Mercoledì 5 febbraio alle ore 14 il medico del Conservatorio provvederà a visitarli tutti. Solo quelli che passeranno la visita potranno essere riammessi alla frequenza. Nel frattempo l’assenza sarà considerata assenza per malattia. Siete pregati di avvisarli tutti, di convocarli per il 5 febbraio alle ore 14, e di ricordargli di portare il libretto. Cordiali saluti”. Firmata dal direttore, Roberto Giuliani.'' [4]

If this is not right, I challenge you to send me denying evidence, vut I think evidence is overwhelming, that this actually happened.

The reason why I wrote '' If this is not right'', is that, to my view, it is hardly to believe, that now, in the 21st century, a director of such a prestigious music institute as the Academia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia,

has sent a message like this!

It is like travelling through history, and well landing in one of the most backward periods. at  the nineteen century, the time of racist superiority theories, which included all sort of sick prejudices against people of Asian descent.

You, mr Giuliani, should be ashamed of yourself!

However I am pleased to learn, that you has been criticised by colleagues after your racist email regarding the ''oriental'' [your word for among else Chinese, Korean, Japanese students] students. [5]


You should be ashamed of yourself!!


It is unbelievable, that I have to explain, why your mail is not only racist and dangerous, but also, excuse me for the word: stupid.

The Coronavirus is (official name COVID-19] broke out in 2019 in Wuhan, a Chinese city. [6] So people, who live in Wuhan or have recently visited Wuhan, are risk factors.

This has NOTHING to do with ethnicity or descent!

When you and I were visiting Wuhan, or living there,  we both  being not Chinese, was the risk that we were infected or could infect other people a reality.

That applies to everyone who lives there or visited the regio, Chinese or not!

Chinese, Japanese and Korean students, living in Italy have no more chance to infect other people that you and I.

However, Europeans, who lived in Wuhan or recently visited the city, are a real danger.

So it has nothing whatsoever to do with ethnicity, being Asian or not, but with the recent presence in Wuhan.

From a director of a prestigious conservatory might be expected, that he understands this

That is the stupid side of your mail.

But since I can't believe that a conservatory director is ''stupid'', your

mail is especially racist, singling out Chinese, Japanese and Korean students, because in their country of origin [or that of their parents or grandparents] there was a dangerous virus outbreak!

Not to speak about  Japanese and Korean students, since they have no connection whatsoever with China or Chinese cities!

Especially your language use ''oriental students'' [7] convinces to me of your racism.

Again, you should be ashamed of yourself!


Yes, I am not done with you yet!

Because apart from racist, your mail is dangerous, especially seen in the light of recent outbreaks of racism and xenophobia in Italy! [8]

Because since you are an educated and respected director of a prestigious conservatory, people look up to you and find in hateful, racist mails like yours a confirmation for their xenophobia and an encouragement to go on with racism.


As a director of a high profile conservatory you have a special and moral responsibility to advance civilization and culture.

One of the aspects is to cherish and promote the ideals of Liberte, Egalite and Fraternite [9], for especially music is a cultural Road to unite people.

What you did is to divide people and that is a destructive Path.

So I hope you have learnt something of the just criticism on your

racist mail and never do it again.

Eventually racism leads to chaos, destruction and Evil.

Think of that.

Kind greetings

Astrid Essed


The Netherlands





Meer van Astrid Essed