Immigrants are a favorite scapegoat of the right. But hopefully, stories like these can change their opinion, and help them recognize that immigrants are a valued part of many communities, not just in the United States, but elsewhere, too.
A 25-year-old photographer named Gaia Guarnotta in Florence, Italy, was walking home around 11:30 at night last weekend when she was approached by a group of men asking her to take selfies with them. The tone quickly soured, however, when they began asking her to come home with them.
The group of men, she said, numbered around 25 in total.
Telling her that she’d have “a good time,” and that “25 against one is a good night,” Guarnotta rejected their advances. At that point, she said in a Facebook post, the situation escalated.
The men called her a “stupid b****,” a “whore,” and other names as they tugged at her arm, attempting to drag her away against her will.
“They chucked their drinks and straws over me and one of them, or maybe a couple of them, spat on me or tried to spit on me, while all the others were filming on their phones,” she said.
Were it not for the actions of a good Samaritan walking by, things could have gotten worse for Guarnotta.
Hossein Alamgir, an immigrant flower seller from Bangledesh, came to Guarnotta's rescue, pulling her away from the dangerous men. He called them “scumbags” for the way they treated her. The men continued their verbal assaults as she walked away, calling her an “Arab c*** sucking whore.”
Alamgir, 58, and living in Italy since 2005, took Guarnotta to grab a bite to eat and consoled her by giving one of his roses to her.
“Thank God there are people in the world like Hossein, who help without wanting anything in return,” Guarnotta said. “His is a face I will never forget.”
Alamgir’s heroics are a far cry from what individuals like President Donald Trump have said immigrants represent. Rather than the deviants and criminals he and his supporters say they are, immigrants have for centuries, whether in America or elsewhere, contributed to the communities they reside in countless ways.
Guarnotta certainly won’t forget her hero — and she’s hoping he won’t forget the woman he rescued. She gave him a passport picture of herself to always remember the night he likely saved her from a terrifying ordeal.
Guarnotta closed her Facebook post by writing about the need to speak out about such assaults: “Even if we feel shame, we must find the courage to talk, to show solidarity and not to get used to this mentality."
Banner/Thumbnail Credit: Flickr, renee_mcgurk