Italian VS Finnish Police, few personal experiences

Whenever we talk about Police, each of us has his own experience and opinion.
Some people would protect officers for anything they have done, even crimes; while some would blame them for the smallest mistakes.

To be a good policeman is probably not simple. Law enforcement has the task to act when there are crimes—infringements of the penal code—, protect citizens, be reachable, and be honest.
Above all, Police officers have ´executive power´: a wide range of freedom to act according to their choices, which can be influenced by their personal mood or will.
Most officers claim that they do a dangerous job, and therefore, they often wish, request, or pretend not to be persecuted for errors or abuses.

I write here some of my personal stories with police in Italy and in Finland, I do this after the portal ´TrustPilot´ is continuously blocking my genuine review for the website of the Italian police force ´Carabinieri,´ probably under the police request.

 

ITALY

I was a kid when I already had my first experiences with the Italian Police. I remember, exceptionally vividly, a few anecdotes:

Calling Italian police when my father was hitting me, my mother, and my siblings; nothing happened. The police didn’t come at all. We were even spending nights in the street because my father would kick us out.

For a few days, I didn´t want to go to school, my family didn´t know what to do; therefore, they brought me to ´carabinieri.´ I was about eight years old, the military-police locked me into a cell for about ten seconds, to ´stimulate me to go back to school´, for me it translated into a ten years trauma.

A boy killed by Italian Police

When I was a teenager, I went to Genoa demostrate during the G8 to peacefully protest, asking the wealthiest governments to not forget the rest of the (developing)world in their plans.
During the protests, I witness with my eyes plainclothes police spur young protesters to damage proprieties.
The officers were saying: ¨go and break everything…¨. The government–of Berlusconi–wanted the protest to be aggressive so that they could claim bans to any demonstration, hence have more space to act without critics from the population.
During the (bloody)protests, several friends of mine were hit and even illegally blocked by the police. One protester—after being provoked by the police–was killed, tortured, left dying on the ground, and even mocked afterwards.
The carabinieri agent who shot at him claimed that acted for self-defense. Nevertheless, the police jeep ran on the boy two times—which was left on the ground for a long time—surrounded by tens of policemen who didn´t even check if he was alive or dead. Later on, Police officers even smashed a stone on his head to simulate an ´accidental´ death.
The name of the boy was Carlo Giuliani, he was 23 years old and he had never been involved in violence or crime.

At the age of 20 yo I am stopped by Police while I drive my car.
The policeman gave for granted that I was a drug user–just because I was driving in an area where there are some–and asked me where I had ´my syringes.´ Telling him that I was not sa drug user was not enough, he made a mess of my car, and when he didn´t find anything at all, he tried to find something wrong with my car documents. Unfortunately–for him–everything was good with my documents. When I told him that continuing to keep me stopped for no reason seemed an abuse to me, he told me literally: ¨me, as a ´carabiniere,´ I can put a shotgun in your mouth, arrest you, and say that you have tried to kill me; the judge would believe me, not you¨.

Some people in Italy say that mafia in Italy would not exist without acceptance from most of the local folk. This may be a reason for the survival of mafia.
A second reason could be that the police forces are not effectively stopping the mafia. Maybe because some corrupted policymakers, perhaps because the police are afraid, or because they are lazy.

 

Police in Scandinavia

FINLAND

Calling the police in Finland when I was assaulted in someone’s apartment: the cops entered the appartment within five minutes; here the story:

A hot summer in Finland is considered to have an average of 19 degrees, above this temperature, you almost feel in another country. But unfortunately, it was not summertime; it was an icy cold winter in Helsinki. A night to forget with people to forget.

I come back from Tallinn with Viking Line boat XPRS. Around 19:00 I meet on board Mia and Maarit—two Finnish girls—, we socialize, sing, and spend the evening together. They invite me to their place, I accept.

Mia is flirting with me, she tells me a sad story about her sickness and says that she has no money: ¨I have just spent out a loan of 2000 euro¨.

With the promise that I could stay at their place to sleep, I cancel then the appointment with a friend who was supposed to host me and to be thankful I invite for drinks.

After the evening in the disco, we are going to Maarit’s place, with her other friends—we were in total nine—they continue the afterparty with alcohol and drugs. I tell them that I would like to only drink water and go to sleep because it´s late—5:00 o’clock in the (Friday)morning—and I don´t feel good. When I said that, everyone started mocking me because I did not drink alcohol—or wanted drugs—they start even to use bad words and tell me to go away in the (freezing)street.

I ask them to let me first take a rest because I did not feel good and it was cold on the street,  I could not even go to my other host to sleep, cause she was sleeping already. 

They not only verbally but also physically attack me just because I was not leaving immediately. One of the friends of Mia takes a knife in his hand and come close to me. I call the police—where they ask me to speak Finnish, but somehow I manage to tell them the address—I try to block him, and they all start to attack me.

One of the aggressors puts his arm around my neck and tries to suffocate me, the rest of the group holds me and they are all ready to hit me hard.
At this very moment, the Police get into the apartment. It seemed the scene of a Rambo movie, the police entered precisely in the instant when I was blocked and hopeless.

I’m injured on my forehead and on my right thumb, the police officers don’t care much about this. 

I tell the police all the facts, but they don’t really listen to me; they speak in Finnish with the people that were assaulting me; I say that they have drugs, I show them the knife used to attack me; the cops say that I just have to go away and that they would not make any report about the facts.
Futhermore, I repeat them that I want to go to the Embassy and that I am injured, but they say that I should just leave.

I go to the Embassy where they tell me to go to the police to make a report.

 

A police car in Puerto Rico

 



Bottom line

What do I think about police?
I think that there are good and bad policemen, but in Italy, if I call them, I know that there is little chance that they would come, and if I see them in the street, I know that it´s more lickely that they would harras than help me.

 

What’s the difference between a detainee and a soldier?
The difference is that the soldier can let out his hunger and frustration freely on other (innocent)people, the detainee can´t do it.

Cycling from Georgia (Tbilisi) to Armenia (Yerevan)

For this trip I needed normally to do some changes to the bicycle, three gears may be not enough to go 5.190 meters uphill, but I will challenge myself and still be with three gears! Pushing the bicycle up the mountains.

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Komoot and Gmaps will be my main information source, I will not use the internet, so I have to rely only on offline maps.

This time I have more gear with me: full-body reflectors, fisherman rain-coat & solar-powered batteries; however, I have just a few pieces of clothing to fit all the stuff and the bigger sleeping bag, cause now the temperature will be a bit colder on the mountains.

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Click on the pic to open the details of the tour

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TBILISI – YEREVAN CYCLING DIARY
Personal feelings and some useful Trip notes for bicycle travelers.

Iranian companions cyclo travelers

Main points about the trip

I felt Safe all the time,
There are many water springs on the way, in both countries,
The folk is hospitable & they like Europeans,
Georgians and Armenian are similar, even though they have some contrasts between each other,
Cold on the mountains in the nights,
The month of October has great weather for cycling (not too cold, not too hot),
Not too much traffic and cars keep space when they were passing me, being really polite.

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Ready for departure

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Daily cyclo diary

TBILISI – KVEMO TELETI 30KM
It’s late when I realize that I don’t have a sleeping pad.
I had to throw away a battery in the standard trash cause in Georgia there is no recycling going on.
Gas stations don’t have air for tires.
No one friendly met on the way, expect a fruit seller and a tire shop owner.

I get some pain in the left leg, I don’t enjoy too much going on the mountains with a three gears city bike.
Testing the solar panels, they seem to work great, I already project to make some permanent installation.
I went to sleep early, I got asleep soon but in the night many thoughts came to my mind. It’s so hard to get empty.

Cemetery. Both Armenians & Georgians have a heavy worship for dead people

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KVEMO TELETI – MARNEULI 46 km (tot 76)
Cold in the night
Freedom feeling in the morning
Disgusting smell of exhaust gas from cars
I buy a one-year-expired sweet from a small shop

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Hygiene issues: while the seller serves the customer the food falls on the ground, then the seller put it aside, but does not trash it, after five minutes the food is back on the shelf; several shops did this.

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Cool kids in the street with bicycles cycle with me.
Car accident, yet another.
Horse with a small lace between legs and neck.
A local asks me what’s my religion, I reply: ” the bicycle” and everything circular.

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A fruit which I have never seen before attracts my attention: it’s green, hard, as big as an orange, smelling a bit like a citrus fruit, it has spiral patterns on the skin, and I don’t manage to open it.
In the night there is a mix of different sounds:
Music, like a folk festival
Dogs, many of them, barking
Train, slow and as noisy as a drill machine.

My back hurts.

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I manage to get car’s attention with all that reflectors

MARNUELI – SHNOGH (ARMENIA) 34km (tot 110)

It rains, so I stay in the tent and play some harmonica.
Cows licking my bicycle.
All Custom guards are eating while checking my documents.
Friendly custom control.
Arrived in Armenia.
The streets are a bit worse here than in Georgia.

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The Armenians I crossed look similar to each other; many men have flat dark hair going on the forehead, a mix between Dracula and Calimero. Several Armenians I have seen have gold teeth, I am not sure if it is a symbol of wealth.
The night was cold. Many animals were roaming around the tent; for sure groups of dogs, some kind of foxes making an acute sound, and maybe even wolves, or maybe they were just dogs. I have heard animal’s sounds that I have never heard before, some kind of sad dogs group crying, even though they could have been other animals too.
I have heard another scary sound, like an army with many tanks, moving slowly next to me; then I realize is just an Armenian train. Same happens for the trucks on the road. Two similar slow metallic sounds.
In the morning my tent is still wet due to the dew. I pack anyway.

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Camping in the fields

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SHNOG – DSEGH 80km (tot 156)
Wet tent.
Annoying dogs.
Many cars in panne in the street.

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Indiana Jone’s bridges.
Abandoned cable car hanging on the cable on top of the village.
High voltage electricity wires about 2 5 meters from the ground.
I didn’t meet any attractive Armenian woman or girl yet
A bicycle traveler crosses my way, he doesn’t even smile to me.
Surrounded by dogs around the tent.
I get sick, maybe the food (kebab or fish), maybe the water, maybe just influenza; my belly, muscles, and head are painful, I vomit four times.

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Locals are extremely friendly

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DSEGH – VANADZOR 20km (tot 176)
Today I am fasting
The sun is high in the sky and I am still in the tent, sick.
I have finished all the three bottles of water.
My solar panels don’t seem to charge the battery
I try to get some motivation and energy to pack and leave :
I need water,
It’s hot in the tent,
There is too much noise from cars here,
And, if I arrive soon to Yerevan, I will probably meet a cool girl there.
I start to cycle even if I am sick.

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Armenian drivers behave with cyclists as Italian drivers behave with girls: they annoy you by using the horn for no reason.
The way is uphill, I have to push the bicycle; nevertheless, there is a positive thing: Yerevan is not like Rome, where ALL the streets bring you there, for Yerevan there is only one street and not even much traffic.
Luckily the road has been flattened, however, there is no protection net for rocks falling from the mountain.
I struggle to find a place to set up the tent, finally, I camp near an abandoned industrial site, full of trash in the grass, as often happens in this trip.

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The mist is the enemy number one

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VANADZOR – SPITAK 38km (tot 214)
Today there is a lot of mist.
Regardless of the fact that this location is a bit grotesque and full of trash, I didn’t get disturbed by vehicles or dogs, so I had a good rest.
I still feel a little weak, but I have positive mental energy, probably I will fast today too.
When I look at the map in the mornings, I see there is a long way to go, nevertheless, as I start cycling, I regularly get surprised of myself about how far you can get just with a bicycle.
Even though I still feel sick, by cycling I feel better.
Thinking of my mother, I wonder if she had ever had big traveling adventures.
All cars have dark windows, even the front ones.
Smelly, polluting, and extremely dark smoke comes from the exhaust pipe of the majority of the vehicles.

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It’s incredible how many car’s tire shops there are in Armenia.
Two men invite me to a warehouse where I meet Saro, the manager. He is really kind and speaks English, I get invited to eat with them but I am still not feeling good with my stomach, so I prefer not to eat.
Mountains are all around me, they seem made of velvet.
The silence and quietness of traveling by bicycle are priceless.
I am about fasting today too, but finally, I eat some grapes.
It seems that between Armenians and Georgians there are not great relationships.
I have to climb mountains again and my back hurts.
The night is freezing cold, I absolutely need a warmer sleep bag and extra clothes.
Someone comes to visit me in the tent during the night, I don’t understand if he needs help or is offering me some.

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A kind man came to offer his help while I was repairing the bicycle

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SPITAK – APARAN 33 km (tot 247)
This is the third day of fasting.
Many birds roam around my tent.
I have a flat tire.
A kind man offers me tea, accommodation, and little help to repair the bicycle.
I was thinking to climb these mountains yesterday before sunset, luckily I didn’t do it, because I would have ended up in the darkness on a mountain with nowhere to camp and a flat tire.

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Finally, I realize that the many cars horning at me, do it just for friendliness, while in Italy they do it also to annoy and make stupid jokes at you.

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After the wheel reparation, the tire seems to be damaged, so the bicycle is riding wonky.
I get invited for a tea from a kind man.
Suddenly, I am in the middle of a wedding, they ask me if I am hungry, I reply: “a bit” (I didn’t eat since three days), the people of the wedding go to ask others, probably asking if I could join the wedding, after a while they go to the supermarket and buy me food: sweets and chocolate. I do eat the food, but I didn’t have to, cause I am still sick, so I am about vomiting again.
Both in Armenia and Georgia—even though there are no bicycle lanes and cars don’t drive good—I have to admit that the most of the vehicles take a large distance from me when they pass me.

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Safety is also not an issue here, for so far I have traveled, people don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don´t commit crimes; for sure not as much as in Europe.
Aran is a nice small town to stop.
I camp when is still about 17:00, I am afraid to not feel well enough to cross the next village.
There is a nice spot to set up the tent, I have a great view and some privacy; the only issue is the nearby traffic, noisy and smelly: from the tent, I cough because of the disgusting oily smoke from diesel vehicles. They have probably engine’s issues and therefore a lot of oil is burned. Luckily there are many other vehicles that run on methane.
Yet another freezing night, regardless the fact that I have even put gloves on my feet, they were still cold.

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APARAN – YEREVAN 47 km (tot 294)
It’s sunny and I am not that sick anymore.
Today I will absolutely fast.
Everyone has talked to me in Russian in this trip, assuming that I would speak—or be—Russian; some people thought I was American, when I told them that my family is Italian they loved me, they like Europeans in general.
I find trash even next to a worship place.

While I am cycling there is a bicycle passing me on the left, I turn my head and I see a group of cyclo travelers, we cycle until Yerevan together, sharing food, drinks, and information.

They are kind Russians, I try my best to speak Russian, but of course, I can just say basic concepts.
I am happy to arrive in Yerevan and take a break, I love to cycle but I really needed some rest, a better sleeping bag, and sleeping pad.

I don´t manage to fast this last day.

Georgian language

Learing Georgian & Food

Thanks = Madloba
Hello = Gamarjoba (gamargioba)
GoodBye = Nakhvamdis
My name is = chemi sakhelia
Nice to meet you = Sasiamovnoa sheni gatsnoba
No = Ara
Yes = Ki
Maybe = sheidzleba’Me = me
You = shen
They = Isini
I like = me mikvars
You are really kind = dzalian chkviani khar (zalian cikviani kar)
Girl = gogo
Boy = bichi
FOR GIRLS
I love you = me shen mikvarkhar
I love Georgia = me mikvars saqartvelo
-Compliments-
You are beautiful = shen khar dzalian lamazi
You have beautiful eyes = shen gakvs dzalian lamazi tvalebi (eyes)
I like your skin = me mikvars sheni kani
Are all Georgian girls beautiful like you? = kvela qartveli gogo shensavit lamazia
Can I kiss you? = sheidzleba gakotsoDo you want to watch a movie with me = ginda chemtan ertad kinos kureba
I would marry your brother just to be near you = shen dzmaze davqorwindebodi rom shens akhlos vkopilikavi

FOOD
Dish (of food) = Kerdzi
Vegetarian = vegetarianeli

-Georgian traditional food-

1.khinkali
2.khachafuri
3.mtsvadi
4.kababi
5.ajafsandali
6.lobio
7.ostri
8.bozbashi
9.vineghreti
10.gozinaki
11.mchadi
12.souzi
13.kartofili

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ARMENIA TRAVEL NOTES

Extremely hospitable and kind people, I have got helped in all kind of ways, even with money.

I needed food, they gave me food.
I needed a ride, they brought me with them.
I was thirsty, I had free water.
I had no money, people spontaneously gave me money.
No, is not the Bible, it’s just what happened to me. Many times. Both in Armenia and Georgia.

It seems that both, Armenians and Georgians, are in competition for whom is the most friendly and kind.

Free water as fundamental right.
Until about 2014, the water at home was free.

Yerevan, city of mirrors. You don’t have to carry a mirror with you, there are hundreds of them around the city

Armenian gastronomy: Persil & Coriander everywhere. Unlucky me that I don’t like coriander!

THINGS THAT COULD BE IMPROVED

Builders working on an expensive hotel construction don’t have any safety equipment

Small kids drive mini electric car toys, these cars are mini luxury cars and have even loud disco music integrated, to make the kid fully similar to the father.

I have seen more porches car here than in the wealthiest countries of the world.