The new language was easy. The harder lesson was their education in fear.

The children of Sada Abdullahi Muhmed and Mohamed Ahmed Farah are now well-versed in the troubles that can face immigrants.

They have heard mocking remarks at school. They keep track of the increasing number of racial attacks around Italy: In March, two Gypsy children injured by a bomb-rigged box in Pisa; in April, an Egyptian man beaten in Milan while attackers shouted ``Dirty foreigner, leave Italy.''

They follow the growing strength of right-wing groups demanding laws to clamp down on Third World immigrants.

The children have encountered no direct confrontations, but are constantly on guard.

One afternoon, 9-year-old Baharudin ran until he couldn't run anymore. He panted and looked over his shoulder.

He had been playing soccer with some other African boys when a car full of Italians passed. ``They yelled something. I didn't hear what, but we ran.''

That is Baharudin's own formula for safety.

``I run,'' he said.