LA MAFIA È QUESTA COSA QUI (MAFIA IS EXACTLY THIS)
Anno scolastico 2018/2019, sede secondaria, 23 maggio
Oggi è l’anniversario dell’assassinio di Giovanni Falcone e ne parlo con i ragazzi. Racconto loro il coraggio di quest’uomo e di Paolo Borsellino, il loro impegno per lottare contro la mafia e contro l’omertà di Stato. Leggiamo insieme anche le prime pagine de Il giorno della civetta di Leonardo Sciascia: è un libro difficile, ma ce la possiamo fare e infatti ce la facciamo!
Tutti ascoltano con interesse e si sforzano di comprendere, ma vedo che uno di loro è particolarmente attento a non perdersi nessuna sfumatura. È nato in Egitto una trentina d’anni fa ma ormai vive in Italia da quasi un anno. Rispetto ad altri ragazzi che sono nel nostro Paese da pochi mesi o poche settimane, lui è un veterano.
Alza la mano. “Posso dire una cosa?”
E quel che ha da dire è questo:
“Quando sono arrivato in Italia, all’inizio ero in Sicilia in un centro di accoglienza. Dei tizi mi hanno detto che dovevo dare 1000 euro per uscire da lì. Hanno detto che dovevo scegliere: o davo a loro 1000 euro e scappavo e loro avrebbero fatto finta di non avermi mai visto oppure stavo là ad aspettare un anno mentre loro decidevano cosa fare di me”.
Ascolto e mi chiedo se il problema in questo caso sia stata la burocrazia corrotta o una vera e propria infiltrazione nella rete dei centri di accoglienza.
Se lo chiede anche lui, e aggiunge: “La mafia è questa cosa qui? Che ti chiedono i soldi e tu non puoi dire niente perché nessuno ascolta?”
MAFIA IS EXACTLY THIS
School year 2018/2019, secondary building, May 23rd
Today is the anniversary of Giovanni Falcone’s assassination* and I talk about it with the students. I tell them of this man’s courage along with Paolo Borsellino*, their struggle to fight mafia and the government’s code of silence. We read together the incipit to The Day of the Owl by Leonardo Sciascia*: it’s a difficult book, written in a mixed-up language between Italian and Sicilian, but we make it through.
Everyone is listening intently and trying to comprehend, but I notice one of them is particularly invested in the topic, not wanting to miss any nuance. He was born in Egypt about thirty years ago, but has been living in Italy for almost a year now. He is a veteran compared to other kids in this same class, who arrived just a few weeks ago.
He raises his hand. “Can I say something?”
Of course you can.
And this is what he has to say:
“When I came to Italy, at first I was in Sicily in a migrant shelter. Some guys told me I had to pay 1000 euros to get out. They said I had to choose: I either gave them 1000 euros and then they would pretend they never saw me when I fled, or I had to spend a year there while they decided what to do with me”.
I listen and wonder whether the problem here was a corrupt bureaucracy or a full-on mafia infiltration.
He wonders as well, and adds: “Mafia is exactly this, right? That they demand money and you can’t do anything because no one will listen?”
* Giovanni Falcone (Palermo, 1939 – Capaci, May 23th 1992) was a judge and prosecuting magistrate. After a long and distinguished career, culminating in the Maxi Trial in 1986–1987 against more than 350 mafiosi, on 23 May 1992 Falcone was assassinated by the Corleonesi Mafia in the Capaci bombing, on a motorway near the town of Capaci (Palermo). https://bit.ly/BBCFalcone
* Also Paolo Borsellino (Palermo 1940 – 19 July 1992) was a judge and prosecuting magistrate and he worked most of his life with his close friend Giovanni Falcone trying to overthrow the power of the mafia. He was killed on 19 July 1992, by a car bomb in via D’Amelio, near his mother's house in Palermo. Borsellino and Falcone spent their early years in the same neighbourhood in Palermo: though many of their childhood friends grew up in the Mafia background, both men fought on the other side of the war against crime in Sicily. They were both killed in 1992, a few months apart. They were both awarded the Italian Gold medal for civil valour, but nobody has really protected them when Mafia’s threat became clear: “In Sicily the Mafia kills the servants of the State that the State has not been able to protect”, Falcone said. https://bit.ly/NYTBorsellino
* Leonardo Sciascia (Racalmuto, Sicily, 1921 – 1984) was a writer, novelist, essayist, playwright, journalist and politician. The Day of the Owl (Il giorno della civetta) is a crime novel about the Mafia, published in 1961. As the author wrote in his preface of the 1972 Italian edition, the novel was written at a time in which the existence of the Mafia itself was often denied. Its publishing led to widespread debate and to renewed awareness of the phenomenon. The novel is inspired by the true assassination of Accursio Miraglia, a communist trade unionist, at Sciacca (Sicily), in January 1947. Sciascia wrote: “The family is the Sicilians’ State. The State, as it is for us, is extraneous to them, merely a de facto entity based on force; an entity imposing taxes, military service, war, police. I hate and detest Sicily in so far as I love it”. https://bit.ly/NYTSciascia