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22 March 2010


good news from the rai: a new cartoon about the lives of giovanni falcone and paolo borsellino, the magistrates killed by the mafia, will be launched later this spring on may 23rd, on the day of falcone's death anniversary.  it's part of the moral and apolitical goal of promoting public adversion to mafia presence and activity.   

the story is set in the kalsa slum of palermo, where the future judges grew up back in the 50's, playing together at the local oratory. giovanni and paolo have to liberate the city from a wizard who is subduing the population and go on in their anti-dehumanization mission with courage and refuse to be intimidated by bullies. not accepting any compromise, they give examples of how to escape certain chimeras immediately.

the message through this symbolism is clear: say no to the mafia! the cartoon was conceived as a form of social intervention and properly prepared for a target of preteens. nobody ever speaks enough about these two heroic judges in school or at home, so kids don't know anything about the attacks that killed them less than few months apart in the 90's.

these two men started the biggest trial that had ever been brought against cosa nostra (OUR thing) and that included 470 accused suspects, with a large use of witnesses amd the cooperation of the biggest boss ever, tommaso buscetta. it was the first time ever that the criminal organization was close to be dismantled, and that the methods of the anti-mafia pool of palermo were about to be expanded in cities across italy. 

the murders of the judges who had coordinated the maxi-trail, one in may and another in august of the same year, 1992, provided a tremendous antimafia sentiment, ironically for the mafia. the deaths of falcone and borsellino were national tragedies and produced a collective shame. this is a song, letter-style, written by a popular italian singer here, lorenzo cherubini, alias jovanotti:

Thousands of children in the square in Palermo, paying their last tribute to the coffin of Judge Falcone, need an answer. They need protection. These guys are tired of the bosses; kids can not to see their land burning and their ideals destroyed. These boys denounce anyone who agrees with silence and violent action. Thye are tired and nervous and they want to fuck the mafia. They complain about the government, which has never created a way for those who want to cooperate to create a honest world, to give children strong values and not a way to reach 18 and realizing that this world is corrupt. The boys do not believe a word of what is now taught in school. They do not accept any proposal, they do not want answerrs, they just need facts, justice, moral rigor. The time keeps these boys as hostages but now they decided to be brave, because there was another massacre in may. They want to go out and encourage a culture of peace, of life on this earth without battles and fight the prejudge of the world. Because when one speaks of Italy, it is because of mafia. Because this is why today we are famous for. But Italy is also another and people will cry it loud: we are ready for a change (Il Cuore, by Jovanotti, translated by me) 

since this tragic year a strong antimafia sentiment has surfaced and it has materialized in an anti-mafia movement. yes, because there's another sicily, with people who found the courage and the strenght to continue from their killed relatives spirit. there's a national organization called libera, which is involved in  transforming property formerly owned by mafiosi into productive, self-sustainable, organic ventures that pay honest wages to the workers. the movement is gaining momentum, and there have been triumphs, such as the production of the new wine, i cento passi (the hundred steps). “every time you uncork a bottle of this wine it's like firing a bullet against the mafia” actor luigi lo cascio stated at the public presentation of the wine (credits)

this movement is also advocating a new type of tourism, a socially responsible tourism. in corleone there are now mafia tours of the region. people get on a bus, see where the godfather was filmed, have lunch, get back on the bus and leave. this other type of tourism wants to take people to the places where activists such as placido rizzotto, who was killed for organizing the peasants, was abducted. they also want to show the positive aspects of the village. people are uninformed. there is an anti-mafia museum in corleone that houses the documents that falcone and borsellino prepared for the maxi-trial (same credits).

the social and cultural impact of the movement is immense. antimafia activists and normal citizens spread the mobilization against organized crimes in way that would have never been imaginable here. the most famous case is that of roberto saviano, who exposed the casalesi family's dealings in his bestseller 'gomorra' and who has to live under police protection. 

and in 2007, fabrizio moro won the new comers section of san remo festival with his song 'pensa' (think), which denounces mafia with no middle terms and calls for society response. his videoclip was filmed with activists, actors involved in the movement and people who lost relatives in this terrible battle, the widow of judge borsellino included. she's the last one moro hugs in the video attached. they all stand up against cosa nostra, showing their faces. it's all about brave, direct faces here. 

my translation of the song: there were men who wrote priceless, irreplaceable lives because they fought the most corrupted systems, too often ignored. men or angels sent to earth to fight a war of feuds and families, of blood among the many wonders of lemons and between sons and daughters. a war of a generation forced not to look, to turn off the light, to ignore every bullet in the air, every body in a ditch. there were men who step by step left a sign with courage and with commitment against an organized institution with dedication, called cosa nostra. who taughts u that eyes are made to look, mouth to speak, ears to hear. it's not all about music. the head must turn and follow the goal. 
simply think before you shoot, think before you speak and judge. just think! think you can decide for yourself. stay a while, only a moment more with the head in your hand.
there were men who died young but aware that their ideas would remain forever, intact and real as small miracles, ideas of equality, of education, ideas against every man who practices oppression against all his fellows. against those who are weaker, against those whose conscience is underneth a cement. there were men who continued despite everything burned around them because in the end this life has no meaning if you're afraid of a bomb or a gun. men die and songs vanish but no one will ever stop the conviction that justice is not just an illusion. think about it! 

we are the mafia every time we break a rule or don't respect a law. when we pretend that mafia is not real. it is, but it can be battled. think!

1 comment:

  1. I remember the tragic deaths of both the judges. It was really shocking that the mafia went so public in its mentality - "nobody is strong enough to stop us". I hope things got better from them, for them.


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