Sunday, 18 April 2010

Keep Your Hands Off Our Hero


(Palermo, 2010*)

[Edoardo Montenegro, Turin] - Last Friday, Silvio Berlusconi accused Italian writers and movie-makers of promoting the Mafia: "The Italian Mafia is the sixth in the world but happens to be the most famous, owing to a promotional support which brought it to be a very negative element for our country's reputation. We should remind the eight series of La Piovra programmed by 160 TVs worldwide and the whole literature on the subject, Gomorrah and the rest" (1).

Gomorrah, the breathtaking inner-view documentary novel by Roberto Saviano unveiling the economic and political connections of Camorra, the Mafia ruling the area of Naples, sold more than 2 million copies in Italy and was published in 43 different countries.

Mr Saviano, today 31 years old, was granted a permanent police escort because he was threatened by the Casalesi clan, attempts on his life being documented by several police reports. Repeated actions to remove or reduce his police escort have been stopped by the President of the Italian Republic, Mr Giorgio Napolitano.

Before the Regional Elections which took place in Italy in March, Mr Saviano asked the United Nations to send observers overlooking the voting procedures, a vote in Southern Italy being frequently sold for as much as 50 euros.

Roberto Saviano answered to Silvio Berlusconi in a letter published today by la Repubblica: "I, as many others, will keep on reporting. I will use my word to share ideas, to set the world right, to understand. I was born, dear Mr President [(2)], in a wonderful and unfortunately devastated land. Whose beauty, though, keeps on giving me hope to dream of a different Italy. [...] I swear, Mr President, in the name of the Italians who consider their dead all those who fell fighting against the criminal organizations, that we will never be silent. I promise this. I cry it aloud" (3).

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* "They did not kill them: their ideas walk on our legs". A flag remembering Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, famous Italian magistrates killed by the Mafia in 1992, wraps up a tree planted in front Giovanni Falcone's house in Palermo, Sicily.

(1) "La mafia italiana risulterebbe essere la sesta al mondo, ma guarda caso è quella più conosciuta, perchè c'è stato un supporto promozionale che l'ha portata ad essere un elemento molto negativo di giudizio per il nostro paese. Ricordiamoci le otto serie della Piovra programmate dalle tv di 160 paesi nel mondo e tutta la letteratura in proposito, Gomorra e il resto" (adnkronos.com).

(2) In Italy the Prime Minister (Silvio Berlusconi) is called 'Presidente del Consiglio'. The 'Presidente della Repubbica' (Giorgio Napolitano), instead, is the head of state representing the unity of the nation.

(3) "Io, come molti altri, continueremo a raccontare. Userò la parola come un modo per condividere, per aggiustare il mondo, per capire. Sono nato, caro Presidente, in una terra meravigliosa e purtroppo devastata, la cui bellezza però continua a darmi forza per sognare la possibilità di una Italia diversa. Una Italia che può cambiare solo se il sud può cambiare. Lo giuro Presidente, anche a nome degli italiani che considerano i propri morti tutti coloro che sono caduti combattendo le organizzazioni criminali, che non ci sarà giorno in cui taceremo. Questo lo prometto. A voce alta" (repubblica.it).

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