Sunday, February 17, 2013

The mafia doesn't exist...

The mafia killings I mention in my post from last week 'Polifemo's Cave, Ulysses' haunt' did not make national news, except for brief coverage on the day of the first killing. It is remarkable that no TV news report, and no national daily such as La Repubblica or Il Corriere make mention of mafia-related deaths. This is what lead to the furore surrounding Roberto Saviano (of Gomorra fame)when he dared to state on national radio that the 'Ndrangheta' - the Calabrian mafia - were in Milan and indeed had requested the 'pizzo' (protection money) for many big construction projects. Milan, land of the Lega Nord, could surely not be infiltrated by the mafia, said the government. But it was proved wrong a year later when the scandal of the 'pizzo' in Milan broke out. The mafia go where there is money, and there was a lot of money involved in the big construction projects in Milan. At a local level, works began to construct a seaside promenage complete with cycle path, pavement and palm trees along the 'ponente' side of Milazzo. But strangely, proceedings were called to a halt: mafia involvement, pizzo request. Mafia stories make national news when the Italian government is clearly involved. When the judges Borsellino and Falcone were killed in 1992 in Sicily, government representatives attended their funerals, only to be spat upon by the mourning and indignant crowds. Why are local mafia activities not reported on in national news? Some possible answers: Local mafia killings/threats/extortion activities are not of national concern. Their importance or influence is limited to the region in which they occur (Sicily, Calabria, Campania ...) and therefore not to be mentioned in national news. In that way, it can appear that the mafia does not exist. The government can make out that the mafia does not exist and therefore it need not spend resources on investigations. The mafia also prefer it like this, as they are free to get on with their business - which is not confined to the southern regions of Italy.

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