Is the mafia unbeatable? by Mariantonietta Acocella

“Talk about the Mafia. Talk about it on the radio, on the television, in the newspapers. Just talk”. This is what Italy’s renowned anti-Mafia magistrate Paolo Borsellino maintained throughout his life. However, is talking enough to defeat the Mafia and to honour people like Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, who gave their lives for justice? I heard so much about these two magistrates when I was a child and often wondered why so many people wanted to remember them. Only when I’d read up on them did I really understood their valour. The reason I want to follow Borsellino’s advice and talk about Falcone and Borsellino is in order not to forget them.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, mafia is “an organized international body of criminals, operating originally in Sicily and now especially in Italy and the US and having a complex and ruthless behavioural code.” In Sicily, the criminal syndacate is known as Cosa Nostra (an Italian term that literally means ‘our affair’) and it is involved in various kinds of illegal dealings. Between 1980 and 1992, Sicilian magistrates Falcone and Borsellino investigated Cosa Nostra families and the money laundering from the drug trafficking between Sicily and the United States that had started in the 1970s. They knew too much, and Cosa Nostra had to get rid of these tough opponents. As confirmed by inquiries, Falcone, his wife and his bodyguards were blown up by 500 kg of TNT. Just a month later, his friend and colleague Borsellino was also killed by a car bomb. Twenty years later, Italian journalist Michele Amoroso still remembers well the day of Falcone’s death. In a 2013 article, Amoroso states that Falcone met with many obstacles and challenges during his career but was always able to overcome them and continue with his investigation.

Falcone and Borsellino died for justice and although Cosa Nostra is still alive, the work of these magistrates contributed to the arrest of many members of the Sicilian Mafia, such as Totò Rina, one of the most dangerous. Thanks to them, people are now more aware of what Cosa Nostra is and, unlike the past, they are less afraid to talk about it. Some people have also decided to follow these magistrates’ path in order to help Italy to improve. They wanted to create a new country governed by honest people, who work not only for a personal advantage but also to improve the lives of the people of Italy. The two magistrates were killed by the people’s silence and a corrupt government that didn’t protect them as it was supposed to. Falcone and Borsellino did not only fight against Cosa Nostra: they also tried to create a nation based on the values of justice, loyalty and respect.

There will come a day when other countries will no longer associate Italy with Mafia. Although Falcone constantly encountered obstacles, he still thought that things could change. I would like to conclude with his words: “The Mafia is by no means unbeatable. It is a human act and, as all human acts, it has a beginning, an evolution and it will have its end.”

I think he was right, but we must strive to defeat the Mafia. As Alessandro Amoroso said, testifying what these magistrates did is a moral duty and I want to respect this.


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