domoras - Sicilia



A little bit about The Sicilian Mafia

First of all we would like to confirm that the Mafia has no interest for the ordinary people, the workers, people who mind their own business and tourists!

Originally the Mafia in Sicily was born under the feudal rulers with the good intensions to protect the poor from the exploiters. The word "Mafia" has probably origin in the Arab language from the word "mu'afah" meaning protection. But, the members of the Mafia prefer to call their organisation "Casa Nostra" (translation: our house). If you are running with the Mafia you in a way belong to the family!
As mentioned previously the Mafia was an organisation protecting the poor but by the toppling of the Bourbon-dynasty close to the union of the new Italy in 1860 the mafiosi managed to emerge into the new structure of power, acting as intermediaries in the gradual redistribution of land and creating bonds to the new democratic representatives.

The powerful centre for the Mafia is placed in the town Corleone south of Palermo in the Palermo-province. For more than 50 years the bosses came from this town of which the name inspired the author of "The Godfather", Mario Puzo, to name the central character Don Corleone.
From around 1890 to 1920 the top-boss of the Mafia was Don Vito Cascio Ferro who collaborated closely with the American organisation "Black Hand", a similar type of network as the Mafia foundated by emigrants from the southern Italy. Ferro was charged for several homocides but he only admitted to have killed the American detective, Jack Petrosino, who was shot the same day he arrived to Sicily to investigate the connections with the Mafia in Sicily and similar organisations in America.
The powerful days of Ferro came to an end during the attemps from Mussolini to eliminate the Mafia and turn Sicily into a harmonious community without fears and threats. To fulfill this task Cesare Mori in 1925 was given the job as commisioner in Palermo. He arrested around 11,000 men: leaders, cattle rustlers and other not very significant persons. But after World War 2 all these prisoners were returned into freedom as they were arrested under the regime of fascism and Italy desperately wanted to turn the back to this period. The liberated bosses of the Mafia returned to their former activities as well as their positions in the society. So nothing new came out of that!
The early years of the post-war times were good for the Mafia. The leaders managed to entrance into the English-American administration after the co-operation with the Allied forces during the landing and occupation of Sicily which for this reason had run only with minor difficulties. In fact, the American mafia-boss, Lucky Luciano, was flewn in from an American prison to Sicily for assistence of the landing operation. Later he was alleged to be responsible for setting up the Sicilian-American drug empire. After the occupation the Mafia was involved in rebuilding the island, politically as well as setting up the new administration. In this way the Mafia quite easily colud keep going the good connectiones with their American colleagues. By the death of Lucky Luciano in 1962 his position was enheritated by Luciano Liggio who by brains and smart manouvers became a member of the top family - the Corleone-family. Liggio was jailed in 1974.
After the war the Mafia changed from being a rural organisation by transfering the operations into the cities where to be involved in entreprenurial activities such as construction and real estate and then realizing where to make a very good profit: the industry of heroin. The Mafia had now expanded and more families are now represented in the overall running of the operations which are giving the growth of internal conflicts.
The state of Italy tries to fight the Mafia and in the period between 1963 to 1976 is sat down an anti-Mafia Palementary Commission. The reaction from the Mafia, who sees the threat begins to target and terrorize important State officials. As the first the chief public prosecutor, Pietro Scarglione, was killed but many others were to follow.
The Mafia continues targeting leading members of the society during the 1990s where the former mayor in Palermo, Salvatore Lima was killed in front of his house in Mondello in the suburbs of Palermo. Lima felt secure and didn't see the neccessarity of having bodyguards but had also served the Mafia during his period as mayor. But finally he failed by fixing the Supreme Court which then convicted members of the Mafia clan arrested during the 1980s.
Along the road from Palermo to the airport is set a monument of memorial for Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, both working in the anti-Mafia corps and both killed in 1972. Falcone was killed together with his wife and three bodyguards by 500 kg TNT (explosives) on the way from the airport to Palermo. Two months later Borsellino was killed by a car-bomb in front of his mothers house in Palermo.

The most important rule in the Mafia is silence. Breaking this is crucial! That was to be learnt by Tommasso Buscetta, a high-ranking member of the organisation. He was arrested in Brazile in 1982 and after a failed attempt of suicide he desides to talk. He justified himself for giving information by claiming that "Casa Nostra" previously with noble ideas now only was acting for power and profit. But actually is was in revenge which made Buscetta to inform against leading members in the Corleone-family who in the fight for power and monopoly of the drug-trade had eliminated seven members of Buscettas family - among these his two sons.

The break of silence by Tommasso Buscette in 1991 also had consequences for high-ranking politicians in the government. the very well-known Christian Democrat leader Giulio Andreotti had to step down in 1992 after accusations of close collaboration the previoulsly mentioned Salvatore Lima. Andreotti had been in Italian politics for 45 years! Bus as many of the charges were based on testimony from Mafia informers it was difficult finding evidence and the charges were withdrawn. Another well-known politician, Silvio Berlusconi also has been accused being in connextion with the Mafia. In 1998 the headquarters of his political parti in Milan was searched in the attempt to find evidence for money-laundering for "Casa Nostra". But as we see Berlusconi has been able to avoid further charges.

As said earlier The Mafia has changed from being an organisation for protection of the poor for now only to protect themselves, exploit others for the purpose to make profit. That is a deline!
The widow of judge Cesare Terranova (killed in 1979) has led a women's mouvement against the Mafia. She has said: " If you manage to change the mentality, to change the consent, to change the fear in which the Mafia can live - if you can change that, you can beat them."

Webmaster and design: domoras - Dorte Møller Rasmussen