When I was a teenager, I went to school. In the sense that I simply went to school. I was neither a terrible student nor a geek. I simply brought my human body to school and tried to pass the exams. I have been expelled from the first high school I attended one year later – at 15 years old -. I then attended a linguistic high school where I should have remained, this was the pact, only until I reached the legal age to leave Sicily (18 years old). Thing that I did it by studying. My ancient liberation technology.
During that time, Mafia was an unspeakable word. It is not now. That’s why I write it. One day, I had a fight with some people from bad neighborhoods. They punched me and we became friends for the time of the reconciliatory discussion (approximately 30 minutes). During this little time of friendship, which I still strangely remember as valuable, they narrated stories of the city and of the main boss who, by chance, came from their neighborhood.
They said that every single time there was a homocide in the city (approximately 150 a year in that period), the Carabinieri rang to his apartment to see whether he was at home. The funny thing is that the chief boss was officially a ‘latitante’. He was a ‘runaway’ and noone should have known where he was hiding. In the jungle? In the desert? Somewhere overseas? No, more simply he was in his apartment, they claimed.
I didn’t believe a single word and asked for confirmation.
They soon rephrased the sentence stating that, in reality, the Carabinieri went to check whether the boss was in his apartment only on occasion of the most important homocides.
I have been unable to check the facts so far, but the trust I had in the police and in the carabinieri of the island diminished. It did not improve when I was blocked there 20 years later.
In the highschool where I was, there were also a group of members of the Fronte della Gioventu’ (Front of the Youth) – the juvenile organization belonging to the Movimento Sociale Italiano (MSI) (the successor of the former Partito Nazionale Fascista of Mussolini). After the school, they all meet at the head office of the MSI where also other more important politicians also met and discussed about important political issues. I later discovered there was a future Senator of the Italian parliament of Forza Italia (Go Italy), of monarchic beliefs and the main advocate of the mafia boss of the city. There was also a future Minister of Defense for Italy of Forza Italia, who, at the time, people claimed was of fascist beliefs.
When I was sent to Sicily by unfortunate events I then discovered that most of the visitors of that head office made significant political career. Some of them in the Carabinieri and in the police. Some of them in the local administration. Some of them in the regional assembly. And some of them in Brussels. That office, I now believe was the most functioning job agency in the city.
In my highschool, there were officially ‘no mafiosi’, though some of their parents have strange names that resembled the ones of famous mafiosi. If some of the students were not directly linked to the Sicilian mafia, some other relatives were probably on the US soil, I thought. No one knew it. But really no one. Not even me. My highschool was close to the headoffice of the Fronte della Gioventu’, but I never attended it.