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The arrested mayor and the threatened journalist

The work of Enzo Palmesano, Davide De Stavola and other brave journalists who worked with them laid the foundations for the judicial inquiry which ended on Friday, March 11 with the arrest of Giorgio Magliocca, the young mayor of Pignataro Maggiore. This town, in the province of Caserta, is also known as “la Svizzera dei Clan” ( “The Switzerland of Clans”) because famous Sicilian Mafia fugitives such as Luciano Liggio, Michele Greco, Totò Riina, Bernardo Provenzano, used to hide themselves here.

The evidence of the cooperative witness Giuseppe Petrone and the work of these journalists guided the inquiry. The journalists told the investigators what they used to see with their own eyes. Because of that, they had been sent away by the newspapers they wrote for, they had been threatened, they suffered retaliation, they were isolated and denigrated. They did not desist. They remained at their post, in their Country, in this town of the province of Caserta, continuing to keep their eyes open, to report patent breaches of the law and to reveal complicity between public institutions and criminal groups.

These are serious irregularities, to which others reacted only with neutrality or formal representations. They did not dare to do anything else because the illegal behaviour, the use of assets confiscated from Camorra for false public proposes and the irregular statements in order to build an incinerator were actively protected by threats, retaliations and connivance. This is what happened in all the places where the Mafia calls the shots.

In towns like Pignataro Maggiore what protects dirty business is the inattention of central authorities and media. It is an inattention reserved to all suburban zones. It is absurd. Millions of Italians live in these zones, but there laws and rights are considered extras: authorities exercise them only occasionally. In little towns of few thousands of inhabitants such as Pignataro Maggiore, Pollina, Casal del Principe, Bagheria, Altofonte, Larino, Fondi, how enforce the law depends on the personal interpretation – I’d rather say a tribal interpretation – of local sovereigns: politicians, prominent entrepreneurs and crime bosses settled in the territory.

It is sad to say, but it is true: journalists too are often lenient with this differentiated view of social standards and democracy. A representative’s behaviour which would be reported, hitting the headlines, in Rome, Naples, Milan or Palermo, in these suburban zones is completely ignored. Why? This is not only the fault of local journalists and their publishers, but also of the big newspapers and their publishers. And we should ask why public grants are given to newspapers that do not fulfil their social responsibility.

There is too much comprehension for the ones who interpret legality and journalism in a differentiated way. This apartheid regime, this incomprehensible comprehension should not be tolerated, because they cause trouble. The book by Peter Gomez and Lirio Abbate “I Complici” (The Accomplices) comes to my mind. It explains how Bernardo Provenzano, the famous “boss of bosses”, could remain undetected for 40 years and how little bosses could infiltrate into municipalities of towns near Palermo and then go as far as the secretariats of ministers. Giorgio Magliocca from Pignataro arrived at the secretariat of the mayor of Rome Gianni Alemanno, and before he had been a consultant of the Minister of Communications Mario Landolfi.

We do not realize that just behind the well lit streets of big cities there are lanes, dark alleys, corners of a less lit Italy from where it is possible to launch attacks and assaults with impunity, to get ready for fight, to lay the foundations to reach the big companies listed on the Stock Exchange or the ministers’ secretariats. Who benefits from so much comprehension and so much indifference?

For the record, Pignataro Maggiore is not on the moon, it is 56 kilometres far from Naples and 200 kilometres far from Rome and it is a centre so well served by public transportation that the mayor Magliocca worked in Campidoglio and he commuted. Casal di Principe is 40 kilometres far from Naples. And guess what? How far is Fondi from the centre of Rome? Only 135 kilometres.

When will we stop thinking that these places are far away from our everyday roads? Distances are short. Our mental barriers are high.

 

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