Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Twenty years on: the truth about Paolo Borsellino's death

Those who are afraid die every day, those who aren't die  only once
Clarissa Arvizzigno is a young Sicilian student from Palermo currently doing an English course in Eastbourne, England who regularly contributes to the Italian newspaper Corleone Dialogos ( ) ; the following is an interesting and insightful article, which she wrote and translated into English, on how the Cosa Nostra operates in her native region. She wishes to raise awareness about what is going on Sicily, so it's over to Clarissa and her views on the matter:

Negotiations and cover-ups: what State does want the truth about the massacres?
When organised crime infiltrates the big machine of the State, obstructing its actions and altering its course, then the Cosa Nostra comes forward to suggest dirty and suspicious revisions, and it is when the negotiations between the State and the Mafia enter the scene. 'They will kill me, but it will not be the Mafia's revenge; it will be perhaps other people', said the judge Paolo Borsellino, victim of a massacre perpetrated by obscure characters that reminds us of the links between the Cosa Nostra and the State. On Wednesday 18 July 2012, Anfimafia Duemila organised the conference 'Negotiations and diversions: what State does want the truth about the massacres?', near the Faculty of Law in Palermo, on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of Paolo Borsellino's death. The purpose of this conference was certainly to shed light on the reasons regarding the deaths of Borsellino, Falcone, and all the victims of an organisation-the Mafia- at the service of a corrupt State. Guests who attended this conference included: Salvatore Borsellino, the judge's brother, Anonio Ingroia, Antonino Di Matteo, Roberto Scarpinato, Domenico Gozzo, Saverio Lodato, and Giorgio Bongiovanni.
A lot of anomalies and dreadful events can't be answered even when taking into account the famous dealings between Mafia and the State. What was the authorities' hidden reality during those years when crime was widespread? Was there only one State or more than one?', the Caltanissetta's Attorney General wonders. Perhaps it would be right to think about the possibility of a moral reflection on the mafioso's crimes, which may involve not only a small group but all Italian people.
'Archives as open as museums, so that Italian families will be able to read about the remains of the massacres'; this is the initiative suggested by the writer Saverio Lodate. In a country like ours, with a limping democracy, where we can see how the public opinion is manipulated, judges who seek the truth are hanging by a thread, in a labyrinth of secrets, and are labelled as 'crazy' and 'subversive splinters'.Paolo Borsellino tried to find the truth with the help of the law but he was left alone, thus becoming victim of the intricate secret dealings between the State and the Mafia.
Mafia-politicians, Mafia-entrepreneurial activity, Mafia-institutions; how far will the tentacles of the Cosa Nostra spread? On the one hand, the State-Mafia as a criminal state and on the other hand, Paolo Borsellino's just State: two sides of the same coin today, two sides of an uncertain age in continuous development. 'No more symbols of death in D'Amelio street', Salvatore Borsellino demands, in the place that has become the symbol of hope, whose seed was sown by Paolo Borsellino, the judge who had the courage to look beyond the horizon; the man beyond time and everything. 

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

The Rotters' Club

Growing in 70s Britain

The Rotters' Club is Jonathan Coe's second book of a trilogy that looks at England's recent history.As previously reviewed, What a carve up! was about corruption, wealth and power by a few aristocratic members of a family with very good connections running the show. This time, we are transported to the world of a group of teenagers and their stranded families in the 70s in Birmingham; a convulsed time, particularly for the offspring of the Brummie working-class, in search of a better future.Though with a slightly different angle, the book reminded me of a film, Made in Dagenham, that also portrays British working class' struggles and aspirations.
Intertwining different stories and plots, something recurrent in Coe's novels, the book slowly unfolds a number of scenarios that defined the lives of its young characters; college students on their way to university and all the opportunities that are awaiting them, once they leave school and join the ranks of the Oxbridge new breed.
Coe describes with rich detail, originality  and ingenious the life in school as well as the different intrigues, passions and romance that inevitably arise as the story plods on.
Overall, and despite the personal interest I have in this particular time of British history, the book failed to impress me as the story somehow looses spark in various moments. It doesn't offer the intrigue and twists that What a carve up! had and it is, in many an occasion, blighted by clich├ęs, particularly when tackling topics   concerning school life.
Despite this, I'm still looking forward to getting hold of the third instalment of the trilogy, The Closed Circle, which will bring us to the Blair years and the changes the country went through those years. A post on this book will published in due course.