News - EN | 25/09/2019

The XIV Anti-Mafia and Anti-violence Educational Project

Wednesday 25 September 2019

The XIV Anti-Mafia and Anti-violence Educational Project, organised by the Pio La Torre Centre, will kick-off at 9am on Wednesday 23 October at the Rouge et Noir cinema in Palermo.

Tested over the years, the project will be conducted live and by videoconference, and participants will include students of high schools, universities, prisons and their educational institutions across Italy.

There will be broadcasts in live streaming for those who wish to follow the videoconferences introduced by experts of high scientific, professional and political profile and followed by animated student debates.

This year’s programme, articulated in six videoconferences, will focus on the evolution of contemporary mafias, starting from the outcome of the second mafia war (1978-1983), which resulted in hundreds of innocent victims, to the historic defeat of the mafia when it tried to impose its power on the state through its aggressive military strategy, in Italian stragism.

In effect, in reaction to the political-mafia crimes including the massacres of investigators, magistrates and armed escorts, a popular anti-mafia movement with wide appeal and cutting across all sections of society sprung up spontaneously. The Italian Parliament heard the call from civil society and approved the first anti-mafia law after 122 years from the Unity of Italy, shortly after the killing of the government’s special envoy Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa, the highest representative of the Italian government in Palermo.

The Rognoni-La Torre law created the judicial instrument that allowed the magistrates to prosecute the members of every mafia-type association and confiscate the assets accumulated with the crime. It marked an historical break after which the criminal nature of the mafia could no longer be ignored, with its characteristic organic relationship with politics, business and society. It led to the first Maxi-trial in history against the mafia, resulting in dozens of life sentences and exemplary sentences for hundreds of mafia members.

Finally, the growth of the anti-mafia movement at a social level on the one hand, and the intelligent and rigorous application of the Rognoni-La Torre law by investigators and judges imbued with a new legal culture, meant that the 1992/1993 massacres by the old mafia marked its own demise, but also the chameleonic transformation in its current forms.

Starting from the premise that the old mafia has been defeated, the analysis focuses on the more invisible new mafias, which are extending their reach both over the national territory, and beyond at transnational level, thanks to their sophisticated relations with the so-called gray area of legal and related professional experts, other economic actors and various institutions.

The project is not only a tribute to brave men and other innocent victims of the mafia, but also an attempt to deepening the knowledge of new criminal realities. The 20th anniversary of the UN Charter Palermo 2000 will provide an occasion for further reflection, along will the 40th anniversary of the murder of Piersanti Mattarella which, together with those of Pio La Torre, Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa, Cesare Terranova, Gaetano Costa, Rocco Chinnici, was characterised as political-mafia. This means that all those murders were carried out by the Mafia, but they were suggested and inspired by political entities yet unknown and still under investigation.

The project extends its scope to the theme of violence and above all on gender violence, in the context of violation of human rights and citizenship, and also on specific new phenomena such as the trafficking of migrants. It also deals with the role of religions, especially Catholic, Christian, Muslim, in contrasting the mafias to highlight the cultural complexity of the vast anti-mafia movement that has been growing in recent decades.

The project also includes the involvement of students through the publication of articles; the invitation to productions of theatrical activities based on anti-mafia texts written for the Pio La Torre Centre by Vincenzo Consolo, Gabriele Montemagno and GianFranco Perriera; and the online compilation of a questionnaire to record their perception of the Mafia phenomenon, the results will be analysed by the scientific committee of the Centre and made public before April 30th 2020 (38th anniversary of Pio La Torre and Rosario Di Salvo).

The Educational Project of the Centre sets itself the ambitious goal of transmitting the memory of the past to the next generations, with an analysis of the present without mythicising the former and simplifying the latter, but subjecting it to the meticulous verification of the scientific committee, without any self-referential presumption.

It is our moral obligation to hand over to the next generations the complexity of a civil, democratic and progressive commitment to the cultural, political, social, economic change of Sicily and Italy as a whole, anchored to a vision of democratic Europe capable of dealing with the epochal changes of the technological innovation and globalization.