Peppino Impastato, a voice turned off by the Mafia.


Giuseppe Impastato, better known as ‘Peppino’, was a journalist, anti-mafia activist and politician who spent his life fighting and speaking out loud against mafia crime in Sicily, where he came from, and is one of the many victims of the Sicilian Mafia.

Assassinated in the night from 8 to 9 May 1978 during his electoral campaign. He presented his candidacy for the council elections of Cinisi (Sicily) with the party ‘Democrazia Proletaria’ – Proletarian Democracy. His body was a victim not only of murder, but also of a set-up suicide bombing attack; an explosive charge was put under his body. However, this outrageous act did not succeed in ruining the image of a hero. He was elected symbolically at the City Council elections and his name still remains as an open injure today in Italians’ memories.

He started his fight since he was just a boy. Born in Cinisi and grew up in a known Mafioso-family, he began political-cultural activities when he was kicked out the house by his father. In 1965 he funded the journal ‘L’idea socialista’ – The socialist idea – and he joined the PSIUP party – Italian Socialist Party of Proletarian Unity. He became active in the political scene and conducted farmers’ struggles. In 1976 formed the group ‘Musica e Cultura’ – Music and Culture –, in 1976 funded ‘Radio Aut’, a free self-financed radio which was the main source and voice for his fight against Mafia, where he denounced the crime and dirty affairs of the Mafiosi in Cinisi and Terrasini. The often-heard name in his program was the one of Gaetano Badalamenti, head of Mafia named by Peppino as ‘Tano Seuduto’, who played a primary role in international drugs trade through the airport’s control.

Today we commemorate this victim, but it is just another day of peaceful marches and another day of normal ‘work’ for the organized crime in Italy. Bribes, electoral reimbursements, grants to newspapers, tips to directors, money-laundering, blue cars, stacked tenders, corrupted journalists, politicians and a corrupted system are still in the order of the day.

How do we defeat a criminal organization rooted in the society? Even before the Italian Unity in 1861 the ‘malavita’ was widespread in the South It is too easy tough to put the guilt on the Southern regions. Unification was never – symbolically – fully accomplished as until today we see a deep division between North and South, although some people try to ignore the issue, or others on the contrary ultra-emphasize it.

Maybe instead of thinking of dividing and turning Italy into a federal country, because the South is sort of a ‘burden’ for the North, those regions should be supported in order to develop infrastructures, improve public transportations, railway and road networks, preserve the natural and cultural heritage, reinforce the web networks and increase Internet connection in the schools and public places, and most of all, educate against the ‘omertà’, code of silence. This is what a united country should do, not turn its back and pretend the North is the industrial wonderland that can make it itself. We all know Mafia is spread up and down in Italy.

However, these goals might be difficult to achieve, when exponents of Italian politics are intricate in these affairs as well. The Italian Ministry of Health published in 2011 a report of 182 pages about the landfill issue in Campania with numerous statics and numbers about the toxic trash and the worrying health conditions of the population in the surroundings of Caserta and Napoli due to the high rates of oncological deaths. The name ‘Camorra’ was never mentioned. “Data regarding the management of special dangerous waste do not exist. Garbage disposal in the landfill is basically absent in Campania”, the report stated. The relations between the management of toxic garbage and construction industry are tied, indeed many ‘Camorristi’ are engaged in construction activities and control the sector.

As today we commemorate Peppino Impastato, we reflect on the plague of our country.

Riposa in pace.

Laura Zuffi.


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