fighting the gray areas -

fighting the gray areas -

Of John Bianconi

The premier: «The minister does not speak as a magistrate. Navy? It's not a political subject."

The political message that Giorgia Meloni wanted to launch coming to Palermo on the thirty-first anniversary of the massacre in via D'Amelio is pronounced in the garden of Villa Whitaker, seat of the prefecture, a few steps from the plaque commemorating the murder of General Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa, assassinated in 1982, ten years before Paolo Borsellino. A chain of deaths united by "a memory that makes sense if you pick up the baton," says the premier. And immediately she articulates: «The things you want to do are done, after all you can avoid talking».

The reference is to the controversies that enlivened the eve of these celebrations, after his Justice Minister Carlo Nordio had suggested a revision of the external competition in mafia association. Meloni reiterates that no intervention is planned in that direction, and tries to save the Minister of Justice: "Nordio himself said that it was not something foreseen in the center-right government program, and in fact there was no provision on this". But then comes a jab: "He answered a question as a magistrate, and perhaps he should be more political in this". As for Marina Berlusconi's attack on the prosecutors in Florence who are still investigating the alleged involvement of her father (and Dell'Utri) in the 1993 massacres, cut it short: «With all due respect, I cannot consider Marina Berlusconi a subject of the coalition, because she is not a political subject»

In any case, opinions are one thing and facts are another, which the Prime Minister summarizes in the government's debut provision to safeguard the impedimental prison and in the one most recently announced to give a more precise definition of "organized crime", so as to avoid that a 2022 Cassation sentence jeopardizes ongoing trials and investigations. In between are the arrests of "1,300 mafiosi and 29 fugitives", recorded in the last nine months, due to the work of the investigators and the police who Meloni promises to support because "the battle against the mafia can be won".

From Rome, early in the morning, the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella had sent a message in memory of Borsellino and the agents killed with him in via D'Amelio, recalling that he and Falcone demonstrated that "the mafia could be defeated". But the head of state also urges to "overcome indifference and fight the gray areas of complicity with the same firmness with which illegality is fought"; a message to reiterate that we cannot stop at the arrest of bosses and supporters, but we need to shed light on the connivances and "build solidarity and culture where the mafias aim to instill fear".

Before public speaking to get reports on the government and majority attitude in the fight against crime back on track, Giorgia Meloni places a laurel wreath on the plaque that commemorates the victims in the barracks of the Stock Department, and there he meets Manfredi Borsellino, Paolo's son and police commissioner. Then she goes to the tombs of the magistrate and Giovanni Falcone, where her sister Maria (also a critic of Nordio's latest utterances) asks her to meet «to chat about many important things for our state». "Gladly, when he wants," replies the prime minister.

Last stop Villa Whitaker, to chair the committee for order and security alongside Interior Minister Piantedosi. Meloni listens to the requests of the mayor Roberto La Galla, of the prefect Maria Luisa Cucinotta, of the general attorney Lia Sava and of the prosecutor Maurizio De Lucia. Who returns to the need not to overturn the anti-mafia legislation in force: "Be careful when intervening on individual points, you always need a weighted and systemic analysis that takes into account all the aspects and all the consequences".

The renunciation of the traditional evening torchlight procession organized by right-wing movements was not for fear of protests, Meloni reiterates, but for other commitments. «And then who should challenge me? Maybe the mafia », she asks sarcastically. Or perhaps another anti-mafia, such as the one that parades in the afternoon from the house where Falcone lived to via D'Amelio, where the secretary of the Pd Elly Schlein was also previously who quotes Mattarella and says: "The fight against the mafia also starts from social justice".

When the variegated procession of the «Red Agenda» arrives at the site of the massacre, under the slogan «Get the mafia out of the state», cries are heard against «the fascists» and those who send weapons to Ukraine, «because war is also the mafia». Fiercely anti-government mottos, until from the stage Salvatore Borsellino addresses the prime minister at a distance: "I would have liked to ask her how she reconciles his stories about the beginning of her political militancy inspired by the principles of my brother Paolo with the declarations of Minister Nordio".

So back to controversy over the Keeper of the Seals, which Meloni has already tried to bury. The rest of the interventions - from the relatives of some agents who died in the massacres to the former magistrate Scarpinato, now senator of the Five Stars, all against the "empty rhetoric of the state" which does not want to deal with the collusion between the mafia and the institutions - confirms the reality of an opposing and strongly divided memory. Perhaps irrevocably.

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July 19, 2023 (change July 19, 2023 | 21:57)

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