Palermo, thousands at the anti-mafia march

“Forty years after the first anti-mafia march, the climate has changed, today we return to the procession after the arrest of Matteo Messina Denaro who, with his thirty-year absence made possible by political, administrative and cultural connivances, imposes, today more than ever, the need to untie the mafia-corruption knot. Let’s go back to the procession after the covid together with students, the Church, trade unions, politicians, citizens to reaffirm the relevance of the Rognoni-La Torre law “. So Vito Lo Monaco, president emeritus of the Pio La study center Torre, explained the meaning of participation in the anti-mafia march, 40 years after the first historic edition of 1983. A massive and transversal adhesion that saw thousands of people walking along almost six km of what was previously known as the Vallone road and escape route for killers, and since 2014 it has been renamed the street of the anti-mafia march. A long and widespread work in schools, as underlined by the president of the centre, Loredana Introini: “because it is our ra responsibility to deliver a better world to you guys in this passing of the baton”.

Among those present, as in 1983, Father Cosimo Scordato and Father Michele Stabile. “We apologize for not having defeated the mafia after 40 years – said Scordato – we hoped to do it sooner, even if now many things have changed”. The regional anti-mafia commission is also on the march for the first time: “This is Sicily, that mafia has muddied us, stealing our future – said Antonello Cracolici, president of the commission – The time has come to sweep away those ties of connivance, to identify and strike that mafia bourgeoisie that made us ashamed of being Sicilian. Today I am proud to be Sicilian, forty years ago I was there, at that moment the mafia seemed invincible and unstoppable”.

At the head of the procession was Monsignor Corrado Lorefice, who recalled the coincidence with the first anniversary of the war in Ukraine: “We are marching against all forms of violence, both mafia and state violence. Violence is always irrational. We believe in the irrationality of peace. Be builders – said the archbishop of Palermo addressing the students – of a future free from the conditioning of organized crime.

Almost 80 applications were received from schools of all levels, local administrations, associations and movements. Many adhesions demonstrating a shared memory and a widespread awareness that the new mafias are weakened by the contrast of the State and by the country’s civic conscience. Among the testimonies of the students who closed the event on stage, Virginia Pollara, a pupil of the Casteldaccia middle school, was particularly touching: her grandfather, Salvatore, a building contractor, was killed by the mafia on 11 March 1983 for not bending to the requests of Cosa Nostra. “He taught me courage, honesty – said Virginia – he was a respectable, elegant and kind man, who refused to pay protection money and who always denounced the mafia”.