In full Mafia style

They make laws criminalizing those who save lives and place media attention on migrants while continuing to reap hate and not caring about the people who die. The Mafiosi of the past buried in cement, the modern ones bury in the sea. Brought back to Libya – in illegitimate ways and contrary to all international norms – men, women and children are condemned to return to the horror they have fled.

CAS of Corleone (PA) – Tank from which to draw the scarce non-drinking water available

A few days ago the judgement of the court of Trapani was released, which acquitted two migrants, who in self-defence had prevented the crew of a commercial ship to bring them back to Libya. The judge retraced accurately the scenario in Libya and the present danger in which the two persons found themselves in the moment of being repatriated to the detention centre -where they would have again been subjected to torture, abuse, violence and conditions hard to survive. This has once more put to discussion the efficiency and the constitutional coverage of the memorandum between Italy and Libya, which has not been ratified in parliament.

We are the principals of the thousands of homicides. The strenuous fight against NGOs has the one and only objective of burying this continuous massacre under the silence of the sea.

Just like the fight against mayor Lucano, who showed that another model of reception is possible – and for this reason he was exiled and slandered, and when this work was done everything turned to silence, while today the first party in Riace is the Lega. The same happened to the attorney Luigi Patronaggio, who only did his job, but if that means questioning the system of the Mafia, they send you an envelope with bullets and threaten you to kill your children.

The objective is to silence at any cost any dissenting voice, starting with international organizations who have criticized the government, finishing with the pope and some priests who continue to repeat that in line with the teachings of the gospel, every life is sacred and needs to be defended.


Italians first

Italy has not been governed for years but merely “devoured” by the destruction of its territories and its local entities. This is how 15 thousand jobs for young people disappeared who had to watch their hopes for their future being destroyed.

Young people like Andrea and Sonia who worked for a CAS* in Palermo and provinces and who are now forced to search another job, postponing their marriage. “I have a couple of university degrees and I am not even hired for a job in a call centre because I am too educated for this work, while the jobs that count are given to friends of politicians and Mafiosi. So, I keep accompanying the people because there is no one left in the centres. There are forms of self-organization and in some cases it’s the people who have been there longer who help the new arrivals.”

Despite all the propaganda, the CAS keep filling up, both due to the so called phantom ladings (more than 70 arrivals directly at the cost without any sighting) and the closure of the reception centre in Mineo. The paradox that characterizes the existence of this centre continues until its last days: Inside there are only some vulnerable persons left, roaming without operators, who have all been fired, and a canteen that can’t provide enough food.


Reception in crisis

But vulnerable people do not only roam inside the reception centre in Mineo but also in various cities like Palermo. Hundreds of men with psychic vulnerabilities sleep under porticos and bridges. They often lose their heads because they have no possibility to pursue the treatment they received in the centres. Men like A., who has subsidiary protection and is entitled to get a place in the SIPROIMI (System of Protection for beneficiaries of international protection and unaccompanied minors), but who has no access to it, because the principal service has no free places. Many municipalities have not received the funding from the ministry to support accommodation for the suffering minors for over a year and are not able to handle the costs for according projects

The same criminal policies have fostered some illegal practices in the CAS. Many men living in the CAS in Corleone managed by the cooperative Azione Sociale contacted us, because there is a problem with the water supply. Indeed, as far as they say, there is no drinking water. To retrieve water, they have to climb a big recipient and use a bucket. For reasons of water scarcity in the centre, there is no cleaning, which leads to hygienic problems with mould that spreads in the corridors and rooms. The absence of operators and clothes completes the whole picture. A picture that doesn’t differ from the other centre of Azione Sociale in Carini, where, apparently, humidity and water scarcity are common elements they share with the CAS in Corleone.

Other critical issues arise from testimonies collected in the Hotel Firenze in the middle of the historical centre of Palermo. The centre needs renovations because it is old, humid and its infrastructure is insufficient for its inhabitants. Also, water is a problem and there are no operators present. We have met a strong delegation of men living in the CAS Pozzo di Giacobbe, in Palermo, who assert that they haven’t received their pocket money in six months. It is the same cooperative that managed the CAS Turba, which closed after protests of five men, because they didn’t receive their pocket money either.

These situations repeat themselves frequently in other and many CAS. And meanwhile not to miss anything, we keep spending public money to securitize the CPR* in Milo and Pian del Lago, to make them non-spaces, where revolts take place continuously, precisely because this hopeless prison leads people to showing violent behaviour, and to carrying out protests, as it happened in Milo a few days ago.

The Mafia makes scorched earth around itself, the Mafia system that many European governments implement affects the most vulnerable and therefore the young in the first place. Other than the fairy tale “The Italians first”, or after all, in this sense it is right, it will be the Italians who see their rights being trampled first.

Every day, we are obliged to see friends and activists, who for years have fought for a better city, supported and accompanied the most vulnerable of our society, having to leave for their own future: Giovanna, Tania, Manuel, Khadim, Davide and many others. In words and on TV we fight the Mafia, but in fact we do the same thing as they do: we eliminate those who give us trouble.

Alberto Biondo

Borderline Sicilia

*CAS extraordinary reception centre
*CPR repatriation centre


Translated into English by Helena Hattmannsdorfer