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During the week of international exchange and workshops on the Mafia and the culture of legality at Marina di Cinisi, in Sicily our group of students of the project “ Greener and Happier: Working Together for a Fair Society” had the opportunity to meet and listen to the testimonies of three victims of the Mafia who had chosen to exercise civil resistance.

Firstly, we met Giovanni Paparcuri  (20th September 2016) , the driver of Rocco Chinnici, the prosecutor who was killed by “Cosa Nostra” in 1993. Giovanni was the only one who survived to the bomb explosion in which Rocco Chinnici and  his bodyguards died. Somehow Giovanni died too that dreadful day ( 29th July). After 18 months he recovered from the terrible wounds of the Mafia attack but he was forgotten: no special mentioning or medal for his heroic service to the state as bodyguard of a magistrate at the front line.

Secondly, we met  Giovanni Impastato, (21st September 2016). Giovanni is the brother of Peppino Impastato, the Sicilian journalist founder of Radio Aut, a very critical voice against the Mafia, killed at Cinisi on May 9th 1978. The  workshop focused on the role of the family in promoting legality and fighting against the deeply rooted Mafia culture. The most impressive quote by Giovanni was the following: “legality does not only mean compliance with the law but also  respect for human dignity.”

Thirdly, we met Santi Palazzolo ( 22nd September 2016), a sicilian entrepreneur who manages a pastry shop. He dared to denounce Roberto Helgi, past president of the Chamber of Commerce of Palermo and Board Member of Gesap (the airport management company): this apparently honorouble man demanded protection money in exchange for the renewal of the concession of his pastry shop at the airport of Palermo, Punta Raisi.

In conclusion, we can say that all witnesses were very touching and they shook our souls, enhancing our desire for justice, legality and the struggle for a better world. We must thank the CRUP Foundation (Cassa di Risparmio di Udine e Pordenone) which cofinanced our project and allowed us to live such a great educational experience.

Daria Masullo, 3 LSA C

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