Posted on October 15, 2008
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Monday, October 13, 2008 must've been a very weird day for Italian author Roberto Saviano. The 29 year old 'celebrated' his second year in hiding since the Camorra had put him on a death list because of his groundbreaking crime book Gomorra.
In Gomorra Saviano takes the reader to Naples and its surrounding cities and shows how the Camorra is damaging the life of millions of citizens through a variety of illegal activities. And he shows this in a deadly way. Instead of giving one example of corruption, he gives entire lists of regional governments that have been infiltrated by the Camorra. And he gives us the number of Camorra related murders since his own birth in 1979: a staggering 3600 murders.
Besides hitting us with those numbers, he hits us with the personal stories behind them. Who are the murdered people, what did they do to end up killed in the streets? By who? For what? He takes us into the sweatshops where fake designer clothing is made. Out into the deserted countryside where the Camorra illegaly dumps its waste. Waste like ink cartridges. Saviano describes walking over such a dump ground and smelling the penetrating sour stench that rose up from it when it rained. If inhaled that air can cause ulcers, breathing difficulties, even lung cancer.
When talking about the end result of these crimes it is impossible not to discuss those at the top, making the decisions that wreck havoc on Italy: the bosses. Saviano takes them on. He ridicules them. He analyses their criminal society, its code and culture, and rips it apart. This must have made the Camorra bosses very angry. But it made them furious when the book became an enormous success. Now Saviano had an audience.
Tommaso Buscetta a member of the Sicilian Cosa Nostra once said: "The Mafiosi are not romantic figures like you see in the movies. They are men of violence, men who let gross amounts of money rule their actions. Until the public really understands this true nature of Cosa Nostra, its power and its violence will continue. I think there is only one way to overcome Cosa Nostra, and that is to educate people, to let them see what these men really are, and how dangerous they are to a civilized society. Then, and only then, will law enforcement truly win its fight against organized crime."
Robert Saviano showed the true face of the Camorra to millions around the world. To make matters worse for the Camorra, the book has been made into a movie. It is being released world wide and has gotten very positive reviews. It is even being tipped as a candidate to win an Acadamy Award.
It is no surprise then that a Camorra turncoat, someone related to the jailed Camorra boss Francesco "Sandokan" Schiavone, told police that the Casalesi Clan of the Camorra planned to kill Saviano before Christmas by blowing up his car. Authorities are still trying to verify the truth of the claim. Camorra bosses allegedly had said Gomorra was "creating too much noise, it has become a phenomenon''. The Camorra is under pressure from authorities due to the recent killing of six Africans, the movie will not ease that pressure. Saviano has shown the world the power of the pen. Let us hope the sword will not get a chance to swing.