It is evident this is an extraordinary event for this battered strip of Calabria. On the break of dawn, the obstruction of cars and buses led from the state road 106 into the provincial road, and then to Via Cusumano, towards the seafront.
At Locri, spring has the morning color of the Ionian sea and the huge rainbow flag that opens the Libera procession in the National Day of Commitment Against the Mafia. Some North African youngsters who landed in Calabria in recent months carry the flag. They are assisted by Frank Mbaye, cultural mediator, originally from Cameroon who moved to Milan in 2002 and then moved south to Locri. He tells us: “The kids are receiving literacy and Italian classes, they have presented the necessary documents and are waiting for the Commission’s decision on their asylum claims.”
This is a land of welcome, the “backbone of solidarity” of Riace, Caulonia and Badolato. But it’s also the damned land of the ‘Ndrangheta, the Calabrese Mafia. In Locri, a tiny coastal piece of land that extends between Gioiosa and Bianco, with its hills that climb up to San Luca and Plati, the Mafia yoke is held by households with high-sounding and feared names. They are the Pelle, the Nirta, the Aquino, the Commisso, the Morabito, the Macri and the Ursino.