A few years ago, during a memorable interview on Porta a Porta, one of Toto Riina’s offspring, still on the loose, offered a provisional form of what his epitaph was going to be.
You can imagine how it sounded, and you wouldn’t be wrong: “an exemplary father and husband, dedicated to his home and working life, leaving behind a legacy of family values.”
Now we can only hope some conscientious clerk in charge of cemetery services will stop this from being engraved on his marble headstone.
Riina passed away much like a disgraced and defeated military ruler.
He did so after sowing terror and death for decades, certain of an impunity that he believed to be guaranteed and endless.
He took advantage at the time of the criminal indifference of the ruling class, which found the Mafia useful for ensuring the political and economic control of the country, under the phony pretext of a communist threat.
At the first signs of a moral revolt of the people, and the coming crackdown that the state could no longer delay, he doubled down on the carnage — yet he got the opposite effect of what he intended. Today, almost all fugitive Mafiosi have been captured and are locked away for life, the laws concerning asset seizure have been strengthened, the hard “41 bis” detention regime is now a well-established mode of punishment, and the notion of a “revision” of the Mafia trials that some dreamed of is simply ridiculous.
It is hard to say what will happen after the death of the “capo dei capi” because the logic of criminals does not have much to do with what regular people would find “rational.” Just think of the campaign of bloodshed mentioned above, and its actual consequences.
One can see clearly that the Cosa Nostra is in big trouble, as the mobsters released from prison at the end of their sentences are arrested as soon as they return to their criminal ways, while the seizures of assets continue unabated.
Of course, the Mafia has not yet been completely defeated.
That political-business complex that was once strengthened and protected by the power of the Mafia should now be analyzed without anyone being distracted by the all-encompassing presence of the Mafia component, which is showing itself to be no longer essential.
Riina is now dead just as Sicily turns to the Right and to Berlusconism, but today no one could argue in good faith that the Mafia was favoring this development.
In Sicily, social desperation is growing and the Right is gaining strength, while the Mafia grows weaker and weaker, and the Left is becoming irrelevant.
One didn’t need to wait for Riina’s death to understand that a lot has changed, and that on the subject of the Mafia, the analyses of the past are well past their expiration date.
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