Sometimes I think, about my loved land. When I think about it, I feel a sense of lost opportunities. Opportunities, which I will never get back. I had many dreams in my native land, dreams about a life which I couldn't never realize. I left those dreams behind me. In that land of lost chances and hopes, I left a peace of myself too.
My land, my Sicily.
Sicily, a land of sunny days, a land of smelling pine trees, an island embedded in the turquoise, warm and clear waters of the Mediterranean sea. Sometime, I feel to cry when I'm thinking about it.
What motivated me, to leave it?
There was little hope left for me, and many other honest working people in Sicily, as well. In fact, Sicily hasn't much to offer to it's own people for a decent and better life. For the mere fact, not just Sicily but the all south of Italy has very little to offer to his honest working people. At least, not until the gangrene that is killing hopes of a better future, will be exterminated. South Italy is run by inert and some time corrupted politicians, who don't really give a damn about their citizens, but their real interest by running the public affair is, to make a personal profit from it! Citizens hopes (besides, the local corrupted political system) are also subdued, by local crime organizations such as Ndraghetta, Camorra, Mafia or whatever organized crime runs, a particular area. They are also, a part of the social scums plaguing entire cities and towns, which by their intimidations perpetreted on the honest citizens, impedes a city to function or, work properly. It's very hard to fight them and dangerous too, because most of the time the system which are suppose to defend a citizen are latitante (in hiding), leaving himself most of the times all alone and vulnerable to fight lost battles against these criminal organizations.
That's why I've always thought, that all South of Italy needed a radical change of the entire political system. A more strong and resolute system, capable to fight these criminal organizations and altogether those corrupted politicians that are running our misfortuned but, so much loved land...
I remember a couple of episodes of political corruptions and crimes, both happened when I was living in Sicily. The first episode, I was too young to really do something about it, (even though I don't think I could had done much about it). I was working in a place named "******'s Library" (this library was part of a chain of libraries), it was a place where people came to buy school's books for their children. Who owned these libraries, also owned a very big villa (and who knows, what else he owned) located in the center of Palermo city. He was indeed, a very rich man. One day, all the libraries got a big commission, we the employees had to work with thousands and thousands of books which we had to put in big envelops, write addresses and put stamps on them, and later ship them out. This was a commission given from the Sicilian Parliament. Now, how the hell the owner of this library's chain, gets from the Sicilian Parliament such a big commission. By corruptions, corruption, and more corruption, that's how. Who owned these libraries, was Councilman and City council member to the Province of Palermo (also, he was a former Deputy Mayor) and a member of the Sicilian republican party. The name of this "honorable" Sicilian Parliamentarian was "******** *******". By the way, he paid me and other employees miserable wages, to work in his chain of libraries. I learned much later, that he was denounced by one of his trusted people, to the competent authorities for tax evasion. I hope, by now he's in that place where he really belongs... to jail. This story, tells you how much you can entrust the future of a city, to some Sicilian politicians. Of course, this one is just one of the many corruption stories that are plaguing even today, most of the south of Italy.
The second episode, I don't really know if, it's a good idea to talk about it. I still have relatives in Sicily so that, I won't mention names or places and besides, some of these people I'm going to talk about, have relatives or connections here in the States with some New Yorker criminals family. I worked in a restaurant for about a year, and in this restaurant many things happened. The only thing I'm going to tell you is, who owned this place was a "Cosa Nostra" Boss. This guy, went for a couple years in North Italy before getting this restaurant, and thanks to many illegal traffics, he got rich, very rich. Do you think when he came back, he bought the restaurant he owned then with his bloody money. Wrong, he extorted it from the previous owner without paying a cent. The second episode related to this restaurant, happened when one night the last customer had left the premisis and we the employees were getting ready to leave. A bunch of youngsters (I believe, they were about a dozen), all of a sudden got in the premises by force. One of them, a very young guy (practically he was a boy) who was holding a gun intimated us to give them the restaurant's cash, plus our own money. Some of us tried to react but, one of the boss' relative told us to let them do it, so we let them go with all the money. The boss, had already left the place when all this was happening, the boss' relative had to call him by phone, as soon those youngsters had left the place, to report him about the robbery. The boss told his relative to tell us, not to move from the place and to wait for him to come back. An hour passed by before the boss came back, followed by some ugly faces and trailing behind them, there were those youngsters that we had the pleasure to meet before. I could tell from their faces, that they were scared like hell, some of them had even some scars on their faces. In the end, they were forced to give the money back and plead for forgiveness from us. "Thanks boss , we got our money back, now you can let them go, please. They won't do the same mistake twice". Me and all the restaurant staff, were asking our boss to be merciful towards those young guys. Luckily for them, the boss that night was of a good mood and decided finally to let them go. Those young guys, were very but very lucky bastards, they came close to a severe beating (or who knows, some of them even lose their lives). We, the employees were really afraid that something bad, could have happend that night. That's why, we were imploring our boss to let them go unharmed. We were honest people, that needed to work even with a bastard such as our boss, but we weren't criminals. In the following days, none of us had the courage to go to the police and denounce the all matter.
That's some of the many reasons why, I was forced to leave Sicily. I had few choices, became a criminal or live a miserable life as an unemployed. Between corrupted politicians and organized crime, many Sicilians have very little chances of a decent and honest life that's why sometime, they just decide to leave.
Don't get me wrong, Sicily and the entire South of Italy is more than just Mafia and corruptions! If you will one day visit it, you will find a lots of honest and decent people, and you will be surprised by the people warmness, by its past history, by its food, and by the enchanting views which this land has to offer to it's visitors.
This article has been edited by removing some name and locations to avoid any trouble for my private life. You can read more in the comment area for, the reasons that made me take this decision.