In fact, in the following months more notable Italian figures were murdered in Palermo. The Mafia was, indeed, challenging the Italian State with its vicious war. Again and again, the Mafia kept murdering the servants of the Italian State sent in Sicily to fight the Mafia, and to many Italian citizens it looked as a losing war.
As the months went by I felt really afraid for the Sicilians as the the Mafia had once again killed an other great Sicilian man. This time the man to be murdered was Giovanni Falcone.
Giovanni Falcone (May 18, 1939 – May 23, 1992) was an Italian magistrate who specialized in prosecuting the Sicilian Cosa Nostra. He was killed by the Mafia, together with his wife and three of his bodyguards, by a 350 kg dynamite explosion placed beneath the freeway from Palermo Airport to Palermo near the town of Capaci.
At this news, I cried. I wanted to kill one by one with my bare hands those responsible for this atrocious crime (I couldn't really express my anger by just writing it here). That murder was an other brutish way from the Mafia, to eliminate a resolute man of justice.
Capaci was the small town where I was used to go in summertime for fishing, and that freeway was the same freeway I took the last time to get to the Palermo's Airport, before I embarked into a flight that was bound for New York.
Now, my desolation was complete.
The mattanza keeps going on.
After two only months from the death of Giovanni Falcone, an other tragic assassination reaches me through the American's mass medias. This time, was the turn of Paolo Borsellino to be murdered by what seemed an unstoppable Mafia's arrogance.
Paolo Borsellino (January 19, 1940 - July 19, 1992) was an Italian anti-Mafia magistrate who was killed by a Mafia car bomb in Via D'Amelio, Palermo, less than two months after his friend and fellow anti-Mafia magistrate Giovanni Falcone had been killed by the Mafia. The bomb attack also claimed the lives of five policemen: Agostino Catalano, Walter Cosina, Emanuela Loi, Vincenzo Li Muli, Claudio Traina.
This new murder was extremely unpleasant and extremely serious, it added to the sum of more than a thousand of murders, the highest officials of the Italian State being murdered on the Sicilian streets in the space of few years: a mattanza! This freakish word, "mattanza" which I have learned in my youth, keeps coming back like a terrifying nightmare.
The turning point to the mattanza.
Going back in Palermo where the mattanza of highly Sicilian figures keeps going on, but slowly things starts to change even at the magistracy's level.
Thanks to the pentiti (collaborators with justice, or informants) of the Mafia that are testifying against their former associates.
Among the most famous Mafia pentiti (informants) is Tommaso Buscetta, the first important pentito (informant), who was very helpful to judge Giovanni Falcone in describing the Sicilian Mafia Commission or Cupola, the leadership of the Sicilian Mafia in the 1980s, and identifying the main operational channels that the mafia used and uses for its business.
And with Tommaso Buscetta start talking even bosses of the caliber of Francesco Marino Mannoia, Salvatore Contorno e Antonino Calderone.
La mattanza finally reaches its end.
Together with the informants' revelations and the magistrates' investigations, also all the investigative work from a police squad led by De Gennaro with their phone's interceptions, their following of suspects, and all their paperworks, finally, all these hard work starts to pay off, with a series of incriminations toward the men of the Sicilian Mafia.
All the incriminations emanated by the Italian judicial system will bring to the police blitz of San Michele (that's how it was called) with hundred of arrests in a single day. At last, the result of all these arrests will take to the maxi trial.
The maxi trial with its 474 arrests accused of Mafia associations, began in Palermo in the 1986 inside a bunker next to the penitentiary institution of the Ucciardone. Among all the accused there are names such as Luciano Liggio, and Pippo Calò said to be the Mafia's cashier. The trial ended on December 16, 1987, almost two years after it commenced.
Palermo 1986 - Mafia's maxi trial video.
Red's note: Unfortunately, this video is only in Italian. I really sorry that I couldn't find an English translation of it.
The dark years of the Sicilian mattanza are finally over. Until...
Next: Facing the Mafia - Between mafia's myths and realities.