The Mafia is a sort of ghost, invisible to anyone visiting Sicily unless he does know how to look for it, for all other residents it's all an other matter... First, it's the kind of Mafia you won't find on American movies but the kind of Mafia you'll find in Sicily has nothing appealing. Those American movies based on the glamorous American Mafia are contrasting sharply with the reality of the Sicilian Mafia. The Sicilian Mafia is a revolting, treacherous, deceitful, viscid, threatening world that like a leech sustains itself by bloodsucking vital lymph from the sane tissues of the Sicilian society.
Why the Mafia can't be defeated in Sicily?
That's the one million dollar question which I wish, I could answer it! I'll take my years I lived in Sicily as an example while I'm trying to give an answer to this Sicilian eternal dilemma.
I remember from the experience that I had acquired while I was living in Palermo, that there was a stratified society similar to many other societies you'll find around the globe: there were the wealthy of an upper class, the middle-income people (as might be expected) from the middle-class, and last a lower class made up of the underprivileged such as: the poor, the helpless, the illiterates, the miserables, the misfortunate people, along with all the other kind of inadequates from a society (note: this last class sometimes has been rejected by the the rest of the upper-classes, but it has also been totally neglected by a failing Italian system for a very long time).
Now, from this lower class is where most of the times the Mafia refuels its ranks.
The people of this class, usually lives in unacceptable conditions inside run-down neighborhoods where crime is the norm, and where the kids of this lower class hardly get to finish the primary schools so that they can manage to speak a decent and acceptable Italian language. Those kids are usually been neglected by their own fathers (ordinarily these fathers are men with stone aged mentalities) and are spending the rest of their days hanging around the streets by doing nothing or almost nothing!
That nothingness is where takes those kids in looking toward detrimental activities. First of all, they start their petty crimes activities with broken-windows, small burglaries, doing small favors of doubtful nature to the next neighborhood's thug (like delivering packages of drugs, or delivering dubious messages to the local bosses, etc and etc...)
And soon, very soon escalating these activities with their first, "scippo". Scippo? What is this thing called scippo, you may ask! Ask a tourist that went to Sicily for a vacation, and maybe, he can answer you. The, "scippo" may sound like a beverage's name but it isn't. It's a violent motorcycle theft, and it is caused by the grabbing of an incautious's property with a violent pull by one or two kids while they are riding fast their motorcycle.
Consequentially to that violent pull, the poor tourist is left on the street floor badly bruised and sometimes even with broken bones (this form of stealing it is most of the times, practiced on unaware tourists and rarely on the locals because the locals know where to find them or to who to talk to get the stolen property returned). As soon these kids grown up and the local family Mafia have noticed them, they will be engaged in their ranks as, "picciotti" (literally it means youngsters but in the Sicilian culture it was also used for soldiers) to do their dirty jobs.
Mafia is an invisible and invincible force incapable of been defeated by traditional policing methods!
I believe we should still have a long time to confront ourselves with the organized crime of mafia origin. For a long time, not for the eternity: because the Mafia is a human phenomenon and like all the human phenomenons it has an its beginning, an its evolution and it will also have an its end.
Now my next question is: why this malicious cycle can't be broken by removing the running water from the watermill?
Next: Why the Mafia can't be defeated in Sicily? (part 2)