The Italian writer Roberto Saviano, who rose to fame with his book ‘Gomorrah’ (2006), has presented his latest novel in Spain: ‘The brave are alone’ (Anagrama), in which he tells the life of the anti-mafia judge Giovanni Falcone , until his death in an explosion against the car in which he was traveling with his wife and three bodyguards in 1992.
In an online press conference, organized by the publisher after the arrival of his book in bookstores on the 15th, Saviano stated that this novel has been “the most difficult test he has undergone: that of being able to tell the “the most brilliant mind that has faced the issue of organized mafia crime.” The writer has reconstructed Falcone’s days and dialogues, feelings and emotions thanks to different documentary sources and without resorting to “fantasy”, as he has explained.
After the death of Falcone and other magistrates, “there have been many victories” in the fight against the mafia in Italy. “It is something that has never happened in France or Spain, because the dead in these countries are guilty deaths, not innocent deaths, on the side of justice,” according to Saviano, who added that the high number of “innocent deaths” has made politics and public opinion more aware and mobilized. However, “Italy continues to be a country with a mafia vocation,” in the opinion of this great mafia connoisseur, who for almost two decades has been threatened and escorted for having dissected and publicly denounced these secret organizations.
“When I talk about vocation, I mean that the instinct of the economy, of contracts, always goes towards that logic: look for an agreement, look for mediation, look for a shortcut, look for a powerful person to protect you. Mafia culture continues to be deeply hegemonic,” he declared.
According to Saviano, the closeness between Italy’s largest party, Christian Democracy, and mafia organizations in the second half of the 20th century caused Italy to become “a democracy that has within it a mafia totalitarianism, the dictatorship of the mafias.” ”. And, in his opinion, it is “a difficult dictatorship to study because in the dictatorships we know, when the tyrant falls, society opens up. In mafia dictatorships, tyrants continually fall and are renewed in a Darwinian way; They transform but are never decapitated.”
“When Falcone is assassinated, Italian democracy has an implosion, but also an important response: [la mafia siciliana] Cosa Nostra “She is beheaded and enters into a crisis because her mistake was attracting too much attention,” said Saviano, who added that this mistake on the part of the organization that killed the anti-mafia judge “triggered a need for total repression, an obvious reaction at the level judicial, social, moral.”
But since then many things have changed in Italy: “The mafias have decided to interrupt the terrorist strategy: they no longer attack the State frontally. The State is bought. Before, it was also bought and, when there was opposition, it was dejected. Not now,” explained the author. And this change in strategy has also occurred thanks to “the fight against the mafia of civil society”, especially in Sicily. “But the economic power of criminal organizations is immense and they can count on a new ally: the indifference of Europe,” Saviano warned.
He highlighted the case of Spain, where in the electoral campaign last July there was no talk about mafias, despite the fact that “Spain is full, but the Spaniards talk about security and crime in general, and that makes the organizations feel safe and invest in these countries with complete security.” According to Saviano, this is because “only blood moves people”, when gangsters murder prominent people, like Falcone, then “public opinion will ask politics for a transformation.”
Saviano vs. Meloni and Salvini
During the press conference, Saviano did not hide his animosity towards the far-right head of the Italian Government, Giorgia Meloni, – who has taken the writer to trial for calling her a “bastard” on a television program for her anti-immigration stances – and her party, Fratelli d’Italia which, according to the author, “has not engaged in any behavior, apart from rhetoric, that has gone against the criminal economy.” “We are very bad (with the Meloni Government); The previous governments were not better either,” he lamented.
He has also spoken about the conflict open for years with Matteo Salvini, current vice president of the Executive, with whom he will face in court next week. “He is one of the most dangerous politicians in Europe,” he said. “Truly authoritarian politicians attack writers, intellectuals, it is a way of saying: whoever speaks, whoever criticizes is a traitor.” Saviano has assured that the essence of the message is: “Either you write without taking a position contrary to the Government or your projects will not be financed”, and proof of this is that the Italian public radio and television station has canceled its program on the mafia, ‘Insider’. “It was already recorded, it was ready and they blocked it. They blocked a program about the mafias, this says a lot about what [tipo de] country is Italy.”
“This is Italy, a country where democracy is a glove, inside it is a country that is devastated by corruption, by a slow and complicated judicial system, by an economy that always depends on the Executive power. “Films are made if the Government provides money, projects go ahead if the Government allows it, without the support and protection of the Government there is no free initiative,” he explained and warned European countries to analyze what is happening in Italy because “the future of Spain, if things go wrong, is Italy. “The future of France, if things go wrong, is Italy.” “Not seeing this is not understanding what is happening (in Europe),” she added.
Regarding the experience in his country, where anti-immigration policy has been one of the strengths of Salvini and Meloni, the writer has declared: “The extreme right cannot provide answers about taxes, employment, rising salaries, about the economic management of large companies that manage to evade (paying taxes) in tax havens and, therefore, presents to angry public opinion, with little purchasing power, with less social security, the great enemy: immigrants.” And immigrants, Saviano highlighted, “also serve as a response to crime.” And he has once again given our country as an example: “No Nigerian who traffics in Madrid can sell cocaine without the approval of the Spanish drug traffickers or those in charge in Spain.”
“The anti-immigration discourse of the extreme right is perfect propaganda: a card that can be played anywhere knowing that it is a winner, because it is very easy,” he concluded, referring to all the European countries where ultra parties are on the rise.