26 Years Ago The Mafia Killed Falcone. But His Ideas Are Still Alive

giovanni falcone

Falcone taught me that a better world is not a pipe dream, but a reponsibility of all of us

On May 23, 1992, the magistrate Giovanni Falcone, along with his wife and magistrate Francesca Morvillo, and the men of the escort, Antonio Montinaro, Rocco Dicillo and Vito Schifani, lost their lives.

Since I was a child, I grew up with the myth of Falcone, thanks to the stories of my mother who, with her sincere emotion and admiration, shared with me the revolutionary events of the so-called Maxi Trial, carried out by that antimafia pool. Those men, with their commitment and sacrifice, tried to redeem that part of the country (Sicily) that, for too long, was left to its own devices, showing and teaching people that a different Italy, free from mafias and oppression, not only was possible, but also a right for everybody.

Therefore, each time they asked me who was my life model or my idol, my answer has always been one: that man with his coy smile and his anti hero attitude that, answering to the question “why are you doing this?”, used to respond “simple sense of duty”.

Moreover, it is a fact that Giovanni Falcone was one of the most important magistrates who fought against organized crime in Italy. When he joined the Prosecutor’s Office in Palermo in 1978, he revolutionized the investigation methodology, taking over personally and focusing on bank investigations. Falcone, before anyone else, understood that the mafia was a unitary body and that its various and articulate criminal activities, even when carried out far away from Palermo, were not the work of autonomous groups, but were attributable to a single entity.

We are in the 80s, and Sicily is torn apart by mafia-type massacres. After the murder of Rocco Chinnici, a new structure for the fight against organized crime, the antimafia pool, is being born. Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino are its lynchpins. Thanks to the detective work done by the pool during six years, the Maxi Trial, the biggest trial in the world against organized crime, was hold, giving a serious blow to Cosa Nostra. The confession of Tommaso Buscetta, mafia turncoat, was crucial for the success of the trial. Buscetta chose to only speak to Giovanni Falcone, due to the human approach that the antimafia magistrate had during interrogations.

At this point, Falcone knew too much and had become a dangerous man. After the conclusion of the Maxi Trial, resulted in nineteen life sentences and verdicts for a total of 2.665 years imprisonment, Giovanni Falcone was left increasingly on his own by the state. He was then dimissed from the antimafia pool and slandered by the press that claimed that, behind the work of the judge, there were mostly vanity and career ambitions.

This semar campaign brought to that May 23 of twenty-six years ago when, on the highway A29 between Punta Raisi airport and Palermo, and more specifically in Capaci, half a ton of dynamite silenced for good that judge who, for the first time, showed that it is possible to win the war against the mafia.

Since that day, and maybe even before, Giovanni Falcone has become a symbol for that part of Italy that fights against organized crime every day. That’s what Falcone is, and maybe even more. Falcone, by setting such an example, passed me his love for legality and justice, for freedom and equality, values that he had always pursued, prepared to sacrifice even his own life. Falcone taught me that a better world is not a pipe dream, but a reponsibility of all of us.

This is what Giovanni Falcone is for me and for many other people.

That is why, on the anniversary of his death, I would like to honor him with one of his teachings. Falcone used to repeat that “the mafia cannot be defeated with repression, but with education”. What Falcone meant to say is that everyone can defeat the mafia starting from daily life, with the most simple actions and the refusal of certain kinds of conduct.

The mafia can be defeated since shortcuts are not taken, the idea of screwing people over is abandoned and when the greater good and the collective interest are put ahead of the personal interest. That’s the only way to keep his ideas alive. And only then, maybe, that May 23 of twenty-six years ago will look less bitter.