41 years after his death, too little is said about Peppino Impastato
There are stories that need to be told and handed down to future generations so that they are not forgotten. One of these is certainly that of Giuseppe Impastato, known to everyone as Peppino, Sicilian journalist and activist in the ‘70s. With the courage of those who decide to rise up, he wrote an important chapter of the fight against the Mafia.
The story of Peppino Impastato, as many other stories with a similar finale, starts from the end, and more particularly during one of the darkest days of the Italian State: 9 May 1978. While Italy was still mourning the murder of the President of the Christian Democratic Party, Aldo Moro, whose body was found in Caetani Street in Rome, on the same day another man was found dead in Sicily. It was Peppino Impastato.
The killing of Aldo Moro committed by the Red Brigades, a left-wing terrorist organization, eclipsed the news of the death of Peppino Impastato. Indeed, for a long time hardly anyone said a word about that young man blown up in the night between May 8 and 9, with some TNT placed on the railroad tracks between Palermo and Trapani. In fact, for many years the death of Peppino Impastato, who was running for office in the municipal elections with Proletarian Democracy, was dismissed as suicide.
More than 40 years after that tragic event, although the Mafia-like nature of the murder was officially established — and despite the handler, the famous Mafia boss Gaetano Badalamenti, was sentenced — even today not much is said about Impastato. On the other hand, the story of Peppino is a story of rebellion set in Sicily in the ‘70s, where omertà and silence made life very easy for Cosa Nostra.
Giuseppe Impastato was born in Cinisi, a village in the province of Palermo, in a crime family. Since childhood he had distanced himself from the conduct of his father and his relatives, denouncing a reality which was often hidden and unspoken.
Peppino chose to be on the other side, reporting the illegal trafficking that was happening just before his eyes. Peppino, indeed, used to talk a lot. He did use names and surnames of mobsters and colluding politicians, and he wasn’t intimidated by the threats he was constantly receiving.
In 1977, he thus founded Radio Aut, a self-financed radio station of counter-information, from whose microphones Impastato used to make fun of the Mafia and of local politicians. Through humor, Peppino unveiled what they were doing in Cinisi with the widedning of the airport, the drug trade and the cement business.
The more Cinisi buried its head in the sand in silence, the more Peppino kept denouncing them by screaming on improvised stages or by writing in capital letters on the newspapers that the Mafia was a pile of shit.
41 years after his death, we can say that too little is said about Peppino Impastato. Because Peppino Impastato is still the symbol of those who bravely revolted against their own destinity, with the strength of those who are capable to scream the truth and who are aware that freedom is worth everything, even death.
Therefore, our task today is to keep telling the story of Peppino Impastato, in order to bear in mind that we all are Peppino and, most importantly, that we have the moral duty to write, scream and remember every day that the Mafia is a pile of shit.