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Antimafia in Sicily


Franco Zecchin

In 2006, the arrests of the boss Bernardo Provenzano and several heads of Cosa Nostra families weakened the Mafia. But now, it faces another enemy. Sicilians are mobilising to cut through the island’s historic and cultural links with the criminal organisation. Guido Agnello set up a shop in Palermo and a small factory in the Mafia stronghold of San Giuseppe Jato to produce and sell Coppolas. This traditional cap was the symbol of the Mafia for decades. Nowadays, it has become a sought- after fashion accessory and an unexpected ambassador for the anti-mafia struggle all over the world. Antonio Castro, heads the Placido Rizzotto cooperative which grows wheat and vines on land confiscated from Mafia members. Antonio and his friends produce wine and pasta sold throughout Italy under a label completely free from any complicity with the Mafia. The priest, Padre Lo Bue, runs a community also set up on land confiscated from the Octopus. His association, specialising in the rehabilitation of drug addicts, produces more particularly, olive oil also sold under a free label. But the political aspect must not be forgotten. In Gela, a town 200 kms South of Palermo, the mayor, Rosario Crocetta, has declared war on the Mafia. This man’s life is at permanent risk because he knows the Mafia has sworn to kill him; he has cleaned up public contracts and has rid the town council of undesirables. He thus follows in the footsteps of Giuseppe Cipriani, ex mayor of Corleone, who, between 1993 and 2002, led the difficult battle against the family of Toto Riina, Provenzano’s predecessor as chief of Cosa Nostra. In Palermo, Rita Borsellino, sister of the murdered judge, has become the symbol of the struggle against the Mafia. She leads the opposition to the president of the Regional Assembly, Salvatore Cuffaro, suspected of links with Cosa Nostra. Yet he was re-elected in May 2006. The fight against the Mafia has moved into the streets. The young members of Addiopizzo regularly stick up anti-racket posters. They have founded an association for shopkeepers who declare they run “clean businesses”. A real challenge for Cosa Nostra who nowadays has to face a consensus between the police and society to rid themselves of this criminal organisation. © Text: Jean-Michel Verne


 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082545

A Coppola worn by a model in the old city of Palermo. The cap inspired famous creators like Gianfranco Ferre or Missoni, when an exhibition on the theme took place in New York.

Palermo, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082522

Tindara Agnello and a friend wear Coppolas in the old city of Palermo, near the shop called "La Coppola Storta", meaning "the bent Coppola". Mafia members used to wear this cap with the peak bent over to show they belonged to the Organisation.

Palermo, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0253919

Caccamo, Italy, 1987.

Caccamo, Sicily, Italy - 00/00/1987

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082590

The premises of San Giuseppe SPA. Coppolas need very careful finishing touches and real knowhow. Guido Agnello searched out patterns for these traditional caps. Everything is hand-made.

San Giuseppe Jato, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082547

The "La Coppola Storta" shop offers an amazing variety of Coppolas for men, women and children. Guido Agnello owns other shops, particularly in Rome and Florence, which sells these updated traditional caps. But the product is really international: a shop in New York sells Coppolas.

Palermo, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082560

A man from Corleone poses with the traditional Coppola. This cap was not originally a symbol of the Mafia, but the organisation has, as it were, "kidnapped" it from the Sicilian people. Guido Agnello has liberated it from this baleful influence...

Corleone, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082554

Previous mayor of Corleone; Giuseppe Cipriani (on the left) chatting with an inhabitant. He had great difficulty in carrying out his functions because of the Mafia families of Corleone, in particular, the clan of the fearsome Toto Riina.

Corleone, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082556

Corleone: the statue of Placido Rizzotto, the symbol of the peasants' struggle against the Mafia. He was murdered in 1948 because he wanted to start land reforms to give land to the peasants. The Mafia kidnapped him and tortured him. He was one of the first anti-mafia martyrs.

Corleone, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082546

The file on the maxi court case of 1986 in the Mafia documentation centre in Corleone. The centre was created on the initiative of previous mayor Giuseppe Cipriani. The public has free access to documents on the history of the Mafia.

Corleone, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

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Palermo, Italy, 1983. Benedetto Grado's wife and daughters at the scene of his slaying. The family was already mourning his son Antonio. Mafia violence has felled generations of Sicilians, innocents and implicated.

Palermo, Sicily, Italy - 15/11/1983

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082709

Antonio Castro, head of the Placido Rizzotto cooperative. This 34-year-old studied agronomy. From choice, he has accepted a certain solitude, because in San Giuseppe Jato, the atmosphere can weigh heavy. Tractors stolen, wheat burned and excessive red tape, the Mafia is on the watch.

San Giuseppe Jato, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082692

The combine harvester working on land confiscated from the Mafia and now run by the Placido Rizzotto cooperative. This cooperative also produces wine from vines that used to belong to Mafia member Giovanni Brusca in San Giuseppe Jato.

San Giuseppe Jato, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082770

Antonio Castro during the wheat harvest in San Giuseppe Jato. The structure functions as an association under the label "Libera Terra" which commercialises a whole range of pasta made from this organically cultivated wheat. The harvest is an important moment in the life of the structure. On that day, the harvester broke down.

San Giuseppe Jato, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082580

Vineyards run by the Placido Rizzotto cooperative on land confiscated from Mafia member Giovanni Brusca. He was the man who set off the bomb which killed judge Giovanni Falcone. The cooperative produces high quality white wine from Italian Catarratto vines. The cooperative would also like to produce red wine.

San Giuseppe Jato, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082610

The inn run by the Placido Rizzotto cooperative. The head, Antonio Castro, wishes to develop agro-tourism to open Sicily to the outside world.

San Giuseppe Jato, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082607

The Placido Rizzotto cooperative sells pasta, olive oil, chick peas and wines under the "Libera Terra" label.

San Giuseppe Jato, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082586

Padre Lo Bue is the priest who founded the "Casa dei Giovani" community. For a long time, this intellectual taught pedo-psychiatry and sociology. The indifference of prison administration gave him the idea of founding his community. In Palermo prison, for example, there are only 5 social workers for 1500 prisoners.

Castelvetrano, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082577

Trainees of the "Casa dei Giovani" community of Padre Lo Bue in Castelvetrano. Karim (on the right) is from Tunisia. He was imprisoned in Bari and was let out on probation. "Here, I have found a family again." he says.

Castelvetrano, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082571

Workers and trainees of the "Casa dei Giovani" community of Padre Lo Bue in Castelvetrano. The priest, who founded the project, explains that he felt reticence from the catholic hierarchy whose attitude to the Mafia is sometimes ambiguous.

Castelvetrano, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082579

A female worker of the "Casa dei Giovani" community of Padre Lo Bue in Castelvetrano. This ex-drug addict enjoys, as do all the other trainees, working on the land and the warm atmosphere of the association.

Castelvetrano, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082581

Workers and trainees from the "Casa dei Giovani" community of Padre Lo Bue in Castelvetrano.

Castelvetrano, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082539

Gela is a town unlike others. Its population doubled in 30 years thanks to the presence of the refinery, itself infiltrated by the Mafia. Rosario Crocetta had the Board of Directors wound up under suspicion of links with the criminal organisation.

Gela, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082535

Rosario Crocetta in front of restoration work in the old town of Gela, Mafia linked businesses are excluded. To clean up public contracts, the mayor opens documents in police presence. All public contracts are checked over by the Prefecture and anti-mafia legal personnel. The main problems come from sub-contractors imposed by Cosa Nostra on "clean" businesses.

Gela, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082526

The mayor of Gela, Rosario Crocetta, is under permanent police protection. Since his election in 2002, he has declared war on the Stidda, the local Mafia that, after years of conflict with those of Palermo, is now under the influence of Cosa Nostra.

Gela, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082542

The Mayor of Gela in front of the ENI refinery, which brought prosperity and ...the Mafia. In 1970, unprecedented economic development came to the town thanks to petroleum. Mafiosi from Palermo or Catania moved in and infiltrated the economic fabric. Successive murders followed in the 1980s.

Gela, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082530

Renzo Caponetti, President of the anti-racket association of Gela, a town 200 kms from Palermo. In 2005, he founded an anti-racket association and real trouble began. Two killers on a motorbike, sent by the Mafia, tried to get rid of him. His escape was a miracle. Shopkeepers who refuse to pay the Pizzo - the racket price - are increasing in number.

Gela, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082534

Rosario Crocetta has become one of the symbols of the anti-mafia struggle in Sicily. This unusual personage, overtly homosexual, was elected on a communist ticket.

Gela, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082612

June 2006. Rita Borsellino, the day she entered the Regional Assembly. The sister of the murdered judge is talking to union members who came to demonstrate after a mortal accident on a motorway building site. This woman has become the symbol of the political struggle against the Mafia. She leads the opposition to President Salvatore Cuffaro, a Berlusconi supporter.

Palermo, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082616

Pina Grassi, a figure of the anti-mafia struggle, in her ornament shops in Palermo. She is the principal supporter of Addiopizzo. Her husband, a builder, was murdered because he wouldn't pay racket money.

Palermo, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0024262

Palermo, 1991. The son of Libero Grassi (a manager killed by the Mafia), at his funeral.

Palermo, Sicily, Italy - 00/00/1991

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082837

Jewellery maker, Gerlando Maida, in his shop on the Corso Vittorio Emanuele. He is one of the 140 shopkeepers of Palermo who have joined Addiopizzo to refuse racket. He feels this is a necessary step to cut off the Mafia from the population.

Palermo, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082626

Members of Addiopizzo sticking up small posters near Palermo station. "For the moment, we don't irritate the Mafia too much, so they ignore us. But it probably won't last" explains Piero, a student in marketing, who leads a group of ten poster stickers.

Palermo, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082611

Young members of the Addiopizzo association meet up in Palermo for an evening of sticking up posters.

Palermo, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0024290

Palermo 1983. The murder of Paolo Amodeo in his delicatessen at Brancaccio.

Palermo, Sicily, Italy - 00/00/1983

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082514

Tindara Agnello poses wearing a Coppola with a small veil in the old city of Palermo. After finishing her studies in Milan, this young woman joined her father in his project to bring back to life this traditional cap, which had become synonymous with the Mafia. Today, the symbol of the Mafia has become that of the struggle against the Octopus.

Palermo, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082589

San Giuseppe SPA. Tindara Agnello the stylist behind the renewal of the Coppola finds inspiration reading fashion magazines or searching through attics. She often goes to Florence to choose the best fabrics. But everything is made here in San Giuseppe Jato, a Mafia stronghold.

San Giuseppe Jato, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082587

San Giuseppe SPA. A female worker cutting out fabric using Coppola patterns. Three different types exist which are adapted to the ideas of stylist Tindara Agnello.

San Giuseppe Jato, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082592

Female workers of the San Giuseppe SPA Company, which produces Coppolas, photographed with their boss, Guido Agnello. The Coppola is produced only by women. The company also employs outworkers.

San Giuseppe Jato, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082564

People of Corleone in front of a bar in the town centre. If the town seems peaceful it is only in appearance. The great Mafia war started here. In order to take over power, the people of Corleone got blood on their hands when they eliminated the family heads from Palermo.

Corleone, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082557

A bar in Corleone, the town that epitomizes the power of the Mafia. It has produced two Godfathers of Cosa Nostra, Bernardo Provenzano and Toto Riina.

Corleone, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082600

The Catarratto wine produced by the Placido Rizzotto Cooperative under the "Libera Terra" label. This typical Sicilian white wine is sold all through Italy.

San Giuseppe Jato, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082574

Honey, olives, jam and olive oil produced by the "Casa dei Giovani" community under the Libera Terra label. Mainly sold in Northern Italy where organic agricultural products are particularly appreciated.

Castelvetrano, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082569

A view of the property confiscated from Matteo Messina Denaro in Castelvetrano. Today it is run by the "Casa dei Giovani", specialising in drug addict rehabilitation. Denaro, who is actively sought by the police, is one of the Mafia's most violent killers. Today, he claims to succeed Bernardo Provenzano at the head of the organisation.

Castelvetrano, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082578

The "Casa dei Giovani" community of Padre Lo Bue in Castelvetrano occupies land confiscated from Matteo Messina Denaro and Bernardo Provenzano. The workers and instructors on site speak of the hostility of the local peasants who are still in the hands of the Mafia.

Castelvetrano, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082537

A view of Gela, with the anarchy of its urbanism which has been controlled by the Mafia for decades. Successive town councils have facilitated the construction of buildings without permission under pressure from the Stidda.

Gela, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082566

Rosario Crocetta has devoted his life to his convictions. He lives holed up in his apartment and his mayor's office." My life changed when I became mayor. I used to have my ideas about the Mafia, then I really met it".

Gela, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082845

Bookseller Salvatore Rizzo-Adelfio in his shop on the Corso Vittorio Emanuele. He was one of the first to join the Addiopizzo association founded in June 2004 by a group of students who wanted to act against racket. According to the code of the association and the rules for the protection of its members, this witness refuses to say if he has or has not been subject to financial exaction by the Mafia.

Palermo, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082953

A Palermo square, which used to be home to the local aristocracy. This section has become one of the poorest in the city and the men of Cosa Nostra are solidly implanted. The Mafia prospers on poverty.

Palermo, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082661

Inaugural session of the Sicilian Regional Assembly after the last elections.

Palermo, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082630

Inaugural session of the Sicilian Regional Assembly in July 2006.Though Salvatore Cuffaro has been re-elected to the presidency, from now onwards he has to stand up to Rita Borsellino, at the head of the very active opposition.

Palermo, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082619

Elected members of the Sicilian Regional Assembly. This body is the backbone of the Sicilian patronage system and the key to the public contracts coveted by Cosa Nostra.

Palermo, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082677

Salvatore Cuffaro (second from left), President of the Sicilian Regional Assembly, at the inaugural session in June 2006.This man, who has undergone several investigations on his supposed links with the Mafia, now faces, across the assembly, a fierce opponent, Rita Borsellino, sister of the judge murdered in 1992, shortly after his colleague Falcone.

Palermo, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0082584

Supporters in the streets of Palermo after Italy's victory over Ukraine in the quarter final of the World Cup.

Palermo, Sicily, Italy - 00/07/2006



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