May 23, Mafia Day

Mike James. former news anchor KING TV

The 23rd of May – il 23 maggio…..


It’s a day in Italy to remember courage, the will to fight, a commitment to truth, the tenacity to confront and prosecute criminal arrogance, to remember Giovanni Falcone.

Thousands will turn out that day, paying respect, remembering Falcone’s prosecution, against odds and history, of the Sicilian Mafia – an effort leading to the famous Maxi trial that jailed hundreds of mafiosi.
The syndicate retaliated, blowing up Falcone’s car on May 23, 1992, killing him, his wife, and the bodyguards always with him in his travels – he’d been marked for death ever since his own public vow that the mafia was not invincible, that it was time, past time, to confront the mob.
All of this – the trial, the murders of Falcone and other prosecutors and judges, the beginnings of a long fight against Italy’s criminal underground – is in a book I’m reading on this journey, “Storie di Sangue, Amici e Fantasmi” (Stories of Blood, Friends and Phantoms) by Pietro Grasso, one judge who survived the mafia death squads, who saw those who killed his dear friend, Falcone, finally thrown in jail.
I’m too long here now, but just two things:
– a bust of Falcone stands at FBI headquarters in the US, an international tribute to his courage and commitment.
– and Grasso remembering what Falcone repeated again and again, that the mafia is not invincible, “It is a human fact, and as with all human things it has a beginning and will have an end.”
Grasso takes new hope each year on May 23 when thousands gather at Falcone’s home, now a shrine, to stand in silence, to commit anew.
In a letter of remembrance he writes, “Hai ragione, Giovanni: avrà una fine.”
(“You are right, Giovanni: it will have an end.”)

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