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Entries in Mario Francese (2)

Sunday
Sep082013

Daughters of Darkness

by Carl Russo

CIAK! Sicilian supremodel Eva Riccobono’s latest comments about her home town have caused anti-Mafia leaders to wish she’d practiced omertà: “I go to Palermo once a month to recharge my batteries,” she told Italian Vanity Fair, “but some things about the Palermitans I don’t like, like the Mafia mentality. I hate the ones who always complain and expect favoritism [la raccomandazione], and especially family tribalism [familismo] and harassment.”

Ninetta BagarellaSpecial Anti-Mafia Commission president Sonia Alfano shot back: “What [Riccobono] said about Palermitans is very serious and ungenerous, for several reasons. To say that the Mafia mentality is dominant in Palermo is a sign of profound ignorance and superficiality.”

As the daughter of journalist Beppe Alfano, murdered by a clan of Messina province, Ms. Alfano is justifiably attentive to how the anti-Mafia struggle is framed. This center-left politician is a reliably trenchant talking head on legal and historical matters of Mafia.

But Alfano and others who object to Palermo’s characterization as a backwater of patronage seem to miss the point. It’s all too easy to mistake a fashion model’s candor for “superficiality.” Despite the strong gains of activists, the arrests of numerous bosses and the seizure of their considerable assets, Palermo is not yet rid of the Mafia. One need only read the dozens of online comments left by frustrated residents below reports of the model's indiscretion. These can be summed up in four words: “Eva speaks the truth!”

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Saturday
Jan292011

Public Executions

by Bluto Ray

Mario FranceseTailing the Corleonese Mafia during its bloody rise to power was a hard-nosed newspaper columnist who reported every move. The screaming headlines were sacrilege in a land ruled by complicit silence:

<strong>THE INCREDIBLE STORY OF CONTRACTS AND CRIMES AT THE GARCIA DAM: THE MAFIA STRIKES GOLD IN THE MOST BARREN RANCH</strong>

The writer launched attack after public attack:

PRIEST: ADVENTURER OR MAFIOSO? This is the question asked at every level of public opinion about the peculiar character of father Agostino Coppola.

The priest in question was the collared mafioso who presided over the secret wedding of Ninetta Bagarella and Totò “The Beast” Riina, emerging leader of the Corleonesi.

Mario Francese poked his nose into Mafia affairs like no other journalist before him. He scooped the wedding and later secured an exclusive interview with the “maestrina” Bagarella:

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