In Scampia the Camorra kills

Remembering, so as not to forget the evil

Scampia is not just Camorra. In fact, most of Scampia’s people have never dealt with the Camorra. And yet here – now that I hear about it – people are killed by Camorra. The many deaths by this feud have always shocked me.

I read the novel by Saviano when I came here. I also watched the series that based on it. And I had read about films and books dealing with the Mafia. Literature that counts. However, I knew very little.

5th December 2012, at twelve o’clock in the morning, two men armed on a scooter must eliminate a member of the opposing party. It is a continuous elimination, one retaliation after another, just like war, to weaken the enemy. He senses it – with all those dead and killed around him he realises that his turn has come – and disappears. They chase him. They can’t let him escape from under their nose; otherwise no other homicide will be commissioned. Here too the market rule applies; indeed here even more. A break. They were waiting for him at home to kill him. But now he has escaped and sought shelter, climbing over the fence of a kindergarten. That is a border not to be crossed. There are some children singing Christmas songs. He dies riddled with bullets. The teachers have seen. The children, perhaps, not.

A fate similar to that of Gelsomina, 21st November 2004. Mina was a girl of twenty-two. Tortured, mutilated and killed so as to flush out a splinter – one who breaks the clan’s bond of belonging. Gelsomina had one fault in the eyes of her tormentors: having been seen in the company of the one to be eliminated. A hug, a kiss, a caress. This was enough. Her body had been found in his car, charred. They had torched the car to hide any traces of torture. But she had not spoken. She had to tell her executioners everything, but she did not know.

These murders have already been told. For many who have experienced these murders, the desire is to try to forget. Saying that Scampia is something else, much more. Scampia is so much more: people who work, who get up early in the morning and come back late in the evening; university students of all faculties; teachers; doctors, pharmacists; nurses; unemployed; freelancers; housewives, etc…

Having, however, the courage to remember what has raped these places, what has spoiled their dignity, what has ruined many people. Remembering these murders, these cruelties are a salvific and liberating memorial; like telling a fairy tale that admonishes, but that above all educates the new generations.

Many young people have never known first hand. However, many of Scampia’s young people have already been deprived of their dignity. I see. It is observed daily by the percentage of school dropouts, by the misery of the schools. It’s always a punch in the stomach to listen to guys who have difficulty reading and writing. Or if they wish to learn, their wings clipped by weighty habits.

The faults would be many: historical, social, political. So much in recent years has been done by a “voluntarism” of social redemption. Many associations operate in the area with great enthusiasm and vitality. Then the Church, with commitment, puts itself at the service of the neighborhood. But the question remains: how to continue this journey of rebirth?

If we do not face the violence of Scampia, and not only, but also that of Naples, Campania, the south, our country, maybe there can not be a real rebirth. The wound will continue to bleed with every murder, at every stretch – boys who shoot wildly to launch messages of intimidation – with every boy who leaves school, with any unemployed losing their dignity.

The future of these suburbs will be to reappropriate their own places and spaces, in finding an authentic inhabited place, a common and communal life. Spaces alive and lived, capable of memory.

Knowing how to remember, to reappropriate the past, to live the present.

The Author

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