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The Boob Tube and Reality

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The show is also relentlessly entertaining. The characters are engrossing. The plot twists astonishing but coherent, and the dialogue mined with ironies and poetic resonance quite beyond what we are used to hearing on the boob tube or even on the commercial cinema screen these days. (Yacower, p. 12)

"Quite beyond what we are used to hearing?" They commented about The Sopranos. Try reading this to get a better notion of what organized crime is beyond the Sopranos, and then, find the "poetry". If there is one thing that organized crime knows how to do is shed its skin. It slithers anywhere there are big profits to be made. Ecomafia (neologism coined by Italian environmental association Legambiente) is one of them.

Illicit waste disposal and waste trafficking, unlawful building and excavation, covert trafficking of stolen artwork and exotic animals are all part of the ecomafia business.

Every year in Italy Legambiente's report gives us the numbers. 2013 saw 29.274 environmental offenses related to 321 mafia clans for a $15 billion profit. 28.360 official complaints were lodged and led to 160 arrests. Twenty-two city councils had to be disbanded for mafia infiltration over the past year-and-a-half, while corruption continues to run rampant from the top to the bottom of the boot.

Throughout the years profits from illicit waste disposal and waste trafficking have fed other illegal economic activities. Burying toxic waste and devastating entire areas of formerly healthy agricultural land has allowed criminal organizations to prosper, re-invest and contaminate other sectors of the country's economy.

While the earth is forced to nourish itself of dioxins, heavy metals and other toxic substances, people ingest, breath and absorb these poisons into their bodies through the food they eat, the air they breath, the water they drink.

The percentage of population with cancer in Italy is much higher than in other European countries. Data from the World Health Organization tells a horrendous story about the situation in the Campania region. Cases of pancreatic, lung and bile duct cancer are 12 percent higher than in the rest of the country. Back in 2004, medical journal The Lancet Oncology, had already spoken of a 24 percent increase in cases of liver cancer in territories where waste was being unlawfully buried and burned. Women, children and young adults continue to get the worst of it.

Judicial records from 1997 made public in Italy last May revealed blood curdling statements pronounced by former mafia boss Carmine Schiavone.
" People who live in Casapesenna, Casal di Principe, Castel Volturno and so on, have, maybe, 20 years of life. "

Radioactive waste "is in the land where buffaloes graze, where the grass no longer grows."

According to Schiavone, nuclear-contaminated mud arrived to Italy on trucks from Germany. The ex boss explained how illegal trafficking of toxic waste became an "authorized business" for the Casalesi clan in 1990. Even though "it had been running for some time prior to that date."

Records also expose evidence that the lethal slag was buried in other parts of Italy from north to south, leaving an entire nation doubting how safe the food (but not only ) they put on their table for their children really is.

In January 2014, 13 mothers from the Campania region travelled to Rome to meet with President Napolitano. They carried a letter from their children, children they lost to cancer, children like ours, who had the right to play, dream, laugh, grow and live.

This is what they wrote to their nation, but above all to those politicians who have the power to put an end to this slaughter of the innocent.

We were little citizens of an area of the Campania region that stretches between Naples and Caserta. A land that despite its historic reputation of beauty, has, in recent years earned itself a number of ill-fated epithets such as: the triangle of death and the land of fire and poison. To us it was very simply the most beautiful place in world, the place where we were born, where we grew and unfortunately died. We would have surely come to visit this government building. Perhaps on one of our school trips, with our school friends. Our teachers would have explained the meaning of this building and its history to us. A sense of pride would have grown inside. We would have identified ourselves in our State and in our Constitution that recognizes and guarantees mankind's sacrosanct rights, both as individuals and as members of our society. A society in which we all have the right to good health and education. As Italians we would have felt protected by a " Father - State " that would have guaranteed our freedom and given us the tools to become good adults.

Unfortunately, things did not go this way and we will never have the chance to grow up.

Signed,

Riccardo; 22 months old forever
Mesia; 3 years old forever
Alice; 3 years old forever
Tonia; 6 years old forever
Enrico; 6 years old forever
Antonio; 9 years old forever
Martina; 9 years old forever
Alessia; 9 years old forever
Francesco; 9 years old forever
Francesco; 9 years old forever
Antonio; 9 years old forever
Dalila; 13 years old forever
Francesco; 14 years old forever

This post is dedicated to all victims of mafia.