Don Aniello Manganiello

An interview with Don Manganiello: how to eradicate the Camorra

"It is anti-culture that I fight most forcefully: all negative messages, all that, directly and indirectly, brings benefits to the underworld"

tempo di lettura 8 minuti

First part.
Don Aniello Manganiello, 65, a Don Guanella’s follower, is one of those priests with a contagious smile, the wrinkles on his face speak of struggle, passion and love for his people, they tell us how we always go up against the current, how we always play in an away game, even if you are at home. He is one of those anti-camorra priests who never give up, imbued with courage and hope, for his land but in particular for younger people who, through choices of justice, can redeem generations of men and women who ended up in small cells in Poggioreale or Secondigliano, or in one of the huge Neapolitan cemeteries. «Many Camorristi in prison have asked me to take care of their children, to save them and educate them against the culture of death that leads man to one of the many hells of this world, of which they will pay the price for a long time».

Don Aniello, you always have fought tenaciously to fight the Camorra also on the cultural front, a story that starts from afar …

«Of course, it is an ancient cultural evil that has consolidated over time. Since the 1800s, first with the Bourbons and subsequently with the Savoys, the culture of the “antistate” was formed, small local notables tried to replace the Rulers of that time in all small, minor matters, in order to widened the their field of influence, then, in major sectors. The Camorra initially solved small social conflicts, small district problems or between citizens or families but unlike the official State, it gave quick and apparently Solomonic answers, in front of the eyes of poor uneducated people. But great responsibility also belongs to those who governed … »

How much?

«Both the Bourbons before and the governors of the Savoys after, let them do… because of laziness, in order not to take on a multitude of small matters of the uneducated and quarrelsome “populino”, who did not understand the laws and had no money to pay lawyers. A mountain of causes, made up of small disagreements or issues, which were not worth the trouble of flooding the courts. They let these disputes be handled on the territory by others… but the others did not just manage only these little things».

A delegation to replace the State…

«In the case of the Minister of the Interior and Police Director, Liborio Romano, the delegation was official. In 1860, the Minister of the Bourbon Kingdom secretly agreed with Garibaldi, who was marching towards Naples from the conquered Sicily, and guaranteed the so-called “Hero of the two Worlds”, a peaceful and festive entrance into the city thanks to an agreement with the Camorra. Freemason Minister Liborio Romano instructs Salvatore De Crescenzo, the undisputed head of the Camorra at that time, to maintain public order in Naples, favoring the entry of Garibaldi. A “City Security Guard” was created, under the command of Salvatore De Crescenzo, made up of Camorra members who split into companies to better manage and control public order in the neighborhoods of Naples. Through this order service, Minister Liborio Romano granted unconditional amnesty, government pay and a recognized public role to the Camorra».

That reminds something similar that happened in Sicily in July 1943

«Yes, more or less, the story repeated itself eighty-three years later, with different protagonists, the Americans and the British asked for help to the Sicilian-American Mafia, necessary for the landing and the “Allied” advance in Sicily of July 1943 ».

Since that day in September 1860, has the Camorra always lived undisturbed in Naples?

«No, during the Fascist Era, the Camorra had a strong setback. As for Sicily, where Mussolini appoints the prefect Cesare Mori with huge powers, for Campania the same head of government appointed the Major of the Carabinieri Vincenzo Anceschi. An officer who bonded together the broad powers granted by Mussolini to a strong determination to fight against organized crime. In 1926, after a few months of office, about 1,700 affiliates in the Mazzoni area and around 1,280 in the Aversano were arrested for the crimes committed, other crimes and preventive measures. He dismantled entire criminal families, freeing the city territories and neighborhoods, restoring them to state control. But even Major Anceschi, writing to Mussolini, asks for roads, schools, but above all jobs because, if not: “… everything, Excellency, will return as before”».

After the war, families regained their usual power …

«They regained oxygen with the American occupation, which knew that it was supposed to stay for a imited period and did not want public order problems, many were already those of a practical nature, which the “Allies” had to solve, for a city deeply marked by the war and the misery. In all likelihood, there were agreements between the Americans and the “old Camorra families” to manage public order, without getting too hurt… Afterwards, the newly formed Italian Republic did little to counter the Camorra, which has consolidated and fortified both in Naples and in the near territories».

The Camorra is not only the anti-State, it also uses religious symbols to attract popularity…

«Exactly. Camorra members breach poor and ignorant people, even with a religious symbolism often used, both in affiliation formulas or in events, to increase their authority and popularity among people. They try to make believe that somehow they act following the divine will or even are the executive arm, cloaking some of their actions with a sacredness referring to I don’t know which God. The Camorra, the Mafia, the Ndrangheta and any other form of organized crime, they are phenomena that are at the antipodes of Christianity; these criminal organizations, in their essence and in their actions, are totally opposed to the will of the Christian God ».

A certain Camorra mentality was also cleared by a certain Neapolitan cinema of the 70-80s, where the character of the smuggler or the boss of the neighborhood was mythologized. Then it was the turn of a part of the new Neapolitan neo-melodic music…

«Yes, when the State is absent or not credible, a certain sick representation takes hold. Part of the new Neapolitan neo-melodic music sings adultery, murder, drugs, violence and force, revenge. It is anti-culture, it is what I fight the most, all the negative messages, all that, directly and indirectly, brings benefits to the Camorra or to a certain culture that favors its permanence, I try to contrast it with all my strength».

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