«You have to tell things completely, if you want to talk about a territory you have to say everything, not just what you think is most commercial». So we continue the conversation started yesterday with Don Aniello Manganiello, a Guanellian priest who, from the early nineties to September 2010, was the minster of Santa Maria della Provvidenza, in Scampia. He was, then, removed amid the protests of people who hoped him would defeat the organized crime. In 2012 he founded the Association “Ultimi contro le mafie e per la legalità” (Latest against mafias and for legality, ed) and continues to fight against what he calls the “anti-culture” which conveys negative models.
Is it from this struggle of yours for the culture of hope that you dissent with Roberto Saviano , for example?
«Saviano uncovered the pot with his first book, he gave a scenic structure to the Camorra phenomenon by speaking and linking, in detail, the news resulting from the crime actions in the area. In addition to this, he has told a lot about the Camorra of the Casalesi and surrounding areas…».
So what are the divergence points?
«That he only tells this. He tells the part that has the most effect, that affects the imagination and upsets it for its brutality. To be honest, he tells the part that commercially attracts the most. But Naples, Scampia, Secondigliano, Sanità are not just this, this is a part of them… but there is much more. There are many people who daily fight against organized crime, honest families, boys and girls, women, workers, who every day make their important contribution to the war against this cursed beast that ruins our young people. When you take the burden of writing or representing a story on the screen, you must do it with extreme honesty, saying everything that happens, not just the part that can be most emotionally attractive. We must give the same space to the action of those who work for the good, those who do it from their professional position and those who fight voluntarily by making available their free time to win this war ».
Is there a risk of talking too much about the action of the Camorra making it like a lifestyle?
«There is a great risk of mythologizing. In the eyes of the youngest and those who have no adult help to understand, certain negative protagonists become heroes to imitate. I do not agree with the TV series “Gomorra” and nor the movie “Paranza dei bambini”, about a group of kids who take “power” in a district of Naples, taken from Saviano’s book, who also took care of the scenography. Negative protagonists and dynamics are spectacular, there is a strong risk of propaganda in favor of the Camorra world. Arrogance and haughtiness are emphasized, along with all the other negative aspects related to criminal madness, by the images of these productions. There is a risk of cultural emulation among the youngest, who, especially in certain places, widely try to make their best part stronger. You have to stay in the territory to well know what is happening, you must not rely only on information passed by others».
«If Saviano frequented certain neighborhoods more, he would also see the beauty that is growing and the good that is lived and done every day. Saviano, with the continuous spectacularization of Evil, runs the strong risk of undermining the hope of honest Neapolitans and of those who, perhaps, would like to help out».
«I lived 16 years in Scampia (1994-2010) and I go back there every week even today, even though that I am deputy elsewhere. I have been threatened with death several times, to, but have always refused the escort. To really talk about a place, you have to live there, you have to know it in its bowels, you have to get your hands dirty to get people out of the mud and blood.
«They are very angry with Saviano in Scampia , because no one have never seen him there, as we have not seen him in other places he talks about too… we cannot only reconstruct the facts of blood and the dynamics of the Camorra, through the chronicles of newspapers or informers, living elsewhere».
You often repeat a quote from Pope Paul VI: “We need witnesses, not teachers”
«Exactly, we need people who share with us the battle against the Camorra, who testify to us real solidarity, their being fraternally with us. We need men and women who can help to what of good is growing in different parts of Naples, who shares our rebirth alongside us, who breaks bread with us. We need everyone’s support to change the future of our land.
«In Scampia there are more associations than in any other part of Naples, they are, above all sports, cultural and recreational associations; in Scampia there are no baby gangs, some boys who still act as a pole for drug dealing are opposed by thousands of boys who receive weekly training and education through these associations. I founded in 1994, at the Opera Don Guanella, the first Calcio Scampia Association; since that year, many young people have been able to play sports in a healthy and educational environment. After this experience I founded the “Ultimi” association for legality and solidarity, where many initiatives are made to promote another culture».
How is it possible to help Naples react to the Camorra culture?
«In many ways, but first of all we must be generators of hope. Hope must be generated because winning is not a Utopia. Whoever makes the journalist or writes books, must have the intellectual honesty to tell things as they are and maybe support those who build goodness every day, in the “trenches” of everyday life, so that this war can be won one day at the culture of death. Hope and solidarity must be generated, so that the best youth from which rebirth can start again, does not abound us to go elsewhere. We need to talk about how much good we do, because the fear that is generated in certain books or movies risks leaving us alone with ourselves, isolated from others and this would make everything more difficult.
«We need friendly looks, outstretched hands, someone to come and see us, as some parishes and groups from all over Italy have been doing for some time. We need to share our commitment with many who want to take a piece of the road with us. Then, of course, this land needs jobs, together with training and education which are deadly weapons capable of defeating the Camorra culture».
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