On Sunday, March 30, hundreds marched in Palermo from the Statua della Liberta’ to Piazza Politeama in support of making Sicily an independent nation. This movement is moving in part as a response to the ongoing economic crisis, but is not necessarily a new idea. Don’t forget bandito Salvatore Giuliano fought for Sicilian independence in the years right after the war (and even wanted Sicily to become the USA’s 51st state). The movement then was really headed by statesman Finocchiaro Aprile who, even before the Allieds disembarked to liberate Sicily in 1943, had been reaching out to America and England to support his program for independence. Once the war ended he formed EVIS: Eserciti Volontario per l’Indipendenza della Sicilia, which, for better or worse depending on who you ask, couldn’t stem the tide of war-weary Sicily remaining in the so-called unified Italy.
Now let’s remember, the Allies worked with Lucky Luciano and local mafiosi to liberate Sicily during the war and to kick out the fascists and nazis. The mafia, as you might guess, doesn’t act altruistically, so in return for the favor they cemented their power in post-war Sicily, delivering votes in Italian national and local elections for the powerhouse Christian Democrat party—all of this with the support in one way or another of the USA, to whom keeping down the Communist Party in Italy was the only thing that mattered, even if it meant an (unofficial?) alliance between the mafia and the Italian Government, which I dare say has yet to be fully eradicated. The President of the Region of Sicily during the time I bought my house here less than a decade ago is currently sitting in a jail cell due to his mafia favors. As one marcher told me yesterday, “Sicily has been robbed three times since the days of The Leopard, (read: the days of Italian unification): once by Garibaldi and the Piedmontesi, once by the Mafia, and now by Rome.” Read more »