“This is the periphery of the periphery, with so many difficulties that one does not face sufficiently over the years and where the emergency for the population first exists. This is where the urban revolution must start.”
Roberto Lagalla, who has just arrived in Zen, in what is the first stage of his camping trip in the neighborhoods, immediately listens to the people gathered in front of the Falcone school. A symbolic place for Zen, which the candidate for mayor of the center-right and Renzians does not reach before having made slalom among the illegal stalls of makeshift Sunday vendors, the mountains of rubbish piled on the side of the roads, public houses that have become free zones ruled by mafia and crime.
To welcome him, there is Rector Daniela Lo Verde, brought up by Mariangela Di Gangi – historical zen activist and candidate for city council on the Franco Miceli list – for the Whatsapp message with which he summoned residents and parents the night before Lagalla’s visit of the students at the school he has run for nine years.
“The purpose of my invitation – explains Lo Verde to quell the controversy – was to give the citizens of Zen the opportunity to express the needs of the territory. Why not talk about the problems in the neighborhood in front of a person, in this case a candidate for mayor, came to listen to us? I thought it was useful. If Miceli or another candidate had asked, I would have done the same. June”.
Lagalla never exceeds the threshold of the Falcone school, and in front of the gate he “asks” those present: together with the school principal and the teachers (not only from Falcone, but also from the Sciascia primary school) there are also some mothers and volunteers from the parish of San Filippo Neri . One of them, Tonino Trapani, rejects the labels towards the sender: “In the neighborhood, many, including young people, are involved in helping the poor and in solidarity initiatives. If this is the picture, with rubbish on the street and various situations of deterioration, the fault lies not only with those who live here. Many come from outside to unload waste with trucks “.
Lagalla, with a throbbing drum, asks if there is a video surveillance system. “Professor on the cameras is altolà”, those present almost in chorus reply, suggesting that the “electronic eyes” are not something that drug dealers like. Meanwhile, someone is improvising a round of cycling to observe – at a distance and discreetly – the group of people who, after Lagalla, will soon be moving from Falcone School to the Zen Islands.
“Here – says the headmaster Lo Verde – there are structural problems. The management of waste, but also the sewerage. It does not exist. And the care of the common spaces: there are in fact many abandoned places. Retained what was recently created., as in the case of the football pitch “.
Lagalla “chews” his cigar and mentally takes note. “The first meeting place after school – he reasons with those present – must be in gyms and sports fields or in places where cultural activities can be done. Because outside the classroom, it is difficult for someone to hold a book in their hand …”. One teacher replies, “It is not true that no one studies”. Even though, as Principal Lo Verde adds, “there is a problem with educational failure associated with irregular participation in school. We have virtually eliminated proliferation and abandonment”.
Before Lagalla sets off on foot inside the neighborhood to stop at the clinic and in the parish, Lagalla already has clear ideas: “We started this trip in a motorhome from Zen, in front of the Falcone school, right on the 30th anniversary of the Capaci massacre. , because we believe that education and training are basic tools for social and personal liberation. Education liberation takes a long time, however, the Municipality must immediately improve the services. I have seen dramatic hygienic-environmental conditions. We must give citizens what they need. “help the world of associations and volunteer work to save young people from the underworld and the temptations of the mafia. The administration must also be present through the control of the territory, in synergy with the institutions responsible for this”.
Lagalla is already speaking as mayor. And no one hesitates to call him mayor. “Perhaps by the way and with exclamation marks,” corrects the former principal, who does not refrain from answering the controversy over the support of Cuffaro and Dell’Utri for his candidacy and ultimately to Mariangela Di Gangi’s pin for principal. Verde: “He did not act as a school leader, but as a free citizen who expressed an opinion – Lagalla claims – we did not use the school premises or convicted public servants. We are at a sick level of controversy. Who knows if they will say in the next few days that I am also involved in the attack on the Bank of Agriculture and in the streets of Italicus … This kind of political exploitation is far from the concern of the people “.
Finally, to those who defined him as a party hostage, he replies: “I have never been hostage to anyone and I will not start now at my age. Evaluations need to be made on concrete actions”.