Plots, weaving culture against the mafia

From 22 to 26 June in Lamezia Terme the eleventh edition of the festival promoted by the homonymous foundation. Interview with President Nuccio Iovene

A week full of appointments with book presentations, theater performances, concerts, meetings with judges, journalists, scholars of organized crime. “Trame” is much more than a festival, it is the event that for eleven years has transformed Lamezia Terme into the Calabrian city, where we gather to witness a concrete and daily commitment to fighting the mafia. A physical and spiritual place where citizens, institutions, entrepreneurs, social and cultural workers find the strength and energy to keep saying NO. Nuccio Iovene is chairman of the foundation that organizes the festival, along with the Antiracket Association.

Iovene, the artistic director of the Giovanni Tizian Festival, writes that “Trame is above all an idea of ​​Calabria and Italy”. What is this idea?

“Trame” was born in Lamezia Terme, an important city in Calabria, with an administration dissolved three times for the mafia, therefore a city marked in its history by many events, which we will also talk about during the festival, because there is a 1992 which also hit Lamezia. So it’s not a neutral place. The choice to hold a festival about the mafia here, and then create the fund that promotes it, and all the other related activities – those in the schools, “Trame 365” which anticipates and follows the festival – testifies to the existence of a reality that the mafia are against, a civil society that has reacted. There were times when the idea of ​​fighting organized crime prevailed, and times when the guard was lowered and the mafia took over, there was no linear tendency. For these reasons, it is doubly important that the festival is held here and not in Venice or Milan because it speaks from within. Just remember that ‘Ndrangheta has long been identified as the most powerful of the Italian and world criminal organizations.


Lamezia Terme is a very special territory, and as I said, it will also be discussed during the festival, for example in the appointment “The Mafia in the Municipality. 30 years of complicity between clan and politics”. How have you seen it change over the last eleven years from your vantage point? Has “Trame”‘s audience also changed?

The festival immediately received great participation and attention from the city public, but also a strong regional and national appeal. There are many guests and people who come to Lamezia on the five days to follow the appointment week. We recorded the birth of a movement of volunteers as very precious, young people seeking from all over Italy and coming here in the days leading up to the festival. Without them, this event involving thousands of people would not be possible. And then there are the many important guests who attend each year. Our initiative has been and is a crossroads of judges, investigators, journalists, writers, scholars of the mafia, associations and social realities who have crossed with the mafia and decided to fight them, or have experienced on their own what it means to have us in what to do. It is no coincidence that the festival was born out of a happy intuition of the then municipal administration (2011) led by Gianni Speranza, and of the lametina anti-racket association, which was and still is one of the most active in Calabria. At the time, the cultural adviser of Lamezia Terme was Tano Grasso.

“Ninety-two. Italy today thirty years after the massacres” is the title of this eleventh edition. While still trying to play with the titles on the calendar, we borrow one of the first: Which side are we – where are we – thirty years later ?

Great progress has been made in the fight against organized crime, in defining measures and rules to strengthen this action, it must be said. But the mafia are still very present, we can not believe that the abandonment of a massacre strategy has made them disappear. They have been able to change, they adapt easily to new scenarios. Politics, institutions, societies must be able to understand this phenomenon and always give new answers. So on the one hand, the balance is certainly positive, but one can not believe that the game is over or is being resolved because the appetite of organized crime for PNRR funds is voracious, as we have seen. in areas of greatest economic and industrial development it is profound. We think of the recent inquiries from Rome and upwards, which involved genuine ‘Ndrangheta gangs, and testify to a very strong penetration, a river of dirty money laundered in the pure economy. There is still a lack of definitively effective legal tools. There is certainly a positive assessment of the progress that has been made, but one also wonders what to do in the future. We remember that ’92 is not only the year of the massacres, but also of the beginning of Tangentopoli. Two events that together have changed the face of Italy as we knew it until then. And therefore, to return to the beginning of our reasoning, ’92 opens by Lamezia Terme with an excellent murder: it was the first days of January when police inspector Aversa and his wife were killed, in a barbaric way, when they left house one evening .. The headmaster was one of the most active investigators in the fight against organized crime. A few months earlier, another dramatic episode had taken place: the murder of two garbage collectors at dawn on May 24, ’91 with a kalashnicov. Two young men with clean records and workers, over whose crime it has never been possible to shed light, just as many shadows have remained on the Aversa spouses. Inside the great story there is another story about ‘Ndrangheta lametina and the blood of the same years.

From arguments about history to those about current events. Among the planned meetings is also the presentation of the book by Paolo Lattanzio “Mafia Pandemic “published by Rubbettino, which presents the first report on mafia and Covid-19 unanimously approved by the Anti-Mafia Commission in June 2021. What is the specific – and unprecedented – role that mafia has played since the pandemic exploded?

This new role has certainly been seen on many occasions, for example playing with masks. But the mafia also had a great deal of emphasis in the way of reorganizing the cities during the shutdown, in the most difficult situations they made their presence felt. As a festival, asking ourselves about new phenomena and giving food for thought is one of the goals we have, to think about immediate current events as well as history.

We continue to scroll through the program. Among the concepts that animate this edition, but also the working spirit of “Trame”, is the proximity anti-mafia, or how to build daily and common strategies to fight the mafia in everyday life.

The foundation’s activity, apart from the five days in which the festival is held, takes place 365 days a year with the aim of raising awareness and organizing a civilian effort against the mafia. There is a counter-action in support of professionals and entrepreneurs who are daily harassed by the rumble, which is placed next to the police, the judiciary and the institutions as a whole. And then there is an action that must engage the citizens, who must discover that it is possible to rebel, together find the strength and the ways to do it. The anti-racket Lametine association has accompanied many entrepreneurs in the action of reporting, or in escaping the stranglehold they originally fell into: leading to the trial, becoming a civilian party on the road to escape the trouble, which also allowed important judgments and annihilation of entire gangs. All this enables the emergence of positive initiatives and mobilizations. During the same period that the festival was born, eleven years ago, in one of the districts most exposed to organized crime, a park named after Peppino Impastato was inaugurated. Some rooms were used for the foundation and the association and today they are the headquarters of the “Civico Trame”, a space where initiatives aimed at the city and in particular young people take place all year round. Of course, these achievements are never achieved once and for all. A few years after the happy experience of the Speranza administration, a third resolution for the Mafia returned. There is permanent work to be done. Never let your guard down.

Until the last day – the festival is held from Wednesday the 22nd to Sunday the 26th of June – the program is extremely rich: books, exhibitions, debates, theater performances. Why does the mafia have such a strong narrative “charm”?

If we look at the events in Italy and around the world over a long period of time, we realize that huge strides have been made and that there has been a turnaround in the approach to the issue. Until a while ago, the vulgarity was that the mafia does not exist, it is an invention of those who “fix themselves and want to fight it”. I heard mayors up to twenty years ago, even when they were questioned by the Anitmafia Commission. We are talking about a relatively new phenomenon. The massacres of ’92, on the other hand, have definitely torn a veil. The fact that a literature, an attention, a diversity of ways of telling and addressing the subject of the mafia has grown, is evidence of this epoch change in perception. A fact has finally been appropriated: the mafia exists and we must not live with it. We need to understand how it is made and fight it, find ways to do it. Among the programs planned for the festival will be a monologue by Stefano Massini, the beautiful “A Chiara” by Jonas Carpignano, a film that tells the story of a girl from Gioia Tauro who discovers that she belongs to a mafia family , with all the difficulties and inner contrast that this entails (belonging to the family vs rejection of a value system belonging to this family). And then a more than necessary tribute to Letizia Battaglia and several Lame artists, including the young musician Naip. Much, much to see and hear for those who will come and visit us.

The complete program for “Trame.11”

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