Young people: not only fun (2)


By Eleonora Pannacci (1994) LSP Assisi / Italy

Photo by Marta Zerbini (1994) LSP / Italy

Nowadays we often think that  young people  are not interested in current affairs, politics and  culture and they only want to have fun, their interests are simply going to the disco and drinking alcohol.

Actually the  news on TV  and in the newspapers does not  speak enough about  the young people who  sacrifice their lives to improve the world they live in.

In Italy  there is a young man who became well-known for his courage  and talent after publishing his first documentary-novel  Gomorra.

Roberto Saviano is an Italian journalist and writer who, before writing  Gomorra, collaborated for  several years with important  international newspapers like Washington Post, New York Times, El Pais and  Der Spiegel.   He gained international success with Gomorra  published in 2006, translated in 52 languages in the whole world and made into a successful and multi-awarded  movie  in 2008. In his novel he explains how the criminal business of camorra works in a particular Italian region,  Campania,  of  which Naples  is the capital city.  He  also explains how this system spread  in other  parts of the world and in every area of the world trade. Camorra is a criminal organisation, born in Campania, based on gaining  money through violence, murders and actions against the law. It is, along with  the Sicilian Mafia, a real plague for a country, Italy,  that has  tried to defeat it for several decades.

The novel is divided into 10 chapters and each one deals with  a particular theme.   The first one, for example, is on   the illegal trade of clothes and shoes coming from China that takes place  in the port of Naples, and on  the fake designer clothes production made in Campania in miserable conditions,  by exploiting the local people.

Other important themes  are  those  of  the fight  between  criminal families to gain the power, the important  role of women in criminal families, or the illegal trade of weapons. He speaks about the huge trade of drugs in one of the poorest districts of the city, Scampia, that is completely managed and controlled by the Camorra. It is one of the biggest drug-pushing markets in the entire world, in fact Saviano says  that lots of people from every continent, but in particular from other Italian regions,  go to Scampia to buy every type of drug  because of the very low prices. He reports the witnesses of teenage pushers who prefer gaining money in an “easy” way by pushing drugs rather than going to school. They are familiar with weapons and shooting people and see the men of Camorra  as heroes, examples to follow. From what they say Saviano deduces that the State is absent in their lives, it is considered as an enemy to  defeat and not an organ that may help its citizens. The men of Camorra are seen like superstars, like heroes, and their followers, surrounded by this environment, cannot distinguish what is good and what is bad.

I think that reading this novel was fundamental for me, because it allowed me to understand  how  the underworld  works  and perceive  what is not always clearly told  or explained in the news.

Roberto Saviano is an example to follow for any young person  because he has had the courage to tell and write what he saw and what he really experienced, giving a concrete contribution  to  our country and  sacrificing his own freedom.  In fact since he  published his  novel and appeared on TV interviews and conferences he has received lots of threats so he must  live under  escort,  but despite this he goes on telling his experience and enquiring  about camorra and he has also written other novels on the Italian political situation, showing that  there are lots of sides to Italy, not only negative ones. In fact in Gomorra  he also speaks about a priest, Giuseppe Diana, who was killed in 2007 because he  openly protested against the criminal system, and helped the local people  to not submit to its rules.

To conclude I think Roberto Saviano is an important figure because he was born and grew up in the places he describes and he wants  to show that there is another possibility:  the possibility to change. He has shown that it is fundamental to speak, to ask for help, to break the code of silence considered fundamental by the criminal organizations.


One Response to “Young people: not only fun (2)”

  1. Comment from Bettina Gugerell (BORG KREMS, 1996):
    I really liked to read your article and I also think your ideas and your opinion are right. I never heard from Roberto Saviano before, but he is a tough man. He is also very brave to write about things which are well known, but nobody wants to write or talk about it. But it is necessary that the people know, where our clothes are from and who must work for them and under which conditions. Although we all heard of Camorra, the people are too shy or afraid to release about that organization, yet it is important to talk about it, because otherwise you can’t do any against it. I am fascinated by Roberto Saviano and I think he is right when he says that we all have the possibility to change something in the world. And, of course, we have to change something, because we have to make our world safe and good for us. We can’t wait for something to change without doing anything.