Thursday, February 28, 2008

5 Things You Could Do to Kill the Mafia

As a little kid growing up in Palermo (Sicily), I used to dream of chasing the Bad Guys who were terrorizing my beautiful city.

In my teens, I started to consider the idea of stopping the Mafia one of those naive dreams that could never become a reality.

But now, for the first time in the last 20 years, there is a concrete possibility to kill the Sicilian Mafia, ending its presence in Italy, in USA, and everywhere else it operates, thus improving the lives of thousands of people around the world. And your help is needed, so listen up
.

Sicily. Maybe the last place in the world where you can find yourself having lunch next to Armani or Madonna in an inexpensive restaurant overlooking a turquoise sea. Unfortunately, a land still plagued with organized crime, which protects tourists – they bring money to the local economy – but merciless target local business owners, demanding a large share of their revenue in exchange for "Protection."

Locals call the extortion racket “Pizzo”, and experts agree that this criminal activity is Mafia’s core business, bringing in a steady cash flow which finances its worldwide operations. But “Pizzo” offers much more than just a large financial gain: the protection racket is Mafia’s way to affirm its control over a city, sending the message "I own this place, so you must give me a share of anything you earn, and you must ask my approval for anything you do."

The extortion racket has flourished for decades with the Italian business organization Confindustria secretly telling his associate to comply with Mafia's financial requests: “If we all pay” they used to say “We will all pay less.”

Recently, things have started changing for the better:
- The association of Italian business owner is now expelling from its ranks anyone who pays the “Pizzo.”
- Police has been very successful in taking into custody Mafia bosses, whilst at the same time confiscating Mafia's financial assets.
- Business owner who have said no to Pizzo are increasingly joining an association called AddioPizzo (Goodbye Pizzo) which put them in contact with thousands of Sicilians who are tired of the Mafia and are willing to buy only mob-free products.

The association AddioPizzo is really hitting the Mafia where it hurts, and its leaders now lives in constant danger of a terrible retribution: their popularity is their only defense, since Mafia knows that if AddioPizzo leaders were killed today, thousands of people would take the street in protest, and new stronger leaders would inevitably emerge. So everything depends on national and international attention: the moment we forget about AddioPizzo, Mafia will destroy them without too much fuss, maybe killing a few and spreading negative rumors about the others.

Considering the goal it pursues, AddioPizzo has yet to receive a decent level of International media attention: only a bunch of articles from BBC, Telegraph, Herald Tribune and The Independent, and then nothing else.

Silence is Mafia's natural ally, so please talk about what's happening. Pick one or more activities from the following list and dedicate the next five minutes to it:
1- Write your name on AddioPizzo guestbook to publicly express your support for this brave organization.
2- Help AddioPizzo with a donation. It can be very safely done via PayPal and you get an email confirmation at the end of the process.
3- If you write on a Blog, a Newspaper on any other media, please talk about the possibility of killing the Mafia: nothing scares the Mob more than people not being afraid of it.
4- Alternatively, please Digg this article, review it on StumbleUpon or save it on Delicious. Let’s have as many people as possible knowing that together we can kill the Mafia.
5- If a friend of yours is planning an holiday in Sicily, make sure he’ll sleep only in a beautiful Pizzo-free hotel, such as Addaura Residence or Amarcord Hotel. If you want to try typical Sicilian wine or food, make sure you’ll buy it only from a pizzo free online portals such as Buona Sicilia, and let them know that you are purchasing from them because you’ve read that they are pizzo-free. In short, let’s make sure that Pizzo-free business increase their sales, so they can have an added incentive to stay clean. (The growing list of businesses who have publicly said no to the Mafia is here.) In fact, anyone who speak out against the Mob should be protected and rewarded. So long life to AddioPizzo, and long life to you.

Thanks to Even Happier

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