Regarding the racially related violence that spread in Rosarno yesterday 8th January, all that Interior Minister Roberto Maroni did was condemn immigration, stating that violence by migrants had been ‘tolerated all these years’. Unfortunately Maroni is (partially) succeeding in fuelling hatred between the people of Rosarno and immigrants. Thanks to this, the attention is taken away from the real cause of the history of violence in Calabria – the N’drangheta – an organisation larger and more brutal than the Sicilian Mafia, that unlike the latter prefers to keep a low profile.

Once again a right-wing leader is using the tactic of divide and rule. Let the oppressed African workers fight with the oppressed, albeit less severely, people of Rosarno. Most of the people in Rosarno support the N’dangreta. What the immigrants do not know is that most of these people, otherwise honest men and women, do so out of fear of this deadly organisation.

Maroni’s words were condemned by the Italian left as xenophobic and racist. However what I find really worrying is not the words he said, but those he didn’t. If one relies on the Interior Minister’s condemnations, the N’drangeta barely exists. Unlike the violence of the immigrants, that of this criminal organisation is never mentioned.

The extreme violence of the N’drangheta is not mainly targeted at African immigrants, but rich Italians living in the North, ironically the core voters of Maroni’s party. In fact, the organisation got its financial boost to make itself on the same level or even better than the Sicilian Mafia and the Camorra, by kidnapping children and relatives of millionaires from the North for huge ransom sums of money. Most of these victims just ‘vanished’ either because their families failed to pay the ransom, or because they happened to see something they shouldn’t. A few were given back to their families after the ransom was paid. All of these had been severely physically abused and psychologically traumatised for life. In the last three decades only one person managed to escape. Unfortunately, probably out of fear, he was captured and sent back to the criminals by the people of Rosarno themselves.

The ransom money was in turn invested in massive drug trafficking where a kilogram of Cocaine is bought for €20 and sold more than douple that price for every single gramme. Most of these drugs were sold to rich adoloscents in the North, the same people Maroni claims to defend.

The ‘caccia al negro’ serves well for duping the people of Rosarno and let them vent their rage. A ‘caccia al Mafioso’ would not only be more horrible, but might also be the beginning of the fight against the N’drangheta.

In an intercepted conversation between two N’drangheta leaders one says “noi siamo il passato, il presente e il futuro” (we are the past, the present and the future). However, the other voice shows concern for the organisation “se la gente si ribella, noi siamo finiti” (if people revolt, it’s the end of us).

The words Maroni said show him as a racist. However, the words he failed to mention show an even more sinister side.

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