Monday, October 22, 2012

Wine Tasting and ... Um... What was that again?

And if this post and the last two make sense, that’ll be impressive. We’ve just been wine tasting. Wheeeeeeeee. I’m pretty sure we did something else this morning, but I can’t remember what it was. Oh, yeah, we want to CIDMA. Which stands for Center Internationale de... something Mafia something. Basically, the internationial headquarters of the Anti-Mafia movement. In the town of Corleone (I’ll remember that.) The CIDMA tour itself wasn’t overly impressive. Which is to say, the stuff they had to look at wasn’t particularly – OK, look, what we’re dealing with here is a story that needs preserving and sharing. We’re not dealing with a museum that wants to collect mafia relics or in any way romanticize the mafia. So it isn’t like they’ve got some enforcer’s gun or anything tangible for us to look at. What they’ve got are a few rooms are historical (and rather artistic) photographs, and a display of numerous volumes of trial record. (And when I say a display of volumes of trial record, I mean just that. A lot of volumes of record, bound up, sitting on shelves. They aren’t open to any good pages and set up for your review. It’s just the mere fact of their existence that makes then worthy of preservation) So there wasn’t much to see. The point was to hear the story. Our tour guide here was a young man named Walter, who is himself from Corleone, which he describes as “my village.” He takes the whole mafia thing in personally, in a sense of “look at what these people did to my village.”

The takeaway, simplified and filtered through my wine-addled brain, goes something like this: In 1986, there was the first trial of numerous mafia figures. (And, really, I mean numerous. There was something like more than 400 defendants.) This was a good thing. And in 1992, the mafia had the two judges who had presided over the trial assassinated. This was not good at all. But it prompted something good: the general public stood up and said “No.” In the past (illustrated by some of the historical photographs), the general public attitude toward the mafia was one of willful blindness. Ignore the dead body on the ground; just keep walking; pay your protection money and don’t see or say anything. And that was all well and good when the only people the mafia killed were other members of the mafia. But when they killed the judges – with indiscriminate bombs – it went too far and people stopped being silent. This was the start of the anti-mafia movement. The movement is still pretty small – in several communities, the vast majority of the businesses still pony up protection money – but there isn’t much mafia left in Corleone, and there haven’t been any more of those assassinations.

Interesting, no? And then we went to a local winery for wine-tasting and lunch. Then back on the bus to a very nice hotel/spa for the night.

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