Travelling by Mule from Sicily to Rome in the name of Mafia Victims and Sustainable Agriculture

Thu, 07/19/2012 - 04:47

On this day 20 years ago, the 19th of July 1992, anti-mafia magistrate Paolo Borsellino was brutally murdered in a Mafia car bombing less than two months after his close colleague and fellow member of the antimafia pool, Giovanni Falcone, was murdered in the Capaci massacre. To honour the 20th anniversary of their deaths, the state has put together a photographic exhibition and series of television specials, which began in May on the anniversary of Falcone's death.

The anniversary has been marked also by several citizens' initiatives and events. One of the most original and interesting one is that of two Sicilians who decided to travel by mule (a symbol of old Sicilian peasant life) from Portella della Ginestra in Sicily to the President's residence in Rome, the Palazzo del Quirinale, with a message of social and ecological responsibility and collected dispatches from the rural people they met en-route.

Bruno and Adamo's companions on their two-and-a-half-month journey were two mules named Giovanni and Paolo, commemorating the antimafia judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino who inspired the pair with their bravery and commitment to protecting Sicilian citizens.

Portella della Ginestra, the site where Federico Price Bruno and Mirko Adamo began their journey, was also chosen to mark the 65th anniversary of the 1st of May 1947 massacre, one of the most violent events in modern Italian history in which 11 peasants were killed and another 27 wounded when the Mafia infiltrated a working class Labour Day festival.

By sticking to ancient herding routes and donkey trails and avoiding main roads as much as possible, Bruno and Adamo travelled through rarely visited areas of the seven regions they traversed—Abruzzo, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Lazio, Molise, and Sicilia. Their upcoming film, Eco Mule will showcase the traditional regional production and ways of life still practised in these areas, with a particular focus on the effect that government support and incentives could have in nurturing cottage industries and rural tourism.