The Age on Gomorrah Author Roberto Saviano




Roberto Saviano by Piero Tasso

Originally uploaded by Thomas Roche

The Age weighs in on author Roberto Saviano’s on-the-run status after the publication of Gomorrah, his book on the Naples mafia (known as the Camorra — get it?). The 29-year-old Savino is described as living Salman Rushdie style; I previously linked to a National Post story about him here.

The age quotes Saviano about the hatred directed at him in Naples for breaking the “code of silence” around talking about the Camorra:

“In Naples, the hatred directed against me is without limits. Twice, our car has been spat on. I have to go around in an armoured car. I cannot find a house to live in … just now, I have been chased out of the house where I was and am living in a hotel,” he says.

“Do you know what they did … the other tenants banded together to pay the proprietor the equivalent of a month’s rent. Here, I am seen as dirty because I spoke and I wrote of ‘that thing’. I never expected such hostility. It is total. Absolute.” Saviano’s book is a mix of investigative journalism drawn from interviews and court reports entwined with harrowing first-hand tales and observations. It is imbued with fury — at the senseless violence and the exploitation of innocent people, compatriots whose stories have been ignored by the Italian press for years because they came from marginalised southern towns that meant nothing.

“You ask why this story was not told sooner? So did I. But it is not omerta (the Mafia code of silence). It is because these were stories about people regarded as nobodies, as merda (shit), as people out there, not in the big cities and towns,” he says.

…Saviano’s father was the local doctor who once suffered a ferocious beating for breaking a Camorra rule and helping a shooting victim….The Camorra “sistema” described by Saviano is gut wrenchingly violent, parochial and yet terrifyingly entrepreunerial — the clan has embraced and exploited a globalised world, identifying economic opportunities early in new markets, from China to Russia, throughout Europe and even to Australia.

Vast, sinister and enormously powerful, its 30 billion-euro-a-year network of businesses spans construction, development and transport to illicit waste disposal, arms trafficking and drug importation and distribution.

Read more here.

Image by Piero Tasso, via Wikipedia.

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