Friday, August 21

Godfather Goodbye: Breaking down the Roman Rage over Funeral of a Mafia Boss

In posters hung around the church, il Boss
Vittorio Casamonica appears in papal
vestments bearing the caption
KING OF ROME
It's not like we don't know that the mafia lives and breathes down our collective necks and pretty much runs everything around us. Not a day goes by when Rome's Mayor doesn't pick a string - any string - from the grande ball that is Rome and unravels it only to find that it inevitably leads to some criminal, who, with their illegal buildings, waste removal contracts, human trafficking and beach resorts, live actually quite well for a malvivente, Grazie. It was one day earlier that his Administration nailed 59 ne'er-do-wells for a whole host of criminal dealings.
Look north, and in the city once termed Tangentopoli (Bribe City), the mafia contracts for the Milan Expo were uncovered but quickly dispatched out of sight, out of mind, just in time for inauguration day. Who said those Milanese were anything but efficient?
But this ostentatious funeral of a Gypsy King who ran prostitution rings, drug deals, and gambling and extortion pools was over-the-top. And I don't mean for the six black Clydesdales bringing up his gilded funeral carriage, nor even for the playing of the theme song to The Godfather which I actually found quite amusing. No, we're hopping mad for an entire card shark's deck of reasons:
1) The Traffic Tie-up -- Just like back in Imperial Rome and during Berlusconi's reign, all of a sudden cars came to a complete stop; blocked in traffic to make way for the funeral procession. In Italy, funeral processions rarely have the right of way, and certainly not one that shuts down roads for hours - while the black dark-windowed SUVs arrived to church. 
After a new electronics store, Trony, opened its doors on the day the iPhone came out causing the entire city to halt to a standstill, a judge forced them to pay the commuters who had filed suit and the City back as well.
Lucky for Mr. Casamonica, it's August and the streets are nearly empty. But on a normal day in September, his death would have truly stopped traffic cold. But not like anyone will ever ask La Famiglia to pay up for time spent stuck in traffic.  
City ordinance dictates that if you block public transport from continuing its course, you are fined something to the tune of thousands of euro per minute. Four buses had to discharge their passengers and sit to watch the entire spectacle. I'm surprised they weren't charged tickets. Despite this highway robbery, so to speak, I can just see the House of Casamonica countersuing the drivers for stopping along the roadside (also against the law so as not to favor prostitution) and no one even getting a blowjob. I can just imagine the lost revenues.

2) The Police Escort -- Adding insult to injury, the monolith cars were quadruple-parked in the streets, further blocking the traffic flow. But did anyone get a parking ticket? The traffic cops were there - paid for by the honest Romans who pay their taxes - but were tied up directing traffic for the Boss. 
Clearly, even though this Joe Shmoe doesn't pay taxes, he certainly loves the services they provide - at our expense. I'm wondering if we foot the hospital bill for his years of cancer to boot. Funny how that works.
Not to mention that if you or I double park these days, hefty fines are levied before a pigeon can even take aim at your car.
The police say they were 'directing traffic' and that no one "knew" for whom the bell tolled. Really? Just look up at the gigantic banners posted on the church just up ahead. Or, did they think that the Pope - with a nice dark tan - was coming to pay a visit?

3) The Church -- Okay, so we all love Pope Frank. But we also love him for his boldness in taking on prickly issues: the homeless, human trafficking, drug dealers, and the mob. Last year, he stated in no uncertain terms that anyone gaining their livelihoods by say, shortening others', should be ex-communicated. But the priest of Don Bosco church decided to look the other way, saying that of course, he could never - never ever - deny someone a proper funeral service. He also said he didn't know for whom he'd be saying mass. Oh really? Look out your stain-glassed window sometime. The banners showing exactly whom were up there since the morning. And besides, how are you going to talk about what a wonderful Padrino - errrr - father he was? You'd have to know at least his name. Our parish priest also said he didn't care what goes on outside his church, just inside. Well, then, clearly he needs to open the stack of mail on his desk in the sacristy...because he obviously missed the memo on ex-communication.
And we won't even go into this very church's denial of a proper funeral a few years back for a poor man, one Mr Welby. Stricken with such a case of severe muscular dystrophy, by the time he asked his respirator be removed, he was unable to move, eat or breathe on his own. Sound familiar? Oh yes. Just ask Pope John Paul II about removing respirators and "natural causes". He's a saint now - he may just give you an answer.

4) The Helicopter -- A helicopter hovered aloft and at just the right moment, out poured the rose petals - clearly signifying bloodshed, not purity (at least to this commenter). After all, it was a very tongue-in-cheek funeral. There are strict laws about aircraft over the city, about photographing things from overhead, and so on. No one was asked permission for this. But I'm sure if they had, they'd have been granted it. Don Vittorio's niece probably works in the licensing office. But if you or I so much as float a tiny drone overhead to take a picture of the umbrella pines, watch out. You'll be before a judge in no time. [I will note that they've suspended the pilot's license - you know, the guy who took off from Naples? Yeah. That'll deter him from future forays for sure].
The Gypsy Kings - Don Vittorio with Rome's former mayor Alemanno
at a dinner party in which the men all cut deals
on dealing with Rome's garbage
(no pun intended).
Click here for the perfect metaphor for these pigs

feeding at the trough
5) Ignazio Marino, the mayor -- This is my own personal pet peeve. Certainly, The Buck Stops Here. But really? Generations of clan/politician pacts at the expense of honest Italians and the guy who's working on outing this graft one piece at a time is the one who gets the blame? Romans (and politicians from all colors who wish to maintain the status quo) in unison blame their mayor. But still. 
They would rather slide it under the carpet (see Milan Expo2015) along with the gazillion more dead-end uproars for the sake of omertà and the beauty of Bella Figura. Go figure. 
As for Don Vittorio? I guess routing this rot is not unlike Hercules having to clean the Augean stables.
#IStandbyMarino and wish him all the Best. It's a pretty thankless task.

Live links above in color.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

no like.

Insider's Abroad said...

che vergogna :(

http://www.insidersabroad.com/italy

Nina Hansen said...

Wow! Great blog! When will the madness ever stop?
:(

Anonymous said...

Great viewpoint.

LLappin said...

Isn't it odd that despite being tried several times, he has never been convicted of any mafia related crime, or so I read.


Also, the forces of law and order were well informed ahead of time, as some clan members currently under house arrest had to apply for permission the night before in order to attend the service.

Francesca Maggi BurntbytheTuscanSun said...

And...I never even thought of the whole ISIS-related point of view...
I mean, the helicopter deviated from its path...what if it had been headed toward Saint Peter's???

Harm said...

Appreciate the inside scoop!