THE STORY OF “MAFIA? NEIN DANKE!”
German police have praised the initiative “Mafia? Nein danke!“ and the commitment of the Italian community in Berlin as a “model for the fight against mafia crimes”.
The movement „Mafia? Nein danke!“ was founded by Laura Garavini together with renowned Italian restaurant owners immediately after the Duisburg killing. In August 2007 ‘Ndrangheta killers murdered six Italians in front of a restaurant. The German and European public was shocked. German newspapers came out with headlines like “Wherever there’s pizza, there’s the mafia”.
Adopting an idea of the antimafia movement “addiopizzo” in Sicily, the day after the Duisburg killing Laura Garavini got in touch with some restaurant owners she had known for a long time in her hometown Berlin. The reaction was overwhelming: Famous restaurant owners like Pino Bianco, Fabio Angilé, Gino Puddu, Enzo di Calogero, Massimo Mannozzi and others spontaneously agreed on joining in. Similar movements were founded in other German cities, as in Cologne with the help of Giovanni Magazzù, Gigi Campi, Luciano Tassila and Fortunato Freno. The restaurant owners committed themselves in written form not to employ any person maintaining contact with mafia groups and to report every attempt of blackmailing to the police.
In December 2007 the initiative “Mafia? Nein danke!” made an important contribution to the arrest of blackmailers in Berlin. Dozens of Italian restaurant-owners had been threatened to pay protection money. In order to scare them and force them to pay, the blackmailers set a restaurant ablaze and a car on fire. But the restaurant-owners were not intimidated. Many of them got in contact with the movement “Mafia? Nein danke!”. 44 of them reported the blackmailing to the police. It was the biggest rebellion ever against protection money outside Italy. The Berlin Police Department has recommended the initiative “Mafia? Nein danke!” as an example for other nations.
The founders of “Mafia? Nein danke!”, together with other Italians living in Berlin, have recently founded the initiative “Viva”. In November 2008 “Viva” organized a series of debates on legality in Berlin schools, with the participation of representatives of the Italian antimafia movement.
The initiatives “Mafia? Nein danke!” and “Viva” have helped fighting not only mafia crimes but also some of the negative prejudices Italians are often confronted with abroad. “We have shown”, says Laura Garavini, “that the stereotype Italy=mafia is absurd. Where there are Italians, there is always also a resolute ‘No’ to mafia – in Italy, in Germany, everywhere.”.
MAFIA? NEIN DANKE!
NASCITA DELL’INIZIATIVA “MAFIA? NEIN DANKE!” 21 agosto 2007
FONDAZIONE DI “MAFIA? NEIN DANKE!”: COLONIA 11 settembre 2007
RIBELLIONE AL PIZZO A BERLINO NEL dicembre 2007
- Die Zeit
- Berliner Morgenpost
- Die Tageszeitung
- Corriere della Sera
- Berliner Zeitung
- Berliner Kurier
- Die Weltt