© 2012 Jacob Balzani Lööv. All rights reserved.

Journalists (IV): Maddalena Rostagno


Maddalena she’s not a journalist herself but she’s the daughter of a real one, Mauro Rostagno. What is a real journalist? In few words I believe that a real journalist is someone who has the sense for a story and feel the urge to tell it, to prove it, to make it public so that the society, now aware, can take action. Figures like Georges Duroy, the fictional character of Maupassant’s Bel Ami, practicing only for a personal outcome, which unfortunately in the real world are present in large number, are not real journalists are useless.

Mauro Rostagno (sorry the link is only in italian) was an Italian activist who went through different battles, first sociopolitical, then against drug addiction and finally against Mafia. It was in Trapani, in Sicily that he began reporting on a local TV about the abuses of the local administration and about Mafia activities in the region. He just did it. He went out with his videocamera and a mic and started asking the questions that nobody dared to ask. On the evening of the 22nd of September 1988 he was shot while returning home in his car.

Is it normal when you deal with Mafia? Probably. What is not normal is that for more than 20 years the investigations always excluded that Mafia was involved. Hours and hours of videotaped evidence of Mauro making names of people involved with Mafia were not regarded as a sufficient ground. After 8 years in 1996 his partner Chicca Roveri was arrested for 11 days because of new grounds in the investigation. During those 11 days the useless journalists I mentioned above wrote whatever about her. She was after released because the grounds were not sounding at all. Only 23 years later since February 2012 a new trial in Trapani is examining the involvement of Mafia. On trial, as the person behind the assassination, is Vincenzo Virga, an old friend of Marcello Dell’Utri (right-hand man of Silvio Berlusconi) .

Maddalena Rostagno (together with Andrea Gentile) wrote a beautiful book to tell not only the story of his father but also implicitly her story. After I took her portrait, while comparing her to the picture on the cover of her book, where she is sitting on the knees of his father in an automatic photo boot, I cried. I was moved because she suffered the loss of his father, she suffered the loss of trust in our institutions (how can it be different?), she lost her youth. And all this just because her father wanted to make that little part of the world he was living in nicer, better. I felt directly responsible for it, because I still naively believe that if everything works as it should when you vote and you are democratically represented your voice is there among the high unreachable politicians. If not is our responsibility to change it.

This is Italy, my country. How can we tolerate it I don’t know.



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