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La Camorra, un gruppo Talibanese or why the Naples mafia are Italys very own Taliban

You can almost pass over the seemingly endless reports of yet more Taliban killings in Afghanistan or Pakistan. That, sadly, is how it seems to go with a bleak “fixed” situation.

“Oh, more Taliban killings. Right”. You almost need to remind yourself to be shocked. To remind yourself that these people are killing innocent people, almost every day. Anyway, that’s how it seems to me. So when I saw today’s (incredibly depressing) news that the British aid worker Gayle Williams has been killed by the Taliban I – must admit – only half registered it.

But then I read on: "She was a volunteer working for Serve Afghanistan, a British-based Christian charity that helps disabled Afghans. Afghan interior ministry spokesman Zemeri Bashary said the aid worker was shot several times in the body and leg with a pistol.The Taliban claimed responsibility for the shooting, saying Ms Williams was killed because she was spreading Christianity."

If you weren’t angry before, you should be now. What the f**k! This is just too sickening for words (too sickening even for expletives). Amnesty’s frequently denounced the Taliban’s murderous proclivities – but I don’t think it can be done too often and too strongly. (And more new killings from them reported here).

Actually, I was already thinking a  bit about the Taliban’s disgusting homicidal agenda because I went to see the film “Gomorrah” at the weekend.

It’s had an avalanche of publicity, of course, mostly because the guy who wrote the book – Roberto Saviano – is under police protection in Italy after getting death threats. (Salman Rushdie has even said Saviano is in more danger now than even he was after “The Satanic Verses”).

Revealing how murderous the Camorra (“The System”, the Naples mafia) really is, is not, it seems, the “done thing” in Neapolitan culture.

This is a mafia film “unplugged”. Gomorrah is not the Godafther or Wise Guys. There are no “made men”. No Joe Pesci. No moody opera music. Definitely no multi-millionaire Hollywood A-listers getting all “method” on your ass.

I had a couple of gripes about the “realism” of the film (would X or Y really have done that…?) but Gomorrah apparently documents pretty accurately how this armed group behaves. The Camorra we see in the film wraps its tentacles around people’s lives – they even have a sort of welfare system of payouts for families whose breadwinner is in jail, and they induct children into the operation via initiation ceremonies (being shot while wearing a bullet-proof vest). 

You could say Gomorrah is a “feel-bad” film. I guess it is. But the statistics that come up at the film’s close take your breath away. This armed group has killed more people in Europe in the last 30 years than any other. That’s more than the IRA or ETA. On average, they kill someone every three days.

The Camorra might be culturally worlds apart from their counterparts on the manic streets of Kabul or Kandahar, but they’re nevertheless the Taliban of Italy.

About Amnesty UK Blogs
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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