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Reversible Destiny

The book jackets of Reversible Destiny, co-authored with Peter Schneider, and its Italian translation, Il Destino Reversible, present the reader with telling images of the antimafia struggle against mafia corruption in Sicily.  The man in handcuffs is Vito Ciancimino, Christian Democratic commissioner of public works and (briefly) mayor of Palermo during the “long” 1960s, when the city was “cementified” by mafia-allied construction companies and contractors.  To this day, Ciancimino is nearly unique among politicians to be successfully convicted for mafia association – a judicial process that continues to encounter enormous hurdles, notwithstanding testimony about collusion from a widening array of witnesses.  Antimafia activists despair over this impasse, as suggested by the other images.  On the cover of the Italian edition we see the prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, both massacred by the Mafia in 1992, together with an antimafia banner saying “You haven’t killed their ideas, which continue to walk on our legs.”  The English edition shows, alongside Ciancimino, the painted sheets that were spontaneously hung from Palermo balconies following these assassinations; they cry out “Enough!” and “We want justice!”   


Participant: Jane SCHNEIDER
PhD Program in Anthropology | City University of New York Graduate Center
Presentation: "Antimafia Framings of Corruption"