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In perfect “Gomorrah” style they shoot skyward as they whiz through the streets
PALERMO – They portray themselves as real tough, riding scooters and electric bikes.
The background music for their social videos ranges from trap to neomelodic.
They carry toy guns, in perfect “Gomorrah” style.
They shoot skyward as they whiz through the streets.
The stories they depict young people from Palermo who live in the neighborhoods of a suburb far from the trendy clubs.
Although trendy are the sneakers they wear, along with flashy gold necklaces.
They talk about respect, challenge enemies and remember dead friends.
The reality of the suburbs is the other side of the same city.
Brancaccio, Bonagia, Falsmiele, Zen, Sperone, Ciaculli, Ballarò.
A reality that often ends up in the news pages.
The most striking case? The blitz of the police at the Sperone that brought out the drug dealing activity also managed by baby pusher in front of the schools.
The last story in chronological order concerns the gang of the historic center.
A few days ago the police commissioner of Palermo Leopoldo Laricchia issued 12 Daspo Willy against a group of very young Palermitans, all little more than 18 years of age and two minors, accused of having carried out a series of robberies in the historic center.
The boys approached the victims, often peers, in the nightlife areas, forcing them to have cell phones and money delivered under the threat of a gun.
The disheartening numbers
According to the National Observatory on Adolescence, set up at the Ministry for the Family, 6.5% of minors are part of a gang, 16% have committed vandalism, while three out of ten boys took part in a fight.
Damage, theft and receiving stolen goods, robberies and extortions, fights and injuries, dissemination of pornographic images on social media: these are the crimes most committed by children.
Discouraged numbers that are added to those recorded on 21 September 2021 by the Openpolis foundation13 according to which – elaborating a series of Istat and Eurostat data – Sicily would occupy, with reference to 2020, the first place for early school leaving, with a rate equal to 19.4% of the population aged between 18 and 24: an incredibly high and highly worrying rate.
These figures have been confirmed by the Juvenile Courts through the Ars Antimafia commission led by Claudio Fava, which has completed an investigation into the juvenile condition in Sicily, “hostage to an ancient and unresolved hardship – reads the report -.
Girls and boys who live their vulnerability relying only on the presence of the school: sometimes accepted, sometimes suffered, often rejected.
The school dropout rates reported by the Juvenile Courts remain among the highest in Europe, with a dramatic peak in the transition between middle and high school.
And with a further vulnus: where the state’s training and educational offer does not reach, organized crime often arrives, with a system of seductions, values and recruitments that forever marks the destiny of these minors “.
“The social elevator, in the Sicilian suburbs, stopped on the upper floors.
It has led to a violent social and physical separation between some neighborhoods and the rest of the city – concludes the report –.
But what is more serious is the effect it produces on the daily life and on the destiny of thousands of minors that that neighborhood (its loneliness, its social discomfort, its material mortification) experience as a ghetto.
Worse: a prison.
Taking charge of the condition of these young people means investing in their territory, in their living conditions, in the concrete meaning of opportunities: the rest – dozens of auditors have made us understand – are chatter ”.
Who works on the front line
Churches, associations, counselors, social workers and psychologists work hard.
“The villain becomes the winning protagonist of our society”.
Don Maurizio Frankfurt of the parish of San Gaetano declares to LiveSicilia, that of the blessed Don Pino Puglisi killed by the Cosa Nostra in Brancaccio.
Don Maurizio together with a group of volunteers gives not only spiritual support to numerous families in the neighborhood.
Either they think about it, or it is under crime to hire new recruits.
“We now have only young people’s life as an example bad boys.
It is from this stereotype that the strategy of the pack starts.
I think exactly as Don Pino Puglisi thought – explains Don Maruizio -.
The only weapons we have at our disposal to stem this problem are those of educating to beauty and culture.
That the school becomes a place not only for knowledge but also for education.
If we keep putting films like ‘suburra’ in prime time and then we present the protagonists as those who enjoy life, what can we hope for? My neighborhood is experiencing this social transition.
In fact, to date, the youth gangs in some areas of southern Palermo manage the drugstore squares.
This is also the transformation ”.
“The pandemic has aggravated the suffering of young people.
The picture that comes to us from the territories is of an increase in the use of drugs and alcohol in adolescence and pre-adolescence and of a growing number of episodes of bullying, theft and deviant actions that have minors as protagonists – says Giuseppe Ciulla, president of the Order of Social Workers of Sicily -.
It is a complex and worrying situation, even more serious due to the unscrupulousness with which these actions are shared on social networks, becoming an element of emulation.
It is an emergency that the institutions must take on together, intervening in an integrated manner with multidimensional projects not only for the reintegration of those who commit crimes but for prevention, in a widespread manner throughout the territory and continues over time.
Creating a system is the only possible way “.
“In Palermo there have always been territories in which there seems to be a sort of generational transmission of discomfort”, Mariapia Avara, psychologist at the Padre Nostro center in Brancaccio, told Live Sicilia.
She who she adds: “We often see in families that repeated problems seem almost unchanged.
Furthermore, early school leaving is a phenomenon that increases dramatically.
The pandemic was detonating from many points of view also with respect to the contrast of the mafia counter-culture.
Every day we touch educational poverty and discomfort with our hands and we are sorry to note, however, that attention to these great difficulties is amplified more in some Sicilian political moments such as changes “.
“Young people are angry” – adds Mariangela Di Gangi, coordinator of the Zen Together Laboratory -.
I am very worried how the boys live in the Sicilian capital at the moment.
This anger can lead to a dangerous escalation.
To date, looking at the picture of the situation, I too have difficulty in finding a solution that can really work to try to stem the problem.
In this city for too many years we have not dealt with childhood.
And while the school struggles to create a social path, these kids think that interactions work only for usefulness and prevarication.
Many, too many use shortcuts that are nothing more than giving a hand to organized crime “.