[Original italian version by Davide Spinelli]
The last day of a condemned man is one of the most famous works from Victor Hugo; one of the most bold critiques about death penalty of 18th century France. In the first lines of the text the protagonist yells: “My body is in chains in a cell; my soul is prisoner of an idea!”
Paolo Borsellino knew he was a dead man walking for 56 days. A free body with possibilities in chains; his will prisoner of the State: mafia will kill me, but only when others will let them do so, Borsellino’s sentence for his wife Agnese on 18th July 1992.
The last of these days is a Sunday: Sunday 19th July 1992.
Borsellino is at the seaside with his family, at Villagrazia di Carini. He wakes up at five o’clock in the morning and receives a phone call from his daughter Fiammetta, on holiday in Indonesia. Around lunch time he goes to his friend’s Peppe Tricoli, alderman of MSI. Then, at 4:40 pm, he greets everybody and heads to Via Mariano D’Amelio. The train gets to destination in twenty minutes. The road is full of cars, both sides: despite the alarms and the requests from the escort, nor prosecutor Giammanco, or the prefecture, or the police ever forbid parking in that area.
The judge gets off the Croma and rings the doorbell at his mother’s house.
At 4:58 a Fiat 126, stolen some days before and filled up with 90 kilograms of TNT, kills judge Borsellino and his five agents from the escort: Agostino Catalano, Emanuela Loi, Vincenzo Li Muli, Walter Eddie Cosina and Claudio Traina. Antonino Vullo, sixth agent, miraculously saved himself. With him, the judge’s bag and the red agenda in it got saved.
The last snapshots photograph it in the hands of a Carabiniere, Major Arcangeli, but the agenda in the bag vanished forever.
Marco Travaglio, in his work E’ stato la mafia states: “The one who stole it is surely a man from State, considering that Mafiosi surely didn’t have access in the closed area in which the tragedy happened. Clearly, the one who stole it for the state is aware of the negotiations, even of the fact that Borsellino was dealing with it and was writing down his discoveries […] It is completely coherent that Cosa Nostra had to do with the massacre, while the men from the institutions that were going on with the negotiations provided for the disappearence of his investigation”.
The facts tell that the bag is found abandoned on the Arnaldo La Barbera‘s armchair, the chief of the squad. In the article “La borsa di Borsellino fu trovata sulla poltrona di La Barbera [Borsellino’s bag was found on Berbera’s armchair] in Sicily’s Blog by Matilde Geraci, we find Fausto Cardella’s sentences about the bag issue: “Barbera said that he found it there and he didn’t know how it got there. In it there surely was a brown notebook, one that Carabinieri have. Then, there was an agenda with some telephone numbers, but the red agenda, about which the marshal Canale had said something, wasn’t there. So, an inquiry started, in order to verify who was in Via D’Amelio during the days after the slaughter. We tried to reconstruct the route that led the bag into Barbera’s office, but I totally don’t remember photographs of agents with that specific bag in the hands. I went away from Caltanissetta on December 1993, and this things came out many years later”.
During his last days Borsellino kept on saying “I have to rush, I have to rush, there’s little time left”. And together with Carlo Sarzana di Sant’Ippolito we ask: What did he know, from who? It was sure that he was not going to give his testimony because of the carelessness of his colleagues in Caltanissetta, and for this reason he kept on furiously writing on his agenda, as marshal Carmelo Canale reported. But what was the extremely dangerous inquiry that he was managing?
Agreeing with Sarzana, in order to be able to isolate some fragment of truth, we find in a circumstance that has been poorly considerated by the prosecutors, an important detail.
The journalist De Cori declared that, during one of the two meetings he had with Falcone after another journalist’s death, Mauro Rostagno, who was collecting information about Ciccio Montalto’s murder, the judge revealed him a detail that was everything but irrelevant: Falcone had spoken with Borsellino about the killing of Montalto and the arm trafficking in Sicily. And that, from that moment on, both had coordinated more investigations in order to assure that bonds among secret services, CIA and mafia actually existed.
If that circumstance was true, we could actually suppose why Falcone’s diaries and Borsellino’s agenda disappeared. But Sarzana insists, reasonably: what were the important facts about Falcone’s death that Borsellino knew so well that he wanted to testify? Were them about the arm and drugs trafficking in which, notoriously, were involved national and international services, Masonry, Cosa Nostra, politicians, arm factories, nuclear material trafficking?
This cycle of questions without answer is undoubtedly one of the traits that characterize the matter that we’re trying to outline. A story that is perpetuously changing, if you think about the recent sentence that commuted Bruno Contrada’s penalty, because it was impracticable and ineffective from a penal point of view.
Sure is that, looking beyond the answers, Borsellino, as his wife and closest colleagues tell, was afraid, and for this reason he knew what the investigations would imply: the investigation he kept on with until his last day, even neglecting his family.
The 19th of July is for remembering a man, his family, his children and the people who didn’t abandon him. But remembering the character of judge Borsellino (and not only) during this day is appropriate, but to, too simple: repetitive memory, the one that is celebrated every year with the same cerimonies, will never reach the power and the discretion of a community, whose roots get their vital strenght from the main public institution, school.
This is the reason why we continue with this column, trying to tell the fear of two men and who was beside them. But it has to be a memory in a random day, because 19th of July is a corrupt, blurred day. And we’re not in this.