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Rita Atria 1974 - 1992

a girl against the mafia

Daughter of the mafia boss Vito Atria, killed on November 18, 1985 in Partanna for a settling of scores, Rita decided to collaborate with the justice system following the example of her young sister-in-law Piera Aiello. She is therefore isolated in the country, since for many - and for her own family - it is a disgrace to maintain ties with those who have broken the wall of silence.

After her father and brother died, rejected by her mother and sister, left by her boyfriend Calogero, Rita in November 1991 met the magistrate Paolo Borsellino (at the time Procurator in Marsala), to whom she bonded as a second father. The revelations of Rita and her sister-in-law Piera allowed the arrest of various members of the clans of Partanna, Sciacca and Marsala. For this she was forced to move to Rome, in a secret place and under a false name, and to live a life completely isolated from the rest of the world. 

"We must make the young people who live in the mafia aware - wrote Rita - that outside there is another world, made up of simple but beautiful things, of purity, a world where you are treated for what you are, not because you are the son of that or why you paid to do that favor. Perhaps an honest world will never exist, but who prevents us from dreaming? If each of us tries to change maybe we will succeed ”.

The death of Borsellino in the Via D'Amelio massacre of 19 July 1992 definitively marked his life. Rita decided to take her own life for the pain: on July 26, 1992 she threw herself from the seventh floor of a building in Viale Amelia 23, in Rome. He left written in his diary: “Now that Borsellino is dead, no one can understand what emptiness he left in my life. Everyone is afraid but the only thing I'm afraid of is that the mafia state will win and those poor fools who fight against the windmills will be killed. Before fighting the mafia you have to do a self-examination of conscience and then, after defeating the mafia inside you, you can fight the mafia that is in the circle of your friends, the mafia is us and our wrong way of behaving . Borsellino, you died for what you believed in, but without you I am dead ”.

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The Rigteous against Mafia

positive examples to break the criminal oppression

As weel as a strong act is needed to stop a genocide or to spoil a totalitarian regime force, a synergy between democratic state and citizens is needed in order to neutralize the Mafia power, with the creation of an alternative attraction pole, that only individuals’ initiative can create. What is needed is the example of a contagious difference, the civil courage of the Righteous able to move the consciences, as it has happened in the 80s and 90s with the judges Falcone and Borsellino, preceded and followed by other magistrates, investigators, politics, priests, teachers, intellectuals, common people, who broke the isolation by transforming a single shelter in a collective force.

The Righteous are the thorn in the flesh of Mafia power: telling their stories, developing the educational memory about them, honouring them with all of the usual and unusual practicable forms, it is a powerful mean to fight the cosche, because it shows to new generations a way out - the possibility to break oppression and live in a condition of social and personal freedom.