Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Ballad of Luciano Leggio (Finale) -- "Was he the author or the director?"

Luciano Leggio on trial.  "Leggio sat in his prison cells across Italy, moving his killers like pawns across the chessboard of Sicily, picking up judges and prosecutors and journalists and politicians. And knocking them down one by one as it suited his agenda."

This, Part 3 of our trawl through The Ballad of Luciano Leggio, concludes a partial, but poetic, recounting of Leggio's grim and horrific  Biography.

       Stanza XX, the Ballad's last verse, provides a suitably obscure "big finish" to a very public life, which was nonetheless "institutionally" shrouded in mystery.

I truly wish I could have uncovered a musical performance of this lay,  but sadly the melody must be left to the reader's imagination.  Perhaps it sounded like This.


Navarra, intantu, teniri vulia
di capu mafiusu lu pristiggiu
ca jornu doppu jornu si stintia
la cuncurrenza di Luciano Liggiu
percio’tra li du coschi mafiusi
cuminciaru tichetti e autri abusi


Ppi Navarra assai brutta si cunchiusi
Ca lu rivali sonterra lu stisi;
Centedeci pallottuli chiummusi
in corpu cci cintrau, tutti, precisi
mentri, nta n’automobili, passava
ccu Gianni Russu ca l’accimpagnava

Dr. Michele Navarra in death. "110 bullets entered him . . . all well-aimed."


Diddu dilitti non si cuntentava
Liggiu, ch’era assitatu di cummannu,
e Corleoni na notti assaltava
cc la so banda, siminannu dannu:
ogni seguaci di don Michilinu
vinni ammassatu, comu un beccaccinu!

Spotted Starling of Sicily.


Mariu e Giuvanni, fratelli Marinu
Ninu Streva e Giuvanni Pruvinzanu
Fidiil a lu difuntu malandrinu,
Foru tutti sparati, a mmanu a mmanu;
e n’antri vinti morti, certamenti
cci foru a Corleoni a ddu presenti.

Pietro Scaglione,  Italian magistrate and Chief Prosecutor of Palermo, Sicily.  Killed by the Mafia in 1971.  [1]


Di Scaglioni, lu judici ammazzatu
di Mauro de Mauro, giornalista,
di lu quisturi Manganu, sparatu
cchi sapi Liggiu?  Auturi fu o rigista
o puru di sti fatti iddu e nuccenti
e no sappi ppi daveru nenti?

Mauro de Mauro, Journalist, L'Ora, Palermo. He had stumbled on an amazing scoop [2]


XI.  In the meantime Navarra wanted to keep/the prestige of the mafia boss/as day after day he felt/the rivalry with Luciano Liggio:/and so between the two cosche mafiose/started quarrels and other abuses./

XII.  It finished up badly for Navarra/as his rival killed him/110 bullets entered his body, all well-aimed/as he was passing by in a car/with Gianni Russo, who sometimes accompanied him./

XIII.  Liggio was not content with/this deed as he was thirsty with power/and assaulted Corleone one night/with his gang, disseminating murder:/all followers of Navarra were killed/like small birds./

XIV.  Mario and Giovanni, the Marino brothers/Nino Streva and Giovanni Provenzanu/the faithful of the dead Mafioso/were all, little by little, killed:/and certainly there were another/twenty dead at Corleone at that time./

XX.  What does Liggio know about the Scaglione/the murdered Judge? Or Mauro de Mauro,/the journalist, or the policeman Mangano,/who was shot at?  Was he the author or the director?/or of these deeds is he innocent/and really doesn’t know anything?/

Calogero Comaianni, Leggio's first victim, except for various murdered birds.  (See Stanza III)

Gaia Servadio (then Mrs. William Mostyn-Owen), author of Mafioso, shopping in London with her daughter, 1968.

[1]  Pietro Scaglione (March 2, 1906- May 5, 1971)  "On the morning of May 5, 1971, the Mafia called police headquarters in Palermo. “A shooting has happened in Via dei Cipressi,” said an anonymous voice. “Maybe two are dead.”  Within minutes the Flying Squad pulled into the cypress-lined road that leads to the Cappuccini cemetery. There, agents found an official state car blocking the entrance to the necropolis. Two bullet-riddled bodies were pulled out and rushed to the hospital, but it was too late. When the shocking news spread that the city’s Chief Public Prosecutor, Pietro Scaglione, was killed along with his driver, many observers felt confirmed in their suspicion that the city’s highest magistrate was mafioso. After all, they reasoned, the Mafia only murders its own.Pietro Scaglione’s forty-three-year career spanned the evolution of the Cosa Nostra from rural phenomenon to international menace. Rising through the judicial ranks to take the top post at the Palace of Justice in 1962, he waded through the murky waters of Sicilian conspiracies: super-bandit Salvatore Giuliano’s involvement in the Portella della Ginestra massacre of 1947, the police slaughter of Ciaculli in 1963. But Judge Scaglione tended to sit on his findings--some said deliberately--and often needed to be goaded into prosecuting a case."

[2]  Mauro De Mauro (September 6, 1921 – Disappeared, September 16, 1970) was an Italian journalist. He disappeared in September 1970 and his body has not yet been found. His disappearance and probable death remains one of the unsolved mysteries in Italian history.  Several explanations for his disappearance are current. One is related to the death of the president of Italy's state-owned oil and gas conglomerate ENI, Enrico Mattei. Another is that De Mauro had discovered drug trafficking between Sicily and the United States, and a third with the Golpe Borghese a planned right-wing coup d'état (the plan failed in December 1970). Apparently De Mauro was convinced that he had got hold of a story of a lifetime. Before his disappearance he told colleagues at the newspaper L'Ora, “I have a scoop that is going to shake Italy.”  

Ballad of Luciano Leggio excerpted from :
Gaia Servado:  Mafioso.  New York, Dell, 1976

Reader Note:  See also Here, Parts 1 and 2

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