Movies produced by Hollywood in the early 1970s onwards appealed to society. Organized crime was glorified in the movies, with mobsters celebrated for participating in corruption, murders and kidnappings. However, the mafia that is portrayed in Hollywood films is far from reality. The Mafia originated from the Italian island of Sicily as people formed groups to protect themselves from foreign invaders. By the nineteenth century, these groups, known as clans, began to form their own justice system and extorted protection money from landowners. Over time, the mafia expanded its networks transcending from Italy and entrenching itself in local American politics. Mobs intimidated police officers and politicians by offering them bribes in exchange to carry on their illegal activities. By the 1920s, Mafia networks were even operating in America selling alcohol during the prohibition era and became the major trafficker of narcotics worldwide. In the 1970s a series of arrests made by police led to the decline of organized crime in the United States. However, organized crime in Italy is still in operation, but major attempts have been made recently in an effort to eradicate it.
While organized crime is almost non-existent in the United States, Mafia groups in Italy are still somewhat active. However, the importance that members of the Mafia are given is rapidly declining. The new generation in Italy is protesting against the widespread corruption implemented by decades of Mafioso power. Even the Italian government is trying to weaken the Mafia’s stronghold in the country. Recently, a scandal was leaked to the public bringing awareness about the prevalence of organized crime and corruption in Italian politics, a sting carried out by the police force. Italy is demonstrating its strength in responding to crime and this can be attributed to a change in the social environment.
Almost thirty years ago, not a single person would speak out against the Mafia for of fear of retribution. Those who dared to accuse the Mafia were usually killed, like in the case of two Italian magistrates, who killed after trying to prosecute the Sicilian Mafia, Cosa Nostra. However, the atmosphere in Italy has changed, due to the views of the young generation. The new generation is tired of corruption and being silent against the crimes of the Mafia. They openly protest in the streets and have even formed their own anti-mafia groups to rid Italy of organized crime for good.
The great Italian city Rome is also facing decline and raging organized crime is the major problem. The Mafia had carried away millions of government dollars, disguised in contracts, which almost plunged the country into bankruptcy. The Italian economy is struggling, but the illegal economy is thriving. This has put a strain on the city as dozens of workers were fired for illegal activity suspicions. As a result, Rome’s infrastructure has been neglected, with some even going as far to say that “Rome is falling apart at the seams.” Metro workers are striking and trash lines the streets, as there aren’t any workers to collect it. Rome responded by hiring new workers and volunteers to revitalize the city.
It is the hope that the destruction of organized crime will bring a new era to Italy. The centuries of Mafia stronghold is entrenched into the Italian culture so deeply that the complete upheaval of the Mafia will require much time, finances and the support from the entire nation. However, in some low populated cities with high rates of unemployment, joining the Mafia may be appealing, or the only option. The Mafia, although glorified in Hollywood films, has no place in the real world because the realities are just too damaging.