26 Abril 2017 10:04
Still from the film Calabria
The tragic story of a young woman apparently overwhelmed by the mafia environment ingrained in the fabric of her family life. A daughter and niece of men who earn people's 'respect' in the worst way possible: extortion, exploitation and murder. The weight of her surname was too much for Maria Rita Logiudice to bear.
Il canto de la malavita sometimes returns unexpected echoes. Like those that tell of a voluntary, self-inflicted death due to the worst kind of isolation. Death by surname could be said to have been what occurred to Maria Rita. Because Logiudice is the surname of an infamous organised crime family in Calabria, an emblematic branch in the recent history of the ‘Ndrangheta.
According to Italian media, Maria Rita had spent most of her adult life attempting to escape the shadow of her family by hiding her origins and dedicating herself to study. But a few weeks ago, just before celebrating her graduation party from the Mediterranean University of Reggio Calabria, she decided to open up to her boyfriend and friends about who her father was.
Her confession did not go down well: nobody came to Maria Rita's party.
The young woman didn't know how to control the emotions stirred up by this rejection. The humiliation and loneliness of being shunned by her peers, the crushing burden of her surname, her fear and disgust at what the Logiudice name represents in Calabria: all these whirling feelings propelled the student to take her own life.
Maria Rita threw herself from the balcony of her house without leaving a suicide note. She was just 24.
Logiudice is the surname of an infamous organised crime family in Calabria, an emblematic branch in the recent history of the ‘Ndrangheta, Italy's most powerful crime syndicate since the 90s
Less well known than the Sicilian Cosa Nostra, and with more rural origins than the Camorra of Naples, the ‘Ndrangheta of Calabria nonetheless became the most powerful crime syndicate in Italy in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Victims of the group are numbered in their thousands; during the second ‘Ndrangheta war – between 1985 and 1991 – almost 700 people lost their lives. Italian anti-organised crime agencies estimated in 2007 that the ‘Ndrangheta has an annual revenue of €35-40 billion – about 3.5% of the GDP of Italy. Their income mostly comes from illegal drug trafficking.
The Logiudice family has played a significant part in that story. It is infamous for its involvement in a series of murders, extortions, armed robberies and other criminal activities.
Maria Rita's father, Giovanni Logiudice is in prison. Her uncles Luciano and Nino, as well as several cousins, are awaiting trial.
The Logiudice family is infamous for its involvement in a series of murders, extortions, armed robberies and other criminal activities.
The news of Maria Rita's suicide has shaken Italy. She was a positive example of someone who was attempting to build an honest life for herself away from the blood-ties and cronyism of her mafia family. She had thrown herself into her studies, graduating with a first-class Economics degree, and was planning her future outside of Calabria, far from family honour, far from prison, far from omertà and vendetta. But the social rejection she suffered for the crimes of her family ended up being too heavy a burden.
'Isolation, marginalisation and exclusion led her to take her own life,' said Reggio Calabria's chief prosecutor, Federico Cafiero de Raho. 'This should weigh on the consciences of us all. If a girl has made an effort to build an honest life for herself through her studies, graduating to escape her mafia family, and we are unable to integrate her, then we have all lost.'
The deceased's family, however, is not convinced that she committed suicide. They've asked for an autopsy to be carried out. There will be no funeral until they see the results.
'Her mother has said that Maria Rita was acting very strangely the night before the suicide, and that was something that stuck in her mind, as the girl didn't drink, smoke or take drugs,' said the Logiudice's lawyer, Renato Russo, implying that there may be other causes behind the young woman's death.
Until their suspicions are laid to rest, there will be no peace for the Logiudice family.