Few realize how similar the two are in structure; But how opposite in nature. One is evil and one good. Mafia is the criminal element known as organized crime. They rule by fear. They steal, cheat and kill honest people to gain wealth and power, though they can never seem to get enough.
Mafiosi are the exact opposite. They protect honest Americans from those who would harm them. They keep Mafia from gaining a stronghold in their territory by reigning over it themselves. Mafiosi have set up an equally powerful organization of brave and loyal patriots for the benefit of their patrons who love and respect their protectors, as a child loves his parents.
To understand the present we must first know its history. The Mafia began in 1880s Sicily. The Unification of all of the states into one Central Italy multiplied the territory many fold and sudden-like, all at once. Because of the rapid expansion the new unified Italian government could not enforce the laws in all its vast regions. There were not enough trained soldiers, thus a vacuum was created in the outlying territories like Sicily.
Groups of lawless thieves and thugs filled the void. They organized into La Cosa Nostra that means ‘our thing’ in English. They funded their new criminal enterprise with funds they extorted and bullied from everyday hardworking peasants. They threatened to hurt children and women if a portion of their income was not turned over in tribute to the gangsters.
Those who were wronged realized no one was going to come to their aid. The government and its army were far away on the mainland. A few of the younger and stronger among them decided to organize against those pirates. Because they fought The Mafia, they became known in Sicily as Mafiosi.
It is always easier to make a living by preying on the weaker, by stealing rather than working. Weak-willed, lazy, scared peasants took their only way out of poverty and despair and joined the ranks of The Mafia so their own families could survive; although they too were victims to the Carabinieri or their bosses’ policemen.
Those who would not submit to the criminal way of life, those honest working people, joined with the bravest among them to finally abandon their homes for a life of opportunity somewhere else. The brave little party of freedom loving patriots boarded the next ship out of Messina Harbor with the destination to the only place they knew was free: America.
If they could not stop the Mafia at home, perhaps they could prevent it from taking root in the new land of opportunity. With their few possessions and their dreams for a better future for themselves and a safe place to raise their kids, the Sicilian Mafiosi headed for America in the fall of 1883, arriving in the port in Brooklyn, New York.