Pronounced en-drang-ay-ta
November 17, 2007 12:40 PM   Subscribe

"The ‘Ndrangheta cannot be beheaded.” Organized crime is Italy's biggest industry. Most people are more familiar with the Sicilian Mafia or maybe even the Neopolitan Camorra, but it's the Calabrian 'Ndranghta (very in-depth article) that has police around the world worried now, especially after they were blamed for a six-person murder in Germany this summer.

The FBI's page on Italian organized crime
A short piece on the 'Ndrangheta with some interesting links to chase
A current news story about 'Nrdrangheta arrests netting a town's mayor.
posted by Bookhouse (24 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I'm more of the view that 50-odd years of pursuit of the Sicilians debilitated that organization to the point where it left a vacuum, or as others might say, an opportunity.
posted by dhartung at 1:19 PM on November 17, 2007

Excellent post, thanks. I vaguely knew of the existence of the 'Ndrangheta, but almost all of this was new to me.
posted by languagehat at 1:47 PM on November 17, 2007

The book Gommorah is on my dark tourism wish list, it's about the Camorra in Naples. Won a bunch of awards and well known in Italy. But yeah, never heard of the 'Ndranghta - what's up with Italy and organized crime, there is like a whole taxonomy of fashion, Mafia=Tired, 'Ndranghta=Wired.
posted by stbalbach at 1:59 PM on November 17, 2007

*measures bookhouse for concrete slippers*

Great post, I'm gonna miss you.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 2:04 PM on November 17, 2007

stbalbach writes "The book Gommorah is on my dark tourism wish list"

And it's quite interesting and rather revealing. More interesting, the idea that mafia/ndrangheta/younameit isn't an's a state of mind, a destructive behavior enabled by the passivity, fear and ignorance of the masses.

What's lost to these masses is that they pay the price of these negative practices. Forget Sopranos, forget all the romantic stuff a-la il padrino..these are just decoys, distractions and depictions of what are essentialy the "strongarm" , the expendable employees living a rich lifestyle of expensive stuff and symbols in a bid to delude themselves of being important and all poweful.

You got a lot more mafia the day funds for an otherwise interesting, but probably unexploitable in short term research are rerouted to build a pacifier-stadium, than when somebody is shot in a bloody driveby...yet of course you see the driveby, every detail is extolled to death.
posted by elpapacito at 3:10 PM on November 17, 2007

Pronounced en-drang-ay-ta nDRAN-geh-ta

fixed that for you (kinda).
posted by progosk at 3:11 PM on November 17, 2007

Shit, progosk, really? I got that from the Guardian.
posted by Bookhouse at 3:19 PM on November 17, 2007

also, regarding Gomorra: Matteo Garrone, perhaps the most talented of the current generation of Italian directors, is shooting the movie (though he has said, for the safety of everyone involved, that officially he's not.)
Interestingly, some scenes were caught by onlookers on their videofonini and posted to youtube and elsewhere, creating a brief media panic, since they looked so real.
posted by progosk at 3:42 PM on November 17, 2007

Yeh, Book. The initial apostrophe elides the a in andragathía, the Greek for virile valor that the moniker apparently comes from. Its ugliness (by common Italian consensus) is likely prized by its affiliates.
posted by progosk at 3:53 PM on November 17, 2007

An NPR Talk of the Nation show, from March, about a parallel evolution in Brazilian gangs: William Langewiesche and the "City of Fear".
posted by wobh at 4:51 PM on November 17, 2007

I wonder how people react to Gomorra outside of Italy. I mean, it shows a very unglamourized organized crime that just thinks about business and it's quite far from cinema in substance, while imitating it in manners for, let's say, propaganda purposes.

By the way, Roberto Saviano writes very well and the book it's a wonderful piece of fiction and journalism. I hope he don't get butchered by translations.
posted by darkripper at 4:56 PM on November 17, 2007

Great post, some really interesting articles here. Those Calabrians are badass to the bone. Damn.

Shit, progosk, really? I got that from the Guardian.

Well, the English are not exactly shining exemplars of correct pronunciation in foreign languages... One of my favorite British mispronunciations here in Japan is the place name "Asakusa". Correctly pronounced, the As are sounded as "ah", as in "blah", and the "ku" is, essentially, like "coup" as in "coup d'état". From many a British mouth, however, comes the utterance "ASS-uh-KYEW-suh". Charming!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:59 PM on November 17, 2007

People who can’t be part of Cosa Nostra: anyone who has a close relative in the police, anyone with a two-timing relative in the family, anyone who behaves badly and doesn’t hold to moral values.

Like giving orders to bash annoying peoples' heads.
posted by ersatz at 6:32 PM on November 17, 2007

people's, that is.
posted by ersatz at 6:33 PM on November 17, 2007

and the "ku" is, essentially, like "coup" as in "coup d'état".

Actually, the "ku" is voiceless and the "u" is essentially just a brief pause between the k and the s: ah-SAH-k'sah.
posted by languagehat at 6:40 PM on November 17, 2007 [1 favorite]

Great post. Thank you, Bookhouse.
posted by jason's_planet at 7:04 PM on November 17, 2007

languagehat, of course, you're right: in this and similar cases, that's exactly how "ku" is usually pronounced. Of course, in a case like, say "kuma" (bear) the "u" sound in "ku" is fully pronounced (kuma, not k'ma). I guess the "u" getting swallowed in words like "Asakusa" is a finer point that didn't particularly need addressing given the context of the comment I was making regarding British pronunciation. Your clarification is appreciated, however!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:12 PM on November 17, 2007

One thing, though:


It's not exactly correct to assign stress to the SAH. Compared to English (and, of course, so many other languages) there is far less built-in stressing of syllables within words in Japanese, as I'm sure you know. In practice, some people may seem to stress the sah as you've written, but many do not stress it, particularly. In fact, the two SAHs should actually have the same stress.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:20 PM on November 17, 2007 [1 favorite]

5. Always being available for Cosa Nostra is a duty - even if your wife’s about to give birth.

Looks like some capo had a bad experience in that department.

Also, what really fascinated me was the way Italian soccer fans revolted when a fan was accidentally (?) shot by the police. It looked like a lot of ordinary fans regard the entire Italian police force as eeevul, yet nobody really gives a shit about the Mafia, which is the real cancer in Italy.
posted by sour cream at 5:33 AM on November 18, 2007

they have their reasons: maybe you wasn't in Genova during the G8 , but who does still remembers it as true nightmare.

And I don't think revolting against organized crime is that useful. We need laws to stop their most profitable businesses and also education in the school. Also, we need to improve the conditions of a significant part of the population in the south of Italy, where organized crime often works like an underground welfare state, exchanging 'services' for workforce.
posted by darkripper at 5:57 AM on November 18, 2007

It's not exactly correct to assign stress to the SAH.

Not exactly correct, but it's the best way to get English-speakers to say it more or less correctly. Japanese has a pitch accent rather than a stress accent, and the pitch accent goes on the second syllable in that word; in English, high pitch and stronger stress are pretty much inextricably linked, and it's far, far better for an English-speaker to say ah-SAH-k'sa, with a little extra oomph on the second syllable that will probably go unnoticed, than to say (as is likely without guidance) ah-sah-KOO-sah, which sounds terrible.
posted by languagehat at 7:31 AM on November 18, 2007

posted by progosk at 8:42 AM on November 18, 2007 [1 favorite]

What darkripper said.

sour cream, I'll point you to my reaction about last Sunday's incidents on SportsFilter and the even better link provided by owlhouse in that thread.
posted by romakimmy at 2:33 AM on November 19, 2007

languagehat: I'm hearin' ya brother, and your rap is strong.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:21 AM on November 19, 2007

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