2 aprile 2013

THE GIULIANO PROJECT © - Chapter 3 - (en)


A Myth 
(what remains of him)

Giuliano is Salvatore Giuliano.
Salvatore Giuliano was a bandit, a myth, for some it was almost a saint
His story has involved, directly and emotionally, thousands of people, perhaps millions.
Salvatore Giuliano was a sicilian bandit. In the late Fourties, Giuliano was nearly as famous as a celebrity: he was mythical, such as was mythical the dream of the Sicilian Independence. As with every legend, there are relics, and we will explore this further in a moment: this whole story, in fact, originates there.

...is a murderer, a poet and a politician
An outlaw is frequently “wicked”, but Giuliano’s evil in an Italian way and corresponds to an obvious or unconscious imprinting determined by cultural values, conditions and traditions. Giuliano has been a popular mythical figure, alive and dead, for over sixty years. 

Giuliano the bandit embodies in the eye of the people the kind of evil that they themselves would aspire to express, in other words he acts out the reaction of the people’s classic discontent towards Italy’s political despotism and the violent tools forever at the basis of any action of a State which had been created forcefully and never fully endorsed. Giuliano represents the complexity of - better still - the complicated relationship at play in Italy between the people and the law, between the people and the State.

Salvatore Giuliano just awakened from a nap
Giuliano embodies the solitary courage and the rebellion against a State always perceived as an oppressor.  Giuliano himself isn’t thus perceived as evil because his behavior as been seens as the appropriate response to a governmental system based on treason, lies and organized and legalized tyranny. Giuliano is a myth because his image corresponds to the feeling of a people who daydream about, but do not exercise actions and a similar behavior.
Giuliano is still a myth at our days, because the State’s role in the history of the Italian Republic never changed. The Giuliano's incident is the first to be inscribed in a series of serious events whose common denominator is the STRATEGY OF TENSION. From 1948 to 2011, over sixty years and more, everything has proceeded systematically in the same manner, without any changes. This is why today Giuliano the bandit remains a myth. Myth exists only if people acknowledge it as such, and in this case myth feeds off representation, the intangible and invisible physicality of the man-Giuliano. 

This is how Giuliano’s invisibility and elusiveness become nearly mystical elements: Salvatore Giuliano embodied social revolt and revenge against a newborn already cannibalistic State. Perhaps he is built around a wrong myth, but he can’t be blamed for that.
Gaspare Pisciotta and Salvatore Giuliano SHOOTING!

Giuliano looks like a modern Jesus Christ: he is theatrically condemned, betrayed and killed. Giuliano’s myth has always been feeding on the myth of his death
Giuliano became the trophy of the State in a play in which the actors, today, have stayed masked. Giuliano wasn’t crucified, but that is irrelevant., There is the element of display of his body to the crowd (or that of a body made to look as if it were him), there is his almost transubstantiation through the exhibition of his symbols -host on behalf of the officiating -priests (Carabinieri), executors of the function on behalf of the State.

The merits of the Carabinieri would be the same even if
the official story was not true (it is useful to write it and read it)

The Bandit Giuliano DEAD
Bandit Giuliano’s story was create such in this way to eliminate him would have meant to rid the State of quite some trouble. In that scenario, it was meaningful that he symbolize a trophy, as a trophy, his body was showed in a barbarian show for journalists and people. 
This body must be the BANDIT GIULIANO’s one,
not necessarily THE SALVATORE GIULIANO’s one. 

Giuliano is INVISIBLE
His belt buckle, his watch, his ring, were trophies: artifacts, relics, they too, in fact, were absolutely relevant to the story- icons of a media coverage already prepared for a long time, and thus exhibited. They were the symbols, even media symbols of a MYTH, objects which belonged to an uncontested icon. These objects thus became RELICS
And then, much later, there is the union and synthesis, in perfect syncretic fashion, with the Christian iconography of the Passion.  Actually, the dead Giuliano resuscitates in 2010 with the exhumation, as requested by judicial investigators, of the body buried in his grave.

At this point it has to be stressed that the MYSTERY of Giuliano’s departing, in July 1950,  spans across sixteen different versions and not all of them entail him dying.

Trophy of the Bandit
The original death-certificate of Salvatore Giuliano

Giuliano Dead Vs Rembrandt

A "classic" Giuliano

Salvatore Giuliano was indeed and ICON of his time, his history period and of that people.

GIULIANO HAS MADE ITSELF INTO A ICON thanks to the pictures and to the newspapers that published them, with the complicity of the myth-effect which ensured the commercial success of the relative run. 

Ava Gardner Vs "The Secret photos of Giuliano"

His image was attractive as much as that of Sofia Loren, of Padre Pio and of Queen Elizabeth. The image of Giuliano represented a true and real visual communication project, and he, with his rather elegant and photogenic figure, encouraged meetings with journalists and photographers. The pictures in fact always portray him as Giuliano-the-model, Giuliano-the-star, Giuliano-the-actor, often in the company of his sidekick Gaspare Pisciotta, as imbued of his role as him. This image "coordinated"  (like in a marketing concept) was an integral part of his disappearance from the scene of Sicily.

Salvatore Giuliano is on a trip with Mary Cilyakus (left)
Sciortino, Giuliano Senior, Salvatore Giuliano and Mike Stern in May 1947 (
the right group)

Giuliano e Pisciotta often performed together, aware of the fact that those pictures would have been published, those same photos prove that Giuliano possessed certain specific objects, precious ones, which he hung to. Giuliano did always wear the gold watch, a belt buckle with  particular decoration of his own design, and a ring with a large diamond. These are the “relics” which are of interest to us, amongst which, his belt buckle.
The origin and the presence of these three objects is frequently quoted and well supported by documents: photographs, magazines, witnesses, trial acts, rumors. Certainly there were the three identical, very expensive gold watches, branded Universal Gèneve, which, as it seems, were a gift of Prince Gianfranco Alliata: he was a monarchist, and one of the authors of the many Sicilian “games” put into play after the second world war. There were also three identical, decorated belt buckles, worn as seen in many images of the time, both by Salvatore Giuliano and his man Pisciotta.

To this regard we know that Giuliano gave Gaspare Pisciotta and another third man, Nunzio Badalamenti, a buckle and a watch. Specifically, Gaspare Pisciotta received his gift in occasion of the anniversary of the tragic events of Portella della Ginestra, at the end of April 1949: one of the buckles with a dedication engraved on the back. From the day on, we see he use to proudly wear and shown in many successive photos.
They were beautiful buckles, made of yellow and of white goldmade by the hand of a skilled jeweler in Palermo. These buckles bore the so-called “symbol” of Giuliano: a rampant lion to the left, and eagle on the right, a flowery wreath in the center circling a medallion which could be opened and below which he hid a small picture of his mother or, later on, a little carved metal Trinacria. It 'easy enough to grasp the metaphors of this classic and heraldic symbols. 

These buckles were realized around 1946 by the artisans of so called famous jewellery Fiorentino in Palermo; Salvatore Giuliano’s own, full gold, weighed about 160 grams.
The belt buckle of Salvatore Giuliano in some details of vintage photos
The buckle we are most interested in, however, is exactly that one, Salvatore Giuliano’s own, which was held by the Carabinieri on the occasion of the gruesome spectacle in Castelvetrano, at the beginning of July 1950, created around the ostentatious showing of the body forcefully attributed, and that is the point, to the bandit.

To these three precious objects, three watches and three buckles, a third one must be added: the platinum ring with a large diamond which had belonged to the Duchess of Pratameno. It had been “acquired” by the bandit during a robbery, which unfolded, so it seems, with a certain courteousness. The ring together with the bandit’s buckle can be unequivocally recognized in a documentary shot at the time of the exhibition of the body to the press and also in other photographs taken in those hours.
The Carabinieri exhibit and observe the ring and the belt buckle of Salvatore Giuliano

The corpse of the bandit,
naked, in the morgue

In that situation, with the body still there, naked on the marble of Castelvetrano morgue, the Giuliano’s gold watch and the diamond ring disappeared...Amidst the eventful occurrences tied to Gaspare Pisciotta’s arrest a few months later, his gold buckle was confiscated and soon it disappeared too. Shortly before then, the criminal Badalamenti’s buckle had disappeared as well, at the time of his arrest.  
The remaining objects, therefore, are Giuliano’s buckle taken by the then commander of C.F.R.B. Comando Forze Repressione Banditismo), and Pisciotta’s watch, which had been stored in prison and successively confiscated.

These objects were exhibited for a long time in the ignored Museo Criminologico of Rome, in the Ministero di Grazia e Giustizia. In this museum, on a November 2006 day, following a clean, traceless, mysterious theft, Giuliano’s gold buckle an Pisciotta’s watch were stolen.
Surely, somebody took these objects to probably bring them to ONLY ONE PERSON who could have desired them strongly on the occasion of an important, nearing, inexorable and real event, his death. THAT PERSON, maybe, wished THOSE THINGS before dying, in this case, before dying REALLY between 2006 and 2008.
According to a well spread and reliable rumor one is led to believe that Salvatore Giuliano himself wasn’t present on the moment of his formal death in 1950: word has it that the body wasn’t his but a twin’s. 

TWO different double of Salvatore Giuliano: The second left is not the same person than represented in the other three images.The present body in the tomb of Giuliano Bandit could be one of the twoThese photos were made ​​between May and June of 1950and the film was found in the pocket of the dead (INCREDIBLE!)

Many circumstances do coincide and this happened in a context of secrets, agreements, betrayals, homicide and plots which were the starting yeast which enriched the newborn ITALIAN REPUBLIC.
According to this rumor, and to a huge amount of contextual and believable signs the body in the grave bearing the name and the photo of Salvatore Giuliano was exhumed in November 2010 to proceed to DNA examination and comparison of the results with tests on his living relatives.

To this day, despite the possibilities of modern technology, the final and official proof does not exit.

The complex story of Salvatore Giuliano e that which gravitated (and still does) around him, has been amply treated in many documents and by many authors; it isn’t difficult to research the subject, even in depth. 
To conclude this story, my concern though is to ask one question, a little articulated and somewhat rhetorical. 
IF YOU WERE Salvatore Giuliano, alive after “his death”, and thus living under a false identity, wouldn’t you reasonably request from the person who has been hiding and protected you for almost sixty years (being that this is also his secret) to have one last wish granted?
IF YOU were GIULIANO, wouldn’t you want these objects back before dying, those symbolic objects, your memory, which you had to let go off before leaving for a new life, maybe just for nothing mythic or heroic, somewhere in the world?
And therefore, IN YOUR OPINION: if Giuliano hadn’t died in 1950, but had simply dissolved in complete anonymity and by so doing, greatly favored the nascent Italian Republic and some of its players, why wouldn’t his counterpart, whoever he were, grant him this request? At the end of the day, these were obscure and forgotten artifacts stored in an obscure Italian museum housed in a Ministry building whose name is certainly the most fitting to the story: GRACE AND JUSTICE.
Let us leave the matter on hold and let me conclude by quoting Leonardo Sciascia: Nero su Nero (Black on Black), 1979:
“Who doesn’t remember the massacre of Portella della Ginestra, the death of Salvatore Giuliano, the poisoning in prison of Gaspare Pisciotta? These things are still to this tied up in lies. And it is since then that Italy is a Country without truth. A rule has derived from this: no truth will be ever known about any criminal deeds which might have a connection, even the slightest, to the Power.....(...)
...The State cannot bring itself to trial.   

What remains of this story are a few pictures, many papers, too many truths.
Also remaining is a mysterious buckle of embossed brass – a fine work of excellent artisanship and engraving art -, found by chance at one of the stalls in Palermo’s fleamarket, where one often finds insignificant but also outstanding objects. This buckle is extraordinarily similar, if not identical, to the one which had belonged to Salvatore Giuliano.
The buckle at the time of purchase (for a few euros) was shown
in a
 stall in a market of used items in Palermo
Comparing this buckle with a picture of one on display at the museum before the theft, The two buckles share the frontal decoration, but the difference lies in the metal (brass instead of gold) and the central medallion which can’t be flipped open like the original; the dimensions are slightly bigger than Giuliano’s buckle. 
The buckle itself, though, is surprisingly similar, and from certain technical analysis it appears realistic to believe that the latter could be the model-prototype from which the small series of three buckles was effectively produced for Salvatore Giuliano. 
The belt buckle and the ring of Salvatore Giuliano in the hands of a policeman in a photo from a private archive

To confirm the probable origin of the found buckle, and to be understood as a “piece” of work, the fact that the backside of the found buckle is filled with tin to consolidate and widen the thin sheet of the original onto which, in the back still, a copper slab was soldered to make the back surface straight and flat in the reproduction phase., and this practice is both aesthetic and technique certainly not acceptable in a finished object that should be valuable and symbolic.
  The making of an object like the buckle in question would entail the production, in the first phase, of an embossed decorated piece starting from a drawing. 

Then this first exemplary would be used to make copies from through the traditional method known as “lost wax” casting.
In our specific case, the buckle is identical only in the front. Giuliano’s was different on the backside, as possibly, after the casting, an attached piece was integrated which allowed for a blocking mechanism for the sliding belt, as it appears from historic photographs of the original Giuliano buckle.

Reasoning on this buckle means to observe, examine and analyze the many elements of this story: myth, facts, documents, modernity, freedom, romance, independence, separatism, massacres, secrets, lies.
To attempt and define what exactly the symbol of this buckle is, now is an argument that is up to the reader.

The belt buckle recently found in Palermo
( The Belt Buckle of Salvatore Giuliano ? )

A whim and a personal passion to the belt buckles, led me to make some copies of this extraordinary buckle, as well as being historic and symbolic, is also a beautiful work of contemporary sicilian jewelry.
The Belt Buckle of Salvatore Giuliano
© Subject, photos and texts by PIER PAOLO RAFFA, 2011

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