His features are halfway between Mangiafuoco and Donato Cavallo, the AC Milan ultra created in the 1980s by Diego Abatantuono, protagonist of the film Truly Eccezzziunale: «The agenda, the derby: I will be brief and circumcised», harangued the crowd, Cavallo, in southern strait. «I tell you over and over again, as leader of the Rossoneri brigades, that the watchword is always the same: “Viuleeeenzaaa”!», and then applause.
Giacomo Sferlazzo, self-proclaimed leader of the people of Lampedusa – but his people are small – does not incite the fight nor sleep next to Rivera’s poster. And yet the beard and black, disheveled hair, the desire for prominence as well as the corpulent physique, the manners and gestures are certainly reminiscent of the “Ras della Fossa”.
Sferlazzo is 43 years old, was born on the Roman coast and has lived on the Sicilian island for some time. He defines himself as a songwriter, artist, and activist. Communist but not left-wing. Who knows if he is optimistic. He is the soul of the “Pelagie Mediterranee political and cultural movement” and of the Askavusa collective, which promotes “convinced anti-racism and integral multiculturalism”. The flags of Palestine flutter on Sferlazzo-Cavallo’s Facebook profile. Interviews, broadcasts, TV and newspapers. In Lampedusa where there is a camera there is Sferlazzo. It’s his time. “Give me one, give me two, give me three,” Funari said. Sferlazzo is the Stefano Puzzer of the South. Puzzer, the no-vax-no-green pass leader from Trieste who aspired to a place in parliament and instead also lost the one at the port. On Sunday Sferlazzo wanted to say four things to Giorgia Meloni. The night before, on Facebook, he had written: “How I would like to have a public discussion with the Prime Minister.” Migrant topic, obviously. The next day in the center of Lampedusa he stood in front of the prime minister’s escort cars, she got out and spoke to him.
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It seemed that the Puzzer of the South would have to make fire and flames, we were thinking of the bangs of the feast of the Madonna of Porto Salvo – very much felt on the island but the very disheveled leader of the people did not go beyond the fuses. And to think that a few hours earlier, in Piazza della Libertà in front of the cameras the tone was much more decisive: “Apparently they will arrive, lock themselves in a room, say the usual things and leave.” He was talking about Meloni. She didn’t go that way. «Since the wind has changed, we demand that anyone, anyone who comes here» – literally, said by twirling the arm – «must pass through the square, greet us and say to us “don’t worry, we are working for your peace, for the rights of migrants, and to keep the situation in a state of calm”… Until they do this, it is better for them not to come to Lampedusa. Either within a few minutes”, continued Sferlazzo, “I do not have an invitation for the administration, for the municipal opposition and for a representative of the people, or I will calmly invite all citizens to go to the airport. Let’s try to understand that the wind has changed.”
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The day before he was on the phone with the police commissioner, still in the square and with the microphones underneath. The commissioner invited him for a coffee, he replied that given the climate a chamomile tea was better, and the commissioner took his leave with a “chamomile tea and more for everyone”. Loud laughter. When Meloni headed back to the airport on Sunday, Sferlazzo tried to regain the media spotlight: in the square he tore up the ballot paper. He hoped to end up on the BBC. He ended up in thirty smartphones, half of them Germans who didn’t understand anything. They were also fresh from a gargantuan meal. Now Sferlazzo has launched the “permanent assembly” in Piazza Della Libertà. Like Puzzer in Trieste. Donato Cavallo got into a fight with Sandrino the Mallet after the derby against Inter. Sferlazzo is peaceful in the end, it seems. He exclaims for the cameras that the “State and the European Union” are ruining the feast of the Madonna of Porto Salvo. Behind him is a lady in her sixties dressed in black with a chamomile sachet dangling from one ear.