Mafia changed to Mario

A Mafia-themed party held by student club De Leidsche Flesch did not go down well with Italian PhD students.

The party was called “Festa Sicilia”, with “Mafia” as a subtitle. “At first, I laughed, because it’s so ridiculous, in such poor taste, but I was disappointed and indignant too”, recalls Vincenzo Scopelliti, a Physics doctoral candidate. Other Italians he spoke to shared his indignation once they had seen the ad, he says.

“You can joke about it, but before you do, you need to understand the phenomenon. Their message was that the Mafia is just a quaint phenomenon in Southern Italy. But if you actually knew what it was, you’d never organise a party like that.”

“We discussed whether we should tell the organisers or the faculty but as we don’t want to limit people’s freedom to hold a party, in the end, we spoke to the organisers, and within a few minutes, they realised it would be better to switch topics.”

According to Pim Bax from De Leidsche Flesch, the Astronomy, Physics and Informatics club, the organisers hadn’t realised it could be a sensitive topic. The party, scheduled for tonight, now has a “general Italian theme”. The events page on Facebook shows pictures of Super Mario and Luigi.

“We really don’t want to stop people throwing a party”, Scopelliti stresses. “We just want to talk to them about it.”
He is aware that people in his vicinity don’t know much about the Mafia. “If I tell this to people who aren’t from Italy, they’re very surprised. They think that the Mafia’s a local thing, limited to Italy’s south, but the mafia operate in Northern Europe too.”

“We’ve noticed that few people know about this subject, so we’re thinking of doing something to inform them. But that’s still a work in progress.” AK

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Mafia changed to Mario

A Mafia-themed party held by student club De Leidsche Flesch did not go down well with …