3rd Meeting of the 188th Session (2008-2009)
In the Augustine United Church
41 George IV Bridge
Edinburgh, EH1 1EL
On Monday 8 December 2008, at 7pm
The lawyers stopped this book being a 'blockbuster'! The original title was From the Bourbons to Berlusconi: the story of the three Mafias. It is the story of the Sicilian Mafia, not any other 'Mafias', and it is story that divides neatly into three phases.
The first Mafia was the 'good' Mafia — a sect that filled the vacuum left by absent post risogimento government. They collected money from the rich and looked after the poor (while keeping enough to buy themselves lots of land — but wealth was never flaunted).
They were banned and persecuted by Mussolini but restored to positions of power in the island by the Americans when they 'liberated' the island in 1943. Initially they used this power to make money from construction in the post war boom, but were, in the fifties, recruited by the Godfather of Organised Crime, Lucky Luciano, to deal in drugs. This was the beginning of the second Mafia and for 20 years they had total control of heroin supply in the world.
The vast profits were laundered first by Michele Sindona, then by the late Roberto Calvi and all the time and unknowingly through the Vatican Bank.
They self destructed but there were many beneficiaries of the laundered money allegedly even the present Prime Minister, Berlusconi. He, his friends and his like are what many in Italy describe as the third mafia and it is they and their predecessors who have turned Italy into a basket case rather than a beautiful country where two thirds of the world's Art Treasures reside.
Arnold Maran was born and educated in Edinburgh in the warm embrace of a second generation Italian family. He qualified as 'my son the doctor' in 1959 but shortly thereafter turned his back on the auld grey toon and went to train in Iowa University where he realised that Edinburgh was really quite a nice place. His meteoric career progressed from killing laboratory animals to patients and in order to heighten patient safety he was elected President of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1997 and kicked out in 2000. Since then he has written two books — "The Voice Doctor" and "Mafia:Inside the Dark Heart". In spite of what has happened to Roberto Saviano he continues to live much of the year in Italy (Spoleto, and the family village of Picinisco). He plays golf, bridge and the piano badly but retains an unwarranted attitude of arrogance together with the enthusiasm and optimism associated with followers of Scottish football.
Professor Maran has kindly agreed to give this talk after his previously planned talk on the Singing Voice was cancelled last year due to a power failure in the lecture room.
The President, Robin Harper MSP, will be in the Chair
Members of the Public are welcome to attend
Jane Ridder-Patrick, Secretary
Telephone: 0131 556 2161
The Royal Scottish Society of Arts is Registered Scottish Charity SC015549