In 1544, Hayreddin Barbarossa, together with the French fleet of Captain Polin under a Franco-Ottoman alliance, ransacked Lipari and enslaved the entire population. Jérôme Maurand lamented about the depredation to his Christian fellow men during the campaign at Lipari: “To see so many poor Christians, and especially so many little boys and girls [enslaved] caused a very great pity.” He also mentioned “the tears, wailings and cries of these poor Lipariotes, the father regarding his son and the mother her daughter… weeping while leaving their own city in order to be brought into slavery by those dogs who seemed like rapacious wolves amidst timid lambs”.
A number of the citizens were ransomed in Messina and eventually returned to the islands.
Franco-Ottoman alliance is something that the French should not be proud of. It is a shameful episode in the history of Western civilization and the first time a Christian country allied with a non-Christian empire.
Sicily is located in a strategically important place in the Mediterranean. Therefore it is hardly surprising that it has been overrun by several conquerors each leaving their own mark.
However, it is noteworthy that Arab Muslims who ruled the Island from 860 to 1091 left very little behind. They built nothing though it is said that they brought the almond trees, which are still common in the island, with them.
Greeks built magnificent buildings, so did Romans, Byzantines, Normans and Spaniards. There’s virtually nothing of note when it comes to Arabs.
Normans were the ones who threw out the Arabs from the island.
There are similarities of the Mafia with that of Islamic rule of that island of course. Jizya and pizzo look similar as words. In addition, the mafia jihad resumes as soon as pizzo is not delivered. I did not ask the tour guide about the similarities though.
However, islam is there to rule and mafia is at best a parasite that infiltrates the state and sucks the life blood out of it.
Italian national project was never completed in the south. The state was weak and the people did not identify with it. That allowed the mafia to develop and become part of the state as well. The mafia began in the lemon groves outside Palermo in the 1890’s. Before Mezzogiorno joined Italy, there was Spanish rule, which was fairly similar to the way Spain ruled their South American colonies i.e. sometimes there was no rule at all.
Mafia can also be the state, but that has happened in the post-Soviet states like Russia and Ukraine. Both are so called mafia states, in which it is difficult to say when the state ends and mafia begins.
In Sicily, it is easy to see that it is economically backward compared to Northern Italy. Agriculture is still important here and the island was never really industrialized. The infrastructure is also relatively poor. In the north the toll highways were good. In Sicily, even those are in a poor condition. Presumably, mafia takes its share from the public construction projects.