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Mafia 2017

Monday Talks > 2017 Autumn
Wednesday 26 July 2016 (6:00 doors open and 7:00 talk begins)

Title: The Mafia from Sicily to the USA
(while debunking some common myths)

Speaker: Najib Takieddine
Language: Arabic with English support

The MAFIA from Sicily to New York - Debunking Some Myths
The term “Mafia” has many interpretations and origins. It is thought most likely that it originated in the Emirate of Sicily between 827 and 1091 and may derive from the slang Arabic mahyas (مهياص), meaning "aggressive boasting, bragging", or marfud (مرفوض) meaning "rejected".

Morte Alla Francia Italia Anela, or “Death to the French is Italy’s Cry which originated in 1282 during the French invasion of Sicily is also a possible etymology. Najib’s talk will cover many angles of the Mafia’s US history, among them :
  • Stormy Sicily
  • Men of Respect
  • Omerta and initiation
  • From Moustache Pete to      Business suit
  • Lucky Luciano
  • The Commission
  • Jewish mobsters Arnold      Rothstein, Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Siegel and Mickey Cohn
  • Propellants or “drivers”:      Prohibition, the ‘Volstead Act’
  • NY’s five families
  • Al Capone and the Irish      gangs: Dion O’ Banion to Bugs Moran
  • Las Vegas
  • Chicago Outfit’s toxic      mix: Sinatra, JFK, Hollywood, the CIA and the Bay of Pigs
  • Apalachin the big fall
  • The French Connection:      Deal and die
  • The Godfather, the      Goodfellas and Casino

Some myths will be debunked:
a)   The Mafia dates back to the middle ages
b)   The Mafia has a centralized organization with a single boss at the top
c)   The Mafia is hereditary, based on families who came to be in the US
d)   The Mafia was supported by the nobility and the Catholic Church. They killed both nobility and priests.

The talk will then go into unearthing the meaning of several Mafia based terms: Don, Omerta, the Pizzo, Lupara, etc. Najib will then talk about the Migration of the Mafia from Sicily to New York. A new generation led the Mafia such as Luciano, Costello, Genovese, Capone, etc. Non-Sicilian Mobsters also influenced the young Pisioti and Najib will show how: Arnold Rothstein, Lansky, Bugsy Siegel, Flegenheimer, etc.
Najib will then develop the background of two Mafia propellants or “drivers”: the prohibition in the 20s and J. Edgar Hoover. Icons of the Mafia will then be highlighted: Luciano, Capone. Najib will end the talk with a few new Mafia terms: Capo, Button, Soto Capo, Consigliere, a contract, zips and others.

Najib Takieddine
Najib has been fascinated by the Mafia, most specifically by the way their growth and operations have been mis-represented by the public. Films did not make things better. In this talk, he hopes to put some of these myths right.
Najib travelled to the UK and US for his education and worked in countries in both the Middle East and Africa. His career has been mostly in running of large business concerns.

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