Introduction to the Mafia

Today the word "Mafia" is used to refer to almost all groups or gangs involved in organized crime. Originally, Mafia meant an organized criminal organization of Italian, predominantly Sicilian, heritage. In fact, the word "Mafia" is a literary creation. The real name is believed to be "Cosa Nostra" meaning "our thing".

The Mafia has controlled everything from street corners to the highest levels of the governments to huge estates and mansions. It has been glorified by books and movies.  The Mafia's main objective may have been of earning tremendous wealth, but there were also secret rituals, complicated rules. family loyalty and honour.

In the Mafia, there is a hierarchy, with the top-ranking members making decisions whcih the lower-ranking members performed. The Mafia was not a single group or gang - It is made up of a number of "Families". These Families weren't always at peace with each other. There have often been gang wars. These wars were very bloody and bitter and chaos reigned in the streets. Sometimes, they have co-operated in the interest of greater profits. Most of the time, they simply stayed out of each other's way.

Due to the Italian roots, most of the Mafiaso (Mafia Members) were Catholic. However, before being accepted into a Mafia family, he has to take an oath that his Mafia Family will come before his birth family and God.

The Mafia is a kind of organized crime which is active not only in many illegal fields, but also exercised administrative functions – normally belonging to government authorities – over a specific territory where the Mafia Family resided.

In the beginning and even till the 1950s, many people regarded the Mafia not as law-breaking criminals but as role-models and protectors of the weak and the poor, as the state offered no protection to the lower classes.

Once, Mafia had been more like an attitude of pride, honor, social responsibility and had commanded great respect and love; rather than a criminal organization interested only in monetary benefits. Sadly, Mafia didnt stay like this for long.