This is the story of Salvatore Giuliano’s (Turridu) first murder and the circumstances in which it had happened.
At those times, things in Sicily were catastrophic because of an ongoing war, all these people desired is a life, and not dying of hunger. That’s all they thought about.
Fragment from the book “My Brother, Salvatore Giuliano” Giuseppe Sciortino Giuliano, Marianna Giuliano
“The soldiers came towards him:
“Where do you come from?” What are you carrying? asked the corporal.
“I’m carrying some wheat to feed my family!” he answered.
“Where did you get it?” asked the Carabiniere.
My brother quickly realized that, if he told the truth, he would have put the farmer in serious trouble. He could not go back to buy some more. For no reason in the world he would have betrayed him.
“I don’t know!” – he replied. “I have traveled for days. No one had any! Then I met a farmer, I told him that my family was dying of hunger and he was moved by my begging! He told me to wait for him. I waited two hours. He then came back with these two sacks of wheat loaded loaded on a mule. He gave them to me, and I paid him!”
“Who do you want to fool with your lies?” retorted the soldier.
“Take us where you got it!”
“But it’s the truth! How can I take you there I do not know?” replied Turridu.
“Cut it young man! Either you take us where you got the wheat or we will take you to the American Presidium!”
“Please! Why do you want to ruin me? If you take me to the presidium they’ll arrest me! My father will have to sell everything he owns to pay my bail and the fine! Please, I’m only twenty years old. Don’t ruin me!”
He humiliated himself. He dropped to his knees desperately trying to move them.
All of the sudden the officers’ attention was attracted by the arrival of four people with mules carrying loads on their backs.
Turridu took advantage of the situation to run away. But the Carabinieri noticed him immediately and they shot their rifles against him six times.
Two shots hit him in his side. My brother fell in the middle of the bushes. He was writhing with pain, but he didn’t shout.
In those terrible moments all the suffering, hunger and humiliations he had suffered from the outbreak of the war came back to mind. He felt the anger accumulated over the years against the system and its thugs mount inside him. Shocked and appalled, he was still trying to understand what was happening. The voice of the corporal made his blood freeze in his veins:
“Go see if he’s dead!” ordered the senior officer.
“If he’s not, shoot him in the head and let’s get out of here!”
Those words awoke in Turridu his spirit of survival. His hand, stained with blood, moved almost automatically. He reached towards his boot and pulled out the gun. He waited there without moving as he held his breath. His muscles were tense as he fought to suppress his desire to shout:
“Why? Just for some wheat!” He saw a carabiniere move cautiously towards him with his rifle pointed. He waited for him to come within a range of 10 meters. Then the long-suppressed desire of rebellion, the age-old hate against the tyrants and their thugs exploded.
It was him or the officer. He had no choice. Without aiming he shot him. A cry of pain, a thud.”