National Geographic : 2003 Apr
short term several years before his final reck oning. A developer of luxury homes on the southern coast refused to pay the $800,000 in protection money (euphemistically called a revolutionary tax) demanded by Santoni's gang. For his pains, the developer's gatehouse and sales office were bombed. But he fingered the bad guys-a rare case in Corsica of a vic tim publicly taking on the racketeers-and they went to jail. Despite the obvious criminal connections of these nationalists, many Corsicans who condemn violence still credit the bombing tactics with saving Corsica's coastline from rampant development. "I don't encourage vio lence, but I'm absolutely in agreement with bombs that stop seashore construction," said writer Jean-Claude Rogliano at his 700-year old stone house in the Castagniccia forest. Rogliano's first book, Mal' Concilio (Shepherd of the Dead), published in 1974 and reissued in 2001, was a novelized search for roots that struck a deep chord in Corsica. CERTAINLY, THE BATTLE for the shorelines is an important one: Corsica's 650-mile littoral consti tutes 20 percent of France's coastline and is one of the last pristine spots in France. Representatives of Corsica's legitimate environmental move ment fear what they call the "paving over" of the island, much like the Riviera or Miami Gone but notforgotten, a bombed nightclub between Bonifacio and Porto-Vecchio testifies to Corsica'sviolent ways. What led to the attack? Perhapsa feud,perhaps an extortion attempt, or perhapsnationalisticre sentment about French intrusion on Corsican turf At the old cemetery ofCalvi (below), French Foreign Legion troops departaftera ceremo nialparadehonoring the island's dead.