Selected Works

Nonfiction
A look at life in little-known mountain towns of the Sicilian hinterlands.
A true account of the last years of an ancient Sicilian giant bluefin tuna trap.






Tags

Out of Palermo

Mafia destroying Sicily's farms

October 15, 2017

Tags: mafia, sicily, farms, intimidation, ruin, Napoli sisters

From The Guardian:
The Napoli sisters keep their entire harvest in a glass jar, resting on a wooden table in the living room. Inside, there are only a dozen stalks of wheat. The rest of the crop – 80,000 kilograms – was destroyed by the Sicilian mafia, determined to force out these three women working in the land of The Godfather.

For three generations, the Napoli family farmed wheat and hay in Corleone, the historic stronghold of Cosa Nostra. Their father, Salvatore, was a hard worker who, after much sacrifice in the fields, managed to send his three daughters – Marianna, Ina and Irene – to university.

But a crisis in what was the world’s most notorious mafia, broken apart by prosecutors, has pushed Cosa Nostra back to their rural origins, and they want their land back.

Rescue ship Aquarius lands 606 shipwrecked immigrants at palermo, "city of welcome."

October 13, 2017

Tags: immigrants, drowning, sicily, africa, trouble, border, europe, death, immigration, flow, people, africans, rescue, drowning

From Palermo Today:
Of the 606 migrants, 241 were children, 120 of those children came unaccompanied.
The shipwrecked migrants were rescued in seven operations in less than 36 hours. On board the Franco-Italian-German rescue ship were 11 pregnant women, two of whom were in their ninth month. There was also a week-old infant.
"The extremely high numbers of minors," said Palermo Mayor Leoluca Orlando, "is the confirmation of a human drama without pause and without Europe feeling shame. Today we found ourselves before a dramatic choice made by members of the families of these minors put in the hands of the merchants of death with the hope of getting them to Europe, which, however, continues to ignore this drama, staining themselves with criminal behavior that produces and feeds criminal organizations. We here in Palermo are quite different from all that and the city with its organization and its institutions make it the "Capital of Welcome."

Ship Aquarius rescues 339 people in 24 hours

October 11, 2017

Tags: immigrants, drowning, sicily, africa, trouble, border, europe, death, immigration, flow, people, africans, rescue, drowning



Translation:
🔴 rescue
339 people rescued at sea in the last 24 hours are now safe on the Aquarius.
The teams from SOS MEDITERRANEE France intervened on 3 operations Tuesday (2 rescues and a transfer to another ship in the night) and on a first rescue this Wednesday morning.
All rescue operations on Tuesday and Wednesday were coordinated by the MRCC of Rome, which asked the Aquarius to move to other vessels in difficulty identified in international waters off Libya.
The Humanitarian Emergency continues in the Mediterranean!
#TogetherForRescue

Prudence being taken out of action

October 7, 2017

Tags: immigrants, drowning, sicily, africa, trouble, border, europe, death, immigration, flow, people, africans, rescue, drowning

As a consequence of a drop in the number of boats reaching international waters in the Mediterranean Sea, MSF has decided to reduce its activities at sea and to end search and rescue operations of its boat Prudence. MSF will continue its presence in the Central Mediterranean with the ship Aquarius, run in coordination (more…)

Sophia is my favorite movie star

October 6, 2017

Tags: sophia loren, favorite, classic, beauty, talent, heart, empathy, humor, down to earth, naples, pozzuoli

This post also has nothing to do with anything important. I just needed a break from bad news.

Italy-libya pact unraveling, immigrant numbers soar

October 3, 2017

Tags: immigrants, drowning, sicily, africa, trouble, border, europe, death, immigration, flow, people, africans, rescue, drowning

From The Guardian
Patrick Wintour Diplomatic editor

Tuesday 3 October 2017 00.00 EDT

A key pillar of the Italian government’s effort to stem the politically toxic issue of people crossing the Mediterranean from Libya to southern Italy is in danger of collapse as a result of a bloody power struggle in the key Libyan port of < (more…)

Poodle steals scooter from baby

September 28, 2017

Tags: poodle, scooter, baby, steal

This has nothing to do with anything.

Hundreds of migrants from three rescue operations disembark at Trapani yesterday

September 17, 2017

Tags: immigrants, drowning, sicily, africa, trouble, border, europe, death, immigration, flow, people, africans, rescue, drowning

Yesterday 371 rescued migrants arrived at Trapani aboard the rescue ship Aquarius, according to the online newspaper, Trapani Oggi. They were picked up in international waters in three different operations off the coast of Libya. A portion of them had been transferred from another rescue ship, the Vos Hestia, run by the NGO Save the Children.
Arriving migrants included 304 men, 67 women, of whom 40 were single and and five were pregnant.German ship "SOS Mediterranee", on which Doctors Without Borders are present, were 54 unaccompanied minors and a disabled person.

The migrants came from Cameroon, the Gambia, Ivory Coast, Guinea Conakri, Senegal, Nigeria and other subsaharan countries, but also from Egypt, Morocco, Libya and Syria. They were taken to the immigration "hotspot" of Milo to be identified and photographed before being transferred to "welcome centers" for asylum seekers. (more…)

Immigrants' horror stories of torture and murder in Libya

September 15, 2017

Tags: immigrants, drowning, sicily, africa, trouble, border, europe, death, immigration, flow, people, africans, rescue, drowning

I meant to post this a while ago but got distracted. This is my translation of a story that appeared in MeridioNews in late August.

" The prison guards kill people and throw them in a pit. They cover the pit only when it is full of bodies." This is the story of a migrant rescued last Sunday by the ship Aquarius of the international NGO organization SOS Mediterranee. Describing the tortures suffered by those waiting to leave for Europe was a man from Cameroon in his twenties. " All the people you see here," he said indicating the other survivors "went through many trials, they are dead inside for a long time now, even their families must believe they are dead. Today is like a resurrection."

Perpetrators of the violence, according to survivor accounts, would be the Libyan guards. "The Libyans beat us the whole time, for no reason. They put us in prison for no reason," he continued, adding that he witnessed a scene in which a prisoner was hung by his feet and beaten "as if he were a ball."
On the lines of these stories, the NGO launches the same old appeal to the European Union so that it may not reduce its own responsibility in the Mediterranean.

The wealthy illegal migrants arrive by yacht.

September 14, 2017

Tags: rich, migrants, wealthy, yacht, crossing, illegal, privilege

From The Guardian:
Only the wealthiest migrants and refugees could afford to pay for a voyage on the beautiful 10-metre yacht that sailed under a Ukrainian flag.

Today that sailboat is under police guard along with a dozen other luxury vessels impounded at the Sicilian port of Augusta. Its former skipper, Andrej, has recentlybeen released from prison after serving a one-year sentence for aiding illegal immigration.

Andrej, 35, a Ukrainian, was convicted for transporting 30 migrants from Turkey to Sicily, landing on a small beach in the province of Syracuse. Each passenger paid more than €8,000 for the crossing.

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