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.






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Out of Palermo

Sit in at Catania port to protest racist group trying to disrupt rescues of migrants at sea

July 22, 2017

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

From La Repubblica this morning:
The anti-racist non profit associations of Sicily are on the brink of "war." Today at Catania's port they protested against the idea of letting the ship C-Star dock there. The C Star is a ship rented by by the extreme right group Generazione Identitaria,
( Identity Generation), an extreme right multinational group formed in 2012 and made up of French, Italian and German members. Alfonso Di Stefano, representative of the Catania Anti-racist Network, said, " We are expressing our unconditional solidarity with the precious work that the humanitarian ships do and we will stand vigil in the port until the docking of the C-Star does not happen here nor anywhere in Sicily. We know that up until yesterday evening it was blocked in the port of Suez. It seems that it is going to leave or it has already left and it will take from five to six days to arrive here.
The C Star intends to lend support to the Libyan Coast Guard in its operations in which they stop vessels loaded with migrants and turn them back to Libya.
At the sit-in at the Catania port were thirty representatives of the non- profits that comprise the Network, who showed banners with the saying: "No more shipwrecks. The right to European refuge in order not to die," and Freedom, not Frontex," and " The right to asylum and humanitarian corridors."

Sicilian mayor moves to block far-right plan to disrupt migrant rescues

July 21, 2017

Tags: immigrants, drowning, sicily, africa, trouble, border, europe, death, immigration, flow, people, africans, rescue, drowning, catania, mayor, far right, block

Sicilians feel empathy for people not of their race, true empathy.
From The Guardian today:
A Sicilian mayor is seeking to block a ship chartered by a group of far-right activists attempting to disrupt migrant rescues in the Mediterranean.

Enzo Bianco, the mayor of Catania, has urged authorities in the port city on the island’s east coast to deny docking rights to C-Star, a 40-metre vessel hired by Generation Identity, a movement made up of young, anti-Islam and anti-immigration activists from across Europe, for its sea mission to stop migrants entering Europe from Libya.

The ship is expected to arrive on Saturday, and the group intends to launch its mission next week.

25th anniversary of Mafia/State murder of Paolo Borsellino

July 19, 2017

Tags: Paolo Borsellino, judge, investigator, anti-mafia, assassination, escorts, 25th anniversary, mafia, state, people, sorrow, grief, hero, martyr, honest

After the church bells tolled, after the minute of silence at 4:58 p.m., the moment the car bomb exploded twenty-five years before, the assassinated Judge Paolo Borsellino's brother read the names of the victims:
Paolo Borsellino
Agostino Catalano
Emanuela Loi
Walter Eddiee Cosina
Claudio Traina

Temporary humanitarian visas

July 19, 2017

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

From The Guardian:
Italy has confirmed it is considering issuing temporary humanitarian visas that would allow tens of thousands of migrants who have arrived in the country from Libya to travel around the European Union.

The move would provoke an immediate Austrian response, including the closure of the border with Italy at the Brenner Pass.
Austrian troops to stop migrants crossing border with Italy
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The chances of Italy being able legally to grant unilateral humanitarian visas in this way is slight, but the threat is intended to concentrate minds in the EU after Italy failed to win clear practical support from Germany and France to take more people that have been arriving in increasing numbers from Libya.

mafia profits from immigrants' suffering

July 18, 2017

Tags: migrants, mafia, suffering

From the New York Times:
ISOLA DI CAPO RIZZUTO, Italy — The government provided millions of euros to care for the migrants who had arrived at the reception center at Italy’s toe after traveling across deserts, war zones or choppy seas. But on many days, they were served little more than rancid chicken. Some did not eat at all when the food ran out.

At the same time, the priest who founded the local branch of the charity managing the center was spending money on expensive hotels and restaurants, splurging on fine wines and stashing thousands of euros in three safes at home, the authorities say. His business partners — mobsters and their associates — outfitted their bathtubs with golden taps. Some hid thousands of euros in vacuum-sealed plastic bags tucked in their fireplaces. (more…)

July 16, 2017

Tags: Mattanza, first edition, first printing, author signed, personalized inscription, eBay, Favignana, book, first, nonfiction, giant bluefin tuna, fishermen, tonnaroti, tradition, gone, extinct, history

For sale by me on eBay:
15 copies of my first book, Mattanza, in pristine condition, signed by me and with a personalized inscription. I have kept these books in temperature- and humidity-controlled storage since they were first printed. Hardcover first printing, first edition, illustrated, with end papers.
Click on the caption to see my auction on eBay.

Sicilians offer swimming, diving lessons to refugees traumatized by their sea crossing

July 16, 2017

Tags: trauma, fear, water, swim, scuba, dive, immigrants, sicilians, warm, heart, empathy, compassion, refugees, crossing, Mediterranean

From the Washington Post:
By Michael Birnbaum July 15 at 7:12 PM
MESSINA, Italy — Abdoulie Jallow lives on the Sicilian coast, but until recently, looking at the Mediterranean Sea filled him with dread.
The azure water reminded the 17-year-old Gambian of his journey from Libya last year, a middle-of-the-night departure on an overcrowded dinghy in which he had to abandon himself to his faith in God. (more…)

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