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

New York Times photo essay

April 27, 2015

Tags: libya, detention, migrants, lampedusa, horrors

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/28/world/africa/libya-migrants-mediterranean.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=second-column-region®ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news#

Funeral Fireworks in Piazza Independenza

April 27, 2015

Tags: funeral, fireworks, cortege, traffic, palermo, sicilia, sicily

http://video.repubblica.it/edizione/palermo/palermo-corteo-funebre-traffico-bloccato-per-sparare-i-petardi/199084/198127#commenta
Here is a video of a funeral cortege that stops traffic in the middle of Piazza Independenza in downtown historic center of Palermo. They open the door to the hearse carrying the corpse, and set off fireworks so the deceased can see them. One commentor said, " (more…)

CBS News wakes up from stupor

April 26, 2015

Tags: it's about time, imigration, death, africa, sicily, mass migration

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/migrant-death-in-the-mediterranean/

"Inhuman violence"; traffickers clubbed migrants to death

April 23, 2015

Tags: violence, migrants, immigrants, refugess, italy, sicily, africa, human traffickers, trafficking, death, murder, awful

Some of the survivors of the raft that sank 80 miles off the coast of Libya, killing 400 by drowning, said that their traffickers had beaten several of their fellow travelers to death with clubs because they did not obey. One man was beaten to death at the farm where the refugees are stockpiled until setting (more…)

650 immigrants land safely in Sicily

April 22, 2015

Tags: immigrants, clandestine, africa, palermo, sicily, italy, frontex, bossi-fini law

450 landed safely today at Augusta, Sicily and another 200 at Pozzallo, Sicily.

700+ immigrants dead in single shipwreck

April 19, 2015

Tags: shipwreck, immigrants, africa, sicily, UE, bossi-fini law, Frontex, murder by law

The Worst Ever Migrant Tragedy. From La Repubblica:
The traffickers had packed more than 700 immigrants like animals on a 20-meter old wooden fishing boat and set them sailing across the Mediterranean from a point east of Tripoli, Libya. One of them had a satellite telephone and alerted the Italian National Center of the Coast (more…)

Mayor Leoluca Orlando: Europe Like Pontius Pilate

April 18, 2015

Tags: europe, wash hands, immigrants, emergency, migration, africa, sicily, italy, palermo, tragedy

Mayor Orlando says Europe has washed its hands of the tragedy and abandoned Sicily and Italy to its own devices when it comes to handling the huge continuing wave of refugees.
Three rescued Somalis, picked up by Maltese mercantile ship, arrived at Palermo and were hospitalized for health problems. Altogether 91 Somalis arrived at Palermo's (more…)

194 young Africans saved and arrived at Trapani

April 18, 2015

Tags: imigration, sicily, africa, trapani, tripoli, gommone, rafts

They left on two rubber rafts from Tripoli but they came from Senegal, Nigeria, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Mali, Siera Leone and the Ivory Coast. All men but for one woman ho had married her husband, who accompanied her, this year. The immigrants were piled on top of each other in the (more…)

Roads and viaducts fall apart; Sicily divided in two

April 17, 2015

Tags: highway, roads, mudslides, poor construction, graft, sicily, palermo, transportation, mess

Last week Sicily was cut in two when an overpass on the Palermo-Catania Highway A19 broke up. One of the pilons sustaining the bridge ceded to a mudslide, leaned like the Tower of Pisa and is now pressing against other pilons. Engineers say the bridge will have to be demolished and rebuilt. Sicily has (more…)

Vucciria: paving stones dug up for year

April 17, 2015

Tags: vucciria, palermo, sicilia, sicily, italy, marketplace, old neigborhood, centro storico, historic center

After the crumbling of several buildings in the neglected Vucciria, the city has finally decided to spend some time and money fixing the historic market site up. It will take a year, with a firm that "works very fast", to pull up the limestone paving stones, work on the light and telephone cables and (more…)

Multiple murder by migrants at sea; Christians thrown overboard

April 16, 2015

Tags: migrants, moslems, christians, sicily, palermo

Sicilian police have jailed 15 Moslems accused of throwing more than ten Christians overboard into the open sea. They were a hundred moslems and Christians traveling together on a trafficker's rubber raft seeking to reach Sicily ( and Europe) when a fight over religion broke out.

A thousand refugees are expected to land in Sicily today. (more…)

Migraton flow to Lampdusa

April 14, 2015

Tags: migration, illegal, clandestine, immigrants, Bossi-Fini law, pushback, deaths, mercy, change law, european union, mediterranean, refugees, africa, war, despots, massacres, religious freedom, escape, hope, scared, fear, danger, graveyard, water, sea, swim, bad boats, trafficking, human trafficking

Once again, there are now 1400 refugees and immigrants for whatever reason in an intake camp with only 250 beds. The Lampedusa holding center had been closed last year because of scandalous overcrowding, poor conditions, bad management and degrading treatment of arrivals (making people strip naked publicly to be sprayed for scabies and such). Volunteers -- (more…)

3000 immigrants today

April 13, 2015

Tags: sicily, palermo, immigrants, death, mediterranean, graveyard, Frontex

1,169 immigrants expected in Palermo alone by tomorrow morning. After the winter hiatus, immigrants are making the dangerous trip in unseaworthy boats and rafts again. More than ten rescue operations in the Canale di Sicilia today alone.

Immigrant boat capsizes off Libyan coast; 9 cadavers, 144 saved

April 13, 2015

Tags: immigration, boat, boat people, people, Mediterranean, graveyard, Frontex, european union, laws

From today's La Repubblica: A boat full of immigrants capsized 80 miles off the coast of Libya and nine people drowned trying to get to Europe. The Italian coast guard saved the 144 shipwreck survivors and put them on a military boat bound for Sicily while Coast Guard members stayed to look for more survivors or (more…)

IMMIGRANTS: one dead, a thousand rescued

April 11, 2015

Tags: clandestine, immigrants, mediterranean, dead, saved, boats, people, Frontex, European Union

They were taken to Porto Empedocle, near Agrigento, Sicily. Read it in today's La Repubblica.

Calendar rock at S. Ciparello, Palermo Province

April 8, 2015

Tags: palermo, prehistoric, megalithic, archeology geoarcheologist, San Ciparello, MOnte aricvocaloto, astronomical calendar, rock, civilization, religion, farming, agriculture, culture

Archeologist Alberto Scuderi, geoarcheologist Francesca Mercadante and her husband and co-explorer Dr. Pippo Lo Cascio have discovered that a seven-foot high rock with a hole carved out of it on a hilltop in Palermo province was actually a second-millenium B.C. megalithic structure that celebrates the winter solstice. On December 22 the first rays of (more…)

1500 immigrants saved at sea in one day

April 5, 2015

Tags: Immigrants, sicily, saved, Italy, Lampedusa, Porto Empedocle, boats, Mediterranean, rescue

Five overloaded, unseaworthy ex-fishing boats loaded with would-be immigrants were saved from danger near the Libyan shores . The Italian Navy had received a distress call via satellite phone warning that three boats were in need of rescue. The ships sent found five boats full of people and rescued all of them, taking them to Lampedusa and Porto Empedocle in Sicily.

Votive altar at night

April 3, 2015

Tags: street, street shrine, votive, altar, palermo, vicolo, lights, bright, illumiated, sicily, religion, folklore, ballaro, albergheria

This votive altar was in the Albergheria quarter. A the end of this street are five steps down and you are right in front of the gated entrance to the cathedral. I loved the lights strung on in vertical stripes.

Ex votos

April 1, 2015

Tags: ex voto, palermo, sicily, silver, santa rosalia, grotto, monte san pellegrini, shrine, religious, tradition

It is a tradition all over southern Italy to promise a thing of value to a saint in exchange for a "grazia ricevuta", a favor received, often a cure. Those who could afford it often bought silver miniature bas relief replicas of the body part which received the grace. They pin them to the (more…)

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