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

Libera is hiding mothers who turn their backs on mafia

September 29, 2015

Tags: protection program, libera, anti-mafia, mothers who rebel, save the children, hide, save, help, Don Luigi Ciotti

The leader of the anti-mafia group "Libera" (which means "Free") today let it be known that for some time his group has been hiding mothers who want to leave the environment of their mafia families so that their children can grow up free to be anyone they want. It is a grass roots protection program for those who are not collaborating with the state and have the witness protection program to save them. For te women, it means leaving their homeland husbands and extended families. It means creating a new law that allows these children to receive new legal names so that wherever they go, they will be safe in school.
Father Luigi Ciotti, president of the non-profit anti-mafia association Libera, said that "so many women, for the love of their children, have decided to rebel against the mafia reasoning, and the reasoning of their own families, saying 'enough' and asking for help. Many are not collaborating with the law, nor are they trial witnesses but they are asking for a hand. We asked politicians to set up a new legal mechanism to open a third way out, because many women are not capable of collaborating. We have reached an agreement but we need to speed up the process." (more…)

Tree biographies

September 28, 2015

Tags: tree, biography, Via Liberta, Palermo, guerilla gardeners

After city authorities felled an historic tree in Piazza Castelnuovo on Via Liberta` to make way for a new subway line, these guerilla gardeners went into action. They researched and wrote up the life story of every tree on Via Liberta`, including its present state of health, and with a knotted string attached each (more…)

fisherman confesses to fishing up WW2 bombs for explosives that killed Falcone

September 28, 2015

Tags: strage, assasination, Capaci, Cosimo D'Amato, fisherman, Giovanni Falcone, Francesca Morvillo

A fisherman already condemned to 30 years in jail for his part in the murder of Giovanni Falcone, wife and body guards, has confessed in court to being the one who procured the explosives for the job from unexploded World War Two bombs he fished up from the bottom of the sea.
Cosimo D'Amato helped (more…)

Luigi sings "Personality" as done by Katerina Valente

September 26, 2015

Tags: luigi, homeless, sings, song, personalita`, shadow Dance, Danza delle Ombre, Scardavi, song, refuge, clinic, together, friends, solace, uplift


Luigi, a homeless man who sleeps at a shelter and spends much of his days at the walk- in clinic, Danza delle Ombre (Shadowdance) run by Doctor Marina Scardavi, near Piazza Politeama. He asked me not to film his face. A woman who also comes daily to the clinic sings along with him until she forgets the words.

1986: Piero Corrao and Toto Podesta set the nets off Mondello

September 22, 2015

Tags: fishermen, boat, net, Mondello Piero Corrao, Toto Podesta, 1986, Monte Pellegrino, fish

Piero and Toto` set the net one evening
When Piero's father was a young fishermen the sea was full of fish and he could never get a good price for his haul. Now seafood is rich man's dinner and Piero hardly takes in a half bucket of fish. The sea is wiped out, depleted. But they looked good trying to make aliving, didn't they?

To NPR: WHY DIDN'T YOU REPORT THIS?

September 21, 2015

Tags: immigrants, boats, mediterranean, rescue, ships, fear, drowning, trouble, africa, sicily, Italy.

I listened to Soraya Sahadi Nelson report on the refugee crisis from Berlin on the NPR national news last night. She talked about the people walking from Syria. When asked by the show host about refugees in the Mediterranean, she talked about the WHITE people moving through Greece. She didn't mention the 5,000-plus black (more…)

A river of refugees

September 20, 2015

Tags: immigrants, boats, mediterranean, rescue, ships, fear, drowning, trouble, africa, sicily, Italy.

4,451 people saved off the coast of Libya in the Strait of Sicily. 948 to arrive in Palermo tomorrow, Monday.

Nudism is back at Pantelleria

September 17, 2015

Tags: nudism, mayor, pantelleria, revoke, law, breasts

Pantelleria's mayor revoked a law created 33 years ago by a more prudish mayor to keep nudity and topless women off their beaches. "The island belongs to the world and accepts everybody," said current Mayor Gino Gabriele, according to a report in today's La Repubblica. (The law was never respected anyway.) But it was interesting to read what the former Mayor Giovanni Petrillo wrote into the law on 17 July 1982. He railed against women who expose breasts that "are instead stomach-turning flaccid, oblong protuberances."
In the order he wrote that "someone had to step in to avoid a situation where certain persons, deprived of any sense of shame, but undoubtedly gifted with a worm-eaten mind, continue to walk all over the feeling of discretion which still enlivens most clean-minded people."
That same prudish mayor was arrested in 1982 for abuse of office (graft) and was later absolved, only to be arrested again in 1991, again as mayor, for extortion.

284 migrants saved, including a 5-day-old baby

September 14, 2015

Tags: immigrants, boats, mediterranean, rescue, ships, fear, drowning, trouble, africa, sicily, Italy.

A 5-day-old baby was amog the migrants rescued by the Italian military ship Mimbelli in the Strait of Sicily. They were on an old fishing boat, overcrowded to say the least. There were 54 women and 45 children. Two of the women were 9 months pregnant. They were all transferred to another ship and brought to the (more…)

Migrants who saw death at sea now sail

September 12, 2015

Tags: immigrants, boats, mediterranean, rescue, ships, fear, drowning, trouble, africa, sicily, Italy, sail


Two African refugees learn to crew a racing sailboat with an Italian team at the world championships in Barcelona. The two African men had seen 150 of their fellow immigrants drown like flies before their (more…)

Letter to her congressman

September 9, 2015

Tags: leter, congressman, immigration, solution, refugees, help, United States of America

The Syrian boy, now a symbol of all refugees and immigrants
The 85-year-old mother of my friend Naomi wrote this letter to her congressman in support of immigrants seeking new homes, new lives.

US Congressman Sam Farr
Washington, D.C.


Dear Sam Farr,

I am writing today to make a case as best as I can to reverse the current American paralysis towards the Syrian, Eritrean, Afghanistani refugees as they walk, hide swim, are trunked in cars to escape the seemingly never ending middle Eastern wars.

I speak from experience: I was in the same situation 70 years ago: expelled by the Nazis, my parents tried desperately to get entry into European and American countries – to no avail. By fortuitous circumstances, Shanghai proved to be an open door (nobody had thought to close it) and about 20,000 Polish, German, Austrian, Czech Jews survived the war there .But 13 of my immediate family members who did not choose to escape were gassed, murdered or shot in Vienna and Czechoslovakia.

It is this stark today, perhaps worse. Today’s refugees have been in camps; they’ve been bombed;
they’ve been passed on from jihadist group to new jihadist groups.

In the 1930’s I wondered why nobody fought to let us in. Today , I am luckily on the other side
I am a bystander who looks on from afar.

I have seen the triumph of immigrants here . I wont allow the new Trumpifying of them . Right here ,in Carmel, the owner of a cleaning establishment is Korean, the owner of the bagel bakery is Cambodian, another cleaning establishment is owned by a Chinese; a girl behind the desk of my swim club is Salvadorian: we absorb immigrants. They contribute to diversification. They blend in.

So.I cant believe that America built by immigrants , stands idly by when the stream of refugees heading towards Europe is growing ;when there is no end of war in sight. In fact,
America, by not bombing Syrian chemical facilities (Obama’s red line ) has allowed the war to continue.

In the 1970’s at the end of the Vietnamese war we took in 140,000. We should do this again. We should take political leadership – together with the United Nations, together with the Pope – to take immediate action .There is a promise to take in 5 to 7,000 refugees next year according to the NYTimes
(9/6/2015). Not enough.

All it needs is political will and organization. We can fly over there and register thousands and airlift them or put them on boats ; start the process of rehabilitation – first in transit camps which should include language classes & health exams; followed by vocational training with plans to disburse the new arrivals throughout the country. We should encourage Saudi Arabia ,the Gulf States
to do same.We should start a refugee peace corps- give college credits to youngsters who are looking for a cause.

If we turn our backs on this situation, we will be creating more terrorists: and more
significantly, we are turning our backs on our own history.

Please distribute this letter as widely as you can………………

Sincerely,
Lotte Marcus

Into the Night

September 8, 2015

Tags: Giorgio Rowley, Palermo, Into the Night, video, time lapse, clouds, clock, cathedral, love, beauty

Again, because it is so beautiful, and maybe you missed it the first time.

Tower of S. Nicolo`, Bagheria

September 8, 2015

Tags: toree s. Nicolo`, bagheria, view, night, open, september, beauty, city, palermo, sicily, sicilia

View from the Tower of S. Nicolo`, Albergheria, Palermo
On 12 September, the Tower of the Church of San Nicolo` in the heart of Albergheria in Old Palermo will be open until midnight for half-hour tours. The view is so beautiful. Palermo at night can't be beat.

Look at this picture, then read this story.

September 7, 2015

Tags: immigrants, boats, mediterranean, rescue, ships, fear, drowning, trouble, africa, sicily, Italy.

I noticed that with one picture of a Syrian boy, a Caucasian by race, a boy showing white skin between his pants leg and his little shoe, washed up limp and lifeless on a beach, Europe and the world stood up and took notice. God bless that boy, his brother, his mother, his bereaved father, his whole family and his country. I am going to use his picture at the top of all my stories about the African people who also die trying to get to Europe. (more…)

329 rescued from boat in trouble; ten of them women, one pregnant

September 6, 2015

Tags: immigrants, boats, mediterranean, rescue, ships, fear, drowning, trouble, africa, sicily, Italy.

At 8 this morning Irish rescue ship L. E. Niamh arrived at the Sicilian port of Pozzallo carrying 329 immigrants rescued yesterday from a boat in difficulty in the Strait of Sicily. They were almost all men, with just 10 women this time. One was pregnant and was sent right away to a hospital for a check-up, according to La Repubblica.

Mother and child

September 5, 2015

Tags: nigerian, mother, childbirth, rescue, labor, coast guard, lampedusa, baby, boy, birth.

The Nigerian refugee was rescued by the Italian Coast Guard from a rubber raft 80 miles off the Sicilian island of Lampedusa, gave birth on board the rescue ship, was taken to the Lampedusa port, then flown by helicopter to a Catania hospital where she is in a maternity ward beside so many Sicilian mothers. Her first visitor was a commander from the coast guard, who brought her a big bouquet of flowers. (more…)

Never so many minors in one boat; baby boy born on rescue ship

September 4, 2015

Tags: immigrants, boats, mediterranean, rescue, ships, fear, drowning, trouble, africa, sicily, Italy.

80 Egyptian children and babies and 21 Egyptian adults arrived in Sicily today. The Coast Guard had never seen so many unaccompanied minors in one boat. They say most of the adults will be sent back to Egypt.
One Nigerian woman gave birth to a baby boy on the Coast Guard rescue ship that picked her (more…)

More refugees arrive, more drown in shipwrecks

September 3, 2015

Tags: immigrants, boats, mediterranean, rescue, ships, fear, drowning, trouble, africa, sicily, Italy.

838 refugees from Africa are headed toward the Sicilian city of Messina today. A rubber raft went down off the coast of Libya, one person drowned. The ship Cigala Fulgosi will arrive at the Sicilian port of Augusta with 394 immigrants rescued. 781 immigrants, including 11 pregnant women, and six cadavers will arrive at the Sardinian port of Cagliari, according to the Palermo edition of today's La Repubblica online newspaper.


Black Lives Matter

September 2, 2015

Tags: immigrants, boats, mediterranean, rescue, ships, fear, drowning, trouble, africa, sicily, Italy.

I noticed that Caucasian immigrants to Europe get a lot of press, but he continuing massacre of drowning African immigrants trying to get to Europe doesn't get covered in the states. I am giving you te news I read every day on the front page of La Repubblica online.
The rickety boatloads of immigrants (more…)

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