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

Read the story in The Guardian

May 29, 2016

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

Click on the caption to read the story in English in The Guardian.

Survivors: Some 40 immigrant children drowned Thursday

May 29, 2016

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

Of the estimated 400 lost at sea from this one incident 40 were children, survivors say. As always, those who could not afford a position on deck were locked in the hold and died trapped there when the boat flipped Thursday. Those people would be the women and children.
One old fishing trawler was towing another with a rope (more…)

Dance for Joy on the Aquarius

May 27, 2016

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



From SOS Mediterranee. Saved from a shipwreck on Wednesday, these African women mostly from Ivory Coast and Cameroon danced and sang hymns aboard the NGO rescue ship Aquarius when the coast of Sardinia, where they were being taken, came (more…)

Another shipwreck today; 45 bodies recovered, 135 saved, at least 20 missing at sea

May 27, 2016

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

A converted fishing traler overloaded with immigrants partially sank today in the Mediterranean between Africa and Sicily. T Italian Navy ship Vega saved 135 people, recuperated 45 bodies and rescuers are searching for at least 20 people still missing at sea.
Eighteen rescue operations took place today. Some 1,900 people were aboard 16 rubber rafts, all rescued. Several hundred (more…)

Baby Favour goes to Palermo

May 27, 2016

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

Baby Favour, newly orphaned immigrant from Nigeria, saved from a shipwreck by a woman from Cameroon who watched the baby's mother drown, a burn victim who was drowning herself, was met by the mayor of Palermo, Leoluca Orlando when she arrived in the Sicilian capital accompanied by the chief of police, Maria Volpe. The (more…)

Rubber raft sinking

May 27, 2016

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

It is hard to keep up with all the shipwrecks and dead and orphaned and drowned immigrants of all ages. When the sea is calm, the wave of immigrants from Africa swells.

9-month old Nigerian girl saved by Cameroonian woman

May 27, 2016

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

Little Favour from Nigeria lost both her parents when the rubber raft they were on flipped all the passengers into the Mediterranean Sea, but she was saved by a 52-year-old Cameroonian woman with severe burns over her body. The Cameroonian woman is named Sofii and is in hospital in Palermo. Little Favour, in the (more…)

The boat that capsized Wednesday when 550 were saved, some drowned

May 26, 2016

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

This overcrowded overhauled fishing trawler carrying some 600 immigrants capsized in the Mediterranean Wednesday. Click on the caption to read the story in The Guardian.
From The Guardian: "The boat is the latest of at least 38 smuggling vessels to be rescued in the southern Mediterranean since the start of the week. More than 6,000 lives have (more…)

Baby boy born aboard the Aquarius

May 26, 2016

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

Bernadette, one of the hundreds saved Wednesday by the non profit German and French rescue ship the Aquarius, gave birth to a baby boy around 5 p.m.. When it was learned the mother had gone into labor the ship went full steam ahead towards Sardinia so the child could be born on land, but (more…)

Some 500 saved from capsized boat, seven known drowned, more lost at sea unaccounted for

May 25, 2016

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

Imagine the horror.
A boat with about 600 migrants aboard capsized 18 miles off the coast of Libya. More than 500 immigrants were saved but already seven deaths have been ascertained and more are feared drowned. The immigrants had made a satellite telephone call for help and the Italian ships Bettica and Bergamini arrived. The boat had capsized because it (more…)

Aquarius rescues 432 immigrants today alone

May 24, 2016

Tags: Aquarius, rescue ship, Germany, France, immigrants, shipwrecked, rescue, sea, Italy, sicily

In the past 24 hours more than 2,700 African immigrants have been plucked from the sea between Libya and Europe. The private non profit rescue ship Aquarius first picked up 132 shipwreck victims from a Zodiac rubber raft. Among them, 92 men, 38 women, of whom 7 were pregnant, 14 babies under five years of age and 19 minors unaccompanied by their (more…)

A thousand candles in his memory at Chiesa di San Domenico

May 23, 2016

Tags: giovanni falcone, mafia, antimafia, murder, collusion, state, alone, vulnerable, false antimafia

Thousands of students from all over Italy converged on Palermo to commemorate the death, by murder, of anti Mafia Judge Giovanni Falcone who gave his life in the fight against the Mafia. He was killed in Capaci on the road from the airport, with his wife and police escort, by a bomb planted on (more…)

Unknown immigrant woman dies of strain

May 20, 2016

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

A woman refugee who arrived in Palermo on a rescue ship Friday has died in hospital from stress of the voyage, according to a report in today's La Repubblica.
She arrived in grave condition: malnourished, stressed from the voyage through the desert, the long wait on the African coast and the sea crossing. Today, (more…)

French NGO rescue ship Aquarius saved 253 shipwreckd migrants yesterday

May 18, 2016

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

For its eighth and ninth rescies the French ship Aquarius bellonging to the non profit SOS Mediterranee rescued 253 shipwreck victims on two rubber rafts. The first mission saved 137 immigrants including six women and6 children under 16 years old. The were mostly from Guinea-Conakry and Mali. Two of the women were dehydrated and very weak. At least three people had broken arms. Doctors on board said at least one broken arm was due to maltreatment and torture. As soon as these immigrants were on board the Aquarius went to its next rescue, of 116 people on another sinking raft, including 16 women and a three-year-old child.
Then the Aquarius was asked by the naval center in Rome to welcome aboard 115 other migrants who were saved by the German navy in order to take them to Italy.

African Migrants in Libya Face Kidnapping, Torture, and Robbery on Smuggling Route to Europe

May 18, 2016

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

From Vice News, a story by Rebecca Murray:
In an impoverished and violent neighborhood on the edge of Sebha in Libya's southern desert, 30-year-old Ibrahim from Burkina Faso is struggling to survive and to move on.

He's stuck here, working at a laundry to make money, because he needs to save for the ride north over 400 miles of desert to Libya's coast, and a place on a boat to Italy. It's dangerous for migrants like him, who pass through here on the way from sub-Saharan Africa to what they hope is a better life in Europe.

Warring local tribes, and gangs preying on migrants, are a daily threat.

"All the time guns are turned against us to rob us," said Ibrahim, who would only give a first name, while gesturing towards a group of men also from Burkina Faso, gathered warily outside a dilapidated storefront. "Four months ago I was actually shot here by one man."

Last year, friends who had made it to Europe called Ibrahim at home and told him about how they were doing better there. So he left behind his wife, newborn baby, and work selling goods on the street, and invested $300 for the brutal desert trek with smugglers to reach Sebha. Ibrahim now needs the same amount to reach the coast at Tripoli, and up to $1,000 more to cross the Mediterranean Sea. That's a staggering sum for someone from Burkina Faso, where gross national income per capita is $700.

What they suffer to get there.

May 17, 2016

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

You may be wondering why I post so much about African immigrants landing in Sicily and what they go through. It's because I spent six months in Palermo and talked to many of them and heard the harrowing stories, a young guy in a shipwreck who saw his brother go overboard and drown, a (more…)

998 saved in the Strait of Sicily in last 24 hours

May 13, 2016

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

From today's La Repubblica:
Merchant ship and Italian Coast Guard ships carried 998 immigrants toward Italian shores this morning. They had left from the Egyptian coast. The Coast Guard ship Peluso brought 342 to safety at Augusta, Sicily, they were many men, women and children. The immigrants who landed at Augusta had gone to sea squashed (more…)

230 saved this morning in 2 rescue operations in Strait of Sicily

May 12, 2016

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

With the good weather more and more rubber rafts and big old fishing boats full of desperate immigrants take off from Libyan shores to tackle the crossing to Sicily. Here is a photo tweeted by a volunteer on the rescue ship Aquarios operated by the group SOS Mediterrane`. The rescue ships had already taken (more…)

What happens when they get to Italy: Big disappointment

May 7, 2016

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

From The Guardian:
"The chances of finding legitimate work with youth unemployment in Italy at 37% are slim, and his asylum application is unlikely to succeed: 66% of claims by Gambians last year were rejected, according to Eurostat.

Across Italy, migrants spend their days in parks, or loiter outside bus and train stations, homesick and shocked (more…)

Three ships saved 1664 immigrants in 9 rescue operations yesterday

May 6, 2016

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

The weather is clearing in the Mediterranean Sea so immigrants' voyages of despair are picking up. Three Italian ships rescued 1,664 people from nine rubber rafts in trouble. The ship Bettica aided five rafts saving a total of 588 people. The ship Bergamini saved 476 people from two rafts ( can you imagine more than 200 people on a rubber raft????!!!) The ship Grecale picked up 600 immigrants from two rafts and is headed toward Trapani, Sicily with them.

The weekend tally

May 2, 2016

Tags: Words or phrases to categorize this post for the tags section

Some of the refugees spent fur days at sea in an open raft. It bent in the middle, shaped like a V, many fell into the water and drowned, including a newborn baby.
From the Guardiam:
"A newborn baby is among 99 people believed to have drowned in two separate shipwrecks off the Libyan coast (more…)

703 immigrants arrived Sicily this afternoon

May 1, 2016

Tags: Hundreds more migrants arrived in Sicily this afternoon. In Italy it's Labor Day, a national holiday.

From a story in La Repubblica this afternoon by MANUELA MODICA:
Italian government ships picked up and brought to Sicily 703 immigrants rescued at sea. 454 arrived at the port of Pozzallo along (more…)

249 immigrants saved at sea

May 1, 2016

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

from the Giornale di Sicilia:
249 African immigrants on an old fishing boat were saved last night by the Italian coast guard ship Dattilo which was sent to pick them up after Roman authorities received an emergency satellite cell phone call from the foundering fishing boat. They were 200 nautical miles east of Sicily but within (more…)

Shipwreck off Libya, 80 immigrants feared lost

May 1, 2016

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

A merchant ship saved 26 people off a half sunken raft miles off the Libyan coast but survivors say 80 people were lost at sea yesterday.

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