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

Hundreds more rescued immigrants land in Palermo today

July 31, 2016

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

5,500 migrants rescued since Friday, according to a report in today's La Repubblica.

Today 1,104people were rescued, but rescuers could see that five men had died who either jumped into the sea or were pushed and drowned when help arrived. On Saturday 935 were saved. On Friday 3,400. All Africans. Nearly 60 of them youths unaccompanied by parents (more…)

Tchamba's story

July 29, 2016

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

Tchamba tells what it was like to be forced into an unseaworthy vessel by human traffickers who don't care if you and your child live or die. Part of an internet campaign by the Italian government called "aware migrants" to warn potential immigrants of the dangers they face.

https://youtu.be/cNXVq_gYbn4

Cyber message in a bottle: Migrants, stay home

July 29, 2016

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



“Migration is a decision often based on false expectations: many migrants leave their home without a concrete project of precise idea of the socioeconomic and political situation of their country of destination,” said Aware Migrants.

I found this to be true (more…)

Story of Miriam

July 21, 2016

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

Among the 628 refugees who arrived Pozzuolo, Sicily this morning was Miriam, a 17-year-old orphan girl escaping her native Gambia, who crossed the desert and the sea on her own. She told the Doctors Without Borders her story.
Her mother died when she was a small child and her father was taken to prison and never heard from again. He is presumed dead ecause he opposed the current regime in Gambia Miriam had no choice but to take what the call the Hell Road between AgDez in Nigeria and Libya. At Baransate she was the only girl. "They brought me to stay in an abandoned house with 17 other men. (more…)

Aquarius to the rescue finds 22 cadavers of women in a raft

July 21, 2016

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

The NGO rescue ship Aquarius was headed to Trapani, Sicily to change crews when at 10 a.m. local time today they received a call from the Italian Navy to return to the Libyan coast to aid two rubber rafts in trouble. Five hours later they arrived and this is what they found.
"As our crew approached the first raft they saw the cadavers floating in a sea of diesel fuel," declared Jens Pagotto, chief of the Doctors Without Borders in charge of the search and rescue missions.. "The survivors remained on the raft with the bodies are too traumatized to be able to tell what happened. It is still difficult to know how these women died."
This 20th rescue operation for the German-French volunteer ship saved 209 people from two sinking rafts, of which 177 were men and 32 were women, including 50 minors. Of the 22 corpses, 21 were women. For original article in French, go to:
http://www.sosmediterranee.fr/journal-de-bord/sauvetage-tragique-en-mer-mediterranee (more…)

Brother Biagio Conte of Palermo made it to Rome on foot, saw Pope today

July 20, 2016

Tags: Fra Biagio, biagio conte, mission, Hope and Charity, walk, rome, protest, letter, pope, president, Via Archrafi, sheds, promise, palermo

In April Brother Biagio Conte took off from Palermo in a fit of pique because his homeless brothers were being mistreated. He decided to walk to Rome carrying a wooden cross. One of his faithful followers walked with him. When the pope heard that Biagio was nearing Rome, he scurried to clear a spot on his appointment calendar to make room for Biagio. This morning Biagio reached Rome and, according to this report in today's Giornale di Sicilia, Pope Francis met with him and Biagio's right-hand man, Father Pino Vitrano, informally for a half hour at one of his rooms at Santa Marta. ( Who was running the three urban homeless shelters, a constant state of emergency, while they were gone, I wonder?) (more…)

At wit's end

July 20, 2016

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

Palermo city officials are pleading for help from the Italian national government. All alone they are expected to take care of all the refugees who are brought by rescue ships to the city which can't even afford desks for its schools. Today the largest part of the 1,146 migrants saved in 19 marine operations in the Strait of (more…)

Bodies on the beach, catania, sicily 2014

July 19, 2016

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


Here is the YouTube link in case the embed code did not work.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDlIKr3qiKY

while melania spoke, migrants plowed the seas

July 19, 2016

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

Due to favorable weather conditions, the sea was full of migrants on unseaworthy boats and rafts headed to Europe. La Repubblica reports that 2500 of them were saved at sea yesterday and one cadaver recovered from a raft: the man did not make the crossing alive.

New Immigrant tragedy today; at least 20 dead on a raft

July 15, 2016

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

Their raft deflated and at least twenty of them drowned while help was on the way in the form of the rescue ship Siem Pilot, according to the Giornale di Sicilia today.
The 366 survivors ( imagine 366 people crowded on a single rubber raft!) were from Eritrea, Ethiopia and Nigeria. 259 of them were men, 82 were women and 25 minors.

Grotta Regina on Capo Gallo

July 15, 2016

Tags: grotta regina, temple, capo gallo, monte gallo, mondello, palermo, prehistory, art, cave art, cave drawings, shepherds, pippo locascio, guide, studioso, protector, teacher, cherish, defend, spread the word



Exactly 30 years ago Pippo LoCascio, a learned man, took me as part of a group to the top of Monte Gallo and showed me La Grotta Regina, the Queen Cave where Phoenicians worshiped their goddess. Thirty years later, Pippo LoCascio still leads groups up the mountain to teach them about their own heritage. It is awe inspiring. I lost ten pounds the first time I made that climb. Video from a staunch La Repubblica reporter.

392nd Feast of Santa Rosalia, patron saint of Palermo

July 15, 2016

Tags: santa rosalia, patron saint, palermo, festino, feast day

Once a year she rolls from the cathedral down Corso Vittorio Emanuele to the sea with a stop at the baroque Quattro Canti. 250,000 people were in attendance this year.

Mafia boss Bernardo provenzano is dead

July 14, 2016

Tags: Bernardo Provenzano, mafia, boss, head, dead, jailed, solitary confinement, murders

From The Guardian:
Bernardo Provenzano, who has died aged 83 in a secure hospital, was the former boss of the Corleone clan, once the most vicious and voracious of the Sicilian mafia families. He had been imprisoned in solitary confinement since 2006, serving a number of life sentences for murder.

Provenzano was credited with rescuing Cosa (more…)

More than 2,000 rescued migrants arrive Sicily

July 8, 2016

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

More than 2,000 migrants arrived on Sicily since yesterday, according to La Repubblica. This morning the ship Siem Pilot brought 1,040 of them to Palermo, mostly men from sub Saharan African nations. Among them were 120 unaccompanied minors. At Trapani 656 migrants arrived including a baby born aboard the rescue ship. Meanwhile 496 migrants arrived yesterday at Pozzallo, Sicily,with four presumed traffickers among them.

Baby girl born aboard rescue ship

July 6, 2016

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


Click on the caption to see the brief video if the embedded video does not appear here.
Baby Manuela was the second baby born aboard the Italian Navy ship Bettica. She was born July 5. Can you imagine taking the dangerous raft ride across the ocean about to give birth?! A baby boy named Francois Manuel was born aboard the Bettica on June 27 2016.

Marianopoli: Groom caught with bridesmaid, big fight at reception

July 5, 2016

Tags: wedding, groom, brdesmaid, canoodling, father-in-law, caught, problem, fight, waiters, Marianopoli

The newlyweds were very young, barely past 18 years of age. They had 200 guests at their reception. The waiters had cleared the antepasto plates and were about to serve the main course when the bride's father, noting the groom wasn't at his place, asked the waiters to hold dinner till the groom came back. But after a (more…)

4,500 immigrants saved at sea, one dead

July 5, 2016

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

From La Repubblica:
The desperate crossings continue without letup. Today 4,500 migrants were saved at sea and along with one corpse were brought to Sicily. THe Italian Navy and Coast Guard, with an assist from a Frontex Euro border guards) ship and a non-governmental organization ship saved 4500 hundred lives in 35 rescue operations in the Straitof Sicily today.

Trafficker: Refugees who cannot pay are killed for their organs, children too.

July 4, 2016

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

From La Repubblica:
PALERMO - Noureddin Atta, a confessed human trafficker from Eritrea arrested in Italy in 2015, said that sometimes the migrants don't have the money for the trip across the desert, or they make it across the Sahara but cannot find the money to cross the Mediterranean. These people are consigned to Egyptians who pay around $15,000 per migrant. They come prepared to harvest organs and transport them in thermal bags.

Quick Links