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

Statement from the Authors Guild: We are not the enemy

February 27, 2017

Tags: authors guild, journalists, writers, trump, freedom government, healthy, enemy of the people, crap

George Orwell knew what he was talking about
I am a member of the Authors Guild, as was President John F. Kennedy. Please read the following important statement from the Authors Guild:
We Are Not the People’s Enemies
First President Trump complained that “the media” was biased against him. “Dishonest.” Presidents have made such complaints before, in moments of weakness and self-pity.
Then he labeled the media as “the opposition party.”

Now he has declared journalists to be “the enemy of the American People.”

We at the Authors Guild hear that as a declaration of war. We know our history. Enemy of the People is a phrase long favored by authoritarians and tyrants. The “correct Russian term,” Gary Shteyngart points out, is vrag naroda. Long before Lenin and Stalin used it, Robespierre inaugurated the Reign of Terror by declaring that the Revolutionary Government “owes nothing to the Enemies of the People but death.”

An earlier president, John F. Kennedy—when he was taking a beating in the press after the Bay of Pigs fiasco—was asked if he resented the media. He said this:

“It is never pleasant to be reading things that are not agreeable news, but I would say that it is an invaluable arm of the presidency, as a check, really, on what is going on in the administration … I would think that Mr. Khrushchev operating a totalitarian system, which has many advantages as far as being able to move in secret, and all the rest—there is a terrific disadvantage in not having the abrasive quality of the press applied to you daily …Even though we never like it, and even though we wish they didn’t write it, and even though we disapprove, there isn’t any doubt that we could not do the job at all in a free society without a very, very active press.”

President Kennedy was a member of the Authors Guild. (more…)

975 more rescued refugees arrive Palermo

February 25, 2017

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

975 people rescued yesterday in seven rescue operations in the Strait of Sicily arrived safely Sunday morning at Palermo's harbor.
One of them was a baby six hours old born aboard the Norwegian rescue ship Siem Pilot. ( Can you imagine setting off from Libya in the night nine months pregnant, about to give birth, and you are on a sinking rubber raft in the dark on the ocean at night in winter?) The boy child weighed some six pounds and both mother and son are healthy, according to a report in La Reppublica. The mother has requested Norwegian citizenship for her son and named him after one of the two rescue vessels that came to pick them up : Sea Bear.

1,100 immigrants rescued yesterday in strait of sicily

February 24, 2017

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

Some 1100 immigrants were rescued from the middle of the Mediterranean Sea yesterday in nine distinct operations. The migrants were aboard 8 rubber rafts and one small imbarcation. Click on the caption to read the story in Italian in La Repubblica online.


Letizia Battaglia interview in Italian

February 16, 2017

Tags: Franco Maresco, interviews, Letizia Battaglia, palermo, hope?, doubt?, nostalgia, mafia, blood, streets

Palermo director Franco Maresco interviews Letizia Battaglia, photojournalist who took the most iconic photos of the Mafia wars in Palermo during the 80s.


The refugee passport

February 8, 2017

Tags: refugee, passport, old idea, nansen

From an Atlas Obscura story by Cara Giaimo:

"The current refugee crisis is the largest the world has ever seen—but it’s far from unprecedented. Back in the 1920s, civil war in Russia and genocide in the Ottoman Empire left millions of families stateless, seeking asylum in countries already stretched thin by the ravages of war. Charged with preventing catastrophe, an idealistic explorer named Fridtjof Nansen changed hundreds of thousands of lives with a piece of paper: the Nansen Passport. Although it stopped short of granting citizenship, the Nansen Passport allowed its holders to cross borders to find work, and protected them from deportation. Some experts are calling for a similar solution today."

Coldplay offers song to benefit MOAS rescuers

February 7, 2017

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

Coldplay offered the income from its song to the Migrant Offshore Aid Station, the rescue ship and mission financed by Regina and Christopher Catrambone, two businesspeople who, after the tragic shipwreck of Lampedusa of October 2013, started to work in the Strait of Sicily to save migrants. "Every year MOAS aids thousands of people who (more…)

More than 1300 migrants saved in one day

February 4, 2017

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

From The Guardian:

More than 1,300 migrants were rescued in 13 separate missions in the Mediterranean on Friday, bringing the total helped over the last three days to more than 2,600, according to the Italian coastguard.

The migrants, aboard 13 different vessels, were picked up in the central Mediterranean by ships from the Italian coastguard, the Italian and British navies, merchant ships, and vessels operated by non-government organisations, a statement said. Another 1,300 migrants were rescued on Wednesday.

The voyage from Libya across the Mediterranean to Italy is currently the main route to Europe for migrants. A record 181,000 made the journey last year, most on flimsy boats run by people smugglers.

More than 5,000 people are believed to have died attempting the crossing in 2016.

Torture, murder, to make room for more: what happens in Libya

February 2, 2017

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

From The Guardian 30 Jan 2017
"Conditions for migrants and refugees in Libya are worse than in concentration camps, according to a paper sent to the German foreign ministry by its ambassador in Niger.

The German embassy in Niger has authenticated reports of executions, torture and other systematic rights abuses in camps on the refugee route in Libya, Die Welt cited the report as saying on Sunday....
“There are executions of countless migrants, torture, rapes, bribery and banishment to the desert on a daily basis,” the report says.

Witnesses spoke of five executions a week in one prison, designed to free up space for new migrants and increase smugglers’ revenues."

hundreds of African immigrants disembark at Augusta

February 1, 2017

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

The 212 immigrants rescued by SOS Mediterranee's ship Aquarius were brought to shore in Sicily last night. 41 of the refugees are minors, and and 38 of them came without parents or guardians. 31 of the immigrants were women, and one of them is pregnant, according to a report in La Repubblica this morning. They came from Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Mali, Cameroon and Morocco. They left the Libyan coast from Sabrata on the night between 27 and 28 January, having paid about 1,000 Libyan dinars each, about $714 U.S.. Four traffickers were arrested and sent to jail in Siracusa, Sicily.

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