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

African refugee drowns in Venice while people film, laugh

January 26, 2017

Tags: refugee, drown, venice, canal, Italy, no pity, racism, racist remarks, tourists, cameras

No one jumped in to save him. An investigation is on. Click on the caption to read the story in the Independent.

Happy Black Friday. These immigrants used as slaves in Sicily

November 25, 2016

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

From The Guardian:
"You can smell the camp before you see it. The stench of rank sewage cuts through the crisp morning air in this quiet corner of western Sicily. From a distance it looks like an open-air dump, festering amid the olive groves. Men emerge from flimsy tents pitched amid piles of rubbish and ramshackle huts made of cardboard and plastic sheets.

This makeshift and filthy encampment is home to 1,200 people. All African refugees and migrants, they are desperately competing for the opportunity to work long hours in the fields as illegal agricultural workers for paltry, exploitative wages. It is autumn in Sicily. There is olive oil to be made...."

tricked

August 7, 2016

Tags: sex slavery, Nigeria, women, Italy, trick

From the Guardian:
It’s just after 9pm when the first Nigerian women start to appear on the streets of Asti, a small city near Turin in northern Italy. Some stand in groups of two or three, flagging down passing cars or checking their phones. Many are alone – solitary figures backlit by the stream of headlights moving into the city. Princess Inyang Okokon slows down her car as she spots two girls standing on a corner. Even with heavy makeup they look no older than 15 or 16. “So many new faces,” she says, shaking her head as she pulls her car to the side of the road and gets out to speak to them.

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…)

900 African immigrants arrived Sicily yesterday.

April 14, 2016

Tags: immigrants, boats, mediterranean, rescue, ships, fear, drowning, trouble, africa, sicily, Italy, suit jacket, bow tie, child, voyage, party, delusion

It took all night to process the nearly 900 African immigrants saved from the Mediterranean Sea by the Norwegian ship Siem Pilot. Among them were 138 unaccompanied minors. Four people fell into the sea during the crossing, two were saved, two drowned. Story from La Repubblica.

I hope they threw him a party

March 25, 2016

Tags: immigrants, boats, mediterranean, rescue, ships, fear, drowning, trouble, africa, sicily, Italy, suit jacket, bow tie, child, voyage, party, delusion

This little boy from the Democratic Republic of the Congo made the entire sea crossing from Libya to Sicily dressed in a suit jacket and bow tie. His mother had told him that it would be the most important voyage of his life and that he was going to a country where the people (more…)

1,000+ immigrants just saved at sea, crossing from Africa to Sicily

October 28, 2015

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

Palermo: more than a thousand immigrants were saved in aid operations about thirty miles off the Libyan coast last night. They were trying to reach Italy aboard six motorized rubber rafts and one old fishing boat. Aboard the fishing boat were crowded 400 migrants, who were saved by te British ship Enterprise. Three other ships, (more…)

A raft to save them

October 7, 2015

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

A group of young German utopians on Sunday moored a rescue platform for migrants off the Sicilian coast. They designed it, built it and financed it with crowdfunding. A delegation from the collective Zentrum für Politische Schönheit literally Center for Political Beauty- left the port of Licata shortly after dawn and at (more…)

2 years ago this photo didn't move people; all the dead were black

October 3, 2015

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

Two years ago today a migrant boat just a few feet from Europe's shores flipped over when it arrived in the dark and someone lit a shirt on fire to alert authorities and everyone moved to one side of the boat to avoid the flames. Worldwide reaction: shock, then forgetting, moving on. Survivors are (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…)

Italians have heart

June 23, 2015

Tags: italians, immigrants, border, Italy, France, cell phones, solar panel, heart, generous, thoughtful, off the grid, peasant, farmer



From La Repubblica. A peasant farmer whose own home and farm is off the grid, set up a solar panel for the immigrants who are sleeping on the rocks at Ventimiglia, the border between (more…)

Wealthy family saves immigrants' lives at sea, regularly

May 17, 2015

Tags: MOAS, refugees, immigrants, africa, Italy, ship, Phoenix, save, lives, humanitarian, wealth, good, people

From La Repubblica 16 May 2015 online edition:

The 120-foot ship Phoenix, working for the non-governmental organization MOAS, pulled into the port of Messina, Sicily with 405 migrants aboard.MOAS stands for Migrant Offshore Aid Station. The United States ship belongs to a wealthy couple, Regina and Christopher Catrambone, involved in a philanthropic and humanitarian mission to (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.

Plight of the Immigrants

March 8, 2015

Tags: refugees, sicily, boat people, Italy, Mediterranean, crossing, immigration, clandestine, voyage, treacherous

By June of 2014, 59,880 migrants had landed on Italy's coast, more than arrived in all of 2011, and Sicily got 53,000 of them. All of them were treacherous voyages. Thousands of minors arrived without any family. They paid an average of $1,600 to board a broken-down fishing boat packed with 300 people, and no life vests. Life vests take up room. (more…)

Giuliana Church Steeple

January 23, 2015

Tags: Giuliana, Sicilia, sicily, steeple, laundry, Italy, mosque, church, onion dome

I took this picture back in 1986. Giuliana is in the mountains in Palermo province, a beautiful spot. This church, to which a lady has attached her wash line, was church then a mosque ( with the addition of the dome, then back to a church again.

Upgrade in Piazza Cassarelli

January 9, 2015

Tags: palermo, sicilia, sicily, Italy, Piazza Cassarelli, renovations, upgrade, city, back streets

From one of my favorite blogs, Amo Palermo. The author walks around the city center with a camera and snaps pictures of buildings and streets undergoing improvements. It's a blog with a lot of positive energy. The author now has a regular column in the newspaper Il Corriere .

Rough looking

June 5, 2014

Tags: capo, market, food, clothing, doors, oalermo, immigrants, neighborhood, quartiere, siclia, sicily, Italy, south, old, rough

These ancient wooden doors lead to a flat above the Capo market.
Many southern Asian immigrants live in this, the Capo market neighborhood. These rough wooden doors looked positively medieval. Often, univiting, creaking, forbidding, even, heavy wooden doors lead to enchanted colonnaded courtyards filled with sunlight and a fountain, such a surprise. In Palermo, you never know what is behind the next closed door.

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