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

Bakery gives out free food to the needy

December 1, 2015

Tags: bakery, bread, free, palermo, needy, help, donation, food, sicily, kind, kindness, goodness, real christians

The La Spiga d'Oro bakery in Palermo says the following on its Facebook page today:
To you who are having a hard time....
To you who have a family to feed....
To you who can't stretch the budget to the end of the month...
Don't grovel!
Evenings from 8 p.m. to to 9p.m. stopby and we'll make available everything we did not sell in the line of bread, pizzas, savory buns, foccacce and more...
Our small gesture is just a little help for your life!!!!
The Spiga d'Oro Bread Bakery.
(It's name means "Golden Grain" Bakery.)
Bravi.

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…)

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

More migrants die crossing the Strait of Sicily

August 15, 2015

Tags: migrants, boats, rescue, sicily, italy, coast guard, immigration, boat people, arrival, save, help

If you have enough money to pay the traffickers, you can get a spot in the open air on the deck, and maybe even be allowed to wear a life jacket, which takes up precious, expensive room. Everybody else is relegated to the hold and diesel fumes -- locked in -- for the duration of the sea crossing. This usually means the hold is filled with women and children , who earn less and can pay less to the traffickers.
At least 40 African migrants died suffocated in the diesel fumes of the old fishing boat that traffickers used to take them to Sicily. 312 people were saved by the merchant marine ship, including women and children, according to a front page report in today's La Repubblica. Another 420 immigrant are expected to arive at the port of Augusta tomorrow. Some 2,300 African immigrants lost their lives at sea between Africa and Italy in 2015. (more…)

Refugees become Volunteers for New Refugees

June 20, 2015

Tags: refugee, palermo, caritas, help, volunteer, sbarchi, arrivals, immigration, illegal, africa, mali, ivory coast, ships, mediterranean, port

A beautiful story by my favorite La Repubblica reporter, Claudia Brunetto. I translate it here:
They arrived last June at the port of Palermo, picked up on the high seas by a military ship. And since then they live in the parish of Falsomiele, guided by Father Sergio Mattaliano, director of the Catholic charity (more…)

2,000 migrants saved at sea, 3,000 more still at sea

June 6, 2015

Tags: migrants, boats, rescue, sicily, italy, coast guard, immigration, boat people, arrival, save, help

Since this morning 2,000 immigrants have been saved at sea by Italian naval vessels and the ship Moas Phoenix of the Mr. and Mrs Catrambone. (Catrambone is a wealthy Italian-American businessman based in Malta and his wife is from Calabria. The first time she saw a floating jacket in the Mediterranean from her yacht and (more…)

NPR: couple spends millions to save immigrants

May 17, 2015

Tags: NPR, rescue, mediterranean, sea, immigrants, Malta, sicily, europe, MOAS, Phoenix, ship, couple, wealthy, help, humanitarian