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

Sit in at Catania port to protest racist group trying to disrupt rescues of migrants at sea

July 22, 2017

Tags: immigrants, drowning, sicily, africa, trouble, border, europe, death, immigration, flow, people, africans, rescue, drowning, sit in, catania

From La Repubblica this morning:
The anti-racist non profit associations of Sicily are on the brink of "war." Today at Catania's port they protested against the idea of letting the ship C-Star dock there. The C Star is a ship rented by by the extreme right group Generazione Identitaria,
( Identity Generation), an extreme right multinational group formed in 2012 and made up of French, Italian and German members. Alfonso Di Stefano, representative of the Catania Anti-racist Network, said, " We are expressing our unconditional solidarity with the precious work that the humanitarian ships do and we will stand vigil in the port until the docking of the C-Star does not happen here nor anywhere in Sicily. We know that up until yesterday evening it was blocked in the port of Suez. It seems that it is going to leave or it has already left and it will take from five to six days to arrive here.
The C Star intends to lend support to the Libyan Coast Guard in its operations in which they stop vessels loaded with migrants and turn them back to Libya.
At the sit-in at the Catania port were thirty representatives of the non- profits that comprise the Network, who showed banners with the saying: "No more shipwrecks. The right to European refuge in order not to die," and Freedom, not Frontex," and " The right to asylum and humanitarian corridors."

Sicilian mayor moves to block far-right plan to disrupt migrant rescues

July 21, 2017

Tags: immigrants, drowning, sicily, africa, trouble, border, europe, death, immigration, flow, people, africans, rescue, drowning, catania, mayor, far right, block

Sicilians feel empathy for people not of their race, true empathy.
From The Guardian today:
A Sicilian mayor is seeking to block a ship chartered by a group of far-right activists attempting to disrupt migrant rescues in the Mediterranean.

Enzo Bianco, the mayor of Catania, has urged authorities in the port city on the island’s east coast to deny docking rights to C-Star, a 40-metre vessel hired by Generation Identity, a movement made up of young, anti-Islam and anti-immigration activists from across Europe, for its sea mission to stop migrants entering Europe from Libya.

The ship is expected to arrive on Saturday, and the group intends to launch its mission next week.

Temporary humanitarian visas

July 19, 2017

Tags: immigrants, drowning, sicily, africa, trouble, border, europe, death, immigration, flow, people, africans, rescue, drowning

From The Guardian:
Italy has confirmed it is considering issuing temporary humanitarian visas that would allow tens of thousands of migrants who have arrived in the country from Libya to travel around the European Union.

The move would provoke an immediate Austrian response, including the closure of the border with Italy at the Brenner Pass.
Austrian troops to stop migrants crossing border with Italy
Read more

The chances of Italy being able legally to grant unilateral humanitarian visas in this way is slight, but the threat is intended to concentrate minds in the EU after Italy failed to win clear practical support from Germany and France to take more people that have been arriving in increasing numbers from Libya.

7300 rescued immigrants to arrive southern Italy tomorrow

July 13, 2017

Tags: immigrants, drowning, sicily, africa, trouble, border, europe, death, immigration, flow, people, africans, rescue, drowning

From La Repubblica Palermo online today:
Seven- thousand- three- hundred immigrants rescued in the Strait of Sicily in the last 48 hours will disembark from ten rescue ships tomorrow in Sicily, Campania and Puglia, Italy's southern provinces.
This morning another 386 reached the Sicilian port of Trapani, including 71 children and 55 women, ten of whom are pregnant.

According to the latest data from Frontex, the European Union's border police, in June 24,800 migrants crossed the Mediterranean Sea, with an increase of eight percent over the previous month of May. And that number is 21 percent higher than the same period of last year. In the first six months of 2017, 166,000 migrants crossed the sea to reach the European Union.

Fishers of Men: Watch this movie about MOAS saving migrants at sea

July 9, 2017

Tags: immigrants, drowning, sicily, africa, trouble, border, europe, death, immigration, flow, people, africans, rescue, drowning, MOAS, documentary

Click on the caption to watch this excellent documentary about the work of MOAS.
From their website:
The creation of MOAS was one family’s reaction to the European migration crisis that they saw unfolding in the waters of the Mediterranean. Fishers of Men is a documentary film that follows the Catrambones as they embark on the MOAS journey and gives an inside view into the work of the NGO throughout their time at sea.

The documentary uses footage from media outlets and embedded video journalists to map the history of the charity and give a raw, unfiltered view of what maritime search and rescue operations really look like. Filmed across several years footage shows MOAS responding to the developing crisis in the Central Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea. The film outlines the various aspects of the rescues as told by the search and rescue crews, tells the stories of those they rescue and gives an insight into the challenges faced by the Catrambones as they fight to keep the charity alive.

EU call to aid vulnerable migrants

July 6, 2017

Tags: immigrants, drowning, sicily, africa, trouble, border, europe, death, immigration, flow, people, africans, rescue, drowning

From The Guardian:
Brussels will urge European countries to give shelter to more refugees from Africa to ease the pressure on Italy, as record numbers of people attempt the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean....
The appeal came as Amnesty International released a damning 31-page report linking “failing EU policies” to the the rising death toll in the Mediterranean, and shocking abuses faced by refugees and migrants in Libyan detention centres.

Italy needs help with migrants: The Guardian

July 5, 2017

Tags: immigrants, drowning, sicily, africa, trouble, border, europe, death, immigration, flow, people, africans, rescue, drowning

From The Guardian:
High summer is migrant season in the Mediterranean. In rising numbers, men, women and children set off in the flimsiest of craft for Italy. So far this year, according to the International Organization for Migration, at least 2,000 people have drowned in the attempt. This is made all the worse by the equivocation and even the hostility of EU states which make little show of solidarity; today Austria announced it was ready to send troops and tanks to stop migrants crossing the border from Italy. The Mediterranean is already the world’s worst maritime cemetery. Italy, which finds itself on the receiving end of this migration, urgently needs more European support than is currently on offer. ...
The number entering Europe by sea so far is 100,000, half last year’s number for the same period. Four-fifths of them arrived in Italy. Migrant centres are overwhelmed. The Italian government says the situation is “unbearable”. Last week it threatened to close its ports to ships used by NGOs to rescue migrants. It wants other coastline states – Spain and France – to offer points of arrival. A flurry of EU meetings – with another one due on Thursday in Tallinn – has so far produced little concrete help, while a proposed EU “code of conduct” for NGOs risks limiting their action. NGOs are furious that their humanitarian work has been described as creating a “pull factor”: they say that is finger-pointing rather than tackling the real issues.

It is to Italy’s credit that, in 2013, it became the first European country to launch a life-saving operation, Mare Nostrum. Since then, search and rescue operations have been internationalised.

Under pressure

July 4, 2017

Tags: immigrants, drowning, sicily, africa, trouble, border, europe, death, immigration, flow, people, africans, rescue, drowning

From The Guardian:

Charities that rescue migrants and refugees from the Mediterranean have reacted angrily to plans to make them subject to a new code of conduct drawn up by Italy and endorsed by other EU countries.

The move is likely to bring them under the control of the Libyan and Italian coast guards, which might constrain their ability to save passengers from overcrowded and unseaworthy smuggling boats.

Volunteer rescuers exhausted

June 29, 2017

Tags: immigrants, drowning, sicily, africa, trouble, border, europe, death, immigration, flow, people, africans, rescue, drowning, rescuers, volunteers, fatigue

From today's The Guardian:
"As 1,032 people plucked from the Mediterranean prepared to disembark the MS Aquarius onto southern Italian soil on Thursday, bringing refugee and migrant arrivals to more than 12,000 this week, those who had rescued them said they understood why Rome was threatening to close its ports to such vessels.

“Officially, we haven’t heard anything from the Italian government … but if this is indeed the case, if anything it sounds more like a cry for help from the Italian government towards the EU,” said Marcella Kraay, a Dutch coordinator with Médecins Sans Frontières, as the ship arrived at Porto di Corigliano in Calabria.

“And that goes along with what we’ve always asked for, which is for the EU to organise dedicated search and rescue in the Mediterranean. Until that happens we are forced to be out there because people are in danger, they’re going to drown if we’re not there.”

To read more in The Guardian, click on the photo caption.

Some 3,000 migrants arrived Sicily between yesterday and today

June 28, 2017

Tags: immigrants, drowning, sicily, africa, trouble, border, europe, death, immigration, flow, people, africans, rescue, drowning

From La Repubblica this morning:
Yesterday was an intense day full of disembarkations in Sicily: some 3,000 migrants arrived on the island's coasts in just a few hours, from Palermo to Catania to Messina, Pozzallo, Augusta and Lampedusa, putting the welcome infrastructure under great strain.
There was even the lifeless body of a newborn baby (more…)

267 rescued migrants arrive Pozzallo, Sicily with ship from Doctors Without Borders

June 25, 2017

Tags: immigrants, drowning, sicily, africa, trouble, border, europe, death, immigration, flow, people, africans, rescue, drowning

From today's Giornale di Sicilia:
267 immigrants arrive Pozzallo today, including three children and 27 women, aboard the Aquarius rescue ship of Doctors without Borders.
Among them 42 youths from Bangladesh and a boy from the Gambia with grave symptoms of malnutrition.
Their arrival follows another arrival Thursday at the port of Augusta, Sicily of 241 migrants rescued in four operations, along with four corpses of those who died on the journey.

Saved at Sea: Destiny from Nigeria

June 21, 2017

Tags: immigrants, drowning, sicily, africa, trouble, border, europe, death, immigration, flow, people, africans, rescue, drowning

From the MOAS Facebook page:

"My name is Destiny. I’m 23 years old and from Nigeria. I’m nearly 7 months pregnant with my third child. My previous two are 4 year old twin girls. They are with my mum back in Nigeria. My family is OK but we just don’t have the money to buy food for everyone. That’s why my husband and I left to find work. We got to Libya first but it’s bad there. Everyday there is killing, it’s dangerous. No one is happy there. We were in Libya for less than a year when we both got put in prison. I got out after two months but he’s still there. He told me go to Italy even without him. That was the last time he told me. I managed to pay a smuggler 1200 dollars to cross and an extra 150 for a lifejacket. I need to find a job to help my family. That's what I'm going to do in Italy. I’m sure God will help me."

220 dead or missing in three shipwrecks in 24 hours

June 20, 2017

Tags: immigrants, drowning, sicily, africa, trouble, border, europe, death, immigration, flow, people, africans, rescue, drowning

From La Repubblica today:

The only four survivors told the tale. They arrived at Palermo on the Italian Coast Guard ship Diciotti. On the worldwide day of the refugee, the UN announced the three incidents with some of the victims' bodies recuperated and some still lost at sea.

The first and biggest of these tragedies involved a rubber raft that left Libya on 15 June with 133 aboard , mostly Sudanese and Nigerians, that started taking on water just a few hours after departure. The rubber raft was abandoned after a few miles out to sea by the traffickers who came back to take the raft's motor, which caused it to go down.
The second incident involved a boat with at least 85 persons aboard which split in two before sinking. The people who watched the shipwreck said that they had left Libya together with two other vessels the evening of 15 June. There were many families with children aboard. Those lost at sea were primarily citizens of Syria and people coming from north Africa.
A third shipwreck caused seven deaths. The survivors disembarked at Messina, Sicily yesterday. They had left Libya on 14 June. A pregnant woman from Cameroon
lost her husband in the shipwreck.

I want to tell my readers that most of the African refugees don't know how to swim, and have never seen the sea before traffickers put them in un-seaworthy vessels and set them adrift with no pilot, no motor, no gas, no food, no water, no compass, no directions, just the clothes on their backs, so they can be packed in more tightly. They might leave land with a motor and a pilot but after a few miles, the traffickers' cohorts arrive in another boat, take aboard the pilot and re-take the migrants' vessel's motor and head back to the Libyan coast, leaving the migrants to their fate at sea.

Thousands of rescued migrants arrive Palermo, Catania.

June 19, 2017

Tags: immigrants, drowning, sicily, africa, trouble, border, europe, death, immigration, flow, people, africans, rescue, drowning

1,092 immigrants arrived Palermo this morning aboard an Italian Coast Guard ship. They were saved from drowning in the Strait of Sicily: 751 men, 160 women,11 of whom were pregnant, and 185 minor children.
But that's not all.

Yesterday 730 migrants were saved from shipwreck in the central Mediterranean in 7 separate operations. The migrants were aboard 3 rubber rafts and 4 wooden units. Rescue ships belonged to the Italian Coast Guard, to the NGO Save the Childen, the NGO Jugend Rettet and a towboat.
But that's not all.

Yesterday 695 rescued migrants disembarked at Catania from aboard the Irish patrol boat P31 Le Eithne.

Photo essay by Cesar Dezfuli

June 16, 2017

Tags: immigrants, drowning, sicily, africa, trouble, border, europe, death, immigration, flow, people, africans, rescue, drowning

From today's The Guardian newspaper:
Photographer Cesar Dezfuli created a beautiful black-and-white essay on life for African migrants waiting for their green cards for years in a northern Italian town not very receptive to migrants. They live in a former hotel while they wait.

rescue efforts cause unexpected problems

June 14, 2017

Tags: immigrants, drowning, sicily, africa, trouble, border, europe, death, immigration, flow, people, africans, rescue, drowning

From the New York Times today:

It is part of a wrenching Catch-22: Any effort to lessen the migrant crisis can backfire as smuggling networks devise even more dangerous strategies in response. Here is how those strategies have pushed desperate migrants into even more desperate situations.
Smugglers Respond to Rescue Efforts

The bodies of 10 migrants were recovered and at least 100 more migrants were missing on Saturday off the coast of Libya. Eight of the bodies were found on an inflatable boat in the Mediterranean Sea, in a treacherous area between Libya and Italy known as the Central Mediterranean route. Each year, aid groups patrol the area and rescue thousands of migrants at risk of drowning. (more…)

Libyan Navy vs NGO rescue ships

June 10, 2017

Tags: immigrants, drowning, sicily, africa, trouble, border, europe, death, immigration, flow, people, africans, rescue, drowning

From La Repubblica Palermo edition:
The Libyan navy has told NGO search and rescue ship to back off from its coastal waters and not to sit around and wait for imbarcations of refugees set out by their traffickers. The Libyan navy, like Frontex, the European border police, say that they hve intercepted phone calls between people aboard the rubber rafts and the NGO rescue ships. 570 migrants were brought back to Libyan shores. Both Frntex and the Libyan Navy say that these NGO rescue ships are vital to the traffickers who know that they will take the migrants to Europe.
"The behavior of these NGOs increases the numbers of boats of illegal migrants and the audacity of the traffickers of human beings," the Libya Navy spokesman said. In emphasizing the case of a migrant killed yesterday by traffickers Gasem, the spokeman, added that the traffickers "know well that the road to Europe is doable thanks to these NGos and their illegitimate ad suspect presence while waiting for these poor human beings."

Four NGO ships were in the area: The Prudence of Doctors Without Borders,and the ships belonging to OpenArms, Jugendrettet and Seawatch which, however rescued four boats and a rubber raft, saving 716 people and taking aboard a cadaver.


Taormina G-7 a bust for refugee crisis thanks to Trump

June 7, 2017

Tags: immigrants, drowning, sicily, africa, trouble, border, europe, death, immigration, flow, people, africans, rescue, drowning, trump, taormina, G7

From The Guardian:
The Taormina summit did not prove to be the diplomatic turning point in the debate on migration that the Italian government had once hoped. The Trump administration squashed an ambitious plan for a positive statement defending the rights of refugees. Possibly the only practical outcome of the summit was that all refugee boats were banned from landing in Sicily for seven days. Taormina residents sent a discreet letter to the local prefecture after the world leaders had left saying they wanted no migrants housed in the town as it might put off the tourists.

Can you believe this?

June 5, 2017

Tags: immigrants, drowning, sicily, africa, trouble, border, europe, death, immigration, flow, people, africans, rescue, drowning

From the June 3 The Guardian:
Far-right activists are planning a sea campaign this summer to disrupt vessels saving refugees in the Mediterranean, after successfully intercepting a rescue mission last month.

Members of the anti-Islam and anti-immigrant “Identitarian” movement – largely twentysomethings often described as Europe’s answer to the American alt-right – have raised £56,489 in less than three weeks to enable them to target boats run by aid charities helping to rescue refugees.

The money was raised through an anonymous crowdfunding campaign with an initial goal of €50,000 (about £44,000) to pay for ships, travel costs and film equipment. On Saturday the group confirmed they had reached their target but were still accepting donations. A French far-right group hired a boat for a trial run last month, disrupting a search-and-rescue vessel as it left the Sicilian port of Catania. They claimed they had slowed the NGO ship until the Italian coastguard intervened.

Women and children dead and alive on raft

June 5, 2017

Tags: immigrants, drowning, sicily, africa, trouble, border, europe, death, immigration, flow, people, africans, rescue, drowning

From La Repubblica today:
The mother died but her 15-month-old baby girl was saved and taken up by other women on the raft they voyaged on. The littlest migrant will arrive tomorrow morning at Trapani, Sicily aboard the ship Vos Hestia of Save the Children which rescued 125 migrants, 84 men and 41 women. On ship are also the corpses of four persons who did not make it, among them the child's mother. Twenty=five children were rescued, 21 of whom were unaccompanied by adults. Almost all were from sub-Saharan Africa: Nigeria, Niger, Ghana, Cameroon, Togo and Gambia.
Also today hundreds of migrants were rescued. Nearly 400 now are aboard the ship "Blue Gulf" of the NGO Open Arms, which is located northeast of Libya and is headed towards Italy.

After G7 port closure the corpses and immigrants arrive Sicily

May 29, 2017

Tags: immigrants, drowning, sicily, africa, trouble, border, europe, death, immigration, flow, people, africans, rescue, drowning

Seven corpses arrived on the towboat Vos Thalassa along with some 1,040 migrants saved at sea yesterday in several operations on the high seas, according to today's La Repubblica online. The dead were five women and two boys. Among those saved, almost all of them from sub-Saharan Africa, were three pregnant women and fifteen children.
Awaiting them at the dock were the police chief of Palermo Antonella De Miro and city Councilman Giusto Catania who supplied seven coffins for the dead. Many volunteers from Caritas, a Roman Catholic charity, distributed food and shoes.
The towboat is the first ship with migrants to arrive after the reopening of ports at the conclusion of the G7 meeting in Taormina. Tomorrow morning at 8 the Coast Guard ship Gregoretti is expected to arrive with 254 more migrant and two cadavers.

Borders did this

May 26, 2017

Tags: immigrants, catastrophe drowning, MOAS, rescue, death, trouble, Africa, sicily, immigration, Phoenix, ship, death, tragedy, loss, borders

33 casualties on board, including 7 children, 14 women and 12 men, as boat carrying approximately 750 people partially capsizes in the Mediterranean.

24th May 2017 saw one of MOAS’ most tragic rescues to date. Overcrowding and sea swell tipped hundreds into the water during a rescue yesterday. 32 bodies were recovered to MOAS vessel Phoenix alongside 604 survivors, one of whom (more…)

Palermo's solidarity with wounded immigrant; mayor at head of protest march

April 9, 2016

Tags: immigrant, bulling, mafia, wounded, gunshots, The Gambia, Mayor, Leoluca Orlando, protest, racism, immigration, africa, palermo, sicilia, sicily, incident, march

A young man from Gambia was peacefully talking on a street corner with friends from his native Gambia when a mafioso-type jerk from the neighborhood came up to them and started insulting them. Usually, the immigrants will turn and run. But Yusupha Susso, a 21-year-old Gambian stuck up for himself and for his friends. (more…)

Archbishop Lorefice took in four Nigerian immigrants

December 30, 2015

Tags: immigration, Corrado Lorefice, adopt, refugees, family, children, live, palace, archbishop, mercy, kindness, Palermo, sicily, sicilia, rescue, life, shelter, home

Palermo's brand new Archbishop Corrado Lorefice has installed four Nigerian refugees in the bishop's residence, the diocese's incredible palace across from the cathedral on Via Vittorio Emanuele: a young Nigerian woman, and a Nigerian mother of two small children.
He encouraged others to do the same, especially in this Year of Mercy as prescribed (more…)

Refugee baby born on rescue ship now in Ragusa

December 23, 2015

Tags: refugee, baby, born, rescue ship, francesca, stephani, benin city, nigeria, sex-trade, human trafficking, unknowing, asylum, immigration, life, africa, europe, northward, poverty, economics, guardian, newspaper

The unspoken undercurrent in this article is that Stephanie may be the unwitting victim of a thriving human- traffic in sex slaves. Naive Nigerian girls, especially from Benin City, are often tricked into forfeiting their lives in the sex trade when they are offered work as hair dressers, grocery clerks in the new world then once in Europe are forced into a life of prostitution from which they are not freed until they pay upwards of $40,000 to their captors. I wonder if her captors will reclaim her as their merchandise once she leaves the Ragusa women's refuge. She still does not know she is in danger. Click on the caption to read the story in The Guardian.

Brussels to usurp border lines between Schengen countries in emergencies

December 13, 2015

Tags: immigration, europe, borders, schengen, asylum, guards, fence, repatriation

Brussels is to unveil radical plans to strip national governments of authority over their borders in an emergency and to create a border guards force to police the EU’s frontiers, supervise asylum claims, and detain and deport failed asylum seekers.

The controversial response to the immigration crisis is to be launched on Tuesday (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

683 immigrants reach Messina; 2 dead. No more room to bury them

August 29, 2015

Tags: immigration, somali, sicily, dead, death, crossing, laws, deadly, heart failure, torture, work, minor, immigrant, boy, 15 years old, objects, photo montage

Plus, Italian authorities collected 200 bodies of immigrants = 40 dead of breathing diesel fumes while locked in the hold, 160 found drowned and floating a half mile from the Libyan coast after a shipwreck.

Objects of immigrants: photos of the things they brought with them

August 28, 2015

Tags: immigration, somali, sicily, dead, death, crossing, laws, deadly, heart failure, torture, work, minor, immigrant, boy, 15 years old, objects, photo montage

Shoes, kitchen utensils, coins, a compass, a package of couscous, a life jacket, a Bible and a Koran. These are some of the objects immigrants brought to confront their voyage in the Mediterranean and left on the vessels that brought them, in years past, to the coast of Lampedusa. Memories and symbols of today's (more…)

15-year-old Somali dies after rescue at sea

August 25, 2015

Tags: immigration, somali, sicily, dead, death, crossing, laws, deadly, heart failure, torture, work, minor, immigrant, boy, 15 years old

The medical examiner has yet to make his report on the cadaver that arrived with 303 rescued immigrants. None of the other 302 immigrants can leave the boat to set foot in Sicily until the doctor has reached a determination of how the boy died aboard the Doctors Without Borders rescue ship Dignity I in (more…)

Three thousand immigrants on 22 vessels headed toward Sicily

August 22, 2015

Tags: immigration, human trafficking, shipwreck, mediterranean, africa, sicily, siclia, Libya, libia, bottom of the sea, marine graveyard, Frontex, Bossi, Lega Nord, racists, murderers, law

Front page news in today's La Repubblica Palermo on line edition:
Latest wave of immigrants. Between two and three thousand immigrants in rubber rafts and old boats asked for rescue from Italian and European agencies spread out across the Strait of Sicily. More than 20 requests came into the Italian coast guard which coordinates the (more…)

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…)

13 cadavers on immigrant vessel

July 28, 2015

Tags: immigration, human trafficking, shipwreck, mediterranean, africa, sicily, siclia, Libya, libia, bottom of the sea, marine graveyard, Frontex, Bossi, Lega Nord, racists, murderers, law

There 13 dead bodies aboard an overloaded boat full of immigrants aided yesterday in the Strait of Sicily by the Irish military boat "L. E. Niamh.". On the refugee boat were 522 people, and the corpses lay among them. The causes of the deaths of the 13 were not clear. Besides this operation, yesterday saw another four (more…)

Santa Rosalia arrives by sea like the immigrants

July 13, 2015

Tags: mercy, benevolence, immigration, mayor, Leoluca Orlando, Palermo, sicily, example, good behavior, Festino, santa rosalia, patron, immigration

Palermo Mayor Leoluca Orlando arrived with a statue of Santa Rosalia, the city's patroness, in Mondello, saying the symbolic act reminds everyone that many, many immigrants arrive by sea too, and that they deserve to be welcomed and loved. The theme of this year's five-day feast, which begins Tuesday, is La Misericordia. It means (more…)

717 immigrants made it to shore

July 11, 2015

Tags: immigration, human trafficking, shipwreck, mediterranean, africa, sicily, siclia, Libya, libia, bottom of the sea, marine graveyard, Frontex, Bossi, Lega Nord, racists, murderers, law

The Italian Coast Guard ship Dattilo moored at the port of Palermo and disembarked the 717 refugees saved from a Thursday shipwreck off the shores of Libya along with 12 cadavers. The Dattilo picked up the victims and the survivors along with the ship Corso and two motorboats that left from Lampedusa.

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…)

Thousands of refugees land in Sicily in the last 24 hours

May 31, 2015

Tags: syria, italy, sicily, pozzallo, immigration, flee, people, boats, rescue, Mediterranean, emergency

1,019 Syrians, Palestinians and Moroccans arrived at the port of Pozzallo, Sicily in the last 24 hours, according to La Repubblica. Doctors have found 300 cases of scabies, and five cases of measles. Four pregnant women were sent to the hospital and there was a boy with a traumatic injury to his neck.
The ship Peluso was (more…)

Nearly 4,000 refugees rescued at sea over the weekend.

May 4, 2015

Tags: sicilia, sicily, recue, refugees, sea, birth, newborn, francesca marina, emergency, forever, immigration, wave, non stop

Nearly 4,000 boat people from Africa were saved over the weekend. The ships of the Italian navy were employed in the continuous, non-stop rescue operations in the Mediterranean, aiding boats and rafts in trouble in the waters of the Strait of Sicily, between Lampedusa and Libya, bringing the survivors to the ports of Augusta, Reggio (more…)

Immigrant boat capsizes off Libyan coast; 9 cadavers, 144 saved

April 13, 2015

Tags: immigration, boat, boat people, people, Mediterranean, graveyard, Frontex, european union, laws

From today's La Repubblica: A boat full of immigrants capsized 80 miles off the coast of Libya and nine people drowned trying to get to Europe. The Italian coast guard saved the 144 shipwreck survivors and put them on a military boat bound for Sicily while Coast Guard members stayed to look for more survivors or (more…)

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…)

Ten more victims: immigrants drown at sea. 1,000 survivors expected to arrive tonight

March 4, 2015

Tags: immigration, Mediterranean, graveyard, gommone, rubber raft, drown, victims, arrivals, ships, rescue, death, migration

At least ten people drown when the rubber raft they were in bounced and flipped. They were escaping Africa. They are not allowed in Europe, and so they travel clandestinely, as best they can, because ironically they must set foot in Europe in order to claim asylum. They cannot ask for help from the shores of Tripoli. (more…)

29 Body Bags full of Cadavers of Refugees

February 10, 2015

Tags: immigration, africa, sicily, europe, frontex, boat, freeze, refugees, dead, froze, rescue, emergency, wave, europe, italy, sicily, sicilia

Twenty-nine people died of exposure to the cold on a rescue from the sea. They died while being rushed to Lampedusa, the Sicilian island closest to Africa. They were rescued from some of the worst conditions at sea, waves twenty feet high.

Update: here is the story in the NYT:
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/10/ (more…)

What you are not seeing in American media

February 9, 2015

Tags: refugees, desperate, dead, cold, 20-foot waves, africa, immigration, emergency, Libia, Lampedusa

Voyages of desperation. The Mediterranean is a graveyard for people trying to escape, war, famine, cruel dictators and genocide at the hands of Boko Haram.

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