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

320 rescued immigrants arrived Pozzallo today aboard NGO SS Aquarius

December 18, 2017

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

From today's La Repubblica Palermo edition;
The NGO ship Aquarius pulled into Pozzallo, Sicily's port today with 320 migrants aboard, among them many women and numerous children. They had all been rescued from the Mediterranean in the previous days. Weather conditions at sea were harsh, the newspaper reported.

Mafia destroying Sicily's farms

October 15, 2017

Tags: mafia, sicily, farms, intimidation, ruin, Napoli sisters

From The Guardian:
The Napoli sisters keep their entire harvest in a glass jar, resting on a wooden table in the living room. Inside, there are only a dozen stalks of wheat. The rest of the crop – 80,000 kilograms – was destroyed by the Sicilian mafia, determined to force out these three women working in the land of The Godfather.

For three generations, the Napoli family farmed wheat and hay in Corleone, the historic stronghold of Cosa Nostra. Their father, Salvatore, was a hard worker who, after much sacrifice in the fields, managed to send his three daughters – Marianna, Ina and Irene – to university.

But a crisis in what was the world’s most notorious mafia, broken apart by prosecutors, has pushed Cosa Nostra back to their rural origins, and they want their land back.

Rescue ship Aquarius lands 606 shipwrecked immigrants at palermo, "city of welcome."

October 13, 2017

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

From Palermo Today:
Of the 606 migrants, 241 were children, 120 of those children came unaccompanied.
The shipwrecked migrants were rescued in seven operations in less than 36 hours. On board the Franco-Italian-German rescue ship were 11 pregnant women, two of whom were in their ninth month. There was also a week-old infant.
"The extremely high numbers of minors," said Palermo Mayor Leoluca Orlando, "is the confirmation of a human drama without pause and without Europe feeling shame. Today we found ourselves before a dramatic choice made by members of the families of these minors put in the hands of the merchants of death with the hope of getting them to Europe, which, however, continues to ignore this drama, staining themselves with criminal behavior that produces and feeds criminal organizations. We here in Palermo are quite different from all that and the city with its organization and its institutions make it the "Capital of Welcome."

Ship Aquarius rescues 339 people in 24 hours

October 11, 2017

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



Translation:
🔴 rescue
339 people rescued at sea in the last 24 hours are now safe on the Aquarius.
The teams from SOS MEDITERRANEE France intervened on 3 operations Tuesday (2 rescues and a transfer to another ship in the night) and on a first rescue this Wednesday morning.
All rescue operations on Tuesday and Wednesday were coordinated by the MRCC of Rome, which asked the Aquarius to move to other vessels in difficulty identified in international waters off Libya.
The Humanitarian Emergency continues in the Mediterranean!
#TogetherForRescue

Prudence being taken out of action

October 7, 2017

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

As a consequence of a drop in the number of boats reaching international waters in the Mediterranean Sea, MSF has decided to reduce its activities at sea and to end search and rescue operations of its boat Prudence. MSF will continue its presence in the Central Mediterranean with the ship Aquarius, run in coordination (more…)

Italy-libya pact unraveling, immigrant numbers soar

October 3, 2017

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

From The Guardian
Patrick Wintour Diplomatic editor

Tuesday 3 October 2017 00.00 EDT

A key pillar of the Italian government’s effort to stem the politically toxic issue of people crossing the Mediterranean from Libya to southern Italy is in danger of collapse as a result of a bloody power struggle in the key Libyan port of < (more…)

Hundreds of migrants from three rescue operations disembark at Trapani yesterday

September 17, 2017

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

Yesterday 371 rescued migrants arrived at Trapani aboard the rescue ship Aquarius, according to the online newspaper, Trapani Oggi. They were picked up in international waters in three different operations off the coast of Libya. A portion of them had been transferred from another rescue ship, the Vos Hestia, run by the NGO Save the Children.
Arriving migrants included 304 men, 67 women, of whom 40 were single and and five were pregnant.German ship "SOS Mediterranee", on which Doctors Without Borders are present, were 54 unaccompanied minors and a disabled person.

The migrants came from Cameroon, the Gambia, Ivory Coast, Guinea Conakri, Senegal, Nigeria and other subsaharan countries, but also from Egypt, Morocco, Libya and Syria. They were taken to the immigration "hotspot" of Milo to be identified and photographed before being transferred to "welcome centers" for asylum seekers. (more…)

Immigrants' horror stories of torture and murder in Libya

September 15, 2017

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

I meant to post this a while ago but got distracted. This is my translation of a story that appeared in MeridioNews in late August.

" The prison guards kill people and throw them in a pit. They cover the pit only when it is full of bodies." This is the story of a migrant rescued last Sunday by the ship Aquarius of the international NGO organization SOS Mediterranee. Describing the tortures suffered by those waiting to leave for Europe was a man from Cameroon in his twenties. " All the people you see here," he said indicating the other survivors "went through many trials, they are dead inside for a long time now, even their families must believe they are dead. Today is like a resurrection."

Perpetrators of the violence, according to survivor accounts, would be the Libyan guards. "The Libyans beat us the whole time, for no reason. They put us in prison for no reason," he continued, adding that he witnessed a scene in which a prisoner was hung by his feet and beaten "as if he were a ball."
On the lines of these stories, the NGO launches the same old appeal to the European Union so that it may not reduce its own responsibility in the Mediterranean.

Killer migrant path to sicily

September 12, 2017

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

“The central Mediterranean route, ending at Lampedusa or the main island of Sicily, accounts only for about a quarter of almost 1.5 million people who have arrived since 2014 on all routes, but for 88% of all migrant deaths in the Mediterranean,” according to a report released today.

Human suffering in Libya detention camps

September 7, 2017

Tags: immigrants, drowning, sicily, africa, trouble, border, europe, death, immigration, flow, people, africans, rescue, drowning, MSF, doctors without borders

A friend of mine -- Ester Russo, we were housemates in Palermo -- is now a psychologist for arriving immigrants with MSF, Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders) in Trapani, Sicily. She hears the horror stories of violence, rape, beatings, starvation, racism and murder in Libyan refugee camps. She alerted me to the following report.

"For more than a year, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been providing medical care to refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants held inside Tripoli detention centres in conditions that are neither humane nor dignified.

Detainees are stripped of any human dignity, suffer ill-treatment and lack access to medical care. Detention is causing harm and unnecessary suffering. It is directly linked to the majority of the physical and mental health problems for which detainees require medical attention. People are held arbitrarily with no way to challenge the legality of their detention, virtually no access to consular services or to the outside world.

With no rule of law in Libya, the detention system is harmful and exploitative. There is a disturbing lack of oversight and regulation. With no formal registration or proper record-keeping in place, once people are inside a detention centre there is no way to track what happens to them. Some people are held for prolonged periods of time; others are transferred between different detention centres, moved to undisclosed locations or disappear overnight.

MSF witnesses on a daily basis how much unnecessary harm is being caused by detaining people in these conditions. There is only so much medical teams can do to ease the suffering.

MSF calls for an end to the arbitrary detention of refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants in Libya. "

First clandestine migrants disembark during the night at Lipari

September 6, 2017

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

Now that accords between the governments of Italy and Libya have forced most NGO migrant rescue ships out of the Strait of Sicily, traffickers are back at work bringing migrants to Sicily. The first debarkation in the Eolian islands happened overnight. Some forty Iraqis were found at Grotticella, a beach on the island of Lipari reachable only by boat. Fishermen up early noticed the men, women and children and called island emergency personnel who picked them up and brought them to a first aid station. Authorities are looking for the vessel that dropped them there.

moas suspends rescue operation in Mediterranean

September 5, 2017

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

THe NGO non profit MOAS has suspended rescue operations of migrants in the Mediterranean and will move to south east Asia to rescue migrants there.
MOAS was founded in 2014 to reduce the loss of lives along the migration path between Africa and Europe. In the following three years MOAS rescued more than 40,000 people including children, women and men who were victims of violence, poverty and persecution.
MOAS co-founder Regina Catrambone explained to supporters: "At present, there are too many questions without an answer, and too many doubts about those trapped or forced back to Libya.

"The horrific tales of those who survive depict a nightmare of abuse, violence, torture, kidnapping and extortion.

"MOAS does not want to become part of a scenario where no one pays attention to the people who deserve protection, instead only focusing on preventing them from arriving on European shores with no consideration of their fate when trapped on the other side of the sea."

The rescue ship will now sail to the Bay of Bengal between the borders of Myanmar and Bangladesh to save the fleeing Rohingya people. The Rohingya are a stateless Muslim ethnic minority who have faced persecution in Myanmar. Many of those who have fled describe troops and Buddhist mobs burning their villages and attacking civilians in the province in Rakhine.

The United Nations has described them as the most persecuted people on earth, with Pope Francis appealing for an end to violence on 27 August.

Annual climb to Santa Rosalia's cave on Monte Pellegrino

September 4, 2017

Tags: l'acchianata, santa rosalia, patron saint, palermo, sicily, monte pellegrini, faithful, annual, ritual

L'acchianata, the annual ritual of walking together up the twisting paths on the flanks of Monte Pellegrino to the sanctuary where Saint Rosalia's bones were found, according to tradition, is an annual ritual for the people of Palermo. Click on the caption to see Igor Petyx's series of beautiful photos of this year's event.

Sicilians made wine 6,000 years ago

August 30, 2017

Tags: ancient, wine, sciacca, trapani, sicily, mount Kronio, terracotta, cave. researchers, archeology

From The Guardian:
Researchers have discovered traces of what could be the world’s oldest wine at the bottom of terracotta jars in a cave in Sicily, showing that the fermented drink was being made and consumed in Italy more than 6,000 years ago.

Previously scientists had believed winemaking developed in Italy around 1200 BC, but the find by a team from the University of South Florida pushes that date back by at least three millennia.

Norwegian Ship Docks at Catania with 49 cadavers and surviving migrants

August 17, 2017

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

From La Repubblica today:
The bodies of 49 immigrants asphyxiated by diesel fumes in the hold of a trafficker's fishing boat were lifted ashore by a crane at the port of Catania today. The ones who pay the least for their passage, usually the women, are relegated to the airless, windowless hold, locked in, thesurest to die if the vessel sinks, with only diesel fumes to breathe. The survivors numbered 312, of whom 45 were women and three minor children.
They arrived on the Norwegian ship Siem Pilot.

Three NGO's call off rescues due to Libyan aggression

August 16, 2017

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

From The Guardian:
Three NGOs have suspended migrant rescues in the Mediterranean because of the increasingly hostile stance of the Libyan authorities and coastguard.

Save the Children and Germany’s Sea Eye have joined Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) in halting operations because they feel their crews can no longer work safely in (more…)

2 more ngo's suspend migrant rescues at sea

August 14, 2017

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

From La Repubblica:
ROME -- After Doctors Without Borders suspended migrant rescues at sea, the German NGO Sea Eye and the NGO Save The Children have also suspended rescues in the Mediterranean Sea. This is because the Libyan government instituted a no go zone "limiting access of NGOs to international waters" and to "securityrisk" owing to threats by the Libyan coast guard."
The German NGO repeats the accusation of Doctors Without Borders: " We find ourselves forced into this decision because of the changed security situationin the Mediterranean," "we can no longer continue our work, we cannot guarantee the safety of the crews," "the expansion of Libya's territorial waters end the threats against NGOs leave us no other choice" one reads in a series of tweets....

Stefano Argenziano, Doctors Without Borders coordinator for migration projects, said, "The Libyans can now do what they want with the support of Europe and Italy. ""We of Doctors Without Borders do not want to be co-opted in this illegal, perverse and inhumane machine. " "The code of conduct is just a distraction, it has no basis in law. The ones respecting the law are us, as we have always done. The illegal things, instead, are the EU's agreements with Libya,which boost the proliferation of traffickers and mafia. Migrant crises are resolved only with the reasonable management of migrant flow. We will again take up our activities at sea only when
the rule of law and international rights return.




Doctors without borders temporarily suspends rescues of migrants at sea

August 12, 2017

Tags: immigrants, drowning, sicily, africa, trouble, border, europe, death, immigration, flow, people, africans, rescue, drowning, doctors without borders, vos prudence

From the Guardian:
Doctors Without Borders has said that it is temporarily suspending the activity of its rescue ship owing to alleged threats from Libya. The Libyan coastguard has increasingly become more aggressive in patrolling the waters off its coasts where human traffickers launch boats crowded with migrants desperate to reach Europe.

The humanitarian group said the rescue coordination centre operated by Italy’s coastguard had informed it on Friday that the Libyan threats pose a security risk. The group added that Libyan authorities declared their own rescue area, extending into international waters, the same day.

firefighter sets fires

August 12, 2017

Tags: arson, fire, firefighter, arrested, blaze, burn, sicily, summer, heat, heat wave

From The Guardian:
Fifteen volunteer firefighters have been arrested in Sicily on suspicion of starting wildfires and reporting non-existent blazes so they could earn €10 (£9) an hour for putting them out.

Police in Ragusa province, in the south of the Mediterranean island, said the fire department became suspicious when it emerged that the auxiliary brigade had responded to 120 incidents compared with just 40 tackled by other volunteer teams over the same period.

The brigade commander, a refrigeration technician identified as DDV, was deemed dangerous enough to be held under house arrest, the Ansa news agency reported, because he was suspected off continuing to start fires after others had stopped.

Most of the remaining team members, whose private phone calls were recorded as part of the investigation, have since admitted calling the 115 emergency number or getting friends or relatives to do so.

the boats left behind

August 11, 2017

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

Most of the immigrants arrive in Sicily from north Africa on flimsy rubber rafts. A few lucky ones arrive on 20-foot boats. They aim to land at night on nature reserves or tiny, unknown beaches. They escape, unseen. Many run to Palermo. They leave their old boats behind rocking in the waves.

8 cadavers on a rubber raft

August 1, 2017

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

Eight corpses were recovered from aboard a rubber raft full of migrants coming from Libya and headed towards Italy during a rescue operation.
From La Repubblica:
Five hundred migrants were rescued at sea in four operations today, according to the Italian Coast Guard.

anti-immigrant ship hassled in Cyprus

July 28, 2017

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

The crew of a ship hired by a European far-right movement aiming to disrupt migrant rescues in the Mediterranean have reportedly been deported from Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus for alleged people-smuggling after 21 south Asians were found onboard.
The crew of the C-Star were taken off the vessel at the port of Famagusta, and appeared in court on Thursday, alongside the ship’s Swiss owner.
They were accused of preparing and circulating false documents, but were later released for lack of evidence.

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.

Sicilians Do It Better: Dolce & Gabbana Present Their Alta Moda in Palermo

July 12, 2017

Tags: palermo, dolce, gabbana, moda, fashion, models, fountain, runway, city, sicily, italy

From Vogue magazine:
The arrival of a sleekly suited and enigmatic-looking man flanked by three watchful, headset-wearing bodyguards whose hands hovered above the meaningful bulges beneath their jackets did not, at first, seem that remarkable.

After all, around 430 clients, many of them new, travelled from across the world to the Sicilian capital of Palermo to experience the 126-look swoon that was Dolce & Gabbana’s latest Alta Moda show last night. And at Alta Moda, personal security detachments are ten a penny: The wealth that enables these super shoppers to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, and sometimes considerably more, buying into this couture-but-beyond iteration of idealized Italian-ness comes with its own burdens.

Yet this new face was a man without a woman at a womenswear show who spent a great deal of time shaking hands with people he didn’t know. It seemed strange. When he shook my hand all became clear: This was no less that Rosario Crocetta, the President of Sicily, a son-of-a-seamstress communist anti-corruption campaigner who has been the target of at least three Mafia assassination plots. Wow. So why was he here? The president said: “As far as I am concerned Dolce and Gabbana are the best interpreters in Sicilian style. It is in their blood, and they do a lot for Sicily.”

Here is their high-fashion jewelry show at Palazzo Gangi, Palermo.

(more…)

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.

Watercolors of Sicily by Kathleen Citrolo Gwinnett

June 29, 2017

Tags: Kathleen Citrolo Gwinnett, sicily, watercolor, artist, paintings, love, colors, air, sun, churches, people, sea, gardens, wonderful, happy

Kathleen Citrolo Gwinnett is a prolific and wonderful watercolor artist of Sicilian descent living and painting in North Carolina. She recently returned from ten days in the center of Sicily, near Caltanisetta, where she painted the vistas she had from her house. I met Kathleen on one of my book tours but we have been exchanging e mails for years.
If you want to get happy despite so much heart-wrenching news please click on the caption and go to her Facebook gallery. Her paintings are full of the joy and color and light of springtime Sicily. They make you want to sing.

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…)

Leoluca Orlando wins fourth term as Palermo mayor

June 12, 2017

Tags: leoluca orlando, palermo, mayor, re-elected, sicily, italy, widest margin

Leoluca Orlando last night won his fourth mayoral race with 46 percent of the votes of those already counted, the largest margin in the nation where cities and towns held municipal elections yesterday. He won fame as Sicily's anti-mafia mayor and it is a miracle that he is still alive. He won his last election five years ago with more 70 percent of the vote.
Bad news: Giusi Nicolini, the mayor of Lampedusa who welcomed and aided African migrants, and whose name was bandied about for the Nobel Peace Prize, lost her bid for reelection, coming in third on the European island town closest to Africa. Her successor has said that everything has to change including the presence of NGO rescue volunteers.

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…)

Trump in Taormina

May 26, 2017

Tags: taormina, sicily, trump, G7, 2017

What Trump can expect in Taormina according to the New York Times. Click on the caption to read the whole story in the NYT.

Spotlight on Taormina

May 22, 2017

Tags: taormina, sicily, g7

Taormina’s geographical position in the Mediterranean and Sicily’s crucial role in Italy’s approach to migrants is particularly symbolic as the refugee crisis will be one of the topics on this year’s G7 agenda. And indeed, its natural and archeological beauties make it the perfect scene to promote Italy’s image abroad.

512 rescued migrants and 7 cadavers arrived trapani this morning

May 15, 2017

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

The boat docked shortly after 7:30 this morning at the port of Trapani, Sicily. The Italian Coast Guard ship "Diciotti" carried 512 immigrants rescued in the last few days on the Mediterranean Sea. Also aboard were seven cadavers of people who had drowned before rescuers could reach them.

Rescue NGO MOAS responds to questions about funding

May 14, 2017

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

Rescuers have been accused by some Sicilian authorities of taking money from traffickers to fund their efforts. Here is part of the response from MOAS:
"When questioned about why all our disembarkations are carried out in Italy, and not say, Malta or Tunisia, our representatives explained that MOAS is not the decision-maker in this (more…)

245 migrants feared dead in Mediterranean

May 9, 2017

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

United Nations officials said on Tuesday that 245 migrants were feared dead in two shipwrecks in the Mediterranean Sea. The death toll represents a major increase to an already grim tally this year.

More than 1,300 people are now estimated to have died while trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe in 2017, most while attempting to (more…)

MOAS ship Phoenix docks at Catania with hundreds of migrants and dead boy

May 6, 2017

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

From La Repubblica 6 May 2017
CATANIA, Sicily -- The rescue ship Phoenix belonging to the non-governmental organization MOAS docked at this port this morning bearing 394 rescued migrants and one dead 10-year-old boy who was allegedly murdered by his trafficker. MOAS co-founder Regina Catrambone, who was also aboard, said the boy was pistol- whipped to death by a trafficker when the boy refused to give the trafficker his baseball cap. NGOs rescuing migrants at sea have been accused by certain Catania officials of accepting money from traffickers to pick up shipwrecked migrants and plague Europe with them. Catambrone and the other NGOs say they run their operations with donations from supporters.


Rescue ship Prudence returns with five bodies

May 5, 2017

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

From La Repubblica Palermo online, 5 May 2019:
CATANIA -- The Doctors Without Borders research and rescue ship Prudence docked at Catania at 7 this morning with the bodies of six dead immigrants who had drowned in the Mediterranean. Five women and one man who had left Libya aboard improvised small boats along with hundreds of people fleeing famine and poverty in Africa. For the volunteers of Doctors Without Borders it was difficult to identify them: the six had been dead in the water for days before being picked up by volunteers.

Singing salesmen

May 4, 2017

Tags: greengrocer, fruttivendolo, market, sing, salesman, palermo, sicilia, sicily



A minute and a half with Rick Steves in Palermo's markets.

Rescue ship Aquarius returning to Sicily with 187 people rescued at sea

April 30, 2017

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

Doctors Without Borders in the Mediteranean operates from a NGO shp Aquarius to save migrants standed and in danger of drowning at sea . Today they resued 187 migrants.

the human cost of european hypocisy on libya

April 26, 2017

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

When he saw boats in the distance, Issa knew he was going to live. It was July 2014 and he had spent hours in the sea, clinging to a plastic petrol container while women, men and children drowned around him. The small rubber boat that was supposed to take them all to Italy had sunk just two hours after leaving the Libyan coast. Of the 137 people Issa says were on board, only 49 survived.

Issa, from Burkina Faso, was not rescued by any passing ship but was picked up by the Libyan coastguard. Rather than being taken to a safe port in Italy as he had hoped, he was returned to Libya where he was handed over to the police. He says he was locked up for months in appalling conditions and beaten regularly by policemen who demanded money in exchange for his release.

“My hands were tied behind my back,” he said. “I was laying on the floor facing down, and they were beating me on the back with a belt and electric cables.”

Only after Issa’s family scraped together 625 OOO CFA (about £900), was he finally released.

In September last year, he tried to reach Italy again but after three days at sea, the boat he was on landed back on Libyan shores. “We were arrested upon arrival and taken to a prison in Tripoli, and two weeks later we were transferred to the city of Sabha. We learnt that we had been sold to traffickers.” After a month in captivity, he and others managed to escape. “Our abductors shot some people. I don’t know whether any of them died,” he said.

100 stranded at sea for more than 30 hours

April 21, 2017

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

A hundred refugees and migrants crammed into a small dinghy that started taking in water in the Mediterranean endured an agonising 30-hour wait before they were rescued, a maritime log passed to the Guardian has revealed.

The incident happened over the Easter weekend, the unofficial start of the “sailing season”, which sees increased numbers of people attempting the crossing from Africa to Europe as the weather improves.

Twenty children and 10 women, one of them pregnant, were among the passengers on the overcrowded dinghy.

MOAS: how an Easter 2017 tragedy was averted, 1800 lives saved

April 19, 2017

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

On the 19th April 2015, an estimated 700 children, women and men drowned in the Mediterranean while desperately searching for a new life in safety and peace. The European community was outraged and politicians vowed: ‘never again’.

The following year, on the 18th of April, up to 500 people died in shipwrecks off the Libyan coast.

AsMOAS prepared to commemorate these mass tragedies, our crew were out in the Central Mediterranean on our search and rescue vessel, the Phoenix. Our 2017 mission had launched 2 weeks earlier; a date chosen precisely to avoid yet more April tragedies. As the Phoenix travelled to the zone of operations following a period of bad weather, they knew that many rescues lay ahead of them; but they could never have anticipated the scale of what they were about to face.

Here, we will set out how the weekend unfolded, and how it was that through the determination, teamwork and solidarity among everyone at sea, another mass tragedy was avoided.

On Good Friday, 14th April 2017, throughout the day over 2000 people were rescued by SAR agencies, mostly NGOs and coast guard vessels. The Phoenix participated in the rescue of 273 people, transferring everyone to an Italian coast guard vessel so that our crew could remain in the area to assist

2000+ migrants rescued from Mediterranean in one day

April 15, 2017

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

From La Repubblica Palermo online:

In nineteen operations at sea yesterday rescuers saved more than two thousand immigrants leaving Africa from Libya and headed to Italy.
With the sea calm, the human traffickers decided to send off to Europe 16 overcrowded rubber rafts and three small wooden boats for a total of 2,074 rescued migrants.
The volunteers of Doctors Without Borders and the staff of the NGO SOS Mediterranee are aboard the ship Aquarius said in a tweet that in one of the rescue operations they found a dead teenage boy on the bottom of one of the rafts. "The sea continues to serve as a graveyard," they wrote on Twitter.

97 people feared drowned

April 14, 2017

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

From La Repubblica's Palermo edition online:

TRIPOLI-- According to the Libyan Coast Guard, a rubber raft full of migrants sank six miles off the coast of Tripoli. The coast guard saved 23 people of several African nationalities, but at least 97 people were lost, among them 15 women and five children.
THose unaccounted for are "probably dead," according to the coast guard spokesman, even though no other bodies have been found, also because of terrible weather conditions.
There were originally 120 people aboard the motorized rubber raft. This makes 590 migrants departing from Libya now drowned in the Mediterranean since January first, 2017.

sole survivor

April 5, 2017

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

From The Guardian...

Dozens of people are feared to have drowned after a rubber boat carrying migrants and refugees from Libya sank in the Mediterranean.

The sole survivor – a 16-year-old Gambian boy – told rescuers that 146 other people were on board when the boat sank.

A Spanish frigate, the Canarias, found the boy hanging on to a piece of debris in the sea on Tuesday. He was transferred to an Italian Coast Guard ship and brought to the Sicilian island of Lampedusa early on Wednesday.

Search and rescue: "There is a real fear that the women are being trafficked"

March 3, 2017

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

Mark has recently joined the team on the MV Aquarius, a search and rescue ship operated jointly by MSF / Doctors without Borders and SOS MEDITERRANEE. Here he blogs about the team's work in the Mediterranean:

It’s crazy to think about all these people floating around out here.

I write on the port-side deck, looking out to sea.

I just heard 800 people were picked up today. That’s between us, the one other NGO ship and the Italian Coast Guard. That’s 800 people, even though it’s winter when everyone thought things would settle down.
The weather has been bad, but today was a good day with a full moon so maybe more boats set off from Libya. So…right, we found 800 people, but how many didn't get picked up and are still out there in this black sea?

Typically someone on the boat will call this MRCC (Maritime Coordination Rescue Center) hotline in Rome on a satellite phone that you never find, thrown overboard. Or a smuggler accompanies them for a while and makes the call and we're sent coordinates.

Sometimes there isn't a call and the little boats, crowded with people, are spotted from our bridge or picked up on radar.

We found 800 people, but how many are still out there in this black sea?

On both rescues since I’ve arrived we've found the boats the day they departed shore; usually we do. We have to, since their chances of making it overnight aren’t good.

This movement of people strikes me here much more heavily than the limited exposure I've had to this migration working with Doctors Without Borders in the north of Ethiopia. There, sure, people are moving with basically nothing, but at least they're on land.

The movement of people in Ethiopia is easier for me to comprehend than the idea of floating around this massive body of water, often without even a life jacket. Nothing in their pockets. One rescuer told me he picked up a man last summer who was naked. Apparently it’s not that uncommon. (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.


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.

Palermo unanimously voted Italian Culture Capital for 2018

January 31, 2017

Tags: palermo, culture, capital, italy, 2018, sicily, italy

Palermo will be Italy's culture capital for the year 2018.

More refugees rescued yesterday by ship Aquarius

January 30, 2017

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

The ship Aquarius, operated by the humanitarian italo-franco-german NGO SOS Mediterranee, saved 125 refugees aboard a rubber raft yesterday 15 miles from the Libyan coast west of Tripoli. SOS Mediterranee operates in partnership with Doctors Without Borders. The vessel in trouble was first noted by the merchant ship Deep Vision around 7:30 a.m.: its crew kept (more…)

Man creates map of Palermo's 3,000+ monuments

January 24, 2017

Tags: map, monuments, palermo, sicily, city, historic, important

An unknown person, presumably of Palermo, single-handedly created this detailed map of Palermo's 3,000+ monuments.

Still snowing in Sicily; Troina paralyzed

January 18, 2017

Tags: snow, sicily, troina, meter, paralysis, trouble

The mountain town of Troina in Enna Province is paralyzed by more than three feet of snow. More than 200 head of livestock have died. This is the city that Ruggero used as his base during his 36-year conquest of Sicily from the Arabs. The streets are so steep that they instituted a free bus (more…)

ANSA: new shipwreck off Libya, many bodies found

January 14, 2017

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

A large wooden boat loaded with migrants shipwrecked about thirty miles north of the Libyan coast. Eight cadavers and four survivors were collected. They said there had been 107 on board. Frontex ( European Union border police ) have dispatched an airplane and a rescue helicopter to the disaster scene, and some merchant ships are headed there to offer help, according to ANSA.

Migrants: some saved, some died of cold

January 14, 2017

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

Yesterday three immigrants died off the coast of Lampedusa and 550 were saved in various rescue operations. One of the survivors was found hiding from the cold under two cadavers on a trafficker's boat. Three survivors, including one pregnant woman, were in grave condition.


R.I.P. Vincenzo Sercia, Favignana tonnaroto

January 12, 2017

Tags: favignana, tonnara, sicily, fisherman, tonnaroto, prima voce, soloist, ciurma, singer, tradition, passing, losing, disappearing, gone

Last night I learned that Vincenzo Sercia had died. I wrote about him in Mattanza. He was the former Prima Voce, the soloist, of the ciurma, the team of 100, then 80, tuna fisherman working under their supreme commander, the rais. He was already retired when I knew him in the early 1990s. I would follow him with a tape recorder begging him to sing the words of the cialome, the traditional, mystical work songs of the Favignana tonnara, but he always slipped through my fingers. These were not songs to be sung on land. It was taboo.
But one spring day in 1993, when documentary filmmaker Luciano Bovina was gathering material for a film about the tonnara, I learned that Vincenzo Sercia and a portion of the current ciurma would sing the cialome near Punta Lunga, in a rocky seaside cove for Luciano's benefit. I was invited, too, and in the pink dusk I recorded Vincenzo Sercia singing the songs. The most haunting is Ai-a-mola.

Still snowing in Sicily

January 10, 2017

Tags: sicily, snow, gangi, madonie, drone, video, beauty, happy, gorgeous

Sicily got hit with up to three feet of snow in the mountain towns. Today in La Repubblica I found this video by a video artist in Gangi in the Madonie Mountains who sent his camera up on a drone to film the snow-covered red rooftops. What a wonderful job he did. It is so gorgeous I sent him a fan letter on Twitter. Video by Ivan Mocciaro of Gangi. Click on the caption to see the short video. PLEASE watch it full screen.

Snow day in Sicily

January 8, 2017

Tags: snow, sicily, unusual

Sicily was hit with an unusual snowstorm that closed schools especially in the steep mountain towns. Because it rarely snows there, communities are not equipped with snowplows or snow tires and they just have to wait for it to melt. Some mayors told their towns to shelter in place, stay indoors and called in (more…)

114 african migrants saved at sea

January 3, 2017

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

114 people from Senegal, Guinea, Uganda, Mali and the Ivory Coast were saved by the crew of the NGO ship Aquarius, staffed by doctors without borders, during the night between 1 and 2 January 2017. They were 108 males and six females. 22 of them were minors, and 16 of those were unaccompanied minors, including three children, one under four years old, according to La Repubblica.

Enjoy some peace in Mistretta, Nebrodi Mountains

December 31, 2016

Tags: mistretta, decorative, stone, sculpture, sicily, art, culture, city, town



2017: "Hope for the Best, Expect the Worst" -- Mel Brooks

MSF Aquarius returns to Sicily with 400 of 800 refugees rescued yesterday

December 29, 2016

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


Number of Drowned refugees in Mediterraean tops 5,000 in 2016

December 28, 2016

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

From The Guardian:
"Deaths linked to Mediterranean crossings by migrants trying to reach Europe have spiked in 2016. Last year, 3,771 deaths were recorded as more than a million people made the journey, mostly from Turkey to Greece. This year, about 360,000 people have crossed, most between Libya and Italy, with far more deadly results."

Death for Christmas

December 24, 2016

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

A terrible Christmas shipwreck, some hundred victims, many of which were women and children. The news comes from the UN refugee commission which said that two damaged rubber rafts went down in the in the Strait of Sicly with their human cargo. 143 were saved by the Italian Coast Guard. The rest are missing or dead.


573 immigrants rescued, 2 dead

December 9, 2016

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

Hindered by Force 5 winds and waves in the dark of night, the coast guard ship Gregoretti took on 573 migrants found in a shipwreck at sea last night. Two of the migrants, a man and a woman, were dead. Seven had severe respiratory problems, probably due to breathing in diesel fumes. One is in desperate (more…)

Telegraph: Palatine Chapel among world's most beautiful churches

December 1, 2016

Tags: Church, Palermo, sicily, capella Palatina, telegraph, most beautiful

Palermo's 1132 Capella Palatina was the only Italian church to make it onto The Telegraph's list of the worlds 23 most beautiful churches.

Migrant boat traffic from Libya to Europe is surging — and turning deadlier

November 30, 2016

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

From the Washington Post:
By Michael Birnbaum November 30 at 1:00 AM

BRUSSELS — Migrants heading to Italy from Libya in leaky boats and inflatable dinghies have broken an annual arrivals record, Italian authorities said this week, underscoring the rising popularity of an increasingly deadly journey that nowadays aims not for land, but for a frigid mid-sea rescue.

The number of boat migrants reaching Italy from North Africa this year surpassed 171,000, topping the previous record of 170,100, set in 2014, the Italian Interior Ministry said Monday. But 2016 is also the most lethal year for those trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe. So far, 4,690 people have died en route, compared with 3,771 deaths for all of last year, according to the U.N. refugee agency.

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...."

Happy Thanksgiving. These immigrants rescued today.

November 24, 2016

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

Save the Children's rescue ship Vos Hestia arrived Trapani, Sicily this morning bearing 400 migrants saved off the coast of Libya. Among them many children and women. One woman gave birth on the rescue ship. Another 641 disembarked at Catania, Sicily from the ship Aquarius run by the rescue group SOS Meditteranee.


In one week, 240 feared dead

November 16, 2016

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

About 240 people are suspected to have drowned this week in four separate incidents in the Mediterranean, raising the total annual death toll to an unprecedented 4,500.
From The Guardian
About 130 asylum seekers are missing after a rubber boat capsized on Sunday night, while another 100 are thought to have drowned on Tuesday night in a separate (more…)

550 saved today in the Mediterranean

November 14, 2016

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

From ANSA:
550 people were saved in five distinct rescue operations on the Mediterranean Sea today. The rescues were coordinated by the Italian Coast Guard headquarters in Rome. In the course of the day, five corpses were also recovered from the waters.


Mother drowned, father found, his number written on their pants

November 13, 2016

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

From La Repubblica Palermo on line:
When they pulled them from the bottom of a that rubber raft about to go under their mother had just died, overcome by the mix of diesel fuel and sea water from which she tried to protect her two children. For the entire voyage of the ship Vos (more…)

Hundreds of rescued migrants made to wait standing in cold rain at Palermo's port

November 8, 2016

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

From La Repubblica Palermo today:
"As the rain fell tensions rose," wrote Repubblica reporter Claudia Brunetto.
Disembarkation operations yesterday for hundreds of newly rescued boat people were only half done by 6 p.m.. The remaining hundreds were left on the ship's deck in the cold rain to await processing: a sandwich to eat, clothes (more…)

16 rescue operations in Mediterranean yesterday

November 6, 2016

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

From The Guardian:

"More than 2,200 people have been rescued in the Mediterranean as they tried to reach Europe and 10 bodies recovered, Italy’s coast guard has said in a statement.

They were picked up from 13 rubber dinghies, two small boats and one large vessel in 16 separate rescue operations on Saturday.
Rising death toll in (more…)

Another 668 immigrants saved by Doctors Wihout Borders ship Argos

November 5, 2016

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

Four newborns, including one baby just months old, were among the 668 immigrants on 5 Zodiac rubber rafts saved this morning between 4 and 9 a.m. Italian time by the ship Bourbon Argos leased by Doctors Without Borders.
"It took us at least ten hours to save all of them. By luck the calm sea facilitated the (more…)

Hundreds drowned

November 3, 2016

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

Frmo The Guardian today:
"At least 240 people are feared to have drowned in the southern Mediterranean, bringing the annual total to 4,220 – the highest in the Mediterranean on record.

About 100 people drowned when an inflatable dinghy capsized shortly after leaving the Libyan coast on Wednesday, some of the 29 survivors told the UN refugee agency. A (more…)

of 140 aboard overturned raft, only 29 saved, 12 bodies recovered

November 2, 2016

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

From La Repubblica Palermo online: 12 cadavers have already been pulled from the sea in the Strait of Sicily after a rubber raft went down 25 nautical miles north of the Libyan coast because of force 4 high winds and waves. As of this writing 29 people were saved. Rescuers came on five ships coordinated by the Rome (more…)

Aboard the rescue ship: 3 babies born

October 6, 2016

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

Italian Coast Guard film:



http://video.repubblica.it/edizione/palermo/tre-piccoli-migranti-venuti-alla-luce-sulla-nave-dattilo-le-immagini-dei-soccorsi/254320/254531

Favignana

October 5, 2016

Tags: Favignana, Egadi, sicily, Bue Marino






I am back on Favignana. I rented a bike from Zu Isidoro's ( RIP Zu Isisdoro) and peddled to Bue Marino, my favorite spot. One of them. No words for the beauty.

10,000+ migrants saved in 2 days, 23 dead, three babies born on rescue ship

October 5, 2016

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

10,000 immigrants saved from the sea in the last two days, according to a story by Claudia Brunetto in La Repubblica today. 72 separate rescue operations in the Strait of Sicily. 28 bodies were also pulled from the sea, 22 of which had been aboard a vessel packed with abut a thousand people.


fuocoammare

October 4, 2016

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

To honor the third anniversary of the drowning of 368 African immigrant at the dock of Lampedusa, Italian TV last night broadcast the Oscar nominated film Fuocoammare, Fire at Sea, filmed on Lampedusa. It does not have much distribution in the US. It was a beautiful sad poem. Like nothing I had ever seen before.
(more…)

Street food vendor Rocky

September 23, 2016

Tags: palermo, street food, sicily, culture, rocky

Rocky set up on my street corner in the Via Vittorio Emanuele every night and sold pane ca meuzza, in Sicilian, pane con la milza in Italian, or spleen and cheese sandwich in English, a typically Palermitan street food item.

Islamic feast of the sacrifice celebrated outdoors in Palermo

September 13, 2016

Tags: multiculturism, islam, foro italico, palermo, sicily, religion, tolerance, acceptance, cosmopolitan, city, no fear, many colors.

A thousand faithful and Palermo Mayor Leoluca Orlando celebrate the Islamic Feast of the Sacrifice held seaside in the Foro Italico.

1100 migrants saved this weekend

September 11, 2016

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

Today, Sunday, alone saw 1100 migrants saved from the Strait of Sicily. The Libyan traffickers sent off eight rubber rafts all at once. Also saved were two tiny boats full of complete Libyan families. This is a new phenomenon, according to a report in the daily La Repubblica. The Libyan families are autonomous immigrants escaping (more…)

Accused traffickers acquitted of murder in Palermo

September 10, 2016

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

From Reuters in Rome via The Guardian:
An Italian judge has acquitted two men accused of people-smuggling and murder, saying they had been forced at gunpoint by Libyan traffickers to drive a rubber boat packed with migrants last year.

The judge in the Sicilian city of Palermo on Wednesday ordered that Jammeh Sulieman and (more…)

September 8, 2016

Tags: bombs, church, destruction, rubble, world war two, Casa Professa, palermo, sicily, italy

This Sicilian Baroque church was rebuilt, like many others in Palermo. Its original name is Chiesa di Gesu`, or Church of Jesus, established by Jesuits.

More than a thousand migrants saved at sea

September 6, 2016

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

More than a thousand migrants, including tiny babies, were rescued in the past few hours off the coast of Libya in several operations that involved the Italian Coast Guard and and Maltese ship. IN the video you can also see a rescuer who was overcome by the diesel fumes of one of the vessels, felt ill and fainted in the waters. Imagine having to smell the diesel fumes day and night without respite during the transit of the Mediterranean.

Taking on the Mafia: AL Jazeera documentary about Palermo

September 1, 2016

Tags: palermo, mafia, justice, sicily, italy, al jazeera


Sicilian judge Antonino Di Matteo is one of the most threatened - and protected - men in Italy. As the chief prosecutor in Italy's "trial of the century", he has more than 20 bodyguards, ensuring his safety around the clock. On trial are 10 men who stand accused of being part of a conspiracy between the mafia and the state. Five of the defendants are mafia bosses and five are members of the political establishment.

6,500 asylum seekers x $2,000 per person = $13million in a day for terrorism

August 30, 2016

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

I just did the math. The traffickers generally charge around $2,000, a phenomenal sum for people from southern Africa. Then they cram them onto boats and rafts and send them off. Without food, life jackets, water or sufficient fuel, nor a compass nor anybody who knows how to run a boat. Under the broiling sun, no shade, crammed (more…)

Bands of criminals fund Islamist terrorists with money they extort from poverty-stricken asylum seekers.

August 30, 2016

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

My translation of the article in today's La Repubblica:
The Italian Coast Guard announced that it coordinated 40 rescue operations in the Strait of Sicily Sicily yesterday saving 6,500 people. Working with the coast guard were the Italian Navy, non-governmental organizations,a nd European Union forces including Frontex, which is the European border police, and Eunaformed. (more…)

Libyan Navy admits confrontation with Rescue boat in International waters.

August 29, 2016

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

The Libyan navy has admitted taking part in a confrontation with the refugee rescue boat the Bourbon Argos in international waters off the coast of Libya, following days of speculation about who attacked it.
A navy spokesman was reported to have claimed that Libyan forces had approached the rescue boat, chartered by the aid group Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), after its crew allegedly refused to identify themselves. But the navy denied that it had fired directly at the MSF boat, and claimed it did not board the boat itself.

Doctors Without borders rescue ship attacked off Libyan coast

August 26, 2016

Tags: immigrants, boats, mediterranean, rescue, ships, fear, drowning, trouble, africa, sicily, Italy.Doctors without borders, attack, pirates

While searching for shipwrecked immigrants 24 nautical miles off the Libyan coast on August 17 the Doctors Without Borders ship Bourbon Argos was fired upon by unknown men in a motor boat who then boarded the ship, then gave up their enterprise when they found that all crew had secured themselves in parts of the ship (more…)

Waiting for the next wave

August 15, 2016

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

It's been more than a week since choppy seas have prevented traffickers from sending their clients, indigent migrants and asylum seekers, off to find their own way to Europe. They are expecting the next wave of migrants to be a huge surge of people who have been backed up on the shores of Libya, waiting to embark. The traffickers are cruel. (more…)

Street food

August 14, 2016

Tags: palermo, street food, sicily, culture



Catania and 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…)

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.

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.

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.

Sunken boat raised

June 30, 2016

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

From The Guardian:
Italy has begun to salvage the bodies of people killed in the Mediterranean’s deadliest
modern shipwreck, in an operation that experts say is of historic scale.

The Italian navy has pulled the boat to the surface, more than 14 months after it sank in April 2015, killing about 800 people who were sailing (more…)

At least ten dead in latest shipwreck off Libya

June 30, 2016

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

From La Repubblica:
A Zodiac rubber raft full of immigrants flipped over 20 miles from the Libyan coast today and ten women were drowned, while 107 survivors were saved by the coast guard. A new tragedy that happened the same day in which the sunken fishing boat that went down 18 April 2015 in the Strait of Sicily, (more…)

The non-profit rescue ship Aquarius makes two rescues

June 25, 2016

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

The last two rescues were the ship's 14th and 15th.
From a gray rubber raft they saved 132 migrants: of them 1 were women and 31 children, 28 of whom were unaccompanied, the youngest ten years old. Most were from Guinea-Conakry, Ivory Coast and Mali. They spent between three days and and 2 weeks in a hangar on the (more…)

Thousands of immigrants rescued from Mediterranean in last two days

June 25, 2016

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

From The Guardian:
Ship crews have pulled more than 2,000 refugees from overcrowded boats in the Mediterranean, Italy’s coastguard has said, as people-smugglers stepped up operations during two consecutive days of good weather.

More than 7,100 people have now been rescued from international waters since Thursday, many of them on the dangerous journey from Libya.

(more…)

Unaccompanied refugee children face appalling risks

June 15, 2016

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

More than nine out of 10 refugee and migrant children arriving in Europe through Italy this year are travelling alone, the UN children’s agency, Unicef, said on Tuesday, warning of the “appalling” risks children face while escaping conflict and poverty.
Click on the photo caption to read the story in today's online The Guardian.

Nigerian criminals in league with Mafia

June 11, 2016

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

Along with the thousands of decent people who risk their lives to get to Europe by boat or raft come a small number of Nigerian criminals. In Palermo they congregate in the Ballaro market and co exist with the native Cosa Nostra in an uneasy relationship. Click on the caption to read the story in The Guardian.

More than 2500 rescued immigrants to land southern Italy by tomorrow morning.

June 10, 2016

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

392 migrants landed at Palermo's Four Winds dock today: 464 men, 119 women, 9 children aboard the Doctors without Borders rescue ship Bourbon Argon, which also carried 4 pregnant women and several unaccompanied children.
More than 2500 rescued immigrants will land in southern Italy between today and tomorrow. The Fgs Frankfurt will land at 4 p.m. at Messina, Sicily 514 immigrants (more…)

Aquarius rescues hundreds in one morning.

June 8, 2016

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

The NGO rescue ship Auarius this morning made two rescues of craft in distress in the Mediterranean Sea. The first craft carried 101 immigrants comprising 96 men and 5 women, according to the SOS Mediterranee website. The second craft in distress carried 138 people: 110 men and 28 women. The people taken aboard ship this morning were mostly from the (more…)

Video of last week's rescues

June 6, 2016

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

Take a look at their faces. Video by Italian Navy.

96 people rescued off coast of Libya

June 3, 2016

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

Today 96 immigrants were saved by the rescue ship Aquarius: 74 men including numerous minors and 22 women of whom 3 were pregnant, and two children under five. Numerous men were injured and were immediately treated by the onboard medical team of Doctors Without Borders. Today's mission makes a total of 2,002 people saved by the volunteers on the Aquarius.

Read the story in The Guardian

May 29, 2016

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

Click on the caption to read the story in English in The Guardian.

Survivors: Some 40 immigrant children drowned Thursday

May 29, 2016

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

Of the estimated 400 lost at sea from this one incident 40 were children, survivors say. As always, those who could not afford a position on deck were locked in the hold and died trapped there when the boat flipped Thursday. Those people would be the women and children.
One old fishing trawler was towing another with a rope (more…)

Dance for Joy on the Aquarius

May 27, 2016

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



From SOS Mediterranee. Saved from a shipwreck on Wednesday, these African women mostly from Ivory Coast and Cameroon danced and sang hymns aboard the NGO rescue ship Aquarius when the coast of Sardinia, where they were being taken, came (more…)

Another shipwreck today; 45 bodies recovered, 135 saved, at least 20 missing at sea

May 27, 2016

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

A converted fishing traler overloaded with immigrants partially sank today in the Mediterranean between Africa and Sicily. T Italian Navy ship Vega saved 135 people, recuperated 45 bodies and rescuers are searching for at least 20 people still missing at sea.
Eighteen rescue operations took place today. Some 1,900 people were aboard 16 rubber rafts, all rescued. Several hundred (more…)

Baby Favour goes to Palermo

May 27, 2016

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

Baby Favour, newly orphaned immigrant from Nigeria, saved from a shipwreck by a woman from Cameroon who watched the baby's mother drown, a burn victim who was drowning herself, was met by the mayor of Palermo, Leoluca Orlando when she arrived in the Sicilian capital accompanied by the chief of police, Maria Volpe. The (more…)

Rubber raft sinking

May 27, 2016

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

It is hard to keep up with all the shipwrecks and dead and orphaned and drowned immigrants of all ages. When the sea is calm, the wave of immigrants from Africa swells.

9-month old Nigerian girl saved by Cameroonian woman

May 27, 2016

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

Little Favour from Nigeria lost both her parents when the rubber raft they were on flipped all the passengers into the Mediterranean Sea, but she was saved by a 52-year-old Cameroonian woman with severe burns over her body. The Cameroonian woman is named Sofii and is in hospital in Palermo. Little Favour, in the (more…)

The boat that capsized Wednesday when 550 were saved, some drowned

May 26, 2016

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

This overcrowded overhauled fishing trawler carrying some 600 immigrants capsized in the Mediterranean Wednesday. Click on the caption to read the story in The Guardian.
From The Guardian: "The boat is the latest of at least 38 smuggling vessels to be rescued in the southern Mediterranean since the start of the week. More than 6,000 lives have (more…)

Baby boy born aboard the Aquarius

May 26, 2016

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

Bernadette, one of the hundreds saved Wednesday by the non profit German and French rescue ship the Aquarius, gave birth to a baby boy around 5 p.m.. When it was learned the mother had gone into labor the ship went full steam ahead towards Sardinia so the child could be born on land, but (more…)

Some 500 saved from capsized boat, seven known drowned, more lost at sea unaccounted for

May 25, 2016

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

Imagine the horror.
A boat with about 600 migrants aboard capsized 18 miles off the coast of Libya. More than 500 immigrants were saved but already seven deaths have been ascertained and more are feared drowned. The immigrants had made a satellite telephone call for help and the Italian ships Bettica and Bergamini arrived. The boat had capsized because it (more…)

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…)

Unknown immigrant woman dies of strain

May 20, 2016

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

A woman refugee who arrived in Palermo on a rescue ship Friday has died in hospital from stress of the voyage, according to a report in today's La Repubblica.
She arrived in grave condition: malnourished, stressed from the voyage through the desert, the long wait on the African coast and the sea crossing. Today, (more…)

French NGO rescue ship Aquarius saved 253 shipwreckd migrants yesterday

May 18, 2016

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

For its eighth and ninth rescies the French ship Aquarius bellonging to the non profit SOS Mediterranee rescued 253 shipwreck victims on two rubber rafts. The first mission saved 137 immigrants including six women and6 children under 16 years old. The were mostly from Guinea-Conakry and Mali. Two of the women were dehydrated and very weak. At least three people had broken arms. Doctors on board said at least one broken arm was due to maltreatment and torture. As soon as these immigrants were on board the Aquarius went to its next rescue, of 116 people on another sinking raft, including 16 women and a three-year-old child.
Then the Aquarius was asked by the naval center in Rome to welcome aboard 115 other migrants who were saved by the German navy in order to take them to Italy.

African Migrants in Libya Face Kidnapping, Torture, and Robbery on Smuggling Route to Europe

May 18, 2016

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

From Vice News, a story by Rebecca Murray:
In an impoverished and violent neighborhood on the edge of Sebha in Libya's southern desert, 30-year-old Ibrahim from Burkina Faso is struggling to survive — and to move on.

He's stuck here, working at a laundry to make money, because he needs to save for the ride north over 400 miles of desert to Libya's coast, and a place on a boat to Italy. It's dangerous for migrants like him, who pass through here on the way from sub-Saharan Africa to what they hope is a better life in Europe.

Warring local tribes, and gangs preying on migrants, are a daily threat.

"All the time guns are turned against us to rob us," said Ibrahim, who would only give a first name, while gesturing towards a group of men also from Burkina Faso, gathered warily outside a dilapidated storefront. "Four months ago I was actually shot here by one man."

Last year, friends who had made it to Europe called Ibrahim at home and told him about how they were doing better there. So he left behind his wife, newborn baby, and work selling goods on the street, and invested $300 for the brutal desert trek with smugglers to reach Sebha. Ibrahim now needs the same amount to reach the coast at Tripoli, and up to $1,000 more to cross the Mediterranean Sea. That's a staggering sum for someone from Burkina Faso, where gross national income per capita is $700.

What they suffer to get there.

May 17, 2016

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

You may be wondering why I post so much about African immigrants landing in Sicily and what they go through. It's because I spent six months in Palermo and talked to many of them and heard the harrowing stories, a young guy in a shipwreck who saw his brother go overboard and drown, a (more…)

998 saved in the Strait of Sicily in last 24 hours

May 13, 2016

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

From today's La Repubblica:
Merchant ship and Italian Coast Guard ships carried 998 immigrants toward Italian shores this morning. They had left from the Egyptian coast. The Coast Guard ship Peluso brought 342 to safety at Augusta, Sicily, they were many men, women and children. The immigrants who landed at Augusta had gone to sea squashed (more…)

230 saved this morning in 2 rescue operations in Strait of Sicily

May 12, 2016

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

With the good weather more and more rubber rafts and big old fishing boats full of desperate immigrants take off from Libyan shores to tackle the crossing to Sicily. Here is a photo tweeted by a volunteer on the rescue ship Aquarios operated by the group SOS Mediterrane`. The rescue ships had already taken (more…)

What happens when they get to Italy: Big disappointment

May 7, 2016

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

From The Guardian:
"The chances of finding legitimate work – with youth unemployment in Italy at 37% – are slim, and his asylum application is unlikely to succeed: 66% of claims by Gambians last year were rejected, according to Eurostat.

Across Italy, migrants spend their days in parks, or loiter outside bus and train stations, homesick and shocked (more…)

Three ships saved 1664 immigrants in 9 rescue operations yesterday

May 6, 2016

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

The weather is clearing in the Mediterranean Sea so immigrants' voyages of despair are picking up. Three Italian ships rescued 1,664 people from nine rubber rafts in trouble. The ship Bettica aided five rafts saving a total of 588 people. The ship Bergamini saved 476 people from two rafts ( can you imagine more than 200 people on a rubber raft????!!!) The ship Grecale picked up 600 immigrants from two rafts and is headed toward Trapani, Sicily with them.

249 immigrants saved at sea

May 1, 2016

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

from the Giornale di Sicilia:
249 African immigrants on an old fishing boat were saved last night by the Italian coast guard ship Dattilo which was sent to pick them up after Roman authorities received an emergency satellite cell phone call from the foundering fishing boat. They were 200 nautical miles east of Sicily but within (more…)

Shipwreck off Libya, 80 immigrants feared lost

May 1, 2016

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

A merchant ship saved 26 people off a half sunken raft miles off the Libyan coast but survivors say 80 people were lost at sea yesterday.

The heart of Palermo: city hosts parents of wounded refugee Yusupha Susso

April 22, 2016

Tags: Yusupha Susso, Gambia, shot, head, parents, heart, palermo, immigrants, boats, mediterranean, rescue, ships, fear, drowning, trouble, africa, sicily, Italy.

Remember my blog about Yusupha Susso, the young Gambian refugee in Palermo who was shot in the head by a mafioso who wanted to prove he owned the territory the young man and his friends were standing in? Yusupha survived after five days in an induced coma. He speaks five languages, is the son (more…)

Daily News has story of 500 disappeared African immigrants but uses a photo of WHITE people in trouble

April 20, 2016

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

The caption says:
"Yannis Behrakis/REUTERS
Some 500 refugees, not shown, were feared dead after a shipwreck in the Mediterranean."

Why do you think the Daily News used a photo of white people in trouble at sea when the disappeared immigrants were all from African countries? There are plenty of file photos of black immigrants being saved.

Here is the story from the NY Daily News: (more…)

Tragic rescue of African survivors today

April 18, 2016

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

From the Giornale di Sicilia:
They said they left Libya on a rubber raft carrying 130-140 people. 108 f them were rescued by the Ship Aquarius of the SOS Mediterranean non profit group. Two drowned, six bodies were found on the bottom of the raft which had bent into a V shape, disabled, the motor (more…)

Alarm in the Mediterranean: 500 immigrants missing

April 18, 2016

Tags: immigrants, boats, mediterranean, rescue, ships, fear, drowning, trouble, africa, sicily, Italy.museum, brtish museum, artifact, current culture, european

There is a boat carrying 500 immigrant missing in the Mediterranean. The boat left Egypt three days ago and nothing has been heard of them since.
The alarm was given by the Rome-based Eritrean priest Musie Zerai, for years a reference point for immigrants who find themselves in trouble in the Mediterranean sea. A few of the (more…)

HUndreds more immigrants arrive Sicily today

April 17, 2016

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

33 immigrants were rescued by the Italian Coast Guard near Noto. According to La Repubblica they were probably Iraqis, Syrians, Afghanis and Somalians who left Turkey four days ago on a merchant ship who were then made to get off the ship and onto a motorboat after midnight last night.
Meanwhile the ship Orion which took aboard 464 immigrants rescued in the Strait of Sicily n four separate rescue operations by the Orion (106) the ship Bettica (118), the motorboats Aquarius (116) and Gaz Victory (124)

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.

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…)

2800 immigrants rescued at sea and brought to Sicily

March 30, 2016

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

2800 people were plucked from the sea and brought to safety in Sicily in six different rescue operations in the last three days. Most were from sub-Saharan African nations.

Revolt in overcrowded immigrant center; more coming

March 28, 2016

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

Inhumane conditions caused inmates to protest at an immigration holding center in Palermo this morning where 250 people are being held in a center designed to hold no more than 180 people, according to a report in La Repubblica. More immigrants are on the way. By tomorrow morning at 7 a.m. the Norwegian ship "Siem Pilot" (more…)

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…)

Palermo's traffic worst in Italy

March 22, 2016

Tags: palermo, traffic, sicily, italy, worst, record, snarls, commuters, wait, stuc, pollution, south, cars, waste, time, stink, exhaust, fumes, anger, beep, horn

In a year every Palermo commuter spends 147 hours blocked in traffic, according to the TomTom Traffic Index and La Repubblica, which measures traffic flow in 295 cities in 38 countries for all of 2015. Palermo, where buses get stuck behind carriage horses, had the worst traffic snarls in Italy. Second worst traffic city in Italy is Rome. (more…)

470 new immigrants, one dead of suffocation on overcrowded raft

March 21, 2016

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

Yesterday brought 470 new immigrants to the Sicilian coast town of Pozzallo, from four different rescue operations in the Mediterranean. One trafficker was arrested not only for promoting clandestine entry into Europe but also for the death of one immigrant who died suffocated under the weight of too many people in one rubber raft. Can you imagine? (more…)

270 new arrivals from africa

March 17, 2016

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

Last night the Italian Coast Guard saved 270 immigrants found in dire straits at sea, including about 50 women and children, according to La Repubblica Palermo online. All the immigrants were all right despite being exhausted by their difficulties and the cold.. They all came from the sub-Saharan countries of Mali, Cameroon, Nigeria, Congo, Guinea and (more…)

Rais Gioacchino Cataldo guest appearance on cooking show

March 7, 2016

Tags: rais, Gioacchino Cataldo, favignana, rais, tonnara, tuna, sperm, delicacy, cooking, cuisine, sicilian, sicily, culture, ancient, fisherman

Thanks to a heads-up from fellow Sicily lover Karen LaRosa of LaRosaWorks.com:

Gioacchino Cataldo, Rais della tonnara di #Favignana

Gioacchino Cataldo, Rais della tonnara di #Favignanaporta la tradizione dei prodotti di tonnara a MasterChef Italia 5#egadi #isoleegadi #egadiislands #visitegadiGioacchino Cataldo l'ultimo Rais

Posted by Visit Egadi on Friday, February 19, 2016

The immigrants' palace

March 7, 2016

Tags: immigrant, housing, palermo, sicily, poverty, crumbling, 78 Piazza Tedeschi

78 Piazza Tedeschi
And these are not squatters. There are people who pay dearly to live in a place like this. I know this little piazzetta well because I saw it every day when I visited the Le Balate Library for Children and Babies just a block away.

The Chinese Palace

March 6, 2016

Tags: palazzina cinese, chinese palace, favorita, splendor, palermo, sicily

Interior hall in three-story Palazzina Cinese in La Favorita Park
Construction on King Ferdinand IV's Palazzina Cinese in La Favorita Park began in 1799. Chinoiserie was all the rage then, and this was the second Chinese-type house Ferdinand owned and was designed by the same architect.

Liberty Demetra Mosaic restored

March 3, 2016

Tags: Dmeter, demetra palermo, art liberty, goddess, grain, fertility, agriculture, mosaic, restore, capo, market, pupa old glory, beauty, sicily, panificio S Morello

The Liberty style mosaic of Demeter, Sicilian goddess of grain and agriculture known as the Doll of the Capo because she adorned the front of a bakery in the Capo market has been restored. She and the bakery sign were removed from the decrepit building (the bakery had gone out of business after many (more…)

100 immigrants saved from raft in trouble

February 27, 2016

Tags: immigrants, boats, mediterranean, rescue, ships, fear, drowning, trouble, africa, sicily, Italy.museum, brtish museum, artifact, current culture, european

The Italian Navy ship Bettica rescued a hundred migrants from motorized rubber raft in trouble in the Strait of Sicily today according to La Repubblica. Among the 100 migrants were seven women and 20 minors. Now that spring is coming, the migrant traffic, and subsequent deaths from drowning, will pick up.
The EU offers asylum to (more…)

731 African immigrants saved at sea this morning; 4 cadavers found

February 23, 2016

Tags: immigrants, boats, mediterranean, rescue, ships, fear, drowning, trouble, africa, sicily, Italy.museum, brtish museum, artifact, current culture, european

Italian Navy ships rescued 731 immigrants this morning, Tuesday 23 Feb. 2016, according to La Repubblica. The ship Cigala Fulgosi picked up a total of 407 migrants including 4 dead bodies. The ship Bettica helped two imbarcations in trouble taking aboard 219 migrants. The ship Scirocco coordinated the rescue operations and picked up 105 migrants.
No sign of this story in the New York Times. (more…)

THirty immigrants, two cadavers arrived this morning; more feared dead

February 19, 2016

Tags: immigrants, boats, mediterranean, rescue, ships, fear, drowning, trouble, africa, sicily, Italy.museum, brtish museum, artifact, current culture, european

A 30-foot wooden craft containing thirty live immigrants presumably of North African origin arrived on the coast of Torre Salsa in the town of Siculiana in the province of Agrigento at nine this morning. The immigrants said when they left the coast of Libya, there were 40 people aboard, the rest drowned at sea. The (more…)

110 refugees arrived Lampedusa at dawn today

February 17, 2016

Tags: immigrants, boats, mediterranean, rescue, ships, fear, drowning, trouble, africa, sicily, Italy.museum, brtish museum, artifact, current culture, european

From the Corriere del Mezzogiorno:
110 migrants mostly from Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Ghana arrived in good shape at five this morning on the shores of Lampedusa, the Sicilian island closest to Africa. Among them were 10 women and 4 children.

From me: In the clamor over the plight of white Syrian immigrants who cross the Mediterranean from Turkey (more…)

How Sicilians waste EU money

February 16, 2016

Tags: Euopean Union, funds, waste, sicily, guttuso, bagheria, mismanagement, phony, lazy, greedy, dishonest, back hole for money, Sicilian Housewife blog

Well, the British blogger The Sicilian Housewife just a got a job as the CEO of a charitable organization and moved back to England with her Sicilian husband and their young son. But I wanted to show you this great post of hers. She is a wonderful writer and really hits the nail on the head, doing a good job of translating the culture into English. She is so sane!
Please click on the caption and you will be taken to her refreshing blog, The Dangerously Truthful Diary of a Sicilian Housewife.

The wall of kindness

February 7, 2016

Tags: palermo, urban, wall of kindness, muro della gentilezza, sicily, poor, immigrants, mosque, Via Celso, sicilia, kindness, heart, center, giving, generous, thoughtful

The wall of Kindness in Via Celso in the city center
Following a European trend, someone in the heart of Palermo has started a "Wall of Kindness". One clothesline where people can leave what they want to donate, or take what they need, not far from the city's principal mosque. Here is a one-minute video report from La Repubblica.

Cityscape

January 31, 2016

Tags: Palermo, Monte Pellegrino, vista, view, anorama, beauty, bellezza, sicily, capital, island, mediterranean

A beautiful view of Palermo
Palermo can take your breath away. Monte Pellegrino is in the background. This greensward is where the Luna Park amusement park was for many years.

Sicily: Culture and Conquest to be at British Museum

January 29, 2016

Tags: sicily, culture, conquest, artifacts, British Museum, show, museum, history, story

From The Guardian:
"In 1066 the Normans were not just conquering grey, cold England. They were also in sunny, fertile Sicily creating what became one of the most enlightened cultures in Europe.
The little known story of the other Norman conquest is to be told in an exhibition exploring 4,000 years of history on the island (more…)

723 migrants, one dead body arrived Trapani this a.m.

January 25, 2016

Tags: immigrants, boats, mediterranean, rescue, ships, fear, drowning, trouble, africa, sicily, Italy.museum, brtish museum, artifact, current culture, european

The Norwegian Frontex ship Siem Pilot picked up 723 migrants at sea and the body of one Somali man who died during the voyage, according to La Repubblica.
Among the migrants were 29 unaccompanied minors , several pregnant women and a handicapped person with leg problems. This morning they were brought to safe harbor in Trapani.

Lampedusa Cross now in British Museum

January 20, 2016

Tags: immigrants, boats, mediterranean, rescue, ships, fear, drowning, trouble, africa, sicily, Italy.museum, brtish museum, artifact, current culture, european

When an overcrowded immigrant boat capsized just off the coast of Lampedusa and killed hundreds of people, island carpenter Francesco Tuccio met some of the survivors in his local church. Some of the survivors were Eritrean Christians fleeing from persecution in their home country. Though unable to help them in a concrete way, he (more…)

First snow

January 17, 2016

Tags: palermo, snow, mountain, La Zisa, arab-norman, palace, mountain, cold, sicily, 2016

The first really cold days of 2016 have hit Sicily and the snow is sticking to the mountains that ring Palermo.

246 immigrants saved, one dead

January 16, 2016

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

This morning the Italian coast guard ship Dattilo delivered 246 migrants it picked up in a vessel off the coast of Libya: 218 men, 27 women, and a minor, plus one cadaver, according to a report in La Repubblica. They are disembarking at Catania.
The report did not mention what countries the immigrants are from.

Fruit vendor at the Capo market

January 10, 2016

Tags: market, street, palermo, sicily, fruit, vendor, urban, food, fresh, colors, capo

I have bought some of the best strawberries of my life in this market. It is a wonder to walk through these market streets. You often see strange African fruits here too. Like squash with bumpy bristles. It is the best place to buy small souvenirs to take home to friends, like exotic spices and Sicilian capers.

Cityscape: Piazzetta degli Angelini

January 6, 2016

Tags: palermo, sicily, slideshow, monuments, beautiful, city, urban, europe, historic center


The paving stones are honeycomb-shaped! Author Giuseppe Di Lampedusa's family home gave onto this piazzetta. It was destroyed by an American bomb during WWII, rebuilt and now, just recently, turned into apartments. There used to be a water tower and fountain here that brought icy cold water from the mountains, and thirsty aristocrats would (more…)

New Year's Day, Palermo 1934

January 2, 2016

Tags: palermo, 1934, film, black and white, sicily, architecture, Liberty, Villa Delliella, cathedral, teatro massimo, politeama, gardens, citizens, New Year 1934

Here's a short, silent home movie of Palermo in the thirties. It shows the Liberty gem Villa Deliella, (02:27 behind palms) destroyed in a night in the 1950s by the mafia to make way for a high rise, now the site of a car wash. Its absence breaks the hearts of Palermitans.
(more…)

Happy New Year

December 31, 2015

Tags: palermo, sicily, slideshow, monuments, beautiful, city, urban, europe, historic center

A look at the best of Palermo.

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…)

The Florios' Liberty mansion masterpiece open to public

December 28, 2015

Tags: Palermo, Liberty, architecture, villino, florio, beauty, example, sicily, region, showplace

The Villino Florio all'Olivuzza in high Liberty style will be open to the public for at least a short while beginning December 29, according to the Amo Palermo blog. It once belonged to Palermo's most influential millionaires, the Florios. Click on the caption to see interior and exterior photos of the villa. It is adream. I have yet to see this in person. Viale Regina Margherita, 38, near La Zisa.

New bishop celebrates Christmas with homeless

December 25, 2015

Tags: Fra Biagio Conte, Palermo, sicily, homeless, Mission of Hope and Charity, Missione delle Speranza e della Carita, church, Christmas, citadel, poor, citadella, poveri, clochard, care, love, hope, charity

"This is the real church," Palermo's brand new archbishop Corrado Lorefice said to those gathered to celebrate Christmas Eve at Fra Biagio Conte's Mission of Hope and Charity. Biagio, a lay brother who takes care of a thousand homeless people in three inner city homes for them in Palermo, welcomed the new archbishop to his shelter.

500+ immigrants debark at Augusta, Sicily Xmas Eve

December 24, 2015

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

More than 500 immigrants rescued by two military ships and Doctors Without Borders were brought safely to land in Augusta, Sicily this day. La Repubblica's story about them did not mention where they were from because it just happened. I doubt you will read about this in the U.S. papers but 500-plus lives matter.

Barber cuts homeless men's hair gratis after work

December 24, 2015

Tags: kindness, La Danza delle Ombre, palermo, sicily, homeless, men, women senza tetto, Dr. Marina Scardavi

Vi ho visto sul giornale La Repubblica negli states! Auguri e buon natale a tutti gli amici di LDDO.

Posted by Reve Couleurs on Thursday, December 24, 2015
A barber in Palermo leaves work and goes to cut the hair of homeless men and women at a shelter near Palermo's port. I recognize some of the homeless men in this short video from La Repubblica. They are guests of the 40-bed dormitory run by La Danza delle Ombre (The Shadow Dance) a non-profit organization founded by Dr. Marina Scardavi, Palermo's street doctor to the homeless. From their Facebook page.

Palermo before the war slideshow

December 20, 2015

Tags: slideshow, black and white, photos, palermo, sicily, Palermo in bianco e nero, facebook, new c'era una volta Palermo felicissima, Gianfry Fiero



A new slideshow of old Palermo found on the Facebook group Palermo in Bianco e Nero by Ganfry Fiero.

Politeama sepia post card

December 17, 2015

Tags: Teatro, politeama, palermo, sicily, sicilia, architecture, innovation, culture, capital, horseshoe

From the Facebook group "Palermo in Bianco e Nero" (Palermo in black and white), a group pf passionate Palermo lovers, many of whom are amateur historians of the city, great connoisseurs of the city. I will translate the first few comments here:

When the palms were still little!
Splendid.
When the theater was brand new!
When Palermitans loved and respected Palermo. (more…)

New: Bike-sharing in Palermo

December 14, 2015

Tags: palermo, bike, bicycle, bike, sharing, mobility, modern, sicily, environment, sustainable, alternative, transportation

Let's see how this goes in Palermo. If people respect the bikes, don't steal them, don't trash them out of pure joy in vandalism. The capital city's brand new bike -sharing system is all set up and ready to go tomorrow.
The service provides 400 bikes, plus 20 more electric-motor-assisted bikes, at 37 bike stations. The electric bikes will be charged by solar panels installed in the bike stations.

11,360 unaccompanied minor immigrant children arrived in Sicily this year

December 13, 2015

Tags: ghana, palermo, sicily, immigrant, unaccompanied minor, boy alone, alone, boy, travel, ghana, CIE, odyssey

From the Guardian:
From 1 January to 6 December this year, 11,360 unaccompanied children like Jamieson – mainly from Eritrea, Nigeria, Gambia, Somalia and Senegal – arrived on its shores.

‘I did not ever think I would reach here,” says 17-year-old Jamieson, staring down at his dusty blue Crocs, given to him when he disembarked from the rescue boat in Sicily, in August. “I look back and I could have died many times. But I try to stop thinking of it. (more…)

Mattarella today unveils copy of Caravaggio's Nativity, stolen in 1969

December 12, 2015

Tags: caravaggio, stolen, Oratorio, san lorenzo, palermo, sicily, art theft, heist, replacement, copy, Presdent Matarella, mafia, 1969

The theft of Caravaggio’s Nativity with St Francis and St Lawrence from an oratory in Palermo in 1969 is still considered one of the worst art crimes in history.
The 17th-century masterpiece – a depiction of the newborn Christ on a bed of straw, painted in the chiaroscuro technique – was thought to have been painted by Caravaggio in Rome and later moved to Sicily, where it hung for centuries before being cut from its frame by two thieves in the night, never to be seen again.

Free Jazz at Palazzo Mirto

December 9, 2015

Tags: palermo, sicily, urban, culture, music, jazz, concert, free, mirto, palazzo mirto, piazza marina, opportunity, thrinax quartet, louis prima

If you were living in Palermo, this evening you could attend a free jazz concert given in this room at the mansion/museum of Palazzo Mirto just off Piazza Marina in the historic center of Palermo.
The Thrinax Quartet will play the canopied, tapestried, frescoed and chandeliered baldacchino room at the Mirto Palace at five this afternoon. The concert is dedicated to Louis Prima. Admission is free.

Lampedusa's Palermo home renovated, now apartments

December 3, 2015

Tags: lampedusa, house, home, apartment, palermo, sicily, author, landmark, renovation, nice!

Italy's greatest 20th-century writer Giuseppe Lampedusa's house in Palermo is once again a home, for six families. It has been made into apartments. Here is a video report from La Repubblica:

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.

Destroyed Liberty masterpiece may be reproduced in situ

November 30, 2015

Tags: ernesto basile, architect, Liberty style, art nouveau, architecture, treasure, destroyed, mob, mafia, reconstruct, palermo, sicily, urban, recoup, culture

Two young Palermo architects have proposed recreating Ernesto Basile's Liberty masterpiece, Villa Deliella, according to the original blueprints which still exist, and to make a museum of it. The idea has the support of politician, art critic and entertainer Vittorio Sgarbi. The art nouveau masterpiece was destroyed over a weekend in 1959 during the Sack of Palermo by mob types who wanted to clear space for their concrete high-density retail/ apartment buildings. From Best of Sicily magazine: (more…)

Mass quantities of confiscated Mafia loot

November 23, 2015

Tags: confiscated, loot, mafia, law, judges, sicily, italy

3,000 companies, 12,000 properties and €2bn in bank deposits. Read all about it here in the Guardian in English. Now I have a better idea of the temptations that tantalized Judge Saguto, stripped of her duties and salary as Palermo's head minder of confiscated Mafia property. Click on the caption to read the Guardian's story.

308 African immigrants arrived this a.m.; one dead

November 15, 2015

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

A corpse arrived in Trapani along with 308 immigrants around 8 this morning aboard a Doctors Without Borders ship,, according to La Repubblica. It seems the dead person suffered some health problems while aboard one of three motorized rubber raft rescued two days ago from waters off the coast of Libya by three ships,
the Spanish (more…)

Police video of extortionist at work

October 31, 2015

Tags: pizzo, protection money, clan, mob, mafia, payment, thug, police, spy, microphone, caught on tape, arrests, carabinieri, greengrocer, palermo, sicily, sicilia, italy, crime, collaborator, danger



The mafia charges monthly protection money even from traveling street vendors, like this guy who sells produce from his three-wheeled (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…)

Signora Maria from Ciolino

October 24, 2015

Tags: Signora Maria, Ciolino, Stone Boudoir, poem, rough life, sicily, sicilia

Signora Maria and Dottoressa Riccobene in Ciolino.
I just came across an old photo of Signora Maria, who was the subject of the first chapter in Stone Boudoir. She is being held by one of the twin Riccobene sisters, either Antonietta or Rosaria, the pharmacists in Ciolino.

Palermo has the largest Ficus macrophylla on the continent

October 22, 2015

Tags: Ficus macrophylla, palermo Villa Garibaldi, largest, Europe. record-holder, aerial roots, Orto Botanico, Botanic Garden, palermo, sicily, italy, europe, garden, tree, giant, loved, culture, history

Here it is: Ficus macrophylla at Garibaldi Park at Piazza Marina, near the sea
Its siblings in the Orto Botanico (Botanic Garden) are rivals for the title of largest Ficus macrophylla in Europe. I love their aerial roots, majestic girth and shade.

8 immigrants found dead

October 19, 2015

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

Seven women and one man were found dead aboard a rubber raft rescued off the coast of Libya today. The dead had apparently died from asphyxiation and struggle, according to La Repubblica. The other 113 aboard were taken to a safe place by an Italian military ship. Over the weekend a total of 1,300 immigrants were rescued at sea.

662 immigrants saved yesterday

October 18, 2015

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

662 people fleeing from Africa were saved in four rescue operations off the coast of Libya yesterday.

Rick Steves at the Ballaro` suq in Palermo

October 15, 2015

Tags: ballaro`, palermo, suq, street market, travel, sicily, food, singing wares, vegetables, meat, fish

Rick Steves did a good job on this short clip of merchants singing their wares.

402 immigrants arrived Lampedusa yesterday

October 7, 2015

Tags: immigrants, syria, sicily, lampedusa, safe, Europe, strait of sicily, women, children

Last night 402 immigrants arrived at Lampedusa, a Sicilian island, the part of Europe closest to north Africa, aboard a the Coast Guard boat which rescued them. They were Somalis, Eritreans, and Syrians.

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…)

717 african immigrants saved

October 5, 2015

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

lost at sea
The Italian Coast Guard ship Dattilo saved 717 African immigrants on two different rickety boats overnight 50 miles off the Libyan coast.

This photo moved people; the one below did not.

October 3, 2015

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

The Syrian boy
The same thing had been happening for a decade to African immigrants. But they are black.

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…)

To NPR: WHY DIDN'T YOU REPORT THIS?

September 21, 2015

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

I listened to Soraya Sahadi Nelson report on the refugee crisis from Berlin on the NPR national news last night. She talked about the people walking from Syria. When asked by the show host about refugees in the Mediterranean, she talked about the WHITE people moving through Greece. She didn't mention the 5,000-plus black (more…)

A river of refugees

September 20, 2015

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

4,451 people saved off the coast of Libya in the Strait of Sicily. 948 to arrive in Palermo tomorrow, Monday.

284 migrants saved, including a 5-day-old baby

September 14, 2015

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

A 5-day-old baby was amog the migrants rescued by the Italian military ship Mimbelli in the Strait of Sicily. They were on an old fishing boat, overcrowded to say the least. There were 54 women and 45 children. Two of the women were 9 months pregnant. They were all transferred to another ship and brought to the (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…)

Tower of S. Nicolo`, Bagheria

September 8, 2015

Tags: toree s. Nicolo`, bagheria, view, night, open, september, beauty, city, palermo, sicily, sicilia

View from the Tower of S. Nicolo`, Albergheria, Palermo
On 12 September, the Tower of the Church of San Nicolo` in the heart of Albergheria in Old Palermo will be open until midnight for half-hour tours. The view is so beautiful. Palermo at night can't be beat.

Look at this picture, then read this story.

September 7, 2015

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

I noticed that with one picture of a Syrian boy, a Caucasian by race, a boy showing white skin between his pants leg and his little shoe, washed up limp and lifeless on a beach, Europe and the world stood up and took notice. God bless that boy, his brother, his mother, his bereaved father, his whole family and his country. I am going to use his picture at the top of all my stories about the African people who also die trying to get to Europe. (more…)

329 rescued from boat in trouble; ten of them women, one pregnant

September 6, 2015

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

At 8 this morning Irish rescue ship L. E. Niamh arrived at the Sicilian port of Pozzallo carrying 329 immigrants rescued yesterday from a boat in difficulty in the Strait of Sicily. They were almost all men, with just 10 women this time. One was pregnant and was sent right away to a hospital for a check-up, according to La Repubblica.

Never so many minors in one boat; baby boy born on rescue ship

September 4, 2015

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

80 Egyptian children and babies and 21 Egyptian adults arrived in Sicily today. The Coast Guard had never seen so many unaccompanied minors in one boat. They say most of the adults will be sent back to Egypt.
One Nigerian woman gave birth to a baby boy on the Coast Guard rescue ship that picked her (more…)

More refugees arrive, more drown in shipwrecks

September 3, 2015

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

838 refugees from Africa are headed toward the Sicilian city of Messina today. A rubber raft went down off the coast of Libya, one person drowned. The ship Cigala Fulgosi will arrive at the Sicilian port of Augusta with 394 immigrants rescued. 781 immigrants, including 11 pregnant women, and six cadavers will arrive at the Sardinian port of Cagliari, according to the Palermo edition of today's La Repubblica online newspaper.


Black Lives Matter

September 2, 2015

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

I noticed that Caucasian immigrants to Europe get a lot of press, but he continuing massacre of drowning African immigrants trying to get to Europe doesn't get covered in the states. I am giving you te news I read every day on the front page of La Repubblica online.
The rickety boatloads of immigrants (more…)

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…)

Incident of Racism and Ignorance at Palermo

August 20, 2015

Tags: racism, fight, bus, palermo, sicily, sicilia, 101, cigarette, request, arrest, ghana, immigrants

Two immigrants from Ghana were riding the bus, the 101, which passes every ten minutes. Two local guys got on the bus, smoking cigarettes, which is not allowed. The immigrants asked the Palermo boys to put out their cigarettes, and the two started to beat up the immigrants, who defended themselves. The bus driver stopped (more…)

8 Traffickers arrested in yesterday's immigration horror

August 18, 2015

Tags: corpses, immigrants, africa, sicily, fumes, deisel, asphyxiation, hold, violence, threats

Eight traffickers, including a minor, were arrested in connection with the deaths of 49 immigrants who suffocated in the hold of a broken-down fishing vessel. Survivors of the fateful voyage arrived at Catania today. They said that those who tried to escape the hold were beaten back with clubs and kicks to the head by the traffickers.

49 cadavers delivered to Catania

August 17, 2015

Tags: cadavers, catania, african, migrants, sicilia, sicily, delivery, survivors, FRONTEX, rescue, Libya

The Norwegian ship Siem Pilot docked at Catania and offloaded the 312 survivors of yet another Mediterranean crossing, and 49 corpses of those who died suffocated in the hold of the old fishing vessel they were on. Catania Mayor Enzo Bianco proclaimed a city-wide day of mourning and promised a dignified burial for all the bodies.

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…)

More Palermo by night

August 14, 2015

Tags: chiavettieri, vucciria, night, life, palermo, Sicilia, sicily, chaos, party, drink, fun, overcrowding, loud, broken beer bottles, chiasso, drunk, talk too much



Used to be Palermo had no night life, they rolled up the sidewalks after supper. You had to belong to a club in order to get into a bar with music and liquor. I don't what happened or exactly (more…)

San Lorenzo: Night of the Shooting Stars over Palermo

August 5, 2015

Tags: San Nicolo, centro storico, torre, Palermo, sicilia, sicily, night, shooting stars, San Lorenzo, vista, urban, sky, stars

Night of the Shooting stars from the bell tower of the Church of San Nicolo in Albergheria, Palermo
The non-profit association Terradamare offers a unique occasion to tourists and locals alike to climb the stairs to the terrace around the belltower of San Nicolo` di Bari in Albergheria to see the night sky over the historic center of Palermo and to launch a little lantern from on high. Tickets are three euro. (more…)

Volunteers give psychological counseling to immigrant torture and trauma victims

August 1, 2015

Tags: volunteers, migrants, palermo, sicily, africa, psychological help, immigrants, Mediterranean immigration, violence, trauma, torture

They tell of torture in the country of origin or during the long voyage to Europe, which may last years. But also psychological traumas undergone n the Italy's "welcome centers". The walk-in clinic of Palermo General Hospital Immigration Medicine has been in service for seven years thanks to the work of volunteers who work (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…)

40,000 immigrants to Sicily this year, 4,000 arrived just this week.

July 19, 2015

Tags: immigrants, refugees, sicily, overcrowded, sent away, mediterranean, africa, sicily, italy, pushback laws, rejected, palermo, too much, too many

The most recent arrivals have been turned away and sent to Sardinia and Calabria because Sicilian immigrant "reception" centers, where immigrants are housed and fed while their fates are decided-- accepted as refugee or sent back to Africa -- are overcrowded and not up to the job of accepting or deferring waves of thousands of arrivals. (more…)

Syrian girl, 10, dead because traffickers threw away her insulin

July 18, 2015

Tags: syrian, baby, girl, dead, insulin, refugees, syria, sicily, Egyptian, traffickers, greed, murder, mediterranean, sea, graveyard

A ten-year-old diabetic girl escaping war in Syria boarded a wooden vessel with her father, who has a degree in economics, and her sisters, headed for the Italian coast. They were 320 people squashed together like sardines. The traffickers made more room by throwing the little girl's day pack into the sea. It contained vials of insulin (more…)

Feast of S. Rosalia started today

July 14, 2015

Tags: festino, palermo, sicily, santa rosalia, feast, annual, religious, procession

Crowds outside the Palermo cathedral
The 391st edition of the five-day Feast of Santa Rosalia started today outside the cathedral where her bones are kept in a giant silver urn. The theme of this year's "festino" is Misericordia, which translates as mercy or benevolence.

A restored palace in Via Maqueda

July 13, 2015

Tags: palazzo Gravina, palermo, sicily, palace, restoration, chandeliers, fresco, ceiling, proud, beauty, urban

You cannot tell a book by its cover. From the outside this palace does not look like much. The man who showed me around has a workshop downstairs. He went to school in this building, now a private residence owned by the family who once owned Palermo's soccer team. And a pasta factory.

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.

The Unwilling Expat interviews me

June 23, 2015

Tags: unwilling expat, blogger, australian, sicily, interview, theresa maggio

Rochelle Del Borrello asked me some interesting questions, and I answered.
https://unwillingexpat.wordpress.com/2015/06/23/the-poetry-of-theresa-maggio/

Latest wave of refugees saved

June 8, 2015

Tags: violence, migrants, immigrants, refugess, italy, sicily, africa, human traffickers, trafficking, death, murder, awful

860 refugees reached land at Palermo, another 548 at Trapani. Many are already looking for a ticket to nortern Europe. Over the weekend 5,851 people were saved from the Mediterraneaean Sea. According to souces in Rome the number of immigrants landing since the beginning of the year are ten percent more than in the same time period (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…)

92-year-old Syrian refugee disembarks at August, Sicily

May 29, 2015

Tags: syria, italy, refugee, immigrant man, nonagenarian, saved, Mediterranean, escape, sicily, augusta

Abdel Fahim Taktak, a 92-year-old refugee from Syria survived eight days at sea and upon landing at Augusta, Sicily after rescue by Italian authorities was seen playing with his grandchildren. He was part of a group of 187 men, 38 women and 9 children who had taken off from the coast of Egypt and were rescued from their fishing (more…)

Beloved Liberty demeter to be restored

May 21, 2015

Tags: Demeter, bread, grain, mosaic, Liberty, art nouveau, Capo, palermo, sicily, italy, restoration, remove, donations, culture, popular

The oldest business sign in Palermo, a Liberty ( Art Nouveau) mosaic of the goddess Demeter, goddess of grain, which advertised the only recently defunct Panificio Morello, a bakery in the Capo street market, is beng removed from its site on the front of a derepit building and being taken to the Palazzo Aiutamicristo for (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