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Out of Palermo

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

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. Read More 
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Leoluca Orlando wins fourth term as Palermo mayor

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. Read More 
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“People have the right to move in search for a better life.”

From the Guardian:
Every time a ship with rescued migrants enters the harbour of Palermo, the mayor goes to greet them. “Welcome,” he says to them. “The worst is over. You are citizens of Palermo now.”
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Yussupha plays

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Palermo's solidarity with wounded immigrant; mayor at head of protest 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.  Read More 
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Look inside the Massimo theater

Interior of the restored Massimo opera house in Palermo
This Belle Epoque masterpiece was closed for restorations, they said, for more than 20 years. Nothing happened, mobsters played cards in its basement rooms, until Leoluca Orlando, brave anti-mafia mayor, took office. Now it is the pride of the city. For eight euros you can tour the opera house, built on the site of a  Read More 
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Nudism is back at Pantelleria

Pantelleria's mayor revoked a law created 33 years ago by a more prudish mayor to keep nudity and topless women off their beaches. "The island belongs to the world and accepts everybody," said current Mayor Gino Gabriele, according to a report in today's La Repubblica. (The law was never respected anyway.) But it was interesting to read what the former Mayor Giovanni Petrillo wrote into the law on 17 July 1982. He railed against women who expose breasts that "are instead stomach-turning flaccid, oblong protuberances."
In the order he wrote that "someone had to step in to avoid a situation where certain persons, deprived of any sense of shame, but undoubtedly gifted with a worm-eaten mind, continue to walk all over the feeling of discretion which still enlivens most clean-minded people."
That same prudish mayor was arrested in 1982 for abuse of office (graft) and was later absolved, only to be arrested again in 1991, again as mayor, for extortion. Read More 
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Santa Rosalia arrives by sea like the immigrants

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  Read More 
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