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Lampedusa

 
June 13, 2015   Italy, iPhone, Endless War
 
 

I've just finished listening to an audio play. The first time I listened was yesterday, it's that good. The play is Lampedusa by Anders Lustgarten, available on the Guardian Books podcast, too.

The play has two characters, both memorable. One, Stefano, is a fisherman whose job is pulling the drowned bodies of migrants from the Mediterranean. He a Lampedusani, from the small Italian island about a hundred km north of Tunisia. The second character, Denise, is a door-to-door debt collector for a payday loan outfit. Shes a young Brit working with people who are not exactly at their best. Her typical client is sitting in front of a giant flat screen eating take out when she knocks on the door to collect on the loan that bought the flat screen. At home Denise struggles to help a mum who has just lost her disability and at work shes a target of complaints about immigration. Her description of her workday mixes humor and cynicism and, like the migrants Stefano encounters, she too wants to escape to a better place, though for her it is the US or Australia.

This is a wonderful piece of writing and acting. One of the more memorable messages was Stefano's comment that no matter what the Europeans do, or don't do, for the refugees, they'll keep coming, thanks to the horrors in Siria and Yemen and Eritrea and Libya and whatever.

The accompanying shot is Siracusa, on the island of Sicily, a couple hundred km northeast of Lampadeusa. Taken with an iPhone 6. The iPhone takes great shots, I just wish I didn't find it so ergonomically awkward. Of course now that I write that I think how spoiled I am. Anyway, why this shot is here is that the Sicilian town of Siricusa is near Catania, and Catania is where Italian rescuers often take migrants, Sicily being a much larger island than Lampedusa.

The song of the day is Don't Fear the Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult. A great driving song, it's the closing music for the last episode of season two, Orange is the New Black. In this episode of the prison drama/comedy, Rosa has just weeks to live before her cancer kills her. A fellow inmate hands her the keys to the prison van and so she escapes. As she drives we feel her rush of pleasure at her last taste of freedom. And as she drives she sees the evil Vee walking aside the road, another escapee, and Rosa aims the truck towards Vee, killing her, and commenting that she was not a nice person. Indeed. What a great show, almost makes me want to go to prison.

 
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