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#25 Lampedusa – Departure

Lampedusa and Linosa, geographically, are certainly the most extreme among the small Italian islands. Lampedusa is the most distant from everything, the driest – it always made me think of a piece of flat desert accidentally detached from Africa – and, in the last twenty years at least, the most beleaguered misunderstood abused one.
That Lampedusa was all this, I already knew. But that I would find the right people to tell me so, it was less obvious. In fact, I admit I felt a lot of pressure, I was scared I would fail in taking the right picture of it.

And instead. I looked into fierce eyes and deep and met people with a heroic force and a great talent.

Simone is a Lampedusano who co-owns since many years now the Pelagos Diving Center Lampedusa. A man with long windy hair who dedicated his life to the sea, with cylinders as well as sailing (he reminds me of someone…). We talked about how Lampedusa changed underwater, how what was considered The fishing spot in the Mediterranean has now emptied out. As a child I came here twice, more than twenty years ago, with my father and uncle, to have some fun fishing, and Lampedusa was The Myth. But even here, while remaining a splendid sea, the emptying is just evident. Pollution but above all unconditional professional fishing with no vision of the future caused this. Blame it to greedy Japanese, Spanish, Sicilian, Tunisian, and Lampedusan fishermen. Simone, thank you for being so sincere and right, so helpful to us, and for the camera off tale, thank you…

Giacomo, on the other hand, is indefinable. Great black beard and curly hair, with its multifaceted association Askavusa Lampedusa he helps workers defend their rights as well as he revives the Sicilian tradition of the Opera dei pupi and Cuntu (I will see it on stage in Linosa on Saturday! ). He paints as he plays and creates musical instruments, and has entirely decorated the association with pieces of immigrant boats and with objects found inside them that he illegally harvested (“and proud to have done it illegally in a society where legality is so often criminal”) from the dump where the State destroys these boats. Entering your place, Giacomo, the impact is overwhelming. One can touch the essence of Lampedusa there…

Then the volcano, Jazira Caterina. A wonderful crazy woman! In her case too, enering the hall of her association, IL Giglio Marino, one is invested by a wave of humanity that inebriate and hits hard. Caterina works as a psychologist at the Immigrants Reception Center of Lampedusa, daily trying to help those who land, adults and children. And these people offer them drawings, words, often they participate in common creations that help them rework and transform their pain in order to survive to it. Thanks to Caterina the children in Lampedusa have learned to know and recognize the immigrants as their brothers and sisters, as their rights are violated in both cases. Lampedusa is a land of heroes and, in a few years, its new generations will have a great step ahead of their Italian peers.

And finally Filippo, same age as me, who stands in politics with really new ideas and young people who don’t compromise and believe a real change can come. Among the countless initiatives, he and his friends created the Porta d’Europa (the Door of Europe), a monument to all those who died in the Sicily Channel placed at the southernmost point of Italy (well, a few meters from it), they gave birth to a local radio!, and they work hard for a new Lampedusa, where the health system would work, where renewable energies would power the island instead of a gas power station such as those that still today, alas, feed most of the islands. I didn’t think there were any sincere politicians left. I changed my mind in Lampedusa.

This and much more in such a small, desertic and extreme rock. What a rich Italy hides behind the touristic, postcard side of the remotest places we have…

To Linosa, now, a handful of miles and an island, again, totally different with respect to the previous.


Posted on: 18.Jul.2018   Leave a comment


The project is conceived and realized by me, Lucio Bellomo, born in 1983 in Palermo, Sicily. Which is also Italy ;-) I am (not proud of being) an engineer in electronics. After the PhD I worked as a physical oceanographer in France, doing research on the physical phenomena that rule the oceans. I took part in several long international oceanographic cruises onboard research vessels. Eager for an even tighter contact with the sea, I left the University and today I work as a diving instructor, both SCUBA and freediving, in small Mediterranean islands and tropical seas. In my spare time I fancy sailing: I began in the Mediterranean Sea and am continuing in the Atlantic Ocean.

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