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The magazine of the art-form of the photo-essay “A free, really high quality photo-essay magazine.  Fabulous!” Stephen Fry. British actor, writer and film & documentary maker
Dec 2014 back issue
Heavily Loaded Palermo to Tunis
by Eugenio Grosso
Since people started sailing in the ancient times, merchants across the Mediterranean sea have given life to a rich trade with the other populations inhabiting the Mediterranean shores. About three thousand years ago, Phoenician merchants, coming from the region of present-day lebanon, founded the city of Palermo (Italy). their aim was to establish a port on the opposite bank of the sea to expand their trades. Nowadays, every Saturday from the port of Palermo, a crowd of Tunisian immigrants gather to take a ferry to Tunis, thus following in the footsteps of their ancestors. Some of them are travelling home during the holidays, while others are professional sellers who go back and forth every week.  Whatever their mission, all of them carry something to sell. Since the economic crisis hit Europe, numerous immigrants have lost their jobs. By reviving the old practice of sea trade, these people have created a new chance for business and an effective way to deal with the slump. Merchants and travellers meet each other like many did before them, contaminating the cultures they came from. For instance, some of the Tunisians living today in Sicily are commuters that regularly go back to their country. Because of these frequent exchanges, the distance between the two cultures and their carriers are growing shorter. In the era of globalisation, when huge cargo ships carry products from a corner of the world to another, these immigrants are modern safe-keepers of a much older custom. In their journeys by car, they carry all sorts of objects, as many as they can fit in the vehicle. Rusty bicycles, dusty scooters, mattresses, pieces of furniture and stoves are piled on the roofs of old cars and transported from port to port. As well as their products, these people bring along their traditions and knowledge, contributing to the ongoing creation of the Mediterranean culture.
Palermo, Italy. A crowd of cars belonging to Tunisian immigrants wait at the port to board the ferry that connects Palermo and Tunis (Tunisia).
Since the economic crisis hit Europe, Tunisians who lost their jobs converge each Saturday at the port of Palermo to board the ferry to trade in Tunis.
Businesses have been built buying second hand products in Sicily and selling them in Tunisia.
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