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Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Pocketmags Digital Magazines

Matters of taste

Layer upon layer

Catania’s seafront is bordered by a railway. Iron railings, tracks, and overhead cables form a black fence against the sea and sky. I could just make out the tall masts of sailboats in the marina. The port where rescued migrants are brought in is locked behind warehouses and gates. Behind the train station the Catholic charity Caritas has a soup kitchen serving about 400 people a day. Half are poor Sicilians, half Africans. Dinner on one cold January evening was pasta e lenticchie, pasta and lentils, cheap and filling; better liked by the table of Eritreans (who were once colonised by Italy) than by the Ghanians and Cote D’Ivoirians on the next table. I sat and listened to stories of arduous migrations: thieves, beatings, hundreds crammed in the open boats. In Sicily: reception centres, asylum applications and appeals, more thieves, sleeping in abandoned houses.

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About Prospect Magazine

In Prospect’s March issue: A series of writers turn their thoughts to the developing war over words in the UK and the US. Lionel Shriver, Afua Hirsch, Simon Lancaster, Hugh Tomlinson, Tom Clark and two students ask if free expression is truly compromised? What’s really going on in our universities? And what do voters think? Elsewhere in the issue: Michael Ignatieff questions why today’s left-wing leaders can’t live up to the high mark set by FDR, Sameer Rahim shows how western powers have been trying to dictate what Islam should be, and Mary Beard asks “How do we look?” as our perceptions of what is beautiful have changes over the centuries.