The shapes of Lesvos

Lesbos, or Lesvos. Shaped, as written by Odysseas Elytis, like a platanus leaf, which “some god, in order to have his fun, severed and blew away in the middle of the ocean”. I see more of a resemblance with a fig leaf. A romantic symbol picked up by tourist brochures, conjuring up images of late Mediterranean …

The shape of Lampedusa (reprise)

(Written following a trip to Lampedusa, two years after writing The shape of Lampedusa – part 1) After having visited Lampedusa, I see four new shapes in its map. As suggested by this mural on the side of a children’s library in Via Roma, Lampedusa is the shape of a red-hot iron. Not for flattening …

Christmas Island

Christmas Island, located at 10°30′S 105°40′E, 500 km south of Java in the east Indian Ocean. An Australian territory since 1957. Area 135 km2, population 2,072 (as of 2011). A place where several migrations intersect: Chinese and Malay ‘coolies’ (i.e. migrant workers, indentured labourers, or slaves) imported by the British to mine the high-quality guano phosphate …