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Meet Joe Sacco: Comic books, journalism, and the objective ideal

Joe Sacco was best-known for his early comic, Palestine. It is an illustrated book about his experiences in the West Bank and Gaza.

Sacco’s works have also covered situations in Bosnia, Iraq, India, The Hague, the United States, Africa migrants and horrible immigration journeys….

Sacco’s pencils portray come down on the side of the oppressed and the powerless.

Ellie  Violet Bramley posted on May 11, 2013 “When NOW met Joe Sacco”

Joe Sacco
Joe Sacco
Joe Sacco
Joe Sacco
Joe Sacco
Joe Sacco

An extended piece based on NOW’s interviews with cartoonist Joe Sacco, who was in town this week as part of the Beirut chapter of the Hay Festival of Literature and the Arts.

Questions of the aptness of the medium of the comic book as a vehicle for stories with serious subjects and messages are not new. It’s not something Sacco himself ever mulled over in the beginning: “I only approach it theoretically cause people like you ask me the question,” he says without reproach. “The way I approached comic book was: I love comics, but I had a serious streak and I studied journalism. I was interested in what was going on in the world so putting those two things together was organic without really being thought out.”

Organically conceived, a new sub-genre was born: a kind of journalistic cartoon (one could perhaps look to things such as Punch, the satirical cartoons of Victorian England, for a predecessor of sorts) – aesthetically mesmerizing, emotionally grueling, but daubed with the brush of entertainment, making the gruel more palatable.

Sacco is comfortable with the word ‘entertainment’ for what others before have labeled ‘humor’: “if you want to be artistic you’ve got to realize that a lot of your readings aren’t approaching your subject in the same way as you see it. There’s an entertainment factor in comics that I like, and I’m okay with the word entertainment, ultimately you want people to keep turning the page, that’s part of the art. If you show things as bleakly as they are over and over again without getting into the human side of things, who wants to read that?”

As with any method of reportage or storytelling it has its definite strengths: “what they can do is right away bring a person, bring the reader into a situation. They open up the book and there are images of a refugee camp.”

Anyone who has read any of Sacco’s work will know that the lines, drawing refugees camps, drawing the weary faces of West Virginia miners, drawing the cold metal of the Israeli bulldozers in Rafah, or drawing the welts of Russian torture on the back of a Chechen man, form a mesh; a net for the attention of the reader.

This ensnaring is ideal for what Sacco wants to achieve: “what you are trying to do is get the reader to walk in the same streets as you,” and by extension walk with refugee communities in the winding alleys between tents, or with the people whose lives are so pervaded with poverty that they have given up fighting it, along the pot-holed roads of New Jersey.

Could comics perhaps be an antidote to the sadly inevitable fatigue of readers, daily confronted with foreign deaths and despair, and a way to reel readers back into the realm of empathy and shock?

Sacco doesn’t blame people for their fatigue: “cause it’s very unpleasant to think people are being killed over there and after a while you go from shock to oh well that’s just the situation, what can I do.”

Besides: “people have their own lives. Even in the best places in the West, the most wealthy places, people have their own problems. I think it’s hard for people to engage in any case and for good reason – people just want to live their lives. I’m sure people in Gaza want to live their lives and people in Damascus want to live their lives and Aleppo, they’d rather just live their lives. The best journalism can do is probably makes us feel like we’re all sort of on the same planet and things are connected, more so now it seems, and our nations are engaged in certain things, even indirectly, so we have to be aware what is going to be done in our name or what might be done in our name. So if you feel like you belong to a society you need to know that your society presses on other societies.”

Perhaps the western media’s commitment to worshiping at the altar of objectivity is partly to blame for this fatigue, and Sacco’s comics, with their visual and humanizing tendencies can remedy what could be seen as an empathy gap. “Perhaps. Perhaps.”

Objectivity is often debated in relation to his work. In the preface to Journalism for instance, Sacco questions: “how should we respond…when they [naysayers] question the notion that drawings can aspire to objective truth? Isn’t that – objective truth – what journalism is all about? Aren’t drawings by their very nature subjective?

Perhaps this is why Sacco is reluctant to call his work reporting. Indeed, he is also reluctant to buy into the dignified moniker, “graphic novel,” that many people lend to it; he himself sees himself as a cartoonist – he has no problem with the “under the blanket with a flashlight” connotations of that, but recognizes many do. B

y placing himself physically into much of his own work – at first as a bumbling presence in Palestine and later as the slightly more “seasoned” presence in Footnotes – Sacco is conceding subjectivity whilst claiming a refreshing kind of honesty (“I think the best a journalist can do is be honest. You can report things from a Palestinian perspective, but show exactly what you’re seeing, which doesn’t always reflect well on the Palestinians, for example, but you have to be honest.”).

At odds with the American “’you’re just a fly on the wall, so unobtrusive;” style, his is an admission that no journalist is unobtrusive and that by revealing the presence you can allow the reader to take the perspective and transformative presence of the journalist into account, making a more informed decision for themselves. Sacco puts it brilliantly: “drawing myself in it makes it clear this is from a reporter’s perspective, it’s not ‘I am the omniscient journalism deity that hovers and knows all and sees all and understand things.’”

Sacco is skeptical to the notion of objectivity. It was in fact the realization that the so-called objective reporting of the American media had given him a starkly skewed view of the Israeli-Palestinian situation that led him to the Middle East, and to writing Palestine.

His frankness on the subject is illuminating: “without paying any attention to what was going on in the Middle East, just what I was hearing in the newspapers and all that, I used to think of Palestinians as terrorists. Why was that? Because every ‘objective’ report that I was seeing was about a bus bombing or a hijacking and Palestinians and Palestinians.

Any time the word Palestinians ever came up in the media, it was in relation to an attack on the Israelis… objectively, those were attacks; objectively those things happened, but there was no context at all, so just getting the objective facts I had a very, very skewed idea of what was going on.” (Interestingly, it was the Sabra and Shatila massacres in 1982 that made him think there was much more to it that he wanted to unearth.)

Just as a photographer can take a subjective image – a Palestinian militant wielding a rocket launcher trained on Israel, for example – so too can a writer, even in a factual report, use rhetoric that is biased – all language is loaded, and so objectivity is an illusive master. A writer can easily depict a single incidence without contextualizing it.

An account of an incident unleashed from its historical chains, even if reported strictly factually, is not a full account. This is one of the issues Sacco takes up with the notion of objective reporting: “journalism often doesn’t allow for that [the context or the history], it’s just the facts and anything other than that doesn’t matter.

What happened 20 years ago, 30 years ago doesn’t matter; but it does matter, those absolutely matter and you can objectively report about one incident and then leave out the next ten.”

For Sacco, history is vital, and when the dominant power structures mobilize the rhetoric of moving on, it is because they have things it suits them to sweep under the rug.

He gives the example of the Obama administration constantly encouraging people to look forward as a way to avoid looking at the torture that the US has committed in recent times in the name of the War on Terror. But, “if you never look backward, forward is also going to look like backward,” says Sacco.

One of the strengths of cartoons is that histories – personal or national – can be probed as easily as a pen dips into an inkwell.

As Sacco describes it: “if you’ve done enough research about what the past looked like, what people were wearing, you can switch behind the past and the present in quite a fluid way.”

It is this re-engaging with the past that reminds readers in the west, used to feasting on the limited lines of news reports, about their own involvement in the seemingly distant suffering of people around the world – not only that their countries are pressing on others, but have pressed and that is why we are where we are. Where older Palestinians feel the UK has a lot to answer for, for instance, many Britons would look blank at the mention of the Balfour Declaration.

Comics find more strength in numbers – the repetition of certain images. Sacco met journalist Chris Hedges during his time in Bosnia, where the two struck up a friendship that led to a collaboration on the book Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt. The project chronicles life in the United States’ most desolate spots, ‘sacrifice zones’ – described by the cartoonist as just like post-war Bosnia “but without the minarets” – where human beings and natural resources have been used and then abandoned. Hedges talks with insight over a montage of Sacco’s images from the book here, discussing how a writer can only, for instance, describe the mud and rain pervading a scene once, where a cartoonist can depict it in multiple frames, allowing the damp to seep into the reader’s consciousness through a subtle process of osmosis.

For Sacco, this is invaluable for “building up an atmosphere…without hitting them over the head with it.” Turn at random to any page of Sacco’s gargantuan Footnotes in Gaza for instance – the book he is perhaps most proud of for both its sheer scale (it took him seven years all in) and originality of research – and you cannot fail to be swept into the illustrated scenes.

Until Days of Destruction, all of Sacco’s work had focused on problems outside the country he was living in. But for him, behavioral patterns are the same the world over: “dominant power and economic structures work in the Middle East, and dominant power and economic interests work in your own backyard.”

An interesting difference is that whilst the Palestinians Sacco depicts would likely identify themselves as oppressed, many of the Americans in the areas Sacco deals with, such as Camden New Jersey and West Virginia, would not identify themselves as such: “they’re probably so used to being fed this American exceptionalism that they probably think of themselves as failures in the system rather than that the system itself is doing them a great disservice.”

Perhaps a little fatigued from seeing the same structures impacting in the same subordinating ways on “those run over by history,” Sacco is turning his attention to human psychology. Having seen such hardship he now wants to try and get to the murky bottom of “why humans do what they do,” and so he is looking to first civilizations, Mesopotamia, archaeologists and anthropologists for answers.

This befits Sacco’s persistent focus on humanity, whilst forcing a break with his past style of working which relies on getting “as close to your subject as possible.”

For Sacco: “you can talk to all the politicians and all the generals” and you find yourself listening to “spin spin spin.” To produce good work, he believes that you must delve deeper than this. By looking to earlier civilizations, perhaps Sacco will be able to excavate further still.

Are Books the door to truth?

Seth Godin posted: “I get it”

“No need to read the whole book, I can just glance over the Cliffs Notes… I get it.

I don’t need to hear your entire pitch, just show me the summary slide… got it.

No, I already heard about your vacation… remember, I saw the Instagram feed.

Why would I go out with him? I read his match.com profile.

You’re probably smart enough to ‘get it’ merely by reading the 140 character summary of just about anything.

But of course, that doesn’t mean you understand it, or that it changed you. All it means is that you were quickly able to sort it into an appropriate category, to make a decision about where it belongs in your mental filing cabinet.

The best experiences and the biggest ideas don’t fit into a category. They change it. They don’t get filed away, they transform us.

It’s entirely possible that you can process and file more information than anyone who has come before you.

And quite likely that this filing is preventing you from growing and changing and confronting the fear that’s holding you back.

You get it? No you don’t. Not yet. Because all you’ve gotten is a tweet.

Read the book. The whole thing. Use the product. A few times. More than a few times.

Immersed. It can change you.”

(And post a review of what you read, the story and how it impacted on you…)

The essential confrontation is with yourself. You should be your own biggest critic

It’s not between you and your boss, your critics, your editor, your competition, your spouse or some other outsider.

Hay Festival celebrates the openness of the imagination.

Hanif Kureishi: “Books are the door to truth… There’s always a temptation to be fearful and to hate, but it’s too narrow, it’s too boring.

Think of fascism. In the end, people tire of it, in the end, fascism blows itself up. People cannot live in it for a long time.

Fascism is always destroyed, because people wish for a bigger life. And to me that’s what literature represents. And that’s a form of love.

Imagination and creativity come from love because it’s a form of real exchange.”
Hanif and Joe Sacco speak at length in the festival, Cristina Fuentes La Roche explains it well here.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=EX15LWnmtxA

Note: If what you are reading are not catalyst to trying to write, change the category of books you are reading.

 

Beirut Hay Festival starts today…May 8, 2013

Coup d’envoi ce soir du Hay Festival

Andrew Bossones is one of the organizers of this cultural event. Intellectuals, artists and thinkers will debate for 3 days on varied subjects, such as literature, illustrated works, economic development, human rights…

 Zico House hosts conferences in English such as “The struggle of women in a post-patriarchal context in the Arab World”, “Freedom of expression and censorship”… Joe Sacco, the American reporter will open the Festival. (I have reviewed one of his illustrated stories about the horror journey of African immigrants fleeing the atrocities of their States and having to cross the desert of Libya to reach the island of Malta…)

Al-Madina theater will host Hanan al-Shaykh (I reviewed a few of her books), Nidal Achkar and Hanif Kuireshi.

The Baroness Helena Kennedy will debate on « La liberté d’expression : un droit universel ? » before meeting with the journalist Hani Chucrallah.
Patrick Deville, Femina Prize 2012, Cherif Majdalani and Farès Sassine will speak at the French Institute of Beirut.
Venetia  Rainey, from the Daily Star, published this piece on Joe Sacco, first speaker in the Hay Festival:

Joe Sacco  is in no mood to mess around. “I can’t  pretend I am ‘objective’ about certain topics,” he says.

“In some situations there is such a thing as the oppressor and the oppressed,  and my goal is to give the oppressed a voice.”

The vaunted Maltese-American graphic novelist is well known for his  unwillingness to kowtow to conventional notions of journalistic objectivity:  presenting two, equally apportioned sides to every story.

“The problem with journalism  is that it is often a mere recording  of events from day to day,’” he explains. “A newspaper story might be factually accurate without giving the reader a sense of the ‘why.’”

It is Sacco’s pursuit of this sense of “why” – his scrutiny of the big and  small facets of history to find another way to understand and explain the  world’s daily tragedies – that drives his work and gives it its potency.

He is making his maiden voyage to Beirut  this week, among the cluster of writers and literary personalities to participate in Hay Festival Beirut. One of the  international franchises of the U.K.’s renowned literary festival in Hay-on-Wye,  the event was launched here in 2012, and provided a rare platform for the  mingling Lebanese and international writers.

Sacco was born in 1960 in Malta. His parents – an engineer and a teacher –  emigrated when he was very young to escape the influence of Roman Catholicism, a  theme he has explored in numerous works since.

He spent his childhood in Australia, where, surrounded by European immigrants  who regularly talked about war, he grew up thinking of conflict as a part of  life.

At the age of 12 his family moved the United States, where he studied  journalism at the University of Oregon. There he worked a series of jobs that  included co-founding the satirical comic magazine “Centrifugal  Bumble-Puppy.”

He was intrigued by the media’s portrayal of the Middle East and eventually  his travels found him in occupied Jerusalem.

“The only time I heard the word ‘Palestinian,’” he recalls, “was in relation  to incidents like terrorist attacks and hijackings. As a result, I grew up  thinking Palestinians were terrorists – pure and simple. I had to educate myself  about the Palestinian issue.”

At first, Sacco was nervous about venturing into the West Bank and  embarrassed to tell people he was writing a comic book (of all things) about the  Occupied Territories during the First Intifada.

Yet, after two months his notebooks were bulging, and “Palestine” was  published in nine issues between 1993 and 1995. Perhaps surprisingly for those  who have come to know his work more recently, his first solo venture was not a  commercial success.

His breakthrough came in 2000 with the release of “Safe Area  Gorade: The War in Eastern Bosnia  1992-1995,” which won an Eisner Award  for best original graphic novel –  though recognized as a graphic novelist, Sacco himself prefers the less inflated  term “comic book.”

“Palestine” was later republished more successfully in a single volume of 288  pages. He’s since released several other books and collections of earlier  pieces, which focused largely on Bosnia and the Palestinian territories.

Footnotes in Gaza” (2009), one of his best-known works, delves into two mass  killings in 1956, which had been consigned to the bin of history – one in Khan  Younis, and one in Rafah. “Footnotes” is now being adapted into a feature-length  animated film, to be directed by Denis Villneuve  – who helmed the 2010 screen  version of Wajdi Mouawad’s stage play “Incendies.”

“I’m somewhat ambivalent about turning ‘Footnotes in Gaza’ into a movie,” he  says.

“I don’t think that film is any more or less valid a medium than comic books.  But the story is about the massacre of Palestinians in 1956, and that’s a story  that should be heard by a wider audience than I’ve reached with the book.”

Sacco wants nothing to do with the new project.

“I decided to be hands off,” he continues. “For one thing, I don’t want to  interfere with someone else artistic vision, and for another, I spent seven  years on the book and it was really time for me to move on to other  subjects.”

It will be interesting to see how successfully Sacco’s engaging mix of  memoir, reportage and history, conveyed through close-ups, talking heads and  double-page panoramas can be transferred to celluloid.

Adult comic books can lend themselves to exaggeration,  and Sacco’s  figures are solidly drawn and plain-speaking. “I do think a journalist should be  honest,” he explains, “recording exactly what he or she is seeing and  hearing.”

Each detailed frame, which readers can pore over at their own pace, gives  each person’s stories a rich context that is impossible to relay in an article  or a minute-long TV report.

For Sacco, there is a difference between how journalists and artists operate,  a distinction he upholds in his work. “You have to be a little cold-hearted to  get the story accurately,” he explains. “Whatever you might be hearing, you have  to keep people on track. It’s a bit clinical. You can’t let yourself get  emotionally caught up.

“For me, the emotion comes later when I’m drawing. When you’re drawing  someone, you internalize that person somehow. You have to channel their feelings  into the drawing.

“Journalism is about switching something off; art is about switching  something on.”

Although he never studied art – and still doesn’t think drawing is his strong  point – he continues to hand-draw everything, working from photos and sketches  he makes while in the field.

It’s a painstaking process, so he is picky about which projects he takes  on.

“I have to ask myself whether I will still be 100 percent engaged in the  project three or four or five years down the road when I’m still drawing it,” he  says. “I cannot work on a story I am not emotionally committed to.

“So I only tackle projects that kick me in the gut.”

As gut-kicking material is a core criteria for starting a project, Sacco  concedes Lebanon’s stories may tempt him to pick up his pencil again.

Lebanon  is a complicated place and I can think of  any number of stories that might sustain my interest,” he says.

“This is my first visit. Sometimes you don’t know what story would interest  you until you’re there.”

Joe Sacco will be speaking at the Beirut Hay Festival on May 8-9. For more  information visit http://www.hayfestival.com/beirut. His latest book, “Journalism,” is  available from select bookshops.

A moment from “Footnotes in Gaza.”

A  version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on May  08, 2013, on page 16.
Read more:  http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Culture/Books/2013/May-08/216233-off-for-journalism-on-for-art.ashx#ixzz2SnEt0vpr (The Daily Star :: Lebanon News ::  http://www.dailystar.com.lb)
Note 1: Pour plus d’informations, le programme entier est disponible en anglais et en français sur le site http://www.hayfestival.org/beirut.

Note 2: Coup d’envoi ce soir du Hay Festival

Published in the Lebanese French daily, L’Orient/Le Jour this May 8, 2013: Coup d’envoi ce soir du Hay Festival

Initiative Intellectuels, artistes et penseurs débattront pendant trois jours sur des sujets variés aux quatre coins de Beyrouth dans le cadre du Hay Festival.

Partout dans le monde, et cela depuis plus de 25 ans, le Hay Festival met à l’honneur la diversité culturelle et l’échange intellectuel en invitant écrivains, penseurs, historiens et artistes à se réunir, partager et débattre sur le monde tel qu’il est et tel qu’il pourrait être.
À partir de ce soir et jusqu’au 10 mai, la capitale libanaise accueille le festival pour la deuxième année consécutive. Cette fois, les invités discuteront principalement de la littérature et des ouvrages illustrés, du développement économique ainsi que des problèmes auxquels font face les droits de l’homme. Prévu sur trois jours seulement, le programme est chargé.

Quelques temps forts Zico House accueillera des conférences en anglais sur des sujets tels que « Les combats des femmes dans un contexte arabe postautoritaire », « La liberté d’expression et la censure », ou « Les contes graphiques ». Sur ce dernier thème, Joe Sacco, le reporter américain célèbre pour ses reportages en croquis et bandes dessinées sur des terrains difficiles tels que la Palestine et plus récemment Gaza, sera présent au Beyrouth Art Center ce soir, à 18h, et demain, à 15h, à l’auditorium du Hostle Student Center de l’AUB.

Au théâtre al-Madina ce soir, à 20h 30, Hanan al-Shaykh, une des auteures les plus lues et traduites du Moyen-Orient, rencontrera l’actrice et réalisatrice Nidal Achkar autour des poétiques et séduisants récits de Shéhérazade. Les mystérieux contes des Mille et Une Nuits seront lus en arabe et sous-titrés en anglais. Demain 9 mai, à partir de 19h30, le 392RMEIL393 recevra Hanif Kuireshi.

Classé parmi les cinquante meilleurs écrivains britanniques en 2008, ce dernier a vu nombre de ses ouvrages adaptés au cinéma. Il conversera avec l’écrivain journaliste Rosie Boycott.

Joe Sacco, US journalist from Portland and originally from the small island of Malta, investigated the catastrophic phenomenon of boat immigrants landing in various part of Europe.  Sacco focused and interviewed those hapless immigrants who landed on Malta in the summer of 2009.  Joe published his comic strip of 48 pages in Virginia Quarterly Review.  The French weekly “Courrier International” is publishing the strips in series. I am reviewing the three series so far published.

There are estimates that 10,000 African people died so far undertaking these perilous crossings by desert and open seas.  Most of these hapless immigrants were eventually returned to their “Homelands” that they fled from for serious reasons.  What can “advanced nations” do with this flux of poor and “colored” people?

Italian and French fishing boats criss-cross the Mediterranean Sea to capture tuna and deliver them to farms in Malta.  After processing, the tuna is delivered to Japan.  These fishing boats are wondering why tiny open boats carrying immigrants want to land in Malta.  Occasionally, they offer the immigrants food and water.  The immigrants usually ask the route to Sicily:  They are not anxious to land in close by tiny Malta; crowded with 400,000 citizens.  The fishermen reason as follow: If they are from Somalia then, it is the responsibility of the ex-colonial power of Italy. The same reasoning goes to French, Belgium, and England colonies.

Once, fishing boats from Malta witnessed immigrants hanging to their fishing nets but they refused them to board.  The immigrants had to wait for an Italian navy to rescue them.  Malta had opened a center in 2001 with capacity to accommodate 80 clandestine immigrants.  The next year, Malta had to deal with 1,600 immigrants.  In 2008, over 3,500 immigrants landed by open boats.  First, the immigrants are processed for 18 months in special centers and then, they are transfered to open centers close to samll communities where they can mingle with people from Malta communities.

Sacco recounts the adventure of an Eritrean citizen (representative of the thousands of desert and open sea immigrants).  The hero is called John.   In 2001, many Eritrean students refused to serve summer forced labor.  Consequently, 2000 students were sent to prisons in region where temperature reach 44 degrees celsius.  They were left in open air without food for 4 days. After prison term, the students were to serve military service and forced labor.  In 2002, Malta returned 200 Eritreans; back home the immigrants were incarcerated, tortured, and many died from harsh treatments.

John was one Eritrean who managed to cross to the Sudan border and ran the entire night before reaching the UNO refugee camp at Kassala.  Eritrean forces made frequent incursions in that camp; thus, John decided to leave the camp fast heading to Khartoum (Capital of Sudan).  First, John had to leave his ID in the camp so that the UN make sure that he will return.  John had no intention to return.  His family sent him some money knowing that John is better off not to return to Eritrea.

John paid $200 to Sudanese passers.  One hundred immigrants from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan were loaded in just three land cruisers.  The trip in the desert lasted three days.  Each immigrant caughed up another $300 to be taken care by Libyan passers.

The Libyan passers loaded the 100 immigrants in three land cruisers and deposed them in an oasis in the Sahara.  They returned immediately to pick up another group of immigrants in order to cut off on competitive passers.  The next morning, Sudanese “Resistance” militias showed up and collected ransoms.

Twelve days later, as supplies were dwindling, the Libyan passers came back with fresh cargo of another 100 immigrants.  Faced with revolt, the Libyan passers agreed to push forward for another two days of travel in exchange of an additional $50 each immigrant.

They were dropped in the neighborhood of the city of Benghazi (Libya).  A slave merchant bought the cargo of immigrants and received another $20 from each immigrant to facilitate their “transfer”.  The next passers were Ethiopians who got another $200 from each one and packed them in a tomato lorry; they crossed one thousand kilometers in a closed lorry before they reached the Capital Tripoli.  The kids demanded money from the immigrants lest their knives do serious damages.

A Ethiopian slave trafficker lodged them in an apartment.  The police raided the place within two days and relocated the immigrants in the concentration camp of Koufra.  Those who managed to escape police roundups or foresaw the coming calamity were whisked in boats in open seas.  The first boat capsized and passengers were drowned.  The second group took chances and boarded another open boat.  They elected a Captain from Ghana who claimed to have some expertise in the matter.  Instead of 8 hours to reach Malta, the boat needed over two days to land on a beach.  They waited for the Malta police to arrive and start the “processing procedures”.

I have many questions but I might focus on just two:

First, if an immigrant manages to collect a few thousand dollars from family members to undertake a harrowing adventure to greener pastures then, with a little imagination he could land in the US with far more comfortable means of transportation (merchant ships for example) and then get lost in a metropolis.  Police never ventures in dangerous quarters: They don’t pay their salaries.  Maybe the immigrants prefers Europe and avoid American “reserved” quarters.

Second, how immigrants manage to hide their money?  Would it not be easier for bandits to lighten up the immigrants of all their savings and then distribute the razzia among the various passer groups in cohort with them?


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