carnet de route
On the way to the prison  
Not so easy to be opposed to bullfights  
Visiting the elderly  
Behind the walls and the barbed wires  
On the way to the prison  
There was a young woman talking on the phone on the bus. She was looking elegant and speaking passionately. Everyone could hear what she was saying as well as her laughter. Some young children were stupefied and staring at this woman acting as if no one else was on the bus. The conductor was intrigued and turned to see this strange passenger.  
prison When the bus arrived at the bus stop for the prison, she got out at the same time as other women with her children and carrying heavy bags. There was still a long way to go on foot before arriving to the building where the guards are who control the access to the visiting room. The group started to walk and braved the bitter cold.
I approached the young woman and said to her: « I recognize you! » She was surprised. Even more surprised when I told her that I was not registered for a visit. She knew the guards so she said she would intervene to make my visit possible. In fact, as soon as she arrived, she went to see the guards and came back stunned: « they told me you were a bishop! It is the first time I have met a bishop, I am a Muslim… My name is Sabrina. »  
We went from door to door, from hall to hall and we both arrived at the visiting room. An hour later or so, we left. Sabrina talked to me about her partner that she came to visit every week. He has been in jail for four years and has not yet been on trial!
Then she asked me about "my" prisoner:
« did you visit a member of your family? A friend? » « No by solidarity with the prisoners. » “Then that is all right!” 
haute en page  
Not so easy to be opposed to bullfights!  
I was invited for supper and did not expect to meet the fans of bullfights. One of them bred the bulls for use in the bullfights and was director of the bullrings of a well-known city. The other was a professor at a well-known university for the training of teachers and has just published a book « Philosophy of the bullfight ». He was eager to give me a copy of his newly published book. His dedication gave hope for a possible conversion …
I felt alone in the bullring, trying from time to time to delicately shoot a banderilla (a pointed stick to weaken the bull, note of the translator).
corrida « It is known that the bulls arriving in the bullring have been subjected to treatments to weaken them and make them less dangerous for the bullfighters. »
My statement created strong reactions: « No animal species having a relationship with man has a more enviable fate than that of a bull living in his natural state and dying in a fight».
« I invite you to visit me to see the breeding of my young bulls. » You will see how well they are treated. »
I had to gain height to shoot another banderilla : « Opposing bullfights is it not opposing the temptation to violence gaining our society and culture and preserving our part of humanity ? » Bullfighting is a school for wisdom. It is also an art. Come to a bullfight. Your questions will disappear. »
It is urgent for me to read the professor’s book so that I can finally understand! In the meantime, I am signing a petition forbidding the entrance to bullrings to minors of less than 18 years old.  
haute en page  
Visiting the elderly  
la vie In an area of Paris I went in a retirement home to visit a priest who was weighed down by the years. He was waiting with joy because I had announced my visit. We are friends. No sooner had I entered the room than I saw a tray with drinks and cakes. During the conversation, he confided in me: « the days seem to drag by. Because I am deaf, I do not talk to anyone. What gets me more down now is the silence. A great silence. The silence of others, the silence on everything I have known in my life. » He pulled himself together to add: «and the silence of God. Confidence is all that is left. To have confidence. »
In Paramaribo, the capital of Suriname, the bishop invited his visiting colleagues, myself included, to visit his predecessor who resides in a retirement home. Once we had arrived, an employee guided us to a terrace overlooking a garden. We took a place in the sticky heat of the afternoon. The one we came to visit arrived in a wheel chair brought in by a male nurse. He was a very weakened man.
À smile lit up his face. Just like a child with light in his eyes. He can no longer speak. But he can understand what he is being asked. To answer, all he can do is type on a keyboard. We then see on a screen the words expressing his thoughts.
Before leaving, I asked him: « do you have a word for us? A word to remember you by. » Suddenly he typed three letters and we read with surprise: « Job ». Undoubtedly, he wanted to warn us: « One day, you will be like me, you will have the same experience described by Job in the Bible. Everything will be taken from you: health, friends, power, honours and wealth. You will have nothing left. Place your confidence in God. »
espoir en Dieu
haute en page  
Behind the walls and the barbed wires  
derrière des barbelés An unusual press conference was held in front of a detention centre in the Parisian area. It is a jail for people with no official documents who expect to be expelled to their native country. It s not simple to go to this deserted area, far away from any public transportation. And with no indications to get there. Everything is done to prevent people from knowing what is going on behind the walls and the barbed wires.
On two occasions I had been authorized to visit this detention centre crammed full and to meet a Cameroonian. Men from all continents are there. They mix without ever having met before. They are humiliated and they are filled with fear of being expelled at any moment. There are hunger strikes and suicide attempts.
« We are not criminals. We are human beings. » They told me. Brutally separated from their families, they implored me to do something for them. I cannot forget these distressed faces that continue to haunt me.
Some have been arrested while taking steps for regularisation at the police station, for others it happened during administrative procedures, and many others during police checks and organized raids.
27 detention centres exist today in France. 30,000 workers with no official documents have been sent there since 2007. For many years now, through organizations and trade unions, we have always been requesting to close these centres that scorn the dignity of the workers with no documents and dishonor the country of human rights.