carnet de route
A trip to Cuba  
Faithful' effect  
They died in jail  
The force of the Spirit  
A trip to Cuba  
A full Boeing 747 flew off from Paris to Havana. Such a long flight trip allows time to meet people, to engage in conversations, to have one's photo taken. Next to me, a young Vietnamese couple, just married, showed me the photo album of their wedding. A charming stewardess made sure that I lacked nothing.  
In Havana, I took the plane for Holguin, the administrative centre in the province, situated at more than 800 km of Havana. This region has much suffered from last year's hurricane.  
An international conference on the five Cubans unjustly imprisoned in the United States since 11 years was held at Holguin, The five from Miami as they are called were asked to infiltrate extreme right groups of paramilitaries, based in Florida, to prevent criminal actions against Cuba. These paramilitary groups have caused more than 3,000 deaths and almost as many people permanently handicapped.  
les cinq de Maimi
Because the five Cubans were fighting against terrorism, they were put in jail, whereas the criminal Luis Posada Carrilès, responsible in 1976 of the explosion of a Cuban plane causing 73 deaths, was let free! For the USA, Cuba is their enemy. The trial of the 5 Cubans is a political trial against Cuba.  
184 delegates, representing 42 countries, attended this conference to support and reinforce the efforts of the international community in favour of the liberation of the five Cubans. The focus was on the American delegation. It is mostly in the United States that the combat must take place. It is in that country that the medias must be alerted and an effort must be made to raise public awareness. Since all legal appeals have been made, the only thing left to do is to alert the American public opinion and to make an appeal to President Obama.  
The families of the prisoners are there, giving human aspect and some emotion to our debates. I was invited to speak to the audience. This convention was an occasion to create fraternal ties. A great network is put in place. Exchanges will continue on the Internet.  
liens fraternels
The bishop of Holguin came to visit me at the hotel where I was staying: an open-minded and warm-hearted man. As I mentioned to him my desire to join the Christians for the Sunday mass, he invited me to celebrate mass at the cathedral, where I spoke to the audience. It was an occasion to meet the Little Brothers of Father de Foucauld, in Cuba since 44 years. One has worked as a mechanic, the other as a carpenter. After their retirement, they continue to live among the people in a poor neighboorhood.  
I was delighted to visit the villages surrounding Holguin. Warm-hearted people, elegant women, young talented people for music and song, children in fancy dress. Everybody is waiting for us under a blazing sun. People with dignity and courage, accustomed to fighting. I appreciated meeting responsible citizens, who know how to speak in public. Here, as everywhere, I measure the benefits of politics that give priority to education and health services.  
Then, it was the festive meal, shared in the shadow of a giant tree with an enormous trunk, three centuries old.
I love the Cuban people and I hope to see them again when the five from Miami will return to Cuba. It will be a great celebration!
haute en page  
Faithful' effect  
la grande mosquée de Paris On a weekday afternoon, I went to the Grand Mosque in Paris. It was almost dark outside. Young men were rushing. It was the hour of prayer. Undoubtedly, they were coming from work. They did not loose much time in taking off their shoes and joining the group of men standing in prayer around the imam.
I was standing in the doorway and looking on. Others were also arriving rapidly, taking off their shoes with the same agility and joined the ever-growing swarm. There were also a few women, but they quickly disappeared behind a curtain.  
Images from some 50 years ago suddenly sprung back to me. For the first time in Algeria, I was in the presence of Muslims in prayer. It was a shock. In presence of people from another religion I was experiencing the sense of the absolute of God. Charles de Foucault, a young explorer in Morocco, had also been shocked when he had seen Muslims in prayer.  
From the doorway to the Mosque, I looked with admiration at these men in prayer. I prayed in communion with them. I was their brother. A faithful among other faithful.
God calls all men to prayer. God talks to me through Islam.  
haute en page  
They died in jail  
abandon On the famous Human Rights Square in Paris, the names of those who have died in jail during the last year were called out. A slow and formal reading was made of their names and the day of their death. This long litany impressed me by its insistence, because the expression
'suicide by hanging ' is repeated over and over.
My turn to read 25 names came.  
March 10 2009: Serge, 45 years old, suicide by hanging
March 11 2009: Jean, 50 years old, suicide by hanging
March 11 2009: Hervé, suicide by hanging
March 14 2009: Michel, suicide by hanging
March 14 2009: Adrien, 17 years old, suicide by hanging...
On the Human Rights Square, the crowd listens to the string of names in silence and prayer. Keeping memory is a way not to forget these men whose faces are unknown. It is also a way to recognize their dignity. These men died in loneliness, abandonment and suffering. Their death is a provocation. It is unacceptable that so many suicides happen in prison.  
France has abolished the death penalty but has not succeeded in stopping deaths in prison. The prison is a mirror of society. It certainly reveals the loss of a social link with society and mostly that little is a human being today.  
haute en page  
The force of the Spirit  
One after the other, I was invited to address people in a Brittany abbey, another one in Lichtenstein, then in Germany at the Comboni Missionaries' place. In every place, a massive audience: women and men in search of themselves, full of experiences, turned towards the future. They are the witnesses of a liberating and a liberated Gospel.  
For them, there is no temptation to restore a past that is disintegrating, nor are they concerned by a Church too preoccupied in itself. They have understood that the man of today is more preoccupied with himself and his future. They are convinced that our societies are engaged in a process of secularization.  
tourner vers avenir
With the crisis known to us, the Christians, as other citizens, find the gap of social inequalities unacceptable. They wonder what they can do to change the enormous social injustice in society.  
semence Some mention "the strength of the humble ones" of the Gospel. Isn't there a secret force in the more meek of the society? We are invited to believe in the revolutionary force of the Spirit.