Log-book: November 2006
Slaughtered truth At the monastery of Saint Gerold At the hospital Meetings with history
All those wanting to protest against the assassination of Anna Politkovskaïa in Moscow had gathered on the square in front of Notre-Dame de Paris. It was also an opportunity to pay homage to the tremendous courage of this journalist obsessed by the search for the truth, who was afraid of nothing and went her way without a safety net.
She refused to hide and went in the field. She dared break taboos by investigating on the dirty war in Chechnya.
Friends of the Russian journalist demand the truth about her death.
" Anna has died for us, so that we know the truth. "
" Every time Poutine will have a formal reception in a European capital, we will be there and we will demand when there will be an International Commission of Enquiry on the assassination of Anna Politkovskaïa! "
This journalist who honoured the Russian soul was a free woman in a country where one has to be submitted to the opinion of the authorities. In a country where the press is muzzled, Anna dared to speak. She paid the price for her statements.
They have silenced Anna. But her voice has never been heard so loud since her death.
At the monastery of Saint Gerold
I am fascinated by the mountains and forests of this region of Vorarlberg in Austria. The villages seem to be in harmony with nature. The monastery attracts a great number of visitors because of the beauty of the location but also because of the peace that reigns there. The Benedictine monk in charge, in his black habit, is always there to greet each and every person as if he had nothing else to do.
On my arrival, I was surprised to see a group of Germans from the region of Cologne, accompanied by their beloved priest. They are liberated Christians. Friends of mine.
- They will be present at a conference I am giving on the future of Christianity. But is the future not in Christian adult congregations, ferments of humanity, witnesses of the liberated and liberating Gospel, knowing that ecclesial solidarity is needed for the fight against injustice?
The Church is packed for the celebration of the Eucharist. It is the harvest fest. The children brought baskets filled of fruits from the earth and the work of men on the steps to the altar. When it came to Our Lord's prayer, everyone held hands. It was a moment of great intensity for the children!
The Gospel was about an exorcist, who was not in the group of the disciples, who healed a person possessed in the name of Jesus. The disciples did not react well. Is that not dishonest competition? Jesus invites to trust and openness. The main point is not to be part of a group but to heal a person possessed, victim of anxiety and mental illness.
Is God not present in all that liberates the human being to return him to himself?
At the hospital
We were waiting for the ambulances to arrive. In the locker rooms of the gymnasium, lying on their mattresses, the people on hunger strike with no official documents had accepted to be hospitalized and to start to eat again. On the 45th day of their combat, it was a relief for everyone, because they were determined to go to the very end. Their demands: regularization for the people with no official documents, the rehousing for the families and the respect for the schooling of the children. They had been given these guaranties.
The people on hunger strike were taken away on stretchers one after the other under the applause of the crowd and the crackling flashes. I climbed aboard an ambulance: one of the strikers preferred I stay with him, not his girlfriend. Probably for security reasons. He was always afraid to be arrested by the police.
They were greeted warmly upon their arrival at the hospital. The Head of the Department was waiting for us with all his team. The rooms had the necessary comfort. Examinations and medical care could start.
A few days later, there was a press conference in a large hall at the hospital. The convalescents were taken there in their wheel chairs. What did they have to say in front of the cameras? They thanked everyone generously. They told of their hope to be able to live like everyone. In peace. A page was turned.
I was close to Josiane Balasco, the actress. As time went by, we had become friends. " Let us go for a coffee, she told me, it will do us good. "
Meetings with history
In Blois (170 Km from Paris), there is an annual fair " meeting up with history " which is held during a long weekend and features an array of events : book fair, debates, conferences, movies, photo exhibition I took part in a debate in a well attended lecture hall on the subject : " Should we provide food for the poor ? " This question is still a current issue.
It was brought up on the same day as the Nobel prize for peace was granted to a man from Bangladesh, the banker of the poor, for his war against misery.
This man has made it possible for the poor to be come actively responsible for their jobs. He was not satisfied to only help them. When we hold out our hand to the poor so they can get out of their misery, we become a peacemaker.
Food insecurity is still there and for many, getting food is a struggle.
Helping the poor, is maintaining them in social exclusion. There is one way of giving that keeps the other in a state of dependance and social inequality.
The practice of exchanging maintains equality. The poor should not only be the beneficiaries, but also partners.
Thus comes the necessity to respect the right.
Charity must unite with justice. But "man does not live by bread alone". Many participants ask for the right for the poor to have access to culture.