Log-book: June 1999
There is a rendez-vous on the terrace of a cafe to say good-bye to Mourad's father who is coming back to Algeria. This retired man is full of dignity, of kindness. A wise man that I appreciate very much. He came back to France to visit his son who got married and to get to know his grand daughter. To respect his father, Mourad does not smoke, neither drink alcoholic beverages in front of his father.
Mourad, said his father, I have to blame you before I leave. You neglect your daughter, you don't spend enough time with her, you should have half an hour per day with her. Your daughter knows me better than you. Mourad listened respectfully, he didn't protest he knew he has some blame and that I was listening. Time has come to depart. Mourad's father kissed me and said to me: "every day I pray God for you, pray also for me"
A couple are preparing their 70th anniversary of marriage! What is astonishing is not that length of time, it is that they are still in love with each other, taking care of each other. Love does not know routine in daily life, it is always new. I am thinking of Soljenytsine's remark: "a long lasting love makes a blessing for the man and the women" This couple are Christians of a deep faith. The women told me: "we have divorced children, grand children not baptized... It is hard for us but we had to change, we had to become tolerant. If we would have not changed, our children would have not come to visit us".
Pierre is ready to go to Brazil as a missionary to help the poor. All his life has been devoted to the poor. I knew him when his was a chaplain of the Clairvaux jail. At 68 years old he could have retired and lived quietly in Paris. But the need of the poor push him to leave for a country that he does not know. He goes away with no hope to come back, to live the adventure of the Gospel. Probably for the last time we are sharing our supper.
Arriving by bus from New York at night, we sleep a few hours in a youth
shelter in Philadelphia. We are a delegation of 60 people with 12 high school
students from the Communist Youths. We go down town where a big demonstration
take place in favor of Mumia Abou Jamal condemned to a death sentence in
1982 and who is still waiting in the death row. Philadelphia is the city
in United States where the justice is known to be the most racist. In the
coming months, the governor of Pennsylvania said he will sign the order
of killing Mumia. Now the crowd is demonstrating. I am stricken by the violence
of the words. On a banner is written: "We are all Mumia Abou Jamal".
The young French school students are full of life, it is a pleasure to be
AN EVENING WITH THE CURDS
The great auditorium of Marseille University is full, many Curds are
there. There are still under the stress of the arrest of their leader, Ocalan.
I meet them since several years, I find all of them courageous and pride
of their identity. It is a people which does not want to disappear. At the
forum I spoke last. The Ocalan's lawyers give some information about the
preparation of the trial and all the difficulties they can encounter daily.
I am left to address a message of peace and hope. One cannot stop the destiny
of a people.
HELPING DEMOCRACY IN BURMA
The Total-Fina company makes business with the Burma military regime. The dictatorship in the country is especially cruel. Since 10 years, the elected members of the Parliament are under residence or put in jail. They ask us to contact the companies who are backing the present power. Aung San Suu Kyi, Peace Noble prize winner, send us a message:" Let your freedom serve ours". The European Parliament makes an appeal for the Companies to leave Burma. A simple action is proposed to the consumers: not going anymore to get gas at Fina stations. It is what we are doing among the motorists at a gas station of Brussels under the cameras of the journalists.
PS: Partenia some figures, 1998
Total number of pages presented in seven laguages on the WEB last year: 66 430
Total number of visitors last year: 114 000
Increase of visitors last year: 22'000
Month average of visitors: 9 500
Number of e-mail messages received by Bishop Jacques Gaillot: 2 500
Number of e-mail messages received by the Webmaster: 1 460
Active Forum members form October 1 to December 31, 1998: 393