Log-book: November 2000

  Racial riots in El Ejido  In Austria 
  In Rome  A solidarity chain 
  French Bibliography  Archives of Partenia 
  History of Partenia, Biography of Bishop Jacques Gaillot 
Special Edition
A letter from Georges Vimard, priest at Gaza





Special Edition

Racial riots in El Ejido 

 Immigres à El Ejido

With a group of people I went to El Ejido, Andalusia, Spain, to hand over a Human Rights prize of 10, 000 Swiss francs to the Association of "Mujeres progresista" (Progressist Women).
El Ejido region has become very wealthy with intensive farming of fruits and vegetables in greenhouses covering 60,000 acres. Their plastic covers spread all over the horizon. Thousands of Africans, mostly from Morocco, are working hard there, they spend their life under plastic cover!
During the February 2000 riot, the "Mujeres progresista" defended them courageously, despite threats and the ransack of their premises, they kept going their heroic action in a ambiance of racial hatred.
This "Moor" hunt has led to the ransack of houses, cafeterias, Morocco shops. Sixty people were wounded, hundreds were made homeless. The whole of Spain was shocked. An International Committee was set up and an impressive report of charges was written up.
In the mean time, fifty immigrants started the twelfth day of a hunger strike in the basement of the San Jose church in Almeria. I spoke to them through a small basement window: the police prevented me for entering. All the press was there!






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In Austria 

 Lycee Petrinum

Coming back to Linz was impressive for me as I was remembering its historical past. How not to forget the Second World War? The factories were fully active to make armaments for the Nazis, with thousands of Italian and French forced to work there. The Allies heavily bombed the city.
The Bishop of Linz welcomed me and offered his warm hospitality at the Bishop's palace. He told me about the protest of conservative Christians opposed to my visit, how they referred to the Nonce. Courageously the Bishop stood firm.
It was a good meeting. I will remember meeting the young in the famous Petrinum School. Fans of the Net, they showed me their web site and the projects they have with Latin America, mostly in Nicaragua.







On a flight to Rome, some passengers asked me: "Are you going to the bishops' Jubilee tomorrow? Our Bishop has already arrived, some 1500 Bishops are expected to attend" They were surprised to learn that I did not know that there was a bishops' Jubilee this Sunday. I was going to Rome for a retreat of the General council of the Spiritans. The Head Office of the Spiritans on Monte Mario is a pleasant place that welcomes visitors. I met African priests and Bishops from Madagascar. Quickly we left Rome for the Mountains of Abruzze to be apart in a peaceful and isolated environment.
The harmony of the landscape, the exceptional beauty of the mountains and the spiritual character of its participants impressed me. I gave thanks to God for these men from Nigeria, Angola, Ireland …and also from France who gave up every thing to follow Christ. They were expressing the joy of the Gospel.




A solidarity chain

For a world day of refusal of extreme poverty, the director of Saint Paul's school of Ajaccio, Corsica, invited me. For many days, pupils, professors and parents are actively involved in its preparation.
In the morning 400 children were making a chain from the school door to the administrative building of the county where a small delegation was going to be received by the head of the county administration representing the government.
On the Napoleon square, the young were proudly distributing a solemn statement. Then came the representatives of each grade followed by a presentation of different organizations from Ajaccio. Questions seemed to me more interesting than their answers. Has extreme poverty always existed? When did it started? Will it come to an end? Why are the rich wasting their money rather than to give it to the poor? Before you, has there been a bishop for the excluded persons? A problem however: the director told me that the bishop administration and the students parents were not pleased by my visit, but he managed to stand firm. Listening to him, I thought that this dynamic director was having some thing of a Napoleon character!