Log-book: January 2002

  Vietnamese students   
  A televised report on the double sentence 
  Laicism and the great religions 
  Peace is possible   
  French Bibliography  Archives of Partenia 




The Bible

Special Edition

Vietnamese students

Joseph is a long-standing friend. Living in the suburb, his family is known to be very hospitable, with a deep faith that would certainly please God.

Joseph devotes himself to the welfare of the poor students from Vietnam. Most of his salary goes towards this. With the agreement of the Town Hall authorities, he has installed some mobile homes on waste ground to shelter a dozen of them, boys and girls, Catholics and Buddhists. I had the pleasure to be invited for diner. 

images vietnam 

Inside the mobile home they huddled together to give room for every body. We began by singing and praying. They introduced themselves. Two of them had already finished their university studies. They have found jobs and lodgings in Paris. They regularly come and visit the community that they consider as their own. Three others could not enter a seminar in their country of origin because of the refusal of the authorities. Becoming a priest one day was a reason for them to come to France.

We had a Vietnamese diner. I am stricken by the simplicity and the joyfulness of this community so much evangelical! They were sharing the small amount they had and this made them brothers. I left them late in the evening not before having given them my blessing at their request.






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A televised report on the double sentence.
Let us recall that double sentence means prison and expulsion out of the country. A person who has committed a crime is sent to jail. If the person is not a French citizen, he/she is definitely or temporarily condemned to get out of the French territory after having completed his/her sentence. Often these foreigners have been in France since their childhood. France is their homeland. They have their family there, sometimes a wife and children. They have their job, their friends. They usually don't know the country of which they are citizen. For them it is an exile, a social death. Having nothing to lose, their last resource is the hanger strike.

histoires de vies brisées  I came to see the Bertrand Tavernier's movie " Stories about broken lives". I recognized the faces of the persons in Lyon who were on hanger strike. I appreciated that they could express themselves with so much passion and anger. An impressive movie but we were only four people in the room to watch it! 

The TV Channels were not interested in this movie. Only a TV report was done in a café in Paris. Bertrand Tavernier commits himself to make his movies. It is a pleasure to listen to him. I underlined the just struggle of the immigrants without a permit; their determination often attracts admiration.



Laicism and the great religions.

Angers  The Cultural Center of Angers was full. 

I was among the speakers, with a Rabbi, an Imam, a Protestant and an Historian. Certainly the public is really very interested. For many persons the word laicism means autonomy of the human being, in his conscience and his reason. It is the condition of freedom to be oneself. It is also the condition of democracy. But some persons think that the human advancement can only be achieved by rejecting any religious feeling and that religion has to stay in the church. To me, the speeches showed that Islam has still to deal with laicism, as laicism has also to deal with Islam.

In regards to the fundamentalists, it seems to me important to say that we are first citizens before believers. Belief comes afterwards. The act to become a member of a religion can be of value only if we have the right of not becoming a member. I finished my speech by recalling the Prime Minister's words:

grandes religions  " The Churches have to express their view on the society matters, it seems to me normal, even necessary" 

I said: "Amen" every body laughed!



Peace is possible.  construire la paix 
An evening meeting was organized by the Movement for Peace in the suburb of Paris about " Build the peace today" It was the right time because violence and dispute were raging between Israeli and Palestinians.
Mondialiser la paix  It came to me to speak about a recent book written by the secretary of the Movement for Peace " Globalization of Peace". During two hours we autographed our books in an important bookshop in the town. 
The welcome was warm and people were happy to be there, to shake hands, to say a few hearty words. And I don't forget women who were so pleased to embrace me…

The audience were interested by peace. It was also their problem. This popular unanimity was making me happy. The problem of peace was not only left in the hands of experts and politicians. The citizens have their say. We are immerged into a culture of domination. We have learned to be the strongest, to be the best one who eliminates the others. We have learned to succeed at the expense of the others. However a culture of peace is starting to merge in families, schools where we learn not to respond by violence to violence. When I was speaking, some body passed me a paper. During the following discussion I read the paper, its author having had to leave.

" Hello, my name is Noemie. I want to tell you some thing. One day in the metro a young boy attacked me. He wanted my money and my cellular phone. I looked at him and said: " I have no money only a cell phone, but I am not going to give it to you! " "Why?" Because I need it to call my mate and prepare a speech about peace in the world" " Then keep it," he said to me. He went out but then came back to me to kiss me on the cheek. It is true! " All the best Noemie.
The audience applauded. Noemie remember us that peace and youth can go together.