Log-book: October 2003

  The first will be the last The courage to protest 
  The grace of old age  Expulsion of African families
  French Bibliography  Archives of Partenia 




The Bible

Special Edition

The first will be the last

At the Paris North station, a couple came to greet me: they were retired people living in a small village of the Eure district and preparing to take the train to London.

The man introduced himself: " I was the driver of the Prefect (Government representative) of Evreux. I will never forget what happened. 

nouvelle étape

I was in the backyard of the prefecture. The Prefect was going to meet you. But you did come to greet me first. The Prefect did not believe his eyes! I did indeed remember this particular incident that stood out in the mind of the person I was speaking with.

en voyage

The former driver of the Prefect, encouraged by his wife, had another request for me. It was this time or never: " would you please give me your address because I always told my children that I would like to be buried by you ".

I gave him my visiting card making this reservation: " the only thing is, that I might leave before you ". 






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The courage to protest
Romain, a Beninese, is spokesman for the national committee of illegal refugees. He is an activist very dedicated to his cause. For many years he has fought to obtain his papers. Once he had obtained them, he continued to fight for the others so that they could obtain them also.

expulsion At Roissy airport, he was delighted to take the plane to go to Benin. It was the first time in twelve years that he was going back to his country. Friends and family were waiting for him. 

But it happened that the police forced handcuffed illegal refugees on the plane. Romain immediately took their defence and asked to take them off the plane. I imagine him protesting! The captain of the plane intervened and asked the police to get Romain off the plane. He was immediately put in police custody.

At the tribunal for internal disputes in Bobigny, they were many there to support him. The president of the tribunal released him. The trial will be held later. Romain risks to be put in jail.  la défense



The grace of old age

vieillesse Is the expression too bold? It came to my mind while I was preaching a retreat to priests who are at the last stage of their life. 

I still keep in memory their words filled with experience and renunciation: " Old age is terrible. I have had many responsibilities in my life and now I have nothing to do. I am more and more dependant and limited. During the day, I have too much time "…and there is the suffering and the solitude…

But with this ascetic life that brings old age, it appears in these priests a great tenderness, an internal liberty and an attachment to Christ that filled me with admiration.

When these same priests were at the chapel forming a community of prayer, something great was being felt. They were unveiling the sense that can take the last step of their life: God stays when everything else fails. Love does not go away. 

la prière




Expulsion of African families

camper sur la rue This happened in the outskirts of Paris, in the city of Rougemont in Sevran. It was back to school time for the children and there were still numerous and brutal expulsions. 

The families decided to camp in front of the building where they had been living before, waiting for the authorities, the municipality and the landlord to take the decision of finding new solutions to relocate the families in new dwellings. There was a great movement of sympathy in the city. It was fantastic. Neighbours opened their homes to women and children while the young people kept watch over the campsite.

The City Council did not appreciate. The authorities ordered the dismantlement of the campsite. The police arrested up to 18 persons for questioning.
The families and the activists organized a demonstration in front of the City Hall. A delegation met with City officials.

relogement A request was made to organize a joint committee with the authorities for the relocation of the families in new housing and the liberation of all those who had been arrested by the police.  

In the meantime, the mayor gave generously the permission that the families use the inner courtyard of the City Hall.