Log-book: December 2004

  Yasser Arafat's death: may it be hope for peace?
  Undesirable beyond the Rhine  An age-old poison  
  Samia's combat 




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Yasser Arafat's death: may it be hope for peace?

emotion et la peine Not long after the announcement of his death, I went to the hospital to show my solidarity with the Palestinians. The crowd filled the street alongside the hospital. Their faces were reflecting emotion and sorrow. Some people were crying. 

The Palestinians were grateful that I was there. With difficulty I moved forward through the crowd and I finally arrived at the front entrance of the hospital.
The security services let me through. I was then taken to Arafat's coffin.

On many occasions, in Tunis then in Ramallah, I had met the Palestinian leader, who embodied the Palestinian cause, the fight and the hope of his people. 

à Tunis

He had become their father. Arafat's force was to be inseparable from his people. Because of him, his people had the dream of an independant state.
Arafat will not be buried in Jerusalem, but very close to the holy city, in Ramallah, the besieged city. Peace is not there yet, but could it be we are getting closer to it? Meditating in front of his casket, I was thinking that Arafat was rendering a final service to his people: hope that peace will happen.

The delegate of the PLO gave me a lift in her car to bring me with the dignitaries to the military airport of Villacoublay. The Republican Guard was ready. Yasser Arafat received the honours reserved to a head of state. His casket arriving by helicopter was carried by French soldiers. What a great symbol! And what a moment of intense emotion! We heard the Palestinian hymn. The Arab television stations were transmitting in Ramallah pictures direct of the ceremony.

symbole d'honneur Then his casket was put aboard an Airbus of the French Republic and the door was closed. A page of history had just turned.
The Palestinians present were both proud and grateful of what France had done for their President.

On the tarmac, chilled to the bone, I made a parting gesture when the plane took off in destination for Cairo, wishing it were carrying on its board a branch of olive tree.






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Undesirable beyond the Rhine
Eugen Drewermann I was expected to go to Germany, in Bonn, to give a conference with Eugen Drewermann a well-known theologian famous in his country and far beyond. 
Kept aside by Rome, he goes on putting in practice what he preaches. A long term friend I was delighted with this meeting but once again, I was forbidden to do so. The cardinal archbishop of Cologne found me to be undesirable in his diocese. I gave up the idea of going to Bonn.
In the newspapers it was reported :
« For the first time in Germany the cardinal archbishop of Cologne made use of an article of the canon law that authorizes a bishop to forbid access to his territory to a bishop from abroad.»
I was sad for the participants at the meeting, for the organizers and for Eugen Drewermann who I left alone for the conference.
I sent them a message wishing that the interdiction would help us to go further on the roads of liberty.

How is it possible to announce a gospel of liberty if those who proclaim the good word do not themselves enjoy the use of liberty?
If the Church does not make use of it in its own operations, how can it propose it or denounce it ?

carte rouge pour Meisner

I have exeperienced some intedictions in the past. Like on each of these occasions, I pass my own way to other shores because no land is a forbidden land to spread the Gospel.



An age-old poison

SOS Racisme On a beautiful Sunday afternoon, I was participating in a demonstration in Paris against racism, anti-Semitism and discrimination. The demonstration had been organized long in advance because of the upsurge of racism, the resurgence of Anti-Semitism and countless discrimination acts against sex and homophobia.  

I was hoping for a large turnout but it was not the case. The great masses were simply not there.
The important thing is to be present. Racism is dormant in each of us. When in contact with exclusion, it can wake up, grow and destroy everything. When social insecurity and lack of job grow, racism has all that it needs to come out in the open. And as always, we look for scapegoats.

The demonstration now approached the square of the Nation. All around me, people were speaking about Corsica with this upraise of racism which comes out in the open. Nowadays, people are pressing the North Africans to leave Corsica. But in wanting to exclude North Africans, it is also part of themselves that the Corsicans are excluding.

I personally believe that the root of racism comes from the same cause and must be fought ruthlessly. Whatever cause it comes from. It is really an age-old poison.  

combattre sans concession




Samia's combat

La Chorba While going to the « Chorba », a Muslim association that serves meals to persons without official papers and destitute, I met Samia in the kitchen. She has arrived recently and is known to be an excellent cook. She wants to talk to me to inform me of her situation. 

Abandoned by her husband who left her taking with him her five year-old son, she is alone with her six-month baby who is hospitalized. With no resources, no papers and jobless, what will happen to her? Furthermore, she is threatened with expulsion to her native country. How can she leave the country when her baby has to be hospitalized?
Fortunately for her, the Chorba greeted her with open arms as a family.
Samia does not feel she is alone anymore. She can face up to her difficulties because we are many to support her.
Samia confides to me in a soft voice: « I believe God won't let me down. The Lord is taking care of me ».

la soutenir