Log-book: December 2005
For liberties in Tunisia Abbé Pierre speaks the truth Forging our destiny Celebrating at the hospital
For liberties in Tunisia
The World Summit for the Information Society is being held in Tunisia. The choice of this country by UNO was a surprise. Will the thousands of participants at this Summit find Tunisia to be a huge prison for human rights? A place where the press is muzzled and the Internet surfers imprisoned?
Will the five million tourists visiting Tunisia every year find the Tunisian people to live in a police system and thousands of political prisoners rotting in jail?
There is no liberty of expression. Violence against the press does not have to be proven any more. A French reporter has been recently beaten up.
The Summit being held has mobilized the energies of the opponents.
Seven leaders of associations and political parties have started a hunger strike in Tunis.
I was able to talk to two of them over the phone. When I went to Tunis I was invited to stay within their families. They are able more than others to fight for liberties because they are free persons feared by people in authority.
The mobilization of Tunisians in Paris does not weaken. I go to every one of their meetings. The theme of one of their meeting was: " Five hours for liberties in Tunisia ".
Musicians, singers and speakers followed one another on the stage in the great hall. Once again, I addressed the crowd.
The Tunisians know that they are not alone. They can count on a lot of support.
Abbé Pierre speaks the truth
- A television debate was held in Brussels. The theme: the last book written by Abbé Pierre has just arrived in the libraries. I enjoyed reading this little book, written in simple words easily understood by just about every body. I liked very much the liberty in his tone.
At 93 years of age, the founder of Emmaus seems more human than ever. He is getting old and more involved with others, life and problems of his time.
He is in favor of the ordination of married men and of women. He is in favor of the recognition of gay couples. He speaks of sexuality and celibacy. He admits having had occasional relation with women.
On the television show, the debate on sexuality is quite animated. The Secretary for the Bishop Conference does not have an easy task. He is doing the best he can.
But the important thing about this debate is it not to see what we are becoming? As George Orwell once said: "the important thing is not to live, even less to succeed, but to remain human ".
Abbé Pierre speaks from his own experience: it is an invitation to do the same.
He speaks the truth: it is a service he renders to us.
- He breaks all taboos: it is a call for liberty.
Forging our destiny
Leila Shahid, the representative for the Palestinian Authority in France has been appointed to Brussels.
During the twelve years she stayed in Paris, Leila's exceptional qualities were very much appreciated. Her knowledge of situations, her warm approach and speech as well as her ability for debate were just fantastic. Yet current events did not make her task any easier.
Needless to say all the assassination attempts and reprisals on the occupied territory and in Israel! All the obstacles to the coming of peace! On each occasion Leila found the words to plead for the cause of the Palestinian people. When Arafat died, she was bearing the pain and hope of her people.
A farewell party was held at the head office of the French Communist Party. The attendance was greater than expected.
Leila was delighted that I was able to attend. I had stood so often by her side!
As always, this militant speaks with no notes, easily and with persuasion.
She often uses the expression: forging our destiny. This insistence characterized her last speech. It is the message she left us. This message she will continue to implement.
" Each and every one of us must forge his destiny. It is our responsibility. We do not have to endure our destiny. We must forge it. This is true for the Palestinian nation. One cannot stop people from fulfilling it's own destiny ".
Celebrating at the hospital
At the centre of a Parisian hospital stands the great Church of St Louis. When I visit the sick, sometimes I enter the Church. Most of the time, I find it sad, empty and lifeless.
Recently a special event has come to the Church: the relics of St Therese of Lisieux have arrived. And with them, the Church has regained life. It regained life and also became colourful. Now the crowds flocked to the Church.
The assembly sang, prayed and meditated. It expressed its joy.
Suddenly the Church had regained its beauty! The relics surrounded by candles and flowers filled children with wonder. The sick, the nurses in their white uniforms, nursing aids and handicapped persons were present.
They all came here to pray Therese of the Child Jesus who said she would spend her time in heaven to bring good on earth.
I approached to admirer the banners of the saints covering the walls of the Church.
Famous sayings from Therese are proposed to the crowd:
" No, I do not die, I am entering life "
" At the heart of my Mother the Church, I will be Love "
" I have no great desires, if not to love,
Love to the limit of dying for love ".
With little Therese, there is always something happening. When there is love, we can go a long way.