Log-book, November 1997
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On the Esplanade of the Invalides, Paris, there are seven young men on hunger strike. Who are they ? Harkis's sons, who belonged to the corps that the French army had recruited in Algeria to help them maintain order in a country which nobody was willing to acknowledge that it was at war.
The harkis were brought to France after Algeria independence and were put aside in camps.
The French army had used them as auxiliaries and forgot to apply to them either of the two duties inscribed on the Legion Etrangere flag : "honour and faithfulness".
They are excluded twice : from their home land where they are called collaborationists and from their welcoming country who had enrolled them as their own. Harkis are a lost generation which has been sacrificed.
Whatever one thinks of their behaviour, their children have been excluded from the French society for the past thirty years.
It is in order to fight against this unjust situation that these young people, out of despair, have started a hunger strike. I stand for them.
I have spent a day in a jail at the invitation of the prisoners. They are condemned to heavy sentences. Very long penalties. To listen to them in that place of high security impresses me. One of them tells me : "when my wife comes to see me, I am not allowed to have sex with her. It is forbidden. Under isolation sentences. But if I go to the infirmary to ask for a condom in order to have homosexual relationships, I am given it. They turn a blind eye. There is no problem. It is the world upside down. We ask for intimacy with our wives". I can only agree and I am going to join the International Observatory of Prisons for the recognition of the right of intimacy for prisoners.
Women and liturgy
In 1961, I joined a Sunday liturgy in Austria. It was before the Vatican
II council. There was no concelebration. Mass was in Latin with our backs
to the congregation. No woman at the altar. 36 years later I find myself
again in the same district of Austria for the Sunday mass. A woman reads
the gospel. Another one gives the homily. Both of them are at the altar
with the priests and intervene in the Eucharistic prayer. Other women give
communion and bless young children who do not communicate, on the forehead.
The congregation seems to me in full agreement. I could not help comparing
the two liturgies. How much thoughts and practices have changed. What happens
in the liturgy is a sign of what has happened in the life of the Church.
Is it possible to assess the bearings of it?
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