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Pinned Post: Remembering Ilan Halimi

Friday, 24 June 2011

I'm baaaaack in the land of Oz

Back in Australia, trying to post a picture of my beach, taken from the plane, but it doesn't seem to work!:(



Whoops, it worked - but only after kicking my laptop for 3 hours. Something has changed...perhaps it's me...

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

A Hierarchy of Victim Hood

I have never seen myself as a victim of anything else but of my own stupidity from time to time. The mantle of Victim hood always seemed quite vulgar to me. Yet, over the past 3 months or so, negotiating my way through Paris with moon boot and on crutches (due to a stress fractured ankle) I have somehow developed a sense of entitlement and when a fit looking young male wouldn’t cede me his seat de priorité in the bus, I made him.

As  he was moving away, I saw him limp and felt deeply ashamed, because by now I can move, albeit slowly, with one crutch. Getting out of that particular bus, I contortioned my face in fake pain and limped much more than I needed too, so that people would think me more entitled to that seat than I really was, I wanted to look like a victim too.  


Caroline Glick wrote about another kind of victim hood and the reporting by the Media of it.
Here she talks about a Hierarchy of victim hood and writes:
 
 


"...there is a clear pecking order of victim hood in identity politics:
Anti-American Third World national, religious and ethnic groups are at the top of the victim food chain. They out-victim everyone else.

After them come the Western victims: Racial minorities, women, homosexuals, children and animals.

Israelis, Jews, Americans, white males and rich people are the predetermined perpetrators. No matter how badly they are victimized, brave reporters will go to heroic lengths to ignore, underplay or explain away their suffering…”





Anyway, tomorrow I will throw away my crutches, ignore the seats de priorité in the buses and start taking the metro again, looooooong couloirs, steeeeeeep steps and all.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Minor and Major Poets


A pair of  Black Birds have discovered that the "Bio Muesli with 25% fruits and 4 cereales" I feed them at my window is worth singing for - and how lovely their little songs for their little suppers are !!! Perhaps their song is not quite as Joan-Sutherlandian as that of the nightingale, but give me the "Minor Poet" anytime over the universally acclaimed one:




I. The Minor Poet 

His little trills and chirpings were his best. 

No music like the nightingale's was born 

Within his throat; but he, too, laid his breast 

Upon a thorn.

(Dorothy Parker).



And then, of course, there are the pigeons. They can't sing, and they are as unpopulair in Paris as they are in Sydney, except with the very old, the lonely and the otherwise rejected. And, in Paris at least, they seem to be into "art at the bouquinistes".






 Yet another, perhaps "minor" poet. But, the sounds coming out of his seemingly clumsy instrument were just so lovely, and the walls of the bridge  gave him back an echo so beautiful, that he seemed to delight in playing and playing and playing... and I delighted in listening and listening and listening. He was no busker, and did not want money, he just played for the century old walls, and they rewarded  him (and me)  with their wondefull echo:





Here is a bit of tuba, by a Major Poet of the Music world to give you a little idea of  what I heard that late Paris afternoon under a bridge over the Seine:








Paris is still full of poetry and poets and both are appreciated. Here,  in a bus, right in front of my seat,  a poem by Paul Verlaine:





Photographed badly, because the bus was jumping, and so were we, my camera and I, but also, because I was simply flabbergasted to see a poem where anywhere else in the world they would put an ad for toothpaste/cookbooks/underwear/panadol. If you want to read it, look it up, the title is "Marine". I'm not reproducing it in the fully  readable version here, because I want to give this space to another Major poet and my favorite poem of (nearly) all times:






L'Etranger
par Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867)

 

Qui aimes-tu le mieux, enigmatique etranger? ton pere, ta mere, ta soeur ton frere?
(whom do like best, enigmatic stranger? your father, your mother, your sister your brother?)
Je n'ai ni pere, ni mere, ni soeur, ni frere.
(I have neither father, nor mother, nor sister, nor brother)
Tes amis?
(Your friends?)
Vous vous servez la d'une parole dont le sens m'est reste jusqu'alors inconnu..
(You use a word here whose meaning I did not know until now)
Ta patrie?
(Your country?)
J'ignore sous quelle latitude elle est situee.
(I do not know under which latitude it is situated.)
La beaute?
(Beauty?)
Je l'aimerais volontiers, deesse et immortelle.
(I would like her to be Goddess and immortal)
L'or?
(Gold?)
Je le hais comme vous haissez Dieu.
(I hate it as much as you hate God)
Eh! qu'aimes-tu donc, enigmatique etranger?
(Well, what do you like you enigmatic stranger?)
J'aime les nuages... les nuages qui passent... la-bas... au fond... les merveilleux nuages!
(I love the clouds... the clouds that go by... over there... far over there... the magnificent clouds!).



I often think of this poem, when I walk along my beaches back in Australia, with their many magnificent clouds and their even more plentifull silver linings...

 











Is this one, upon whose sculpture I came just accidentally, a Minor or a Major Poet? I dont know (although I have a feeling that I should know). For whoever strew him with those beautiful roses (they were fresh and fragrant), he was certainly a Major Poet.


 



Mihai Eminescu, romantic Romanian poet. 




"Major" in Rumania, "minor", perhaps,  in Sydney, Australia.....?



 

Notre Dame de Paris


One of the weekly highlights of my Paris Winters is the Messe Grégorienne on sundays at 10 am in the Notre Dame de Paris. Identifying myself (if I have to) as a "Catholic Agnostic", I dont go there for the Holy Communion, but mainly for the music and the athmosphere, and the incense. Fantomas once answered the rhetorical question "what did Religion ever bring to humanity" with: "Music! they brought us pretty damn marvellous music!". And WOW, are those  gregorian chants,  delivered during that mass, havenly! (yes I know, "heavenly"...baboom).

I usually try to get a place right opposite of what must be the most photographed church window in the world. When one is asked during meditation classes to "go to a place you love", I usually go there, in my mind, on a sunny late afternoon, when the dustflecks dancing on the rainbow coloured light beams, really are angels dancing on a pin-heads.

This year again, I took a 1000 + 1 pictures of that window, and all turned out badly. So, as they say in TV-cooking:" here is one I prepared earlier for you"  (last year):



Yesterday, I observed a Nun, dressed in yesteryear's habit, who sat down and remained seated, nearly defiantly.  I thought, if anyone had the right of refusal to get up at each shake of the incense burner and down on the knees at each incantation of the Allmighty, it surely is an old nun, who is more or less the wife of Jesus and the daughter-in-law of God, quasi  family. She seemed  tired, and hurting, and rheumatic, and disappointed in life, and fed up.

However, after they did that post-Vatican II thing I loathe, (I do not like commandeered instant mass intimacy) where you shake hands with strangers, she suddenly came to life and stood up, on somewhat shakey stumps, but assertively. I saw her shake the hand of at least 5 or 6 people to my zero.  Perhaps this was the first physical contact she had had in a loooong time.

What would a nun’s life be like…?

I was brought up to consider them as something outer-wordly, and respect, even fear them as such. I had some bad experience with one nun who  frightened me as a child; now I would probably dismiss her needling nastiness with a “she needs to get laid”. Poor things - I don’t think they would even manage to engage in guilt-free masturbation. Apart from having perhaps the odd  secret crush on the visiting priest, the day-to-day earthly aspect of their lives would have to be pretty grey…or vanilla-like at best.. a life of service to a God who might or might not exist (personally I subsribe to Pascal’s wager!) they must have doubts…about Him or even Her…..these sacrificial lambs, females and males.

Outside Notre Dame, on this unseasonally hot Paris  April day (25 degrees at 11 am), the Chestnut Trees were lighting their candles, nearly as I watched and clicked away on my ageing point'n'shoot camera.


Wednesday, 30 March 2011

A beautiful young lady

Recently I commented on the ugliness of this woman who had said that the Jews had no place in Israel and  should all go back to where they came from: Poland, Germany etc.
 


Well she is very old someone said as if that was an excuse for the kind of ugliness that comes from the inside and has nothing to do with chronology. Im convinced that Helen Thomas was ugly from very early on.

Old age is not an excuse for everything!

Somehow I am sure that really really ugly old people were ugly in their youth, and really beautiful young people will not turn into sour old uglies like that one, despite the French saying:  lâge aigrit.

Recently, as my bus pulled up at Saint Germain-Odéon, an old lady entered whose physical decrepitude was a cruel witness that she was probably on the wrong side of 90 - yet she was beautiful. I could not quite put my finger on it, why would she be so beautiful? She was certainly not the physical manifestation of the Golden Mean and that spunky window of the child bearing period was obviously decades behind her, nor was she gracefully soignée like the typical Neuilly matron, but there was an intangible quality to her breathlessness which came not only from old lungs.

She ignored the seats reserved for the elderly and sat down opposite me. She took out a book which she had obviously just bought, opened it and started reading it, eagerly. I looked closer at the colourful cover of the book, its title: Chinese for Beginners.

Chinese for Beginners! At about 90! And there was the reason for her enduring beauty; this lady was certainly on the right side of 90!

"I Stand Tonight With Israel"

Glenn Back: 4.45 minute video

PS: 12.4. 2011 Got an email from Fantomas,  commenting on this u-tube:

"...I have to say if it's only Glen Beck who will stand with Israel then perhaps Israel is better off standing alone...;)"

Touché, my friend, touché! the delivery is a bit on the melodramatic side;), but as they say: the heart (of the message) is in the right place...

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Buy Israeli Goods on March 30. 2011

I cannot believe it !!!

In addition to all the anti-Semitic crap à  la "dont buy mandarines from Israel because Jews kill babies and drink their blood"  they even have declared  an extra "dont buy Jewish goods day"  for tomorrow, 30. March, probably  to be sure to be sure to be sure! *rolls eyes*

So I fully agree with this suggestion  which I found on Daphne's Blog 




I will not only follow this invitation, but, here  in France, where this breathtakingly anti-semitic and moronic (if probably effective) boycott is not on yet, I will loudly ask for products from Israel.

So there !!!  Hmmmpffff !!!!









Monday, 28 March 2011

Mona Lisait

Hint Hint Hint ....:  remember your French grammar ;)






Mona Lisait  is the name of a chain of bookshops here which are just lovely and worth patronising!



Why dont I do the predictable thing here and put on that Nat King Cole disk:

Genital Mutilation of Muslim Girls

 






I had a rather disturbing conversation with a female acquaintance of mine. She ticks all the right boxes when it comes to what is politically fashionable now: of the Left, she is fundamenalistically atheist, a card-carrying feminist, her deep-rooted anti-Semitism comes wrapped in the euphemism of “pro-palesteeeenian” and so, of course, she votes for the most public proponents of this socially acceptable bigotry, the Greens.

During this conversation, she blithely told me  "...genital mutilation of girls under Islam is a myth"! When I gasped at that, she conceded that "it might happen...but very rarely..."

Well, that makes it okay then!

When I asked her if she had heard of Ayaan Hirsi Ali she told me “yes, of course, who hasn’t”. And what did she think of her? “Well..that one is very bias!”. I told her that if she had had her clitoris butchered off aged 7 or so, without anaesthetic, held down by her grandmother, she would probably be somewhat bias too!

I have hesitated to become “friends” with that person for a while now; after our latest exchange I will hesitate some more!.

  
 


PS: Note to self: Must send the following paragraph from Caroline Click  to my acquaintance:
 
“…According to a 1999 report from the World Health Organization, 97 percent of Egyptian women and girls have undergone the barbaric practice of genital mutilation. A 2005 report by the Cairo-based Association for Legal Rights of Women submitted to the UN explained that Egyptian women are constitutionally deprived of their basic rights, including their rights to control their bodies and property. Males who murder their female relatives are often unpunished. When they are tried and convicted for premeditated murder, their sentences average from two to four years in prison….”

Sunday, 27 March 2011

This little piggy goes to market...

My right wrist looks a bit like one  that has suffered a 1000+1 unsuccessful suicide attempts; the culprit is my I-should-know-better-but-never-do-character  and this:


I bought it at the markets  for 15 Euros and the seller informed me that the red stones were "resin de corail". Well, whatever it is, half of the red tint is now on my skin. My friend  A.,  in her pragmatic French way simply told me that I should not have paid "un centime de plus que 5 Euro, et encore !!".

Soaking it in vinegar  didn't help, going  back to find the seller didn't help either:  he was  gone, no doubt looking for another goat!

Which brings me to a little warning from the "do-as-I-suggest-not-as-I-do" department:

The many  local Paris markets are an absolute delight of  sounds, colour, scents and temptations, but only buy if you know the seller or else  expect to find that the lovely bananas have died on the short way home, the strawberries (apart from the 3 top ones) have no resemblance to the ones that looked so fresh on the stand, the echalottes are older than you and the potatoes have turned  green faster than a political opportunist.

You see, the market people don't like you to perform "self-service" and they are very very fast at spotting their tourist from afar: s/he is the one that dresses like s/he thinks the French dress.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Tango of the Archangel

My Moon Boot is off and so am I, doing some touristing at loooooong last and even some culturing as one should when in Paris. Just came back from the the opening of a Van Dongen exhibition (don't we say "vernissage" anymore?, the invitation was to the "inauguration de l'exposition..."). I dont know the visual arts very well, so, of course,  I completely fell for what must be  the most showy piece among showy pieces:  the "Tango of the Archangel":


There is something I find enticingly sensual in the juxtaposition of  a nude female body and a fully dressed male figure. I wonder if that is just me, or if that's normal...  ,


And, while speaking of Archangles:  has the question "Was Schindler Archangel or Mephisto? "  ever been answered definately? (Psssssst: personally I found Mephisto always more interesting than his heavenly counterpart).


Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Sarkozy's war

Having been here in Paris for the last 2 or 3 months, housebound because of a broken ankle, I have overdosed on the wall-to-wall political panel discussions that France Television offers, and so now I am, of course, an expert on French politics! ;)

One fact, however, which does not need my TV-acquired  political expertise  is, that the impetus for going to war against Libya  (also known under the euphemism of “intervention to save the Libyan people from their tyrant, Gadaffi) came from President Sarkozy.

Where my new-found political nous comes into play is in my unashamedly home-made  interpretation of his motives and there are three, in my notsohumble opinion:

Firstly Sarkozy's popularity is down down down - and it’s only a year or so to the next presidential elections. He, like many politicians believes the furphy that going to war makes him popular with the “people”.

Secondly, he is still embarrassed by his failure to immediately aligning himself (and his government) with the winning side in the  recent  “spontaneous (ha!) Revolution” in Tunisia and he wanted to play the strong man.

Thirdly, he is probably even more embarrassed for having kissed Gaddaffi’s derrière and allowed the grotesque Colonel  to put up his tent in the Elysee gardens, yes  literally his  TENT, during his recent “triumphalist” visit to Paris.





 


And no, there is no 4th motivation for starting this stupid stupid stupid and dangerous war, like for example “hatred of oppression”.

Here is what Peter Hitchens (brother of the other Hitchens?) wrote about that one:
 
"...If our guiding principle is a hatred of oppression, then we don't apply it as a principle. In which case it isn't one. We don't intervene in the long term in China, Zimbabwe, North Korea (China massacred its; 'own' people in Tiananmen Square and those responsible are still in charge). We haven't intervened in Iran despite the grisly street massacres last year. We didn't intervene in the short term when Syria shelled its own people in their homes in the city of Hama. We aren't intervening against the Bahraini and Yemeni governments, both of which have been treating their 'own people' with severe violence..."

A little blog statistic

My middle-name being "not-staying-the-distance" this little blog might not stay alive, but, if it does, this post will probably embarrass me later since I am completely new to blogging and know nothing about statistics. Luddite that I am, I pen it anyway, because I was sooo surprised at the result when I looked up how many other bloggers are interested in "fighting anti-Semitism" that I clicked on my other interests and this is what I found:

Politics: 502,000
Mozart: 397,000
Leonard Cohen: 121,000
Schubert: 18,000
Jacques Brel: 9,100
Barbara: 4,200
Gregorian Chants: 3,600
Georges Brassens: 116
"Nearly everything": 56
"Fighting Anti-Semitism": 1 (and that was me)

When I changed  to "Anti-Semitism" without the "fighting" I shared my interest with 19 others, among them one whose favorite book was Hitler's "Mein Kampf". So I assumed he was rather into it than against it, unless he has a wicked sense of humour.

I then tried the milder (and in my case more accurate) "speaking out against anti-Semitism", and I'm still alone in that.

And so I rest my case, which I have not made here yet, but will, sooner or later ! ;)

Monday, 21 March 2011

Letter to Melanie Phillips

 
I sent this letter to my email contacts this morning:
 
Subject: murdering Jewish babies is okay, naming the beasts who do it is not !

Hi peeps,
 
Melanie Phillips (read her book "The world turned upside down"!!!) is being "investigated" aka persecuted  for this article, and not because she omitted to include "our" (ha!) ABC in the media pack that reported this massacre as if it was the victims' fault....
 
I have no time for comments, because I have to rush to the bathroom to vomit in disgust!
 
Herzlichst
Rita
 
 
and then forwarded it to Melanie Phillips, one of my heroines:
 
You brave Woman!!!!
Thank you for not giving in nor up!
Greetings from Australia (although I am spending some months in Paris France at the moment).
Sent this to my list this morning, quite a few of my acquaintances are of the left - some tell me that they simply put my "missiles" into the junk bin, unread, but if even one or two of them get a little contaminated by "what is right and what is wrong", it's worth it.

Please, if you can at all, continue the fight, you are one of the most articulate ethical voices in the world today!
 
Warmly
 
Rita xxxxxxSydney
at the moment: Marais/Paris France
 
PS: incidentally, I am not Jewish, I am German and it is as a German that I am absolutely enraged that such a short time after what my fathers did, the same vilification of the Jewish people is allowed (even fostered) to happen again, and therefore I am doing at least one thing every day to fight this nasty, murderous anti-semitism, be it as small as buying a salad bowl made in Israel. Yesterday I bought 3 kgs of manarins in a little Paris supermarket who proudly advertised them as coming from ISRAEL. Living alone, I will probably overdose in Vitamin C, but they taste  wonderfull and I shall patronise this little supermarket now every day and eat lots and lots of Israeli mandarins!
 

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Parisian tidbits

Okay, time to start paying at least a few of my dues to  the title of my embryonic blog.

I hate heat, humidity and sunshine so, each year, I exchange desperately  sweating  through  Australia's hottest summer months for delightedly goosepimpling through  the coldest Paris winter months.

Last year, while I was here, it snowed!  Snow it Paris is something else! And graffiti in the snow in Paris is something else yet again, have a look:


Ahhh, Paris, the city of "I-Love-Yous" and the city of closeness when it comes to  parking.



Not that I would dare driving in Paris, despite the fact that,  as a pedestrian, you get the thrill of confronting mortality each time you cross the road, even when the green little traffic-light-man is showing that  it's your turn now, provided  you are fast. The Parisian car driver not only does not try to avoid you, he actually actively AIMS for you - none  of that I-am-safe feeling we have in Oz when crossing a road.

But I'd still rather be a human  pedestrian crossing  the Place de la Bastille, than an animal (other than a pet) in France.

Peter Singer, where are you when you are really needed??? !!!!

Free Range eggs are far more difficult to find here than Pate de foie Gras, and while I'm not quite sure about the spelling of the latter, I know about  the method by which that one is made.

Have to stop now, am invited to my friend A.'s place for dinner. Hypocrite that I am, I will not have the courage to tell her that little pigs are people too, and lovely people at that, when she serves her delicious speciality, a very typical French winter dish: "endives au jambon" And I fear, she will have spared no (financial) expense and serve  Paté de foie gras aux truffles as a first course, in honour of the Australian visitor....

Pontius Pilatus signing off.
A+

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

A little note TO Paris from Oz


"Here's a little inspiration for us:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRj6RZ3nFpU


Though maybe this is more our style:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3H2FLRUtdmU "
Awwwwwwwwww, I just LORVE it, SMF ;)

First Steps by Luddite me

I actually still dont know how to post. Trying it out now. The instructions being in French (since I am here in Paris) dont help, since I am a Luddite and only know a limited computer vocab in English.

To the accidental tourist here: it will get better, it will HAVE to get better.
See you again.

Sunday, 27 February 2011