Le Père Noël existe ! (Santa Claus exists !)


(To read in English, scroll down.)

À plusieurs occasions, notre jeune président a répondu aux ouvriers renfrognés en disant, « Je ne suis pas le Père Noël ! »

Saperlipopette ! Si Emmanuel Macron n’est pas le Père Noël, qui est-ce ??? Est-ce que le Père Noël existe ???

Cette semaine nous avons eu la preuve que le Père Noël existe et, de plus, Emmanuel Macron l’a rencontré !

Il a été si pressé qu’il ne pouvait pas attendre Noël. Il est allé lui parler dans sa résidence d’été. Quand même, le Père Noël ne passe pas toute l’année au Pôle Nord.

Ainsi Emmanuel Macron est monté dans son avion présidentiel, une chose de moins sur sa liste de Noël cette année, et il a fait un vol de 6h30. Puis il a fait un peu de route à travers le désert et il s’est trouvé devant le Père Noël.

Il ne le reconnaissait pas à première vue car le Père Noël ne portait pas ses habits d’hiver, rouge et plein de fourrure blanche. Il a été habillé toute en blanc. Le Père Noël a demandé au petit Emmanuel ce qu’il voulait pour Noël. Emmanuel a expliqué qu’il avait baissé dans les sondages et il avait besoin d’un bon résultat économique pour remonter.

Le Père Noël a bien rigolé en disant, « Les doigts dans le nez ! » Puis il a dit à Emmanuel, « Je vais commander :

12 avions de guerre Rafale, avec une option sur 36 de plus (€1,1 milliard)

50 Airbus A321, avec option sur 30 autres (€5,5 milliards)

Un métro ET un tramway du SNCF/RATP (€3 milliards)

et une lettre d’intention pour 490 véhicules blindés Nexter (€1,5 milliard).

Avec une commande pareille, €11,1 milliard, tu vas créer des emploies et tu vas surement monter dans les sondages, mon petit ! Ho ho ho !! »

Le petit Emmanuel est renté à Paris si heureux avec sa visite chez le Père Noël. En arrivant chez lui il a tout raconté à Brigitte en disant, « Il est vraiment chic le cheikh Tamim ben Hamad al-Thani de Qatar…euh je veux dire, le Père Noël ! »


Santa Claus exists!

On several occasions our president, Emmanuel Macron, responded to disgruntled workers saying, “I am not Santa Claus!”

Gee whiz! If Emmanuel Macron is not Santa Clause, who is??? Does Santa Claus exist?

This week we had proof that Santa Claus exists and, what’s more, Emmanuel Macron met him!

He was in a such a hurry that he couldn’t wait for Christmas. He went to see him at his summer home. You don’t really think that Santa Claus spends the whole year at the North Pole, do you?

So, Emmanuel Macron got into his presidential plane, one less thing on his Christmas this year, and off he went on a six-and-a-half-hour flight. Then after driving for a while through the desert, he found himself standing in front of Santa Claus.

He didn’t recognize him at first because Santa Claus wasn’t wearing his winter clothes, red with white fur. He was dressed all in white. Santa Clause asked little Emmanuel what he wanted for Christmas. Emmanuel explained that he had gone down in opinion polls and he needed some good economic results to go up again.

Santa Claus got a good laugh out of that and said, “That’s a s easy as falling off a log!” Then he told Emmanuel, “I’m going to place an order for:

12 Rafale fighter jets, with an option for 36 more (€1.1 billion)

50 Airbus A321 airliners, with an option for 30 more (€5.5 billion)

A metro line and a tramway from French state-owned companies (€3 billion)

and a letter of intent for 490 Nexter armored military vehicles (€1.5 billion).

With an order like this, €11.1 billion, you are going to create more jobs and you will surely go up in the opinion polls, my little friend! Ho ho ho!!”

Little Emmanuel went back Paris so pleased with his visit to Santa Claus. When he got home he told Brigitte all about his trip saying, “He’s really a nice guy that Sheikh Tamim ben Hamad al-Thani of Qatar…uh I mean, Santa Claus!”


Harvey Weinstein: the monster we created

The collective moaning and groaning about Harvey Weinstein goes on and on and grows louder and louder as more and more people jump on the bandwagon.

But no one seems to be asking the right question: Why was he allowed to continue his sick behavior for so many years? I would be willing to bet dollars to donuts that most people in the entertainment industry, the press and many political leaders were all aware of his out of control sexual appetite. Yet, it was allowed to go on for years and years.

Now that it has come out into the open, the crowd gathers around, picks up stones and starts throwing them with all their might. Hmm, reminds me of a story about a wise man who found himself standing before a hate-filled crowd ready to throw stones. He simply said, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” As his words sunk in, one by one they dropped the stones and walked away.

But today the stones are flying. And it is those who enabled Weinstein’s actions for so many years that are throwing the hardest.

What we all need to think about is how did Weinstein become this monster who felt totally justified in using his position to use and abuse women.
He became that man because of the society we have created. Just as those in the entertainment industry, the press and the politicians enabled Harvey Weinstein, our society has been Dr. Frankenstein creating oh so many monsters. And we all stand by and let it happen. We are all enablers (enabler, noun: one who enables another to persist in self-destructive behavior, such as substance abuse, by providing excuses or by making it possible to avoid the consequences of such behavior).
We have enabled our society to become one in which pornography is not only accepted, it is on our TV screens. What was considered pornography when I was young (I am 63 years old) is on TV screens today and is considered completely normal and acceptable viewing.
Pornography is everywhere today because it is on smartphones. Children are being exposed to pornography at younger and younger ages on school playgrounds because of smartphones.
Some might be shaking their heads and wondering why this old fogey is talking about pornography. They might think porn is harmless.
I beg to differ. Porn probably turned Weinstein in to the monster he became. Porn plants in its victim’s mind the idea that women are simply a source of short-term pleasure. Objects to be used and thrown away. Because they begin seeing women in this way, it is very difficult for them to build a true relationship with a woman. They live in a fantasy world where women do what I want, when I want.
The real world is not like that. So, they continue living in their fantasy world to get their ‘real’ pleasure elsewhere because a wife will never live up to that fantasy world.
And when a man like that becomes successful and has power and authority, he can become a monster. Our society has given him that permission through the self-centered, individualistic messages that it transmits day and night. “Get what you want when you want”; “if it feels good, do it”; “there is no right or wrong, we’re free to do what we want”; etc., etc., etc.
And to all those expressing their righteous indignation about Harvey Weinstein…Where was your righteous indignation when Bill Clinton was playing sexual games with a young White House intern? Where was your righteous indignation when ‘50 Shades of Grey’ encouraged acts which put women in the position of passive victims to men’s desire for domination? Where was your righteous indignation when characters in ‘Game of Thrones’ behaved exactly like Harvey Weinstein?
Drop your stones and do a little soul-searching. We are all guilty of enabling a society which allowed Harvey Weinstein to become what he is.

Continue reading

Freedom of Speech and Charlottesville

“I Disapprove of What You Say, But I Will Defend to the Death Your Right to Say It.” This quote is attributed to Evelyn Beatrice Hall, a British historian.

This quote takes us back to a time when freedom of expression was taken seriously.

Alas, we live in an age when people are easily offended and this freedom of speech is being set aside to protect those overly-sensitive souls who cannot bear hearing something they disagree with.

What took place in Charlottesville was a small group of people exercising that freedom of expression. I, as a grand majority of Americans, disagreed with them. But they do have the right to express themselves. That freedom of expression is in the Bill of Rights which was added to the Constitution to protect our freedom. You remember the Constitution? It is the like the instructions with IKEA furniture, not always easy to understand (look at our presidential election) but useful. The Constitution explains how our country is supposed to function. Freedom of expression is one of the guaranteed rights that we all have.

Are we ready to throw out that right of free speech? If we do, what do we throw out next? Freedom of the press or freedom of religion? I know a lot of people want to throw out the right to bear arms, but again when you throw out one right where do you stop?

This subject needs to be addressed. We are on a slippery slope here. It is not just Charlottesville. It is university campuses across our nation that are refusing to allow freedom of expression.

So, how should we react when someone expresses something we do not agree with? Well, we could get angry and fight with them. Oh, that means we are denying them that freedom of speech. Some would say freedom of speech is fine but not for everyone. We have to make an exception for racists or for Al Gore or for __________________ (fill in the blank, everyone has someone they think deserves to be muzzled). But remember that pesky Constitution and it’s Bill of Rights…

If we are not going to get angry and fight, then how should we react when someone expresses something we do not agree with? Well, we could follow the example of Martin Luther King and Gandhi, non-violent protest. And they both applied this means of reaction when confronted with violent people who wanted to take away their freedom of expression!

Imagine a movement of people who disagree with racists which organizes a counter-demonstration by lining the streets, silently and non-violently, turning their backs to the racists to show their disagreement.

If that had been done, the press would have reported; “A group of racists marched today in Charlottesville. Non-violent protesters lined the street in silence. Afterwards everyone went home.” No big deal. And a much better outcome.

I think that would have been the intelligent way to show disagreement while respecting their constitutional right of expression.

Or even better, just ignore them. Let them have their little rally and say, “You guys are so lame we’re not even going to waste our time on you.’ Again, no big deal.

And that is exactly what this event in Charlottesville should have been, no big deal.

Hail to the Chief

Today Donald Trump will be sworn in as the President of the United States of America.

I must admit that 18 months ago, I told friends that the Trump campaign was giving everyone a good laugh and a good show but he would never be the Republican candidate. As he grew stronger and stronger during the primaries I could only shake my head and wonder what was going on.

I did not vote for him, voting instead for Libertarian Gary Johnson to show my disappointment in the two big candidates. But our constitutional system worked as our Founding Fathers established it to.

Today Donald Trump will be sworn in as President of the United States of America. The people have spoken and I accept their choice. It is not the result I wanted but so be it. I am not going to whine and cry about the outcome of the election. It would never cross my mind to boycott his inauguration, well since I have never been to an inauguration and probably never will this is not really an issue for me. But I am shocked by those elected officials who are boycotting the inauguration. They are elected to represent all their electors. They are elected to a position of responsibility in which they put the constitution first and their personal feelings second.

And the idea of those who would like to disrupt the presidential inauguration leaves me baffled. I understand that people do not like him but disrupting an inauguration is a slap in the face of our constitutional system.

This inauguration is a testimony that our constitutional system is alive and well. This is something that Americans take for granted. They do not realize how incredible it is to live in a country which has been quite stable under one constitutional system for more than 200 years.

I live in France and in the same 200 year period this country has gone through an emperor, several kings and is in its 5th republic. And a certain number of politicians over here are calling for a constitutional convention to establish a 6th republic.

While the United States, applying the ideas of the French philosopher Montesquieu on the separation of powers, established a very stable constitution that has withstood the test of time. The idea of disrupting a presidential inauguration shows a total lack of appreciation and respect for the system that guarantees their right to throw temper tantrums. It would be good for these people to spend a few months living in Turkey or Venezuela or Zimbabwe. They might then realize how fortunate they are to live in the United States.

Today Donald Trump will be sworn in as President of the United States of America. I am nervous, just as many of you are. I do not know what to expect from President Trump, just as many of you do not. But I refuse to give into fear and a mountain of ‘what-ifs.

From election night my attitude was, regardless of who won, “I am going to pray that this works out for the best.” Too many people have already passed judgement even though he will only take office today and he has not yet done anything. Of course, he has said and has tweeted things which got people worked up but there is often a big difference between what candidates, presidents-elect and presidents say and what they do.

And what I have come to feel in recent weeks about President Trump can be summed up by that great philosopher, Mick Jagger:

“You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.”

Today Donald Trump will be sworn in as President of the United States of America. Could it possibly be that he is what we need?

Our world is stuck in a system in which all our political leaders are playing the same game of being politically correct with each other. They seem to be part of the a ‘World Leaders Club’ which has a tacit agreement that no national leader will criticize what takes place in another country, even if it should be criticized.

What makes people nervous about Trump is that he is not polically correct. He says what he thinks and everyone is so used to the previous status quo that they are shocked.

Let me offer two examples of events since the election that illustrate this point.

The first was a few days after his election when he accepted a telephone call from the Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. “How dare he go against the tacit agreement that no one in the ‘World Leaders Club’ communicates with Taiwan’s president!”

Why should China be able to dictate who other world leaders talk to? Why should China be able to act like a schoolyard bully in south-east Asia and no one dares speak about it? Why should the world accept in total silence China’s forced annexation of Tibet and their efforts to eradicate the native Tibetan culture? Why should China be able to dictate that no world leader can receive the Dalai Lama and why does everyone bend over backwards not to offend China on this point?

Maybe we need someone like President Trump who is going to be politically incorrect and who speaks about things that need to be addressed.

The second example was just a few days ago, when President-elect Trump was interviewed by two European journalists, British and German. Among the comments that shocked those who are used to the usual polite comments between friends, was the President-elect’s thoughts on Angela Merkel making a “catastrophic mistake” taking in so many Mideast refugees and calling NATO “obsolete.”

“How dare he criticize Merkel and NATO!” It does not matter that the entire world thinks she made a mistake by taking in so many refugees (and everyone seemed to ignore that before the ‘catastrophic mistake’ comment he expressed his respect for Mrs. Merkel). It is just something that those in the “World Leader Club” do not say! The same for the NATO comment. Some things are better left unsaid.

Today Donald Trump will be sworn in as President of the United States of America. And that might turn out to be a good thing for the United States and the world if he manages to shake up the status quo and the hypocritical, politically correct attitude of political leaders, journalists, et al.

As the Rolling Stones say, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.”



The Mrs. and I saw the movie “Trumbo” last night and it is very good. It’s about the “Hollywood Ten” a group of blacklisted scriptwriters, and in particular Dalton Trumbo the unofficial leader of the group, during the Communist scare of the 1950s. We see the support they received (very little), the betrayals they suffered (very painful) and, finally, the victory they won (very satisfying).

This movie is a reflection on what happens when we let fear rule us and decide to go against the basic rights set down in our constitution. These men were blacklisted because they belonged to the Communist Party.

As the movie begins we read that the Communist Party developed during the depression years and that as the Soviet Union became our ally against Hitler, membership increased rapidly. The US government did not allow criticism of “Uncle Joe” Stalin during World War II. There was nothing wrong with being a member of the Communist Party at that time.

But with the cold war Communism became something scary and being a communist was unacceptable; unacceptable to the point that the 1st amendment right of free speech was side-lined concerning communists.

These ten scriptwriters were never accused of spying or being involved in actions against the government of the Unites States. They simply belonged to a political party that had existed since 1919 and one day certain people decided their 1st amendment rights no longer counted.

This story is something we are reliving today. People against guns want to do away with the 2nd amendment. But once you undercut one amendment what’s to stop you from undercutting others.

People with certain sexual orientations are using the scare tactic of ‘intolerance’ to browbeat those who disagree with them, trampling on their 1st amendment rights of freedom of religion and freedom of speech. They make full use of their 1st amendment right of freedom of speech but want to deny the same right to others, just as the right of freedom of speech was denied to the Hollywood Ten in Trumbo.

This movie is a reminder of the damage done when the rights ensured by our Bill of Rights are ignored. What was done to the Japanese-Americans during World War II was disgusting. German-Americans were not rounded up and put in detention camps. But because Japanese-Americans were “different”, their 1st amendment rights didn’t matter.

Can we learn from the past or are we doomed to endlessly repeat it?

Still standing, head held high

People gather to pay respect for the victims of a terror attack against a satirical newspaper, in Paris, in Paris, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. Masked gunmen shouting "Allahu akbar!" stormed the Paris offices of a satirical newspaper Wednesday, killing 12 people, including the paper's editor, before escaping in a getaway car. It was France's deadliest terror attack in living memory. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Demonstation in Paris following the terrorist attacks in January.  Manifestation à Paris à la suite des attaques terroristes en janvier. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

(Descendez pour la traduction en Français.)

There have been far too many terrorist attacks around the world and, for the moment, it does not seem to be letting up. How can we react to this sad, oppresive situation? It is up to each one of us to remain standing, head held high and to keep the attitude; this too will pass.

Throughout history people have been forced to live through difficult situations and they often had to endure much greater difficulties than we are presently experiencing, the occupation of their country by enemy forces, genocide, being sent to labor camps, etc.

There were two types of people who came out of those experiences. The first type was those who were broken, full of anger and resentment that they often held onto for the rest of their life. The second type was those who held their head high with the attitude that they were not broken and after surviving what they did nothing could stop them from living a good life and finding love and happiness.

There is a song which captures this spirit, Polonaise by Jon and Vangelis. Jon Anderson, the lead singer of Yes, collaborated with the Greek synthesizer musician, Vangelis Papathanassiou, in the 1980s.

At that time the shipyard workers in Gdansk, Poland, led Lech Welesa, created the Solidarnosc trade union, the only trade union in the communist bloc of Eastern Europe that was not controlled by the Communist Party. It went beyond being a simple trade union and became a social movement advocating civil resistance to improve workers’ rights and to instigate social change.

The Polish government reacted by declaring martial law and sending riot police against Solidarnosc. Inspired by the struggle of the Polish people to stand up with their heads held high and insist that change had to come, Jon and Vangelis wrote this song.

It captures the spirit that all of us, confronted by this senseless, savage violence, need to embrace; strong, united and, as in the picture above, still standing, head high and not afraid.

Here is a video with the lyrics of the song. (I’m not satisfied with this video with its beautiful images of beaches and sunsets but it’s the only one with lyrics I could find.)




Toujours debout, la tête haute!

Il y a trop d’attaques terroristes autour du monde et, pour le moment, il semble que cela va continuer. Comment réagir à cette situation triste et pesante? A chacun de nous de rester debout, tête haute et de garder l’attitude : ça aussi, ça passera.

Au cours de l’histoire les hommes ont dû traverser des situations difficiles et souvent ils ont vécu des situations beaucoup plus difficile que la nôtre, l’occupation de leur nation par une armée étrangère, le génocide, des camps de travail, etc.

Deux types de personnes sont passés par ces expériences. Le premier type, ce sont des personnes qui restent brisées, pleines de colère et de ressentiment qu’elles gardent souvent jusqu’à la fin de leur vie. Le deuxième type, ce sont des personnes qui gardent la tête haute avec l’attitude qu’elles n’ont pas été brisée et après avoir survécu à cette expérience elles savent que rien ne pourra les empêcher de vivre une bonne vie et de trouver l’amour et le bonheur.

Il y a une chanson qui capte cet esprit, Polonaise par Jon et Vangelis. Jon Anderson, le chanteur de Yes, a collaboré avec le musicien grec Vangelis Papathanassiou dans les années 1980.

A ce moment-là les ouvriers du chantier naval de Gdansk, en Pologne, avec Lech Walesa à leur tête, ont créé le syndicat Solidarnosc, le seul syndicat en Europe de l’est qui n’était pas contrôlé par le parti communiste. Solidarnosc est devenu beaucoup plus qu’un syndicat, il est devenu un mouvement social qui prônait la désobéissance civique pour améliorer les droits des travailleurs et pour entreprendre des changements sociaux.

Le gouvernement polonais a répondu en déclarant la loi martiale et en envoyant la police anti-émeutes contre Solidarnosc. Inspiré par la lutte du peuple polonais de rester debout ave la tête haute et d’insister que le temps de changement était arrivé, Jon et Vangelis ont écrit cette chanson.

Elle capte l’esprit, que nous tous avons besoin d’embrasser, face à cette violence sauvage et insensée ; forts, unis et, comme dans la photo ci-dessus, restons debout, tête haute et sans peur.

Ci-dessus la vidéo avec les paroles en Anglais, je n’ai pas trouvé les paroles en Français. (Je ne suis pas satisfait de cette vidéo avec ses images de plage et de coucher de soleil mais c’est la seule avec des paroles écrites que j’ai pu trouver.)


Dealing with Paris terror attacks


(Decendez pour la traduction en Français.)

I have been too busy since August to do anything with my blog but recent events in Paris push me to express two points that have been spinning around in my mind this past week.

The first point is the pessimistic, victimized way everyone is speaking about these events. On November 19th the French Prime Minister, Manuel Valls said of the November 13th terrorist attacks, “The operation was meticulously prepared and it was methodically executed.”

While I agree that the operation was meticulously prepared, I would like us to give second thought to this supposed ‘methodical execution.’ Was the execution of this operation a great success for ISIS?

The three suicide bombers around the stadium north of Paris blew themselves up and only killed one other person. The attack was meticulously prepared but something went totally wrong with the execution. Their goal was surely to either blow themselves up outside the stadium as the spectators were arriving or to go into the stadium and blow themselves up during the match. But for some unknown reason, for which we can be very thankful, they blew themselves up after everyone went into the stadium and they did not get in.

This is not methodical execution.

And what about the Bataclan, was that part of their project ‘methodically executed?’ Three men with automatic weapons go into a theater which seats 1,500 people and only 89 were killed. I do not want to seem callous when I say that. The loss of 89 lives is terrible but it is a minor miracle that the number was not much higher. These “wannabe” terrorists did not seem to have the heart to kill their hostages. There are some testimonies of people who were allowed to leave. This team was not capable of causing the amount of death and mayhem that their Syrian handlers wanted to see.

This is not methodical execution.

The third team which drove around shooting up restaurants was the best example of methodical execution. But at the end the only surviving terrorist of the three teams could not take the final step of blowing himself up. ISIS released a statement claiming responsibility for the attacks and praised the eight brothers who were declared martyrs for detonating their explosive belts. But only seven of the eight terrorists blew themselves up. Salah Abdeslam did not blow himself up and phoned a friend in Belgium asking him to drive down to Paris and pick him up. His inability to follow through to the end gave French and Belgian investigators the opportunity of quickly understanding a lot of the logistics behind the attacks and to weaken this international network.

So while the third team did show methodical execution, Salah Abdeslam, another ‘wannabe’ terrorist, realized he didn’t have what it takes.

So, please, let us stop speaking about these terrorist as if they are so capable and methodical. We do need to be careful; we do need to be prepared. Their operations are often meticulously prepared. But their execution is not always methodical, often made up of ‘wannabe’ terrorists who don’t know what they are doing and are just as scared as we are.

Let us be grateful that the death toll was not much higher. It could easily have gone over 200.

In reaction to the January attacks, the French had a much more upbeat attitude, “We’re still here and we’re not afraid. Life goes on and we won’t let you get us down.”  We need to reawaken that defiant, in-your-face, French pride once again. John Oliver, a British humorist, expressed this quite well in his vulgar but funny tirade (see below, I am terribly sorry if anyone is offended by the language) about the terrorists.

My second point is about how to respond to these attacks. I am for the military strikes against ISIS, I am even for cooperation with the Russians even though I think Putin is an extremely dangerous man. Military action to limit the growth and the organization of ISIS is necessary. I am also for the Anonymous hackers group targeting them. If they can reveal their financial information and hurt them financially, that would be great.

But what is the best response for your average man or woman when faced with such violent, barbaric and immoral behavior? First of all, turn off your TV and spend time with family and friends, get out in nature and take a walk. Spending too much time in front your TV, watching non-stop coverage of these events, the same shocking footage, the same depressing information, will definitely make you feel negative and miserable.

To pull yourself out of that negative, miserable state of mind I would suggest; avoid fear, anger, hatred and a desire for revenge. Those emotions work against the person who has them. As a wise being once said, ““Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

And, please, let us avoid becoming anti-Islamic. These terrorist do not represent Islam any more than the Inquisition represented Christianity. They have killed a large number of Muslims in Iraq and Syria and blown up mosques of those they don’t consider ‘true Muslims.’ They also target Muslims in France who they don’t consider ‘true Muslims.’

What we all need in our hearts now is compassion, compassion for the victims, their families, their friends and even for the families of the terrorists. The weight of having a child that became a terrorist would be a very heavy burden to carry.

And we also need forgiveness in our hearts. I am sure a lot of people will reject this statement. How to forgive the unforgivable? What needs to kept in mind is that he who forgives liberates himself. If I hold onto the fear, hatred, anger and a desire for revenge I am only hurting myself. Sometimes the person who has hurt us does not even realize he has hurt us. I am holding hatred and anger, feeling terrible and the other person is getting on with his life with the feeling that everything is fine. Or the other person has made amends and feels that all is forgiven, while I hold onto hatred and anger. I am only making myself miserable.

When Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them they know not what they do.”, he was right. They did not know what they were doing. The Roman soldiers were just following orders. Jesus was just another rabble-rouser and the Roman Empire had a way of dealing with that kind of person. The Scribes and Pharisees and the people who had called for Jesus’ crucifixion had no idea who Jesus was and why he was important. They had made the greatest mistake possible. Jesus did not waste his time thinking about their mistake, they truly had no idea of the mistake they were making. Jesus simply forgave them and by forgiving them he liberated himself.

In the same way, we need to forgive these terrorists. These people have had their minds twisted and manipulated and can no longer see right from wrong. As the expression says, “There but for the grace of God go I.” In different circumstances any one of us could be pushed over the edge to do such things. Of course, many will react saying “never”, “not me”, etc. But that shows how little we really know ourselves. In an extreme situation any of us could become very different people.

And to compassion and forgiveness I would add the importance of prayer and/or meditation. In the past week I have seen people on both sides of the Atlantic responding to #prayforparis with comments like, “a lot of good that will do” or “we are French, we don’t need your prayers, we don’t need your religion”.

I strongly believe in the power of prayer and meditation. Not selfish prayer that Janis Joplin parodied, “Oh Lord won’t you give me a Mercedes Benz, my friends all drive Porsche I must make amends.” We are called to pray for others with a sincere attitude, wanting what is best for them. Our prayers can offer support to those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks. I also believe in life after death, their path continues and our prayers can offer support and encouragement as they make this unexpected, new beginning. Our prayers offer support to the families and friends of those who were killed, support to those who were wounded and to those who were present and were not injured but have been deeply shocked and troubled by this traumatic experience. And, as I mentioned before, the families of the killed terrorists need support. They probably raised their child hoping he/she would become a good person and then one day the unthinkable happens; their child has gone in a direction that the parents would never have believed possible.

We also need to pray for those young people who are attracted by ISIS that their conscience can help them feel that there is something not right about this group, that this is not the direction they want their life to go. Some of those terrorists on November 13th might have been struggling with their conscience and that might be why some of those in the Bataclan let some people run away and didn’t keep killing even when they had the time.

Compassion, forgiveness and prayer; those are our best response as individuals when confronted by the unacceptable.  If we go the way of fear, anger, hatred and revenge, we are following the path of the terrorist. I, for one, do not want to go down that path.




J’ai été trop occupé depuis le mois d’aout  pour travailler sur mon blog mais les événements récents de Paris me poussent à exprimer deux points qui tournent dans ma tête depuis cette semaine.

Le premier point est à propos de l’attitude pessimiste et de celle d’être une victime qui transparaît en France, quand on parle de ces événements. Le 19 novembre le Premier Ministre, Manuel Valls, a dit, « L’opération était minutieusement planifiée. Elle a été méthodiquement exécutée. »

Bien que je sois d’accord avec le fait que l’opération ait été minutieusement planifiée, j’aimerais que l’on reconsidère cette ‘exécution méthodique.’ L’exécution de cette opération est-elle un grand succès pour Daesh ?

Les trois kamikazes autour du Stade de France se sont fait exploser et ils n’ont tué qu’une seule personne. L’attaque a été minutieusement planifiée mais quelque chose ne s’est pas passé comme prévu avec l’exécution. Leur but a surement été, soit de se faire exploser au milieu de la foule de personnes qui arrivait pour le match de foot ,soit d’entrer dans le stade avec la foule pour se faire exploser pendant le match. Mais pour une raison inconnue, pour laquelle nous pouvons être très reconnaissants, ils se sont fait exploser après que tout le monde soit entré dans le stade et qu’eux-mêmes n’y soient pas entrés.

Ce n’est pas une exécution méthodique.

Et pour le Bataclan, est-ce que cette partie de leur projet a été « méthodiquement exécutée ? » Trois hommes avec des armes automatiques entrent dans un théâtre bondé, d’une capacité de 1500 personnes, et seulement 89 d’entre elles sont tuées. Je ne veux pas sembler être sans cœur en disant cela. La perte de 89 vies est horrible mais c’est un vrai miracle que le nombre de morts n’ait pas été beaucoup plus élevé. Ces soi-disant terroristes ne semblaient pas avoir le cœur de tuer leurs otages. Il y a eu des témoignages de personnes que les terroristes ont laissé s’échapper du Bataclan. Cette équipe n’a pas été capable de faire la mort et la détresse que leurs commanditaires voulaient voir.

Ce n’est pas une exécution méthodique.

La troisième équipe qui se déplaçait en voiture pour tirer sur des restaurants a été le meilleur exemple de l’exécution méthodique. Mais à la fin le seul terroriste survivant des trois équipes n’a pu franchir la dernière étape de se faire exploser lui-même. Daesh a revendiqué la responsabilité pour ces attaques en louant les huit frères qui ont été déclaré martyrs pour avoir déclenché leur ceinture explosive. Mais seulement sept des huit terroristes se sont faire exploser. Salah Abdeslam n’a pas actionné sa ceinture explosive et il a téléphoné à un ami en Belgique, lui demandant de venir le chercher à Paris en voiture. Son incapacité de franchir la dernière étape a donné aux investigateurs français et belges la possibilité de rapidement comprendre une bonne partie de la logistique derrière les attaques et d’affaiblir ce réseau international.

Bien que la troisième équipe ait bien montré une exécution méthodique, Salah Abdeslam, encore un soi-disant terroriste, a réalisé qu’il n’avait pas l’étoffe d’être un vrai terroriste.

Donc, s’il-vous-plait, arrêtons de parler de ces terroristes comme s’ils sont, si capable et méthodique. Nous avons besoin de faire attention, nous avons besoin d’être préparé. Leurs opérations sont souvent minutieusement planifiées. Mais, leur exécution n’est pas toujours méthodique, souvent composé de soi-disant terroristes qui ne savent pas ce qu’ils font et ont aussi peur que nous.

Soyons reconnaissant que le nombre de morts n’ait pas été beaucoup plus élevé. Il aurait pu facilement atteindre beaucoup plus que 200.

Après les attaques de janvier, nous avions eu une réaction beaucoup plus optimiste, « Nous sommes toujours ici et nous n’avons pas peur. La vie continue et nous ne vous laisserons pas nous abattre. » Nous avons besoin de réveiller cette fierté française défiante et confiante. John Oliver, un humoriste britannique, a très bien exprimé cet état d’esprit dans son diatribe grossier mais drôle (voir au-dessus) à propos des terroristes.

Mon deuxième point est sur le sujet : comment répondre à ces attaques. Je suis d’accord avec des frappes militaire sur ISIS, je suis même d’accord avec la coopération avec la Russie même si je pense que Putin est un homme extrêmement dangereux. Une action militaire pour limiter la croissance et l’organisation de Daesh est nécessaire. Je supporte aussi les efforts du groupe de hackers, Anonymous, de cibler Daesh. Si ce groupe peut révéler des détails sur leur financement et les gêner financièrement, ce serait formidable.

Mais quelle est la meilleure réponse pour une personne lambda quand il faut faire face à des actes si violents, barbares et immoraux ? Dans un premier temps, éteindre la télé et passer du temps avec sa famille et ses amis, sortir dans la nature et faire une balade. Passer trop de temps devant la télé à regarder les reportages sur ces événements en boucle, les mêmes images choquantes, les mêmes détails déprimants, et vous ne vous sentirez que négatif et misérable.

Pour vous sortir des cet état négatif et misérable je suggèrerais : éviter la peur, la colère, la haine et le désir pour la vengeance. Ces émotions ont un effet envers la personne qui les ressent. Comme un être très sage a dit, « La peur est le chemin vers le côté obscur : la peur mène à la colère, la colère mène à la haine, la haine… mène à la souffrance. »

Et, s’il vous plait, évitons de devenir anti-Islamique. Ces terroristes ne représentent pas plus l’Islam que l’Inquisition a représenté le Christianisme. Daesh a tué un grand nombre de Musulmans en Iraq et en Syrie et a fait sauter des mosquées de ceux qu’il ne considère pas être de « vrai Musulmans. » En France une de leurs cibles est les Musulmans qui ne sont pas considérés comme des « vrai Musulmans. »

Ce que nous avons tous besoin dans nos cœurs en ce moment, c’est de la compassion, compassion pour les victimes, leurs familles, leurs amis et même pour les familles des terroristes. Le poids d’avoir un enfant qui devient terroriste doit être très difficile à porter.

Et nous avons aussi besoin de pardon dans nos cœurs. Je suis sûr qu’un certain nombre de personnes rejettera cette affirmation. Comment pardonner l’impardonnable ? Ce qui doit-être compris et que la personne qui pardonne se libère. Si je garde la peur, la colère, la haine et le désir pour la vengeance je ne fais de mal qu’à moi-même. Parfois la personne qui nous blesse ne réalise même pas que nous  sommes blessés. Si je garde la peur et la colère en moi, je ne me sens pas bien pendant que l’autre personne, elle, avance dans sa vie avec le sentiment que tout va bien. Ou l’autre personne ayant fait amende honorable, pense que tout est pardonné, mais moi, je garde ma haine et ma colère en moi. Je ne fais que me rendre malheureux.

Quand Jésus a prié, « Père, pardonne-leur : ils ne savent ce qu’ils font. », il avait raison. Ils ne savaient vraiment pas ce qu’ils faisaient. Les soldats romans faisaient ce que leurs chefs ordonnaient. Jésus était simplement encore un autre agitateur et l’Empire romain avait sa façon de traiter de telles personnes. Les scribes et les Pharisiens et les personnes qui ont demandé que Jésus soit crucifié n’avaient aucune idée de qui Jésus était ou pourquoi il était important. Et pour cette raison ils ont fait la plus grande erreur possible. Jésus, lui, n’a pas perdu son temps en pensant à leur erreur, ils n’avaient vraiment aucune idée de ce qu’ils faisaient. Jésus les a simplement pardonné et en les pardonnant il s’est libéré.

De la même façon, nous avons besoin de pardonner à ces terroristes. Ils ont eu leurs pensées déformées et manipulées et ils ne peuvent plus reconnaître le bien du mal. Comme dit l’expression anglaise, « grâce à Dieu, je ne suis pas de leur nombre. » Dans des circonstances différentes n’importe qui parmi nous pourrait être poussé à faire quelque chose de similaire. Bien sûr, beaucoup réagiront en disant, « jamais », « pas moi, » etc. Cela montre à quel point nous ne nous connaissons pas. Dans une situation extrême n’importe qui peut devenir quelqu’un de très différent.

Et avec la compassion et le pardon, j’ajouterai l’importance de la prière et/ou de la méditation. Dans la semaine passée j’ai vu des personnes des deux côtés de l’Atlantique qui répondaient à #prierpourparis avec des commentaires comme, « ça ne sert à rien » ou « nous somme  Français, nous n’avons pas besoin de vos prières, ni de votre religion. »

Je crois fortement dans le pouvoir de la prière et de la méditation. Pas la prière égoïste que Janis Joplin à parodié, « Oh Lord won’t you give me a Mercedes Benz, my friends all drive a Porsche I must make amends. » Nous sommes appelés à prier pour les autres avec une attitude sincère, de vouloir ce qui est le mieux pour eux. Nos prières peuvent offrir un soutien à ceux qui ont perdu leur vie dans les attaques terroristes. Je crois également à la vie après la mort, leur chemin continue et nos prières peuvent offrir un soutien et un encouragement pendant cette période quand ils avancent vers un nouveau commencement inattendu. Nos prières offrent un soutien aux familles de ceux qui ont été tués, un soutien à ceux qui ont été blessés et à ceux qui étaient présents et ont échappé sans blessure mais ont été profondément choqués et troublés par cette expérience traumatique. Et, comme je l’ai dit auparavant, les familles des terroristes tués ont aussi besoin d’un soutien. Ces parents ont probablement élevé leur enfant en espérant qu’il deviendrait une bonne personne et puis un jour l’impensable arrive ; leur enfant est allé dans une direction qu’ils n’auraient jamais cru possible.

Nous avons aussi besoin de prier pour les jeunes qui sont attirés par Daesh, que leur conscience puisse les aider à ressentir que quelque chose n’est pas correct dans ce groupe, que ce n’est pas la direction qu’ils veulent suivre. Certains de ces terroristes, le 13 novembre ont dû être tiraillé par leur conscience et c’est pour cette raison, peut-être, que certains d’entre eux au Bataclan  ont laissé sortir des otages et qu’ils n’ont pas continué à les tuer même quand ils en avaient encore le temps.

La compassion, le pardon et la prière : ce sont nos meilleures réponses en tant qu’individu quand nous devons faire face à l’inacceptable. Si nous suivons le chemin de la peur, de la colère, de la haine et de la revanche, nous suivons le chemin de ces terroristes. Moi, je ne veux pas suivre ce chemin.