A glorious example

The horror of the Haitian earthquake and its aftermath are covered in terrible detail, telling the story so far through images published by world press such as the Boston Globe, the BBC, the Washington Post.

One of the most unforgettable images is that of seven year old Kiki who, after being trapped for seven days and finally pulled out from the rubble, is seen smiling with his arms outstretched, as if there were never any doubt in his mind that his day of rescue and 'resurrection' would come.
When asked how he managed to survive without food and water, he simply replied, "God helped me".

This image has since become an icon symbolising Haiti courage and confidence. Indeed it's a wonderful example of faith and optimism last alluded to. Despite all the horrors of such an inconceivable reality, despite whatever resulting human weakness and shame, the fabulous image of this little boy seems to put everything into a proper and sane perspective. It dwarfs the pettiness, selfishness and the futility of so many other human (and inhuman) pursuits, frustrations and ambitions. It reduces to nothing the futureless hate and prejudice of fanatical causes. It reveals only the best of human nature by showing not only how a little boy is capable of surviving the most terrible cataclysm, but above all, by showing how he can achieve this so gloriously.
Text © Mirino (PW)  Image © Polaris/eyevine (with thanks). January, 2010

Ben Grib

He sweetly plays his violin
And taps his feet and grins his grin.
He points to stars and bows to trees
And plays duets with summer's breeze.
He talks to birds and smiles at skies
Where rainbows form through half-closed eyes.

At dusk, just like a gentle rain
He softly taps the window-pane
Then melts into the velvet night,
A silver cloud veiled in moonlight.

The spirit of optimism.
But how can you think positively when the world you have known all your life has collapsed around you, when you've lost everything including those nearest and dearest, and when all you have left are the torn, dust covered clothes you are still wearing?

Easy for others who have never experienced such an Apocalypse to seemingly brush aside the horror, the irredeemable loss of loved ones and dare to even allude to optimism!

Yet what choice does one have? Especially when, somehow, one has survived. When uncanny circumstances have permitted one to escape from an inconceivable Armageddon.
To have survived is already a miracle. And when days later there are other survivors found and rescued from beneath tons of debris, despite and because of, an enormous death toll, aren't such rare miracles still wonderful?

When you've lost everything you've nothing left to lose other than the most essential. Your survival depends totally on others for as long as necessary. You have no other choice. Sentiments such as pride and presumption have no longer any real place. Everything that you owned, that you identified with, that reinforced your ego, that made you in your mind's eye different from others, has been destroyed.
You then have no other choice but to reconcile with this, as well as with yourself.
Your survival then depends uniquely on the love and care you receive as well as give. And tomorrow is a new day.


Considering the troubled history of Haiti- especially regarding slavery, (also with France under Napoleon) and the fatidical relationship between this Caribbean country west of the island of Hispaniola, and the USA, it might be hard not to smile ironically at the noble declarations of the US President and his Secretary of State regarding US aid to Haiti. Perhaps it would be wrong to suspect any tendency to monopolise on this catastrophy for political gain, or for eventual geopolitical motives and economical interests.
In this terrible case, results will speak far louder than noble words.

Text and image © Mirino (PW) January, 2010


Lorsqu'on devient 'dur de l'oreille', écrire peut devenir plus important. Cela ne veut pas dire nécessairement qu'il faut se balader avec un petit tableau noir ficelé autour du cou, du moins pas encore.
Parmi d'autres choses inappréciées, mon ex-éditrice n'a pas compris cette volonté, ce besoin. Elle préférait que l'on soit restreint dans ce qu'elle jugeait être 'sa propre place'. C'était sa manière myope de garder le contrôle de son 'entourage créatif'.

Donc après avoir consacré beaucoup d'effort à 'raconter de nouveau' un classique de manière parodique, et étant enfin satisfait avec les résultats durement acquis, je lui ai présenté le manuscrit. 'Superbe, vas-y', (à illustrer le texte) elle m'avait rassuré.

Après encore quelque mois de travail je présente les illustrations finales, 'Fabuleuses'! elle me rassure de nouveau, 'maintenant on va mettre à jour le texte'....

Loin de moi de refuser quoi que ce soit si je crois qu'une telle suggestion contribuerait à améliorer le résultat, mais les changements qu'elle estimait tardivement nécessaires, étaient tellement radicaux que c'était évident qu'elle n'avait rien compris de ce que j'avais voulu faire, et ce que j'avais, à mon avis, réussi à faire.
Je ne pouvais pas donc accepter ses exigences et alors très fâché je lui ai dit sans équivoque qu'elle prenne ma ré-interprétation illustrée comme telle ou qu'elle ne la prenne point.

Sa réaction a été fatidique. Celui qui devait faire la mise en page, très compétent, (et aussi très obéissant) n'a plus été accordé assez de temps pour faire un travail correct. Et après peu de semaines de la publication d'un résultat mal fini, on m'annonçait qu'il faut 'brader' le livre. Bref, il était cruellement saboté prématurément. La quantité produite bradée était partie tellement rapidement, que je n'avais même pas pu en acheter, malgré mes maintes requêtes, quelque exemplaires pour moi-même.

Mais parfois dans la vie la justice poétique s'exprime. Parmi mes efforts, y compris celui qui exigeait jusqu'à quatre années de travail, ce petit livre saboté est de loin le plus prêté dans les bibliothèques. Il continue donc à vivre son petit clin d'oeil, ou sa petite mélodie de flûte, et de me faire gagner quelques sous de royalties de bibliothèque, moins que le joueur lui-même aurait du gagner, mais quelque chose au moins..

Le charme de la musique. Elle me manque beaucoup, bien qu'elle résonne toujours trop, et cacophoniquement, dans ma tête. Mais on peut s'en adapter. On peut toujours trouver une sortie pour continuer à avancer, à s'exprimer comme on veut, et ce malgré les jugements des autres, y compris ceux ou celles qui refusent toujours de payer le joueur..

Text and images © Mirino (PW) January, 2010

A princely announcement..

It could be considered that Prince Charles has started the new year with an untimely and controversial remark. The Corriere della Sera reports him as saying that he was against the Iraqi engagement. If this is true, it's surprising and disappointing- not because of his sharing an old and overexposed, common opinion, but because of publicly expressing it. 

There are other opinions, of course. Is it not, for example, insulting and condescending to suggest that the Iraqis as a people need to be 'stabilised' by a tyrannic regime?

Because the initial engagement -whether 'legally' right or wrong- was so crucial, one followed it from day to day very closely. The war itself was over in a few weeks. The first Iraqi elections underlined this.

It stands to reason that if around twenty million people had no wish to be freed from their regime, it would still exist, and the Americans would never have arrived in Baghdad in two weeks. It also stands to reason that if the people rejected the idea of democracy, they would never have established one.
Not only is it established, but despite the rabid, systematic pressure of die-hards and fanatics conditioned by al-Qaida, the Iraqis are determined to defend their democracy, and rightly so. It's value, after all, is constantly increasing.

Any destabilisation has been cruelly provoked by those who consider democracy to be a threat to their cause and objective. This is why the war in Iraq is exactly the same- in principle- as the war in Afghanistan, where one of Prince Charles' sons also briefly served.

It also seems curious that a man of his stature and supposed intelligence, doesn't seem to appreciate what is becoming increasingly obvious, that the wars, which are basically the defence of democracies that religious fanatics wish to destroy, are not simply national- Iraqi, Afghani, Somali, Pakistani, Yemeni, Nigerian, etc., they are all part of a combined, international effort.

Had Prince Charles sincerely believed that the Iraqi engagement was totally wrong, he has enough clout to have expressed his opinion loudly and clearly enough at the appropriate time, and not seven years too late.

Such a statement now seems more provocative than anything else, but it would be hard to imagine that Prince Charles thinks he needs more public attention.

Text by Mirino (PW) Modified image (with thanks to Google archives) © January, 2010

The New Year 2010..

Another new year. How many millions of us are already perched in front of the screen, the magic mirror, hoping, perhaps naively, that we can make the world a better place to live in, adding our grains of white sand to the idyllic beach before the next turgid tidal wave? But even if we are deluding ourselves, the hope in itself is positive enough.
Especially for those who are risking everything in order to tell us what's happening. The least we can do is pass their message on, continue to let the world hear their cries of anger and pain.

I had prepared several paragraphs for this post. New year wishes covering almost everything that I consider important. But the beauty and simplicity of what I saw yesterday, persuaded me to condense it to what seems to my mind the most essential.

I would like to think that the new year will inspire and encourage the highest and most respected Muslim authorities to stand up and clearly declare to the world, once and for all- assuming that the following is indeed the case- that there is no justifiable connection between Islam and terrorism or tyranny. That nothing is more blasphemous and false than to use God one claims to worship, as a pretext to practice brutal repression and perpetrate heinous crimes.

Let's wish for greater understanding between all peoples. We already have fabulous means to accomplish this, but time, like natural resources, could become more precious and essential. We need greater understanding and awareness to make the necessary commitments, develop the necessary means and concert our efforts to nurse the world back to good health, in good time.

Yesterday, driving up to a village in the mountains, I passed through a thick layer of cloud to find the sunlit sky. The view of the sea of cloud enveloping the mountains below and making them look like enchanted islands, was a wonderful sight...

Happy New Year to us all!
Text & illustration (circa 1985 for Cosmopolitan- 'How to save the world'). Photo- Alpes Maritimes 
© Mirino (PW) January, 2010