Christmas star


 


Warm wishes
Homely lights
Peace on Earth
Starry nights

*

Sometimes they seem to be within reach, yet they are so far away, as is our understanding of it all.
For the further we succeed in reaching out, the more we realise that we still have a long, long way to go. But then that is the precious beauty and magic of the Universe, and of life itself.

Another Christmas to cherish in every respect.
A very special, new-born Child, to protect in our troubled world.


Merry Christmas to us all
Joyeux Noël
Buon Natale 

*
 
 Text and image © Mirino. December, 2015
 

Conceptions



Les conceptions de paradis et de l'enfer sont purement spirituelles et métaphysiques. Elles sont conçues par l'homme comme destins finaux pour ceux qui perpètrent soit le bien, soit le mal. Elles sont fondamentales aux religions, mais même pour les non-croyants elles ont une signification essentielle.

L'idée de paradis immortel est cependant incohérente. Toute beauté est vitale et donc éphémère. Sa temporalité détermine justement sa beauté dans toutes ses phases. Paradis sans arbres fruitiers, fleurs, oiseaux, poissons exotiques, cascades cristallines, saisons, etc., et surtout paradis sans l'amour, sans le cycle de la vie, serait donc morne, stérile et naturellement impossible.

La vie est un cadeau extraordinaire. Un emprunt précieux.
Paradis ou enfer est donc ce que l'on peut contribuer à créer pendant notre relativement bref séjour sur terre. On peut essayer de la rendre plus belle et paradisiaque, un jardin de rêve, ou on peut contribuer à la transformer en enfer, la désolation du cauchemar. Mais notre choix ne déterminera pas notre destin final spirituel. Ceux qui essaient de rendre le monde plus beau sont toujours pleinement compensés par le résultat et la satisfaction ressentie par cet accomplissement. Mais ceux qui font tout pour rendre le monde un enfer, ne connaîtront que le cauchemar de ce dernier.

Text and illustrations © Mirino. Novembre, 2015

Fall



Quand le monde humain semble plus fou que jamais, incurablement fou et vaniteux, il y a quelque chose de rassurant et donc soulageant qui émane des saisons, surtout celle de l'automne.


On est pris de court chaque fois. Souvent on imagine que les couleurs sont plus éclatantes et lumineuses que jamais. Mais ce qui importe c'est que l'on regarde de nouveau ce spectacle fabuleux avec les yeux d'un enfant, car d'une certaine façon et mesure c'est aussi notre renaissance.


Le crescendo du cycle de la vie.
Le capter un tout petit peu est trouver et conserver un trésor glorieux et éphémère. C'est comme trouver de beaux sanguins dorés en parfait état dans une forêt. Trésors de l'automne pour les privilégiés.

 
 



Ce quelque chose de si rassurant est que malgré notre folie et cupidité, l'automne présente son spectacle merveilleux chaque année avec splendeur, grâce et générosité.


Comme l'homme de bois sage et sans âge, vêtu d'une robe éthérée et sublime.
Il est magique. D'abord il nous sourit chaleureusement, puis en baissant sa tête il nous regarde avec un petit air d'ironie et de scepticisme, nous rappelant avec subtilité et gentillesse que c'est toujours lui, ainsi que sa belle femme Gaea, mère de la terre, qui décident. Et comme toujours, depuis la nuit des temps, malgré notre vanité, on n'y est strictement pour rien.


Text and photographs © Mirino. October, 2015

Adventures in Nederland



'Dutch daze'. They were the days that appeared to be constant, especially during the dreamer's first three year period in Amsterdam. Without fully realising it, (naturally) he seemed to be in a permanent daze. This eventually led him to having quite a serious car accident, and no doubt from then on, at least until he left Holland for Paris, reality gradually began to dawn on him.

But maybe there is something about Holland that has a strange, foggy effect on this particular person, even now. He missed his return flight from Rotterdam recently, for example. A first in his lifetime. Dropped off at the airport in good time, he bought a few things, ate a sandwich, and sat near an information panel waiting for the 'boarding' sign to show up. It never did, so he assumed because of the bad weather that the flight was delayed. The next time he Iooked up, 'Departure' was signalled. He rushed to the gate to be then told that he had missed his flight.
At a cost, and even though it was late, he managed to get another flight for the following day, and then pay the extra costs on his arrival for the additional day of the long term parking previously booked.
But this is now, whereas back in the late 60's and early 70's, he was even worse. Up until the road accident, the dreamer seemed to exist in a muffled brouillard.

Previous to this serious accident, (caused by his being lost as per usual, in the lookalike labyrinth of the then modern suburbia of Amsterdam, after a drinking spree, driving slowly late at night in an old Standard 8 he had recently imported from England, and hit very hard by a flying Dutchman who had the legal right to speed across the junction from a smaller lane from the right) the dreamer had a little Fiat 500. Slowly motoring down a long, newly gravelled lane in the country during a rain storm, he made out the vague distant image of a large lorry coming towards him at full speed. The image was vague, not only because of the sheet of torrential rain, but also because of the cloud of gravel the lorry's tires were throwing up all about it and high into the air. Naturally there was no escape, no way of avoiding the inevitable. Even stationary, the cloud of heavy, wet gravel put paid to the windscreen of the poor little wine-red Fiat with a resounding shatter. The Dreamer's memory of the incident is frozen there and then. What happened following this, is no longer memory banked.
It would seem that during those years he wasn't blest with the best of motoring experiences.

In Rembrandtplein, Amsterdam, there used to be an antique market. Perhaps it still exists. The dreamer still has an old sewing machine that he bought there way back then, and it continues to work perfectly. On another occasion he bought a crocodile skin. It was about two metres long and included the head without the top jaw teeth. Almost a complete skin. It couldn't have cost a lot because the dreamer never had much money in those days, or any other days for that matter. For some reason he had this crocodile skin in his car when he was driving to Munich. Perhaps he was going for the beer fest. Whatever, it was for something he was determined not to miss. Unfortunately however, his car broke down in Arnhem. He managed to get it to a garage, but as he didn't have enough money to pay for the reparation as well as get a return train ticket to Munich, he offered the crocodile skin to the mechanic as payment. The mechanic considered it a fair deal, which no doubt it was.

The dreamer had surprising success with women, seemingly without too much effort, probably because he never did any of the initiating.
In the very first room he rented, he had a weird, one off with the owner of the flat whose husband was a tennis instructor. It's probable that she was simply seeking to even the score of her husband's alleged unfaithfulness on the courts. The dreamer was taken aback, so to speak, but at that time he didn't really object to being so used.

He remembers also a pretty Surinamese girl. It lasted for about a week. Maybe she too had planned it all prior to her leaving Holland, so it was brief but great fun whilst it lasted.
The next affair was more serious. She was married but her husband always seemed to be absent. She spoilt her young lover with delicious grilled steaks, and they blissfully listened to classical music. No doubt it was a very pleasant experience. He never stayed the night, but they had plenty of time to get to know each other well enough. She needed this perhaps more than he did. Their relationship came to dramatic end when she was obliged to have, or so she claimed, a 'termination'. Although he was sure that this was inconceivable, he nevertheless pretended to be noble enough by offering to 'do the right thing' but of course this too was impossible. She, an attractive women, was much older than he was. She already had two children of around 13 years old. The dreamer was insensitive and foolish enough to return to her apartment a few days after the alleged intervention to retrieve an ugly denim coat he must have prized. He then had the vivid impression that she was about to try to massacre him.

By that time being tired and wary of the suburbs of Amsterdam, he had the good fortune of finding a boerderijtje (little farm house) which he was able to rent. It was further out in the country, but not too far from his place of work.
As the rent was more than he could comfortably afford, he proposed to share it with a Bavarian girl that he had met where he worked and got on well with. He considered their relationship to be purely platonic. In fact for him she was more like a sister. She was good company, spoke English with an American accent, and she deep-fried battered chicken (southern fried) to perfection.
He was therefore quite unprepared, and as always naive, when one night after a few weeks, and not long before she was due to return to her Bavarian homeland, she slipped into his bed. One thing led to another, and this perhaps in more ways than he would like to imagine.

Next door to his farmhouse lived a skilled mechanic who worked for Fokker Technologies. He was very kind enough to offer to repair the dreamer's Fiat 850 coupé after the crankshaft broke. A friend of this mechanic was very fond of the Bavarian girl. There was a tangible feeling of tense animosity that this friend had for the dreamer, and innocently the latter wondered why this was so.

Years later he accepted an invitation to the 50th birthday celebration of an English artist friend who lived in Munich. At the party there was German artist he also remembered from his early Amsterdam days. The artist was with his wife, and if looks could kill, she would have done away with the dreamer then and there. Again he wondered why. Could there be a reason that he continues to be quite oblivious about?

After being discharged from hospital several weeks after his car accident, another 'friend' and his wife kindly offered to put him up in their apartment where he could convalesce for a while. Although he had been advised by the hospital not to drink any alcohol, they nevertheless drank a few beers one evening. This caused him to have a splitting headache. He was tired and wanted to sleep. During that night however, his friend's wife came to his bedside terribly distressed. She claimed that her husband was sleeping with another girl who was also staying with them at the time. In spite of his splitting headache the dreamer was nobly considerate, or naive enough, to want to console his friend's wife. He had absolutely no intention of helping to even any scores on this occasion. He would have been completely incapable in any case. He was less sure about her intentions, but he just wanted to sleep.
After half an hour or so, suddenly the person whom he thought was a caring friend simply being unfaithful, made a dramatic leap up from under the bed where he had been hiding, no doubt falsely imagining that his wife and the dreamer were in the throes of adulterous acts, and a theatrical scene then took place. It ended with the dreamer getting a black eye and a late night taxi ride home. Needless to add, it wasn't the most appropriate manner to convalesce, but it's another authentic episode of the dreamer's early, fateful history.

The dreamer's hazy period lasted into the first winter months in Paris. He drove his Fiat 850 coupé down from Amsterdam. The drive down was hair-raising enough because there was black ice on the then cobbled roads of Belgium. This caused him to skid hard into a curb, and the shock broke the right front disk brake. It meant that he had to drive the rest of the way, even on the motorway, without being able to use his brakes. The only means of eventually slowing, if not stopping, was the hand brake. Miraculously he arrived safely at his destination, thanks also to the fact that it was very late in the evening.

In Paris at the Alliance Française the dreamer studied French on certain days of the week, whilst he tried to freelance during his remaining time. He had some success. There were kind employers and unkind ones. At that time in Paris one would either be helped or hindered. An example of being hindered would be in trying with one's last, precious 'jeton' to get in touch with a would be employer via a telephonist perhaps more interested in varnishing her nails than doing what she's paid for, and totally unaware of one's desperate situation.

He met a pretty Spanish girl who was also studying at the Alliance. They got on very well. She rented a very small chambre de bonne for the short period she was in Paris.
Unaccountably he contracted a severe throat infection. So severe was it that he was unable to continue his diet of baguette, tomato and sardine sandwiches. Tomatoes and oranges, etc., cause him so much throat pain, that he was barely able to eat.
Eventually he had such a high fever that he needed urgent medical treatment. Somehow, blindly, incredibly, he found a doctor who graciously received him and cured him totally free of charge. It's probable that just the mere glance of the forlorn young figure at his front door was more than enough information for this most considerate French doctor. Yet the dreamer was at that time in no condition to know who the doctor was, or where he was located. And to this day he still hasn't got the foggiest idea.

All this may sound like strange scenarios for a soap drama series, but unrecorded memories that represent a particular period in one's life, especially when it's the life of the dreamer, might otherwise be long forgotten.
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Text and image © Mirino. September, 2015
                      

Tide



Everyone has seen the tragic photo of the little boy on the beach. It can only move the world into trying to do the right thing. But there is a conflict of opinions regarding precisely what is the right thing to do regarding the desperate efforts of migrants to reach Europe.

Angela Merkel and F. Hollande believe that preset quotas of refugees should be obligatorily accepted by every member State of the EU. But there is nothing yet full proof established to differentiate refugees who have the right to seek temporary refuge, from migrants who seem to be taking advantage of the opportunity to get to Europe in the hope of being able to reside there permanently.

The Schengen agreements don't seem to fully insure the security of the European member State confines, and is it not more the responsibility of the European Parliament to establish the necessary laws and to finance this control and security, rather than just rely on the member States concerned (whose laws differ) to try as best they can to contend with an increasingly difficult situation and all the tragedies that the problem is constantly generating?

Is declaring such an open invitation by heads of State the right thing to do? More than 2600 migrants have died this year trying to cross the Mediterranean. According to UNO, between 22,000 and 72,000 migrants have perished in the last two decades trying to get to Europe.

It has been said that Germany needs "manual workers". This may be so, but I would be more inclined to believe that Angel Merkel is mainly motivated by sentiment and personal experience. F. Holland, however, appears eager to display his concern more for demagogical motives. He closely followed Obama and made very thoughtless decisions regarding the Ukrainian crisis. Now he appears to be just as blindly following the German Chancellor.

It seems to me that if those who pretend to represent us do nothing to try to counter the problem by its roots, then the tragedies are bound to increasingly continue.
Obviously this doesn't mean a joint military engagement in Syria. It's far too late for that. But nevertheless, a considerable amount of responsibility for this human tragedy is certainly Bashar al-Assad's. Without referring to any possible future charges of crimes against humanity, shouldn't Assad be eventually obliged by international law to financially assume at least part of this responsibility?

Is it not also crucially urgent to put a stop to the criminal pursuits of traffickers and smugglers who are inciting migrants to cede to them all their resources before risking their lives by boarding whatever unseaworthy craft the traffickers provide?
If Libya has any national control regarding this, then it must also assume its responsibilities.

One is reminded of Oscar Wilde's assertion that altruism becomes an essential part of human tragedy, simply because it encourages and perpetuates it. One cures an illness by finding the essential remedy. Is the German and French solution the right cure? Or could it not be the best way of insuring that the illness becomes even more uncontrollably contagious?
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Interesting to learn from Valeurs Actuelles an editorial written by Yves de Kerdrel.
According to information revealed by The Wall Street Journal this afternoon, the family of Aylan, the little three year old boy found lifeless on a Turkish beach, was not fleeing from Syria, but had been living in Turkey for three years. The aunt of Aylan who lives in Canada had financed their voyage to Europe in order that her brother can benefit from dental treatment there. Aylan died uniquely because of this (during the crossing between Bodrum and Kos).
Yves de Kerdrel concludes by reminding his readers that this by no means depreciates the gravity of the tragedy, but it should cause us to reflect a little more regarding the difference between refugees fleeing from war, and migrants whose object is to reach Europe for reasons far less avowable.

 
 
Text and image © Mirino. September, 2015

Shadowlands



'Shadowlands' is the title of Richard Attenborough's beautiful film starring Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger. It's based on the true story of how the famous writer and Oxford University professor, C. S. Lewis, falls in love without really knowing it, or initially wanting to admit it, with an American writer, Joy Davidman, who, with her young son, wish to reside in the UK.

When Joy is eventually diagnosed as having terminal cancer, C. S. Lewis then realises how much he loves her. His love for her engenders the moral boost that gives her a lease of a few months more of life, in the most poetical way, for Joy Davidman has been in love with C. S. Lewis perhaps from their very first meeting.

The romantic beauty of the film is determined by its sensitivity, the truth of how the power of love often creates relative miracles, and of course, the magnificent Oxfordshire countryside. The performances of Anthony Hopkins, Debra Winger and Joseph Mazzello, the little boy who plays her son Douglas, are wonderfully sensitive. All the supporting actors' performances are splendid.

It was produced in 1993, but like all fine works, the poetry lives on in the most moving way.
From experience one can be most aware of the truth that emanates from this film, and how time is relative.

When we are young, a day seems endless. I remember the perfume and the hiss of the grass on special summer days. The smell of the seaweed, the salt and sand on sea-swept beaches, the tar on the stones and the brick-red sandy cliffs. Those sights, sounds and scents still seem more vivid than any other similar recollections since, even though with time we develop far more discernment and become more aware of our environment.

As we grow older the days fly past and we tend to lose track of time. But love seems to defeat time in the same way as time has no hold on art.
The last scene of the film seems to illustrate this thought gloriously.
C. S. Lewis is striding contentedly along the path in the valley of the breathtaking English countryside. Then, coming into view from the foreground we see young Douglas gaily running down the hill to join him, followed by an apparently new member of the family, an equally happy young dog.

Naturally it's always heartbreaking to lose a loved-one, but however short, the time spent with that person is still a lifetime, precious and unforgettable.
 • 
 
Texte and image © Mirino. Title from the film, with thanks. August, 2015 

Fruit défendu



Humilité. La conviction que, par rapport avec le grand tout, l'univers extraordinaire et son mécanisme fabuleux, on n'est rien. Mais malgré notre insignifiance, forcément on fait partie intégrale de cette merveille grandiose dont on connaît si peu. Si cette conviction est l'essence de toute religion, alors on est parmi les croyants.
Chez ceux qui ont la foi véritable on voit la sérénité, la confiance, la générosité, la tolérance et l'amour.

Dernièrement en France il y a eu une agression perpétrée par cinq filles contre une jeune fille en maillot qui prenait un bain de soleil dans un parc public. Selon les agresseurs le motif de leur colère (reporté dans un article de Le Figaro) était la tenue "immorale" de la jeune fille.

Cette histoire a provoqué un tollé considérable, car les commentateurs de Le Figaro ont naturellement conclu que l'agression a été incitée par des motifs religieux. Si c'était vrai, ce serait un exemple de plus de comment on assume le droit d'imposer sa culture et ses valeurs en Europe où elles sont hors de place, hors de contexte et point les bienvenues.
Beaucoup de commentaires, y compris certains proposés par moi, ont été censurés. Mais après plus de mille cinq cents commentaires, Le Figaro semblait vouloir montrer davantage de tolérance, un brin moins de zèle pour défendre le politiquement correct.

Ce qui a été aussi frappant c'est que plus tard dans la même journée il paraît que le parquet ait été sommé pour confirmer que le motif de l'agression n'ait rien à voir avec la religion. Mais comme ce motif était toujours fondé sur l'immoralité, l'objectif absurde de cette affirmation n'était que trop voyant.
On aurait pu donc continuer à imaginer cinq corbeaux malveillants en train de donner des coups de bec cruels et vindicatifs à une jeune fille en maillot qui voulait simplement prendre un bain de soleil.

Pourquoi tant d'intérêt pour un tel article assez anodin? Parce que les français ont la nette impression que l'actuel gouvernement socialiste- qui s'acharne à faire croire que l'intégration culturelle et religieuse est une belle réussite en France, et que les français sont tous des privilégiés qui, un jour, vont bénéficier de cette magnifique Utopie hollandaise- les prend pour des sans cervelles.
Evidemment il s'agit d'un autre mensonge d'Etat, et en pleine connaissance de cause, car les socialistes ne sont pas à ce point stupides pour croire que l'intégration multiculturelle marche. Le produit c'est plutôt le communautarisme sectaire, et malheureusement l'une des conséquences c'est l'endoctrinement des jeunes et leur radicalisation. Mais les socialistes ne voient que leurs intérêts à court terme. Persuadés que tous les immigrants clandestines ou non, et toutes les ethnies diverses ne peuvent que trouver la béatitude en votant socialiste, ils parient sur les chiffres, comme toujours.

La plupart des européens sont bien conscients du fait que l'Islam est incompatible avec la démocratie. Essentiellement les Musulmans soi-disant 'modérés' doivent faire des acrobaties intellectuelles pour pouvoir prétendre à s'intégrer dans des pays démocratiques. S'ils respectaient fidèlement ce que l'Islam préconisa, (et depuis 1400 ans personne n'a pas encore eu assez de poids pour oser proposer un nouveau testament/édition nouvelle des lois Coraniques) ils renonceraient carrément à vivre en Europe à proximité des infidèles que selon l'Islam nous sommes sans aucune ombre de doute.

Certains alors essaient de trouver des compromis par imposer leurs valeurs, leur culture et leur religion en espérant pouvoir influencer les uns et les autres. Mais parfois on dirait que ce soit aussi pour provoquer, ou pour se faire valoir.

Mais revenons à cette agression intolerable.
Même si le motif n'était pas 'religieux', cette agression pour cause prétendue d'immoralité met en question ce qui est 'immoral' culturellement et religieusement.
Si c'est généralement entendu que les prophètes ne sont pas des divinités, la plupart des religions, et bien évidemment les trois religions monothéistes, sont d'accord qu'il existe un seul et unique Dieu.

Dieu nous a façonnés comme on est, donc où est l'immoralité lorsqu'on expose une partie de son corps au soleil? La beauté même, est-elle immorale? Si Dieu a voulu que toutes formes de vie soient laides, c'est ainsi qu'il les aurait créées, sans exception.
Il n'y a rien d'immoral dans le corps humain comme il n'y a rien d'immoral dans les corps de toutes formes de vie saines créées par Dieu, la Nature ou le cosmos. Par contre ne peut-on avancer que ceux ou celles qui voient l'immoralité où elle n'existe pas entretiennent une forme de pensée négative qui est totalement incompatible avec la vie, la force miraculeuse du Paradis terrestre que Dieu, la Nature ou le cosmos a créée? On peut même affirmer que cette forme de pensée y est carrément opposée. Dans ce cas nous voyons encore les corbeaux haineux ainsi que la mort.

Si donc on préfère se cacher entièrement, aussi du soleil, sous un sac noir imaginant que après notre pénible mais heureusement bref devoir de vie sur terre, on sera récompensé par immortel Paradis quelque part là haut au ciel, quelle manière ignoble de louer et honorer la beauté et la magie de la vie, ce don précieux confié gracieusement par Dieu! La vie ainsi que la tolérance et l'amour. Car c'est grâce à ce dernier que la création de Dieu, la vie même, avance et évolue.

 
Text © Mirino. Image (modified) from lifehack.org, with thanks. July, 2015

The Sultans



Is our generation overly sensitive and nostalgic? Perhaps even more so if they have Scottish blood.
If I get round to wanting to write something down, but no longer with the self-inflicted pressure of feeling obliged to do so, then invariably I try to write down present thoughts.

I used to have good CD of 'Dire Straits'. It contained the magical 'Sultans of Swing'. Although I'm deaf enough to no longer be able to easily tune my guitar as before, I often recall this melody still stored in the velvet corner of my mind's acoustic bank. It has a poetical magic that moves me. I wonder if readers can understand this.

I recently came across a YouTube video of Dire Straits playing 'Sultans...' It was a live TV performance on 'The Old Grey Whistle Test' (1978) which in its time was a reference for good groups and great music in GB. Whoever had the privilege of performing on this program always gave their best, which is what it's all about, and naturally what one should always do in any case.
Today 'Sultans of Swing' is just as fresh, dynamic and evocative as ever. Mark Knopfler is one of those rare guitarists (Jimmy Hendricks was another) who are able to make their guitars sing, wail and fly off to incredible acoustic heights. No one needs to sing to accompany such guitar playing, in fact neither Hendricks nor Knopfler really bother/bothered to sing. They murmur timeless words to the fabulous melody they create/created with their guitars. Strangely one hums the melodies from memory, not from the singing of either performer, but from that melody that resounds, and will always resound fantastically from their guitars.

Isn't this also the essence of poetry, of art, and why one is emotionally moved?
Phil Collins is another. They are others, of course. They never need to dress up too much. They don't need to destroy their drums or break their guitars on the stage during live performances. The respect they have for their instruments would never permit such pointless stupidity. They are musicians, artists.

Naturally there are the wonderful symphonies created by the world's greatest composers. Replaying such great works also gives one goose pimples, but the adjectives 'classical' and 'modern' are meaningless when applied to art. No adjectives are necessary. It's art or it isn't.

'Sultans of Swing' evokes a dark and rainy Friday night south of the Thames in London. One can hear a jazz band playing Dixie. It's a local gig. There's George who knows all the chords. He plays rhythm on an old guitar. He can't afford to buy a new one (and this brings back personal memories too). There's Harry who gets by better because he has a steady job. And he plays honky tonk superbly. In the corner there are a few teenagers dressed up in baggy pants and fooling around. They don't give a damn about trumpet playing bands. It's not what they call 'rock and roll'. Then a man or the band leader steps up to the microphone. It's time to go home, but there's one more thing (that last incredible guitar solo).
Isn't this fabulous? Poetry, art.

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Text © Mirino. Image- (slightly retouched) with thanks to musicradar.
July, 2015

Civilisation



The French PM, Manuel Valls, recently affirmed that the war against terrorism is 'une guerre de civilisation' (a war of civilisation). This affirmation caused considerable controversy, even in the socialist camp. Nevertheless, it raises interesting questions and obvious paradoxes.

The actions of those who regard themselves as jihadists, who freely interpret seventh century Koranic verses and impose sharia laws, can hardly be considered civilised. Civilisation is, or should be, in constant evolution, not only in function with technological progress, but in function with the evolution of thought itself.

The obvious paradox in the case of Islamic extremists, is that although they reject modern democracy, they have never rejected the technological progress determined by this freedom. Their war would have been stillborn had they deprived themselves, according to any religious principle, of the use of modern weapons and digital technology.

Of course ancient Greek history is far more glorious than recent Greek history, which makes today's Greek tragedy all the more dramatic. Yet in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, if Persia was the only possible choice as to where to go to study all that was then known in the field of medical science, for example, it was thanks to the studies of the ancient Greeks whose medical works were first translated into Arabic.
Isn't this also an example of making good use of a science developed by another civilisation? Certainly when it was apparent that for religious reasons medical science even in ancient Persia could not be developed further than a fixed level. Due to the imposition of Islamic law, the study and practice of anatomy was, and perhaps still is, prohibited. And this religious ideology was bound to continue to limit all forms of scientific and technological progress that determine civilisation as we know it.
Many philosophers would agree that when an ideology is established, the ideologue retires from thinking.

Imagine the state of the world if the New Testament was dismissed in favour of the old, bigoted, incoherent and intolerant Testament. The Old Testament virtually grants license to practice the worst crimes imaginable.
After years of religious exploitation that determined the tyranny of absolutism in Europe, the love and tolerance of Christianity according to the New Testament, was to finally bring about a general reconciliation, even though 'civilisation' also had to contend with two World Wars in the final process.

In France towards the end of the eighteenth century, absolutism was rejected so vehemently, that Catholicism was virtually decapitated with it. France today, especially when influenced by its special brand of socialism, still appears to have qualms about Catholicism based on the birth of the Republic from the bloodbath of the Revolution.
Sometimes the French seem to be just as interested in Royal Family affairs as the British, and can one not discern a degree of sadness, nostalgia and disillusionment that might also stem from the sacrifice of faith in favour of prosaic laicism that appears to have its own special pedestal or altar in France?

Democracy however, has to be based on laicism. This is also essential to modern civilisation.
So in conclusion, to where might all this lead us? Is French PM Valls right in suggesting that the war against terrorism is a war of civilisation? Yes, if we are to believe that the confrontation is between 'modern civilisation' and 'ancient civilisation'. But if we are to believe that those who perpetrate atrocities in the name of God, those who exploit religion to impose their terror and totalitarianism; then no. Such devil's disciples can never be considered civilised beings in any epoch of the entire history of mankind.


Text © Mirino. Images- screen shots from 'Cross' 11/9/2011 Youtube, with grateful thanks.          July, 2015

Parallels



Am I missing something, totally misinformed? Should we all be comforted by the thought that Nobel Prize winner Obama, staunch David Cameron, podgy F. Hollande and Angela Merkel are doing what is necessary to keep the horrendous Russian bear at bay?

Perhaps Obama hopes to gain in the public opinion polls. Cameron might be reading Churchill's memoirs. Podgy soldier Hollande, marching closely behind Obama, might be hoping that some sort of aggressive diversion could be a way of avoiding to reimburse Russia for the costly Mistrals already paid for that the French President might eventually have to sink. This whilst his Spanish PM exits to Berlin with his sons to see the football final (Barcelona/Juventus) on French tax payers' money. Of them all, perhaps the souvenirs and sentiments of Angela Merkel would justify her stance.

Thus our war ships are gallantly riding the waves of the Baltic Sea; and how dare the Russians send a fighter jet to patrol the air above them! American tanks and heavy arms are positioning themselves on the borders of Poland and Lithuania. Steadfastly we lever the old bellows to fan the glowing embers of conflict.

For the sake of liberty, naturally. But the Ukrainians who voted in favour of maintaining their Russian identity, all those who culturally feel more Russian than part of a State whose government cannot possibly be considered representative of all of the Ukrainians in any case; do the staunch defenders of democracy dismiss them and their liberty?

The Ukrainian presidential elections were due to take place in March, 2015. Because of the problems in Crimea and eastern regions of the Ukraine, the elections took place earlier, the 25th May, 2014. Would it not have been better to first try to settle the issues correctly and diplomatically rather than precipitate the elections in the hope that the results, supported by the USA and the EU, perhaps for strategic reasons, will be accepted either peacefully or forcibly?

Imagine the clout of American public opinion in support of a hypothetical community of Americans living elsewhere under a regime who refused to recognise and respect their identity, and this even after they had voted to retain it. Imagine the pressure on Obama to defend their cause.
Or was Margaret Thatcher's courageous military engagement in the Falklands officially to preserve the democratic rights of the British living there, more a false pretext to retain control of an important strategic territory?

We seem, in any case, to be living in the past. Would David Cameron have treated the Scots who voted for Scottish independence as "rebels"? If Scotland had voted for total independence, would the British Prime minister have dismissed the results and used brutal seventeenth century military methods to force the Clans to swear allegiance to England and the Crown? Would there have been another massacre of Glencoe?
Can one not make such absurd parallels to the dangerous absurdity that is taking place in the Ukraine, and to the bellicose reactions of the USA and the EU? Or is Russia also completely out of step in wanting to try to defend the Ukrainians who identify with their mother country?
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Text © Mirino. Image (modified) with thanks to dreamstime.com. June, 2015

Expressions of silence



After months of having abstained from writing comments for the press, a decision perhaps encouraged by what appeared to be a change of policy of Le Point, who, without warning decided to deprive their commentators from having access to their comments unless they pay for the privilege, I find myself returning once more to the fray.

Why? I ask myself, when I am living in a little paradise and should completely relax and enjoy it, instead of deluding myself with the thought that by writing messages sent in corked bottles, they might find their way to distant shores to be uncorked, the messages read and even appreciated by people who matter, people who have enough clout to change the world for the better.

Perhaps it's because I care that such little paradises continue to remain so. However, when one reads Le Courrier della Sera, for which I have also started again to try to write comments in my own brand of zoppicante italiano, one is aghast by the lackadaisical manner in which the EU is treating illegal immigration.

During my first vacation visit to the USA many years ago, several art directors and publishers in NYC led me to believe that I could easily make 'a fortune' if I chose to live there. Although I was already aware that the Americans are often over generous with their praise, I was convinced enough to go through the motions of trying to obtain a work permit and visa for a two year period, mostly for the experience. 
The idea was quickly abandoned because none of those initially so enthusiastic about my work were inclined to make the necessary legal commitment to the US authorities to justify and thus permit my relatively brief professional sojourn in the USA.

I refer to this because such rigorous US control even in the late seventies, contrasts starkly with Europe's wishy-washy attitude today that seems to be based on what is now considered as political correctness, or in this particular case- false and irresponsible altruism.
It also brings to mind Oscar Wilde's views on altruism, one of the ever proliferating weeds that grow from political correctness.
To open one's door to the needy, seems a noble act. But such nobleness depends on other factors. It depends on the real motives of those who claim to be in need. It depends on the respect they have for the generous host. It depends on the capacity of the host to receive them. For if in the process of opening one's door to the needy, one's home and one's health end up in ruins, no one benefits.

To my knowledge the EU have done nothing to modify the Schengen agreements. This means that hundreds of migrants who have been persuaded to part with their hard earnt savings to pay criminals for the illusion of reaching 'Eureldorado' using the most flimsy floatable means, will continue to risk their lives and those of their families to do so. Indirectly the EU is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of would be immigrants as well as for the criminal activity of those who exploit such weakness.
This institutional parliament full of technocrats who pretend to represent us, but who appear to be more concerned about Brussels-sprouts than with the tragic loss of human lives, seems oblivious of what is in fact its responsibility. The control of illegal immigration is not the responsibility of each European State bordering the Mediterranean, for example. This is simply because once an illegal immigrant has managed to get a foothold in Europe, thanks to the present Schengen agreements, he or she is virtually free to go anywhere within the European Union.

If we are to believe those who anticipate democracy eventually destroying itself simply by continuing to apply its own essential principle, it's then possible that uncontrolled immigration can eventually lead to what today we might still consider to be totally inconceivable. 
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Text © Mirino. Image- One of the celebrated door paintings of the village of Valoria (Liguria, Italy). With many thanks to the artist. June, 2015

Bad air




Dans leur élan paradoxal de prétendre à remédier les nombreux problèmes français, les socialistes, incarnés surtout par François Hollande, font systématiquement l'inverse de ce qu'ils devraient faire, idéologie oblige. Ceci a été le statu quo depuis l'élection de F. Hollande. Son élection même est un paradoxe qui semble indiquer que la maladie avait déjà frappé la France si elle est capable d'élire un tel tartuffe aussi incapable.
Réputé pour être un des plus mauvais Présidents français, sinon le plus mauvais Président dans l'histoire de la France, il se comporte néanmoins comme s'il était la réincarnation même du Roi Soleil.

Pour relancer l'économie il commence son mandat par pénaliser financièrement les entreprises et par dénigrer le patronat, et ceci en pleine crise économique. Par pure demagogie, entouré par les ministres riches, soigneusement choisis, parfois des millionnaires et même des multimillionaires, il declare publiquement de ne pas aimer les riches. Il provoque donc une scission sociale inouïe, comme si une telle division fût partie essentielle de son programme politique.

Au lieu d'améliorer l'Education Nationale, il la rend pire en imposant des mesures extravagantes, inutiles, superficielles et idéologiques, tout en négligiant les problèmes radicaux, comme faire en sorte que les élèves puissent compter, lire et écrire.

Pour prétendre remédier les problèmes de sécurité, de pollution et de l'inconfort sonore à Paris, par exemple, les socialistes comptent imposer des zones où on ne peut pas rouler à plus de 30 km/h, et parfois 20 km/h en voiture. Dans ce bassin naturel fameux pour ses concentrations d'air pollué, c'est une mesure totalement incohérente.
Circuler aussi lentement à Paris, forcément en deuxième ou troisième vitesse, créera bien plus de pollution, de congestion et donc de l'inconfort sonore.
Une solution bien plus réaliste aurait été d'investir dans les parkings modernes à l'extérieur pour limiter aux particuliers l'accès à la capitale en les obligeant d'utiliser un service public propre, pratique et efficace.

Puis récemment ils n'ont trouvé rien de plus constructif à faire que de chasser des touristes modestes. C'était à anticiper, car si on veut gagner un peu d'argent grâce à ses propre biens, ses propres efforts et à ses propres risques, il faut avoir le plein aval du gouvernement, surtout un gouvernement socialiste.
Pourtant dans le cas de Airbnb, au moins pour commencer, il aurait fallu être flexible, utiliser un minimum de bon sens, et de faire confiance, ou faire mine de faire confiance.

Qui parmi ces touristes peut séjourner dans les meilleurs hôtels? La plupart n'ont pas les moyens de séjourner dans un hôtel point. Airbnb était un moyen, aussi en France, de résoudre le problème et de faire croître le tourisme sur lequel la France largement dépend économiquement.

Mais au lieu d'encourager cette initiative en France, l'Etat actuel semble vouloir la tuer.
Pour que ça marche, la simplicité ainsi que les bas prix étaient primordiaux. S'il y a trop de bureaucratie, si les prix dépassent un certain niveau, c'est logique que les touristes vont séjourner ailleurs. Pour un Américain, séjourner en Italie au lieu de la France, serait géographiquement quasi la même chose, mais encore plus agréable si les prix sont généralement bien plus abordables. Comment voulez vous qu'un touriste se sente bien accueilli dans un pays dont le gouvernement tient à le taxer même avant qu'il arrive, et qui pénalise un propriétaire qui tente d'arrondir ses fins du mois pour pouvoir payer ses charges excessives?

Airbnb est très concurrentiel. Les prix sont obligatoirement bas. D'ailleurs il y a toujours une limite déterminée par ce que l'on a à offrir. Basculer cette limite, décourager les propriétaires et surtout les touristes par des considérations à côté de la plaque, est aussi une autre forme de suicide économique.
Que les propriétaires soient découragés par ce qui risque à l'avenir de devenir une chasse obsédée, est déjà évident. Les conséquences seront plutôt négatives pour le tourisme français donc aussi pour l'Etat.
Puis on semble être bien moins zélé à l'égard des immigrants clandestins (futurs votants des socialistes selon la manière gauche de raisonner) qu'à l'égard des touristes, au détriment des petits commerçants qui dépendent surtout sur ces derniers pour survivre.

Mais les socialistes brillent à détruire tout ce qu'ils touchent. On dirait que leur objectif est de répandre la médiocrité et la pauvreté de manière générale et au plus vite. Pour le mettre en œuvre donc ils imposent des mesures contre productives de manière quasi tyrannique. La soi-disant réforme de l'Education Nationale est essentiellement un très bon exemple.
Manifestement les socialistes n'ont rien de mieux à faire que de toucher de l'or pour le transformer en plomb.
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Text and image (with apologies) © Mirino. May, 2015

Mute souvenirs



Deafness runs in the family. At school it was thought that I was what they then called 'a late developer'. I was also persuaded of this because my mind freely wandered. I preferred to dream, but in fact I was growing quite deaf due to Osteoporosis. Apparently it didn't bother me too much. Perhaps because deafness is also conducive to drifting into Dreamland. 

An eminent Otologist informed me relatively recently that there are about twelve cases like mine in Nice, France; victims of the delicate operation Stapedectomy* performed by an aesthetic surgeon then based there, who turned out to be a charlatan. To cite the phrase of this far more qualified Otologist : 'il entre, fait un massacre, puis il sort' (He enters- the ear- performs a massacre, then exits).
*Stapedectomy is the removal of malfunctioning stapes to be substituted with a tiny, single protheses in the middle ear.

But naturally the victims are the first responsible because obviously they are the first concerned. Initially they should take the necessary steps to make sure that their choice of surgeon is the best possible option. In my case I simply, naively relied on the opinion of my then father-in-law, a General Practitioner, whose judgement I implicitly but foolishly trusted at that time. Being then new to France, virtually under his wing, without health insurance and with limited resources, it then seemed to me to be a reasonable opportunity, certainly if, according to a respected doctor, the aesthetic surgeon is fully qualified to perform such operations.

Yet after the disaster, (of which I am constantly reminded by the cacophony caused by severe tinnitus) how is it that a young foreigner can rapidly obtain information regarding the existence of one the best clinics of Otology in France, of which an experienced French GP apparently knows nothing about?
In fact it was the Clinique d'Otologie of Jean Cause in Beziers, who tried very hard to restore a small degree of hearing to my massacred left ear, but it was irredeemable.

To be as fair as one possibly can with a charlatan, the first stapedectomy operation that in this particular case I fully gained from, was carried out by a Doctor Wright at Middlesex Hospital in London. I was 19 or 20 years old then. The operation was quite new in those days. In fact this particular surgeon was knighted for his very fine work. I still benefit from the hearing that my right ear is capable of discerning, thanks to him. This even though I also need a hearing aid. But my left ear is only good for holding pencils, and constantly producing internal cacophonous sounds that would drive most people less accustomed (or conditioned) more insane than even I am.
It was less known at the time of this first operation on my right ear, that one should not indefinitely postpone a similar operation on one's other ear. But a few years after the first operation, I left England to work abroad, and the years sometimes seem to flip by imperceptibly. One could therefore argue that a second operation on the other ear was somewhat overdue.

In any case the aesthetic surgeon lost his licence to practice. After being ousted from the medical profession, he seems to have disappeared.
The above image is a sad souvenir. All that remains of the original, as far as I'm concerned, is a poor 35mm transparency. It was on finding this transparency that brought it all back, like a distant seagull's sad lament, because immediately after the operation, as a token of gratitude, I gave the original art of this early work carried out in Holland in the seventies, to the aesthetic surgeon for his 'thoughtful care and attention'. Perhaps I also imagined that by making such a gesture, he would go easy on me regarding his fee, but this too would emphasise how 'gullible' I was at that time..
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Text and image © Mirino. May, 2015

Piccolo pensiero primaverile





Questo luogo ha l’aria di una specie di 'Hobbit Shire'. Un piccolo paradiso nascosto dove tutti si conoscono e si apprezzano. Ognuno ha il suo pezzettino di terra che coltiva con cura ed amore.
Essere accettati qui è quindi un privilegio, che manifesta oltretutto l'intelligenza, l’autentica generosità e magnanimità dei locali.
Essendo accolti in maniera così gentile, non ci si può che sentire 'a casa', felici.



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Text and photos © Mirino (with thanks to Rob). April, 2015

Little Miss Muffet
























Little Miss Muffet
She sat on a tuffet
Eating of curds and whey

There came a great spider
Who sat down beside her
              Then formally bid her good-day.          

Little Miss Muffet
Rose up from the tuffet
And asked the spider to go

                 The spider replied                
 (In a form of aside)
 Of things Miss Muffet should know

'A King was inspired
 By the efforts untired
    Of a brainless ancestor °

A thread was spun,
Then a battle was won:
    Web of circumstantial law'. 

Little Miss Muffet
Grew hot in a huffet
                 Having no time for history                

With a fatal spoon gest
     She then flattened the pest.  
  Scoring irony's victory. 



° Whimsical allusion to the legend of Robert the Bruce
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Parody and drawing © Mirino. April, 2015

Mightier than the sword



Les suffisants, bien pensants, donc politiquement correct, étaient aussi ceux qui tondaient les filles prétendues collaboratrices après la fin de la deuxième guerre mondiale et l'occupation de la France. Il n'y a pas de différence entre assumer le rôle de ce genre de justicier frustré, revanchard, cruel et mesquin, et être le premier à jeter la pierre de lapidation.

Les vrais héros ne jugent pas la faiblesse des autres, car ils sont les premiers à savoir que les moments de faiblesse peuvent parfois engendrer par la suite des moments d'héroïsme.
Mais les vrais lâches affichent toujours leur lâcheté de manière claire et nette, qu'ils soient les justiciers hypocrites tondeurs de filles prétendues égarées, ou ceux qui tuent des innocents au nom de Dieu.

On peut approuver ou non les idées de certains, mais aujourd'hui avoir le courage de ses convictions et de les exprimer, est devenu quand même rare dans une société conditionnée à suivre la foule qui, elle aussi, est formatée par les média.

La société française politiquement correcte continue alors à renier Jean-Marie Le Pen. Quasi tout ce qu'il dit est donc systématiquement interprété pour correspondre avec l'image d'ogre fabriquée par les média depuis des lustres.
Par conséquence, pour faire plaisir au beau monde, ce monsieur notoire lâche parfois des déclarations de poids assez ambiguës pour permettre à ses détracteurs de sauter facilmente aux interprétations qui leur conviennent le mieux. Qu'importe si essentiellement les déclarations de JMLP sont assez lucides et reflètent quand même une certaine vérité lorsqu'elles sont interprétées intelligemment, car c'est le politiquement correct qui doit toujours prévaloir et l'emporter.

Plus raffiné et intelligent que sa fille, n'est ce pas une erreur grave de jugement de réduire systématiquement cet homme au rôle de 'court jester',  fou de l'établissement politique, (forcément politiquement correct) l'avocat du diable du milieu politicien? Certes ce rôle est important, peut-être plus important que celui joué maladroitement par sa fille, mais ne peut on pas avancer que s'il avait été pris un peu plus au sérieux pendant ses meilleures années, peut-être ce scénario politique répétitif et lassant n'aurait jamais eu lieu? Peut-être cet homme bien rodé, lucide et expérimenté, ce fameux révélateur d'hypocrisie qui joue toujours le rôle que l'on attend de lui, aurait pu contribuer de manière plus constructive et positive aux affaires politiques françaises.

Malgré les opinions des uns et des autres, à tort ou à raison à son égard, une chose semble certaine, que lorsqu'on est capable de renier publiquement son propre père, on est capable de renier sa patrie.

Pour terminer ces observations sans doute contestables, considérons un peu le sens du mot 'laïque'. Dans la défense d'une idée qui aura des connotations religieuses, on ne cherchera jamais le soutien d'un personnage comme Jean-Marie Le Pen. Mais ça importe peu. Au sens de ce mot, qui depuis l'élection de F. Hollande semble avoir été attribué un pouvoir sectaire ou religieux en soi, est simple. Il s'agit de la non gérance de l'Etat dans les affaires religieuses, et de la non gérance de l'Eglise dans les affaires de l'Etat. C'est clair et sans ambiguïté.
Mais malheureusement l'Etat semble avoir oublié ce principe ainsi que le sens du mot 'laïque'. Lorsque en hommage à la mémoire de Jean-Paul II on projète de nommer le parvis de la Cathédrale Saint-Sernin (Toulouse) 'Parvis Saint Jean-Paul II', François Briançon du PS dénonce cette décision comme "inopportune" et "inutile". Selon Monsieur Briançon, "Jean-Paul II n'est pas une personnalité qui rassemble, mais une personnalité qui divise". (...).
Cette affirmation incroyable de la part de ce membre peu connu du PS est sans doute fondée sur le fait que le Saint homme n'aurait pas été tout à fait d'accord avec certaines lubies prétentieuses qui défient l'ordre naturel des choses et provoquent bien plus de scission sociale que jamais Jean-Paul II aurait pu faire pendant toute sa vie, en pleine connaissance de cause ou non.

Mais plus important encore, voilà un exemple flagrant de l'ingérence de l'Etat dans les affaires qui ne le regardent aucunement. Puis où est la cohérence de renier un projet louable et honorable soutenu par ceux directement concernés, tout en donnant un soutien tacite sinon carrément une promotion gratuite et sans vergogne pour multiplier par deux la quantité de mosquées à construire en France? Où est la pratique de la soi-disant laïcité de la part de l'Etat à cet égard? Ne peut-on pas conclure que 'la laïcité' selon les socialistes, représente un prétexte de plus, donc un moyen d'exploitation afin de perpétuer le socialisme? Mais ironiquement, et bien plus sérieusement, les socialistes ne se rendent pas encore compte à quel point ils ont tort.


Text and image © Mirino. April, 2015

Smile


C'est facile de juger, généraliser et comparer, et c'est souvent injuste, mais je sais que beaucoup de français seraient aussi d'accord avec les observations suivantes.
Si sourire était l'essence de la générosité, ne pourrait on pas dire que les Italiens sont parmi les plus généreux? Par contre, parfois on a la triste impression que rien n'est gratuit chez les français, y compris le sourire. Parfois quasi tout y semble être un devoir ardu.

Par exemple, même si on a payé cher pour la livraison d'une commande en France, le fait que la commande soit enfin livrée (un jour ou deux en retard, si on a de la chance) nous remplit d'une telle reconnaissance béate qu'on dirait que le livreur a fait le tour du monde à pied et à la nage pour y arriver. Mais il faut un bon pourboire pour réussir à obtenir le vestige d'un brève sourire avant qu'il ne s'en aille péniblement à nouveau.

Mais la France joyeuse, généreuse et dévouée, où est elle donc passée depuis la belle époque de belle lurette? La Grande Guerre, la grande illusion, la Deuxième Guerre, cruelle, hypocrite et tragique, étaient elles pour quelque chose? Puis Algérie, la trahison inguerisable, aboutissant éventuellement aux années machiavéliques et cyniques, les années nocives de Mitterand.
Sans doute ce cynisme, composé de la fausse générosité, du partage de la misère, de la médiocrité et de la mesquinerie politiquement correct y sont certainement pour quelque chose.
N'est-ce pas le mitterandisme qui a semé les graines toxiques et contagieuses du politiquement correct français? La maladie s'est répandue insidieusement contaminant tous les partis politiques, y compris ceux prétendus extrêmes, et les média semblent en jouir s'assurant que personne ne soit épargnée.

Le politiquement correct est essentiel au socialisme français. C'est un code de conduite tacite qui vous accorde le droit d'avoir raison, même si vous avez catégoriquement tort. Il protège ceux qui n'ont pas besoin d'être protégés, et il ignore ceux qui en ont besoin. Il engendre les parasites et il perpétue la pauvreté. Il congédie le talent, ne récompense jamais le mérite, et se contente de la médiocrité. Du socialisme français politiquement correct émane en permanence une arrogance moralisatrice incohérente et totalement injustifiée.
C'est pour cela que c'est un rare plaisir de voir en France un perfectionniste tellement pris par son métier, que ce soit la plomberie, la maçonnerie ou la charpenterie, etc., qu'il ne regarde pas l'heure. Pour lui c'est parfaitement naturel de travailler bien plus longtemps, s'il veut ou s'il estime nécessaire, que la période pour laquelle il a été payé.

Mais quand travailler représente une tache tellement ardue que même faire la grève devient un passe-temps raisonnable, ou bien on se consacre à planifier pour prendre sa retraite le plus tôt possible, ou on facilite systématiquement l'éducation des enfants au point où ils n'ont plus envie ni besoin d'apprendre quoi que ce soit, alors si on avance à peine, ce n'est que vers le néant.

Comment persuader certains plombiers français d'accorder un moment de leur temps précieux de venir réparer une petite fuite?
Mais regarder travailler les Italiens, ceux qui sont passionnés par leur métier, ou plutôt leur vocation, est une joie. Suis je naïf de croire qu'avec eux on sait toujours où on est? La vie est donc simple, et jamais trop chère non plus. Même quand ils pourraient prendre avantage d'une situation, leurs devis sont, pour la plupart, raisonnables. Ceci on sait déjà d'expérience. Et ce n'est pas un délégué qui vient faire le travail non plus, c'est le chef d'entreprise lui-même qui vient se salir les mains, et lui il a toujours un beau sourire.

Peut-être s'agit-il du sourire de la liberté, car lorsqu'on organise sa vie pour être maitre de son destin, on est aussi libre d'en jouir. Mais quand sa liberté dépend ou sur un Etat figé par l'idéologie, ou sur un système d'administration qui marche au ralenti, (s'il n'est pas carrément coincé dans la profondeur abyssale de sa propre paperasse) on ne peut pas jouir de quoi que ce soit. On est aussi obligé de marcher au ralenti, et par conséquence on est aussi carrément coincé, ce qui n'est jamais propice au sourire.

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Text and vignette (from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland) © Mirino. March, 2015

Falling water




Falling water
Forgone words
Fulfilled wishes
      Soaring birds      

Sweet memories
Silver moons
Shrouding mists
Windswept dunes

 Whispering leaves
                             Winter lights                          
Window lattice
 Crisp, cold nights

Clear streams
                            Cumulus skies                          
Carmen sunsets
              Smiling eyes              
                                     
Sublime dawns
Shimmering dew
Scented days  
Flow anew  

Falling water


°

Text and image © Mirino. March, 2015

Heaven and hell



Since the end of the afghan-soviet war, the Muslim world seems to have yielded to a socio-religious regression. No doubt the religious fanaticism was always latently lurking, ready to pounce back again after dismissing the efforts of revolutionary heroes such as Massoud, amongst others. The visionary efforts of Atatürk in the thirties were similarly rejected. One presumes there's a silent Muslim majority who disapproves of certain Sharia laws. A good proportion of this tacit majority might even believe that Muslim women have as much right as Muslim men to benefit from all forms of education, social and professional opportunities.

The real men, the heroes, could never imagine that by freeing women by a rule of law from an imposed obligation of wearing a mobile prison, or by allowing them exactly the same rights and opportunities as they themselves have, would represent an impious threat to civilisation. Or would God create beauty for it to be shrouded from head to foot in black or grey for as long as it lasts? Should we hide beautiful flowers in full bloom under black tarpaulin so that they suffocate and whither away prematurely? Should we banish birds of paradise to substitute them with crows, rooks and ravens?

The venerated prophet Muhammad is not God. He is not the son of God. He is not a distant relative of God. He was a self-proclaimed prophet and messenger of God. He was no doubt a good man, with the passions and healthy appetite of good men. His conviction of being a prophet and messenger of God came from his revelation from the alleged visit of Gabriel during a period when Muhammad sought seclusion in a mountain cave.
Intellectuals of the Middles Ages, such as Dante, regarded Muhammed as a scissionist, the divider of the monotheist religions, the three 'children' of Abraham.

Ironically Muhammad staunchly defended monotheism, and this alone would condemn the satanic tyranny of all Islamic extremists who naively believe they can kill in the name of their prophet and eventually be rewarded for their crimes by being absurdly granted a harem of virgins in paradise.
Essentially all religions would support the belief that there is only one God. Even science would accord that the universe and its ever evolving mechanism is not, and never could be, an accident. Is it not the creation of an 'almighty power'? Call it what you will, personify it, identify with it, as any form of intelligent life in the cosmos might also be inclined to do.

In any case hazard itself cannot logically exist. Nature or God would not recognise it. There is therefore a reason for everything. Isn't this the essential truth that governs life as it governs the stars? It engenders heroes as it does cowards, it determines the greatest statesman, and the smallest, meanest-minded, fanatic.

By venting the rabid hate that devours them, and by showing their total distain for the miracle of life, how can poor, frustrated, brainwashed beings pretend to believe in God? By extension how can they pretend to believe in and defend their prophet?
One human life is the relative nucleus of the entire universe, the sacred creation of God.

Most individuals have their own way of imagining and believing in an almighty, universal power. They don't have to wear a particular uniform, a dour, shapeless, all covering garment, or a sackcloth. They don't have to belong to a club, or go to a Church, a mosque or a synagogue to reveal or justify this. We have the right to believe according to our personal views and convictions. We also have the right not to believe, for this is how we are, how we were meant to be, by the grace of God, or the miracle of life, englobing circumstances, genetics and history.

Paradise and Inferno are not only the spiritual, polaric destinies intrinsic to religion. They don't only represent reward and punishment. Needless to add, they can also apply to how we consider our world and to what we do during our lifetime in order that it approach either the one or the other.

Nothing could be more irrational than to believe that by contributing to make the world hellish, one would be rewarded with Heaven. Those who assume the divine right to take away and destroy what God gives and creates, are worse than Lucifer. For even the devil would distain such foul pretentiousness. Let him ever possess their souls in Jahannam, for they can never be worthy of ending up anywhere else.


 
One of Viewfinders original objectives was to try to seek out the views of international readers interested enough in subjects raised to intelligently counter whatever rubbish I come up with. There must be millions of Muslims, for example, who, to put it mildly, wouldn't agree with the above. It would be interesting to know, for example, what they think about the El's recent, barbaric execution by decapitation of twenty-one Egyptian Copts in Libya.
Do Muslims believe that the Copts of Egypt (by all accounts direct descendants of the ancient Egyptians) have more ancestral rights than the invading Arab forces that imposed their religion and culture in Egypt much later in the history of the nation? Would they agree that, without having to resort to such atrocious violence, Islam is duty bound to impose itself wherever possible, and if this is generally considered not only acceptable but essential, for what motive would this be, assuming that the three monotheist religions are the generally accepted historic foundations of modern civilisation in the Middle East, Europe and the USA?
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Montage and text © Mirino. (Montage includes a transposed image from English Russia, with grateful thanks).                               February, 2015

Walking the dogs, and the cat



François Kersaudy is right to point out what is in any case evident in Le Point this morning.
'Le com', as they say in French, but is it really a mirage? Isn't carefully prepared, pampered and powdered communication via the media, with the full complicity of the latter, the only tangible way to survive politically today?
One rides the waves blissfully and serenely or one drowns beneath them cursedly and miserably according to the whims of the media. One can write an amusing article to point this out, yet again, but the truth of it, the idea that a fool can govern a country if such be the capricious wish programmed by the media and granted by their communication clout, is far more disturbing than amusing.


The thought vaguely runs through my mind as I walk the dogs, and the cat. Apart from this sad musing, the mind is relatively blank as we follow the endless dry stone walls around this picturesque village warmed by the February sun.

One hoped to contribute to correct the tendency by writing too many ephemeral comments, but that's the real illusion. Vain efforts that are nevertheless worth the hint of a smile.
Is it not better to walk the dogs, and the cat, to free the mind, appreciate the warm, February sunshine of Italy, and the amazing variety of stones?
The age of each modest pebble could make the lifetime of a mediocre politician appear to be a mere, dull and pathetic instant.


Text and Images © Mirino. February, 2015