Archives for June 2008

Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

We need to forget what we think we are, so that we can really become what we are.

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Download – Magazine of Corriere della Sera

Dear readers,

You can download below The Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera’s Cover and the Story.



Today’s Question by Aart Hilal

What is your general point of view of the new generation? If you could tell them something what would you say to them?

Dare to be different. You are unique, and only who dares, wins.

La Milanesiana

Dear Readers

Here is the live broadcast widget of the event I’m participating at the foundation of “Il Corriere della Sera”, Sala Buzzati at noon (GMT+2).

We have scheduled the event for two hours in order to secure that you can listen to everything. Please bare in mind that there might be a 15 minutes delay.

If you have any difficulties in hearing the transmission, please click here:

If you want to listen the the reading of my text on the Four Elements, please click here:



Reflections of the Warrior of the Light – Through and beyond

By Paulo Coelho

A warrior of the light notices that certain moments repeat themselves.

He often finds himself faced with the same problems and situations as before.

He becomes depressed. He begins to think he is incapable of making progress in life, the difficult moments having returned.

“I’ve already been through this”, he complains to his heart.

“It is true, you have been through it”, replies the heart. “But you never went beyond it.”

The warrior then understands that the repetition of experiences have one single purpose: to teach him that he has not yet learned.

He begins to seek out a new solution for each repeated struggle – until he finds a way of conquering.

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Inauguration of Paulo Coelho street in Santiago

Dear Readers,
I wanted to share with you this magical moment in which I saw a street in Santiago being dedicated to me.
As a pilgrim, I could see the towers of Santiago afar and had the sudden realisation that I had to keep walking.

Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

A Warrior of Light cannot always choose his battlefield.
(Manual of the Warrior of Light)

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Warrior of the Light Newsletter no.175

Read the new issues from “Warrior of the Light Online” :

Issue nº 175 : The two drops of oil

Edií§í£o nº 175 : As duas gotas de óleo

Edición nº 175 : Las dos gotas de aceite

Édition nº 175 : Les deux gouttes d’huile

Edizione nº 175 : Le due gocce d’olio

Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

A responsible Warrior is one who has proved able to observe and to learn.
(Manual of the Warrior of Light)

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CIA lawyer told military in 2002 that illegal torture was ‘vaguely’ defined

I’ve stumbled upon this article by Mark Mazzetti and Scott Shane in the International Herald Tribune.

When U.S. military officers at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, struggled in the autumn of 2002 to find ways to get terrorism suspects to talk, they turned to the one agency that had spent several months experimenting with the limits of physical and psychological pressure: the Central Intelligence Agency.

They took the top lawyer for the CIA Counterterrorist Center to Guantánamo, where he explained that the definition of illegal torture was “written vaguely.”

“It is basically subject to perception,” said the lawyer, Jonathan Fredman, according to meeting minutes that were made public Tuesday at a Senate hearing. “If the detainee dies, you’re doing it wrong.”

The minutes of the October 2002 meeting give an extraordinary glimpse of the confusion among government lawyers about both the legal limits and the effectiveness of interrogation methods. They also reveal for the first time the close collaboration between the CIA and the Defense Department on harsh interrogation methods.

The meeting at Guantánamo showed how CIA lawyers believed they had found a legal loophole permitting the agency to use “cruel, inhuman or degrading” methods overseas as long as they did not amount to torture.

In “rare instances, aggressive techniques have proven very helpful,” Fredman said, according to the minutes.

At the meeting, lawyers talked openly about the “need to curb the harsher operations” during visits from observers with the International Committee of the Red Cross and about moving some prisoners to keep them out of sight at those times.

And Fredman warned his military counterparts never to videotape aggressive interrogations because they will “look ugly.”

The hearing was the first in a series of sessions planned by the Senate Armed Services Committee, which has spent the last two years investigating the origins of the harsh methods that found their way to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Much of the hearing focused on how interrogation techniques used by the Pentagon to train military personnel to withstand the rigors of captivity had been reverse engineered for use against detainees in U.S. custody. The techniques, based on the treatment that American prisoners might expect from Cold War enemies, were used both by the CIA at its secret overseas jails for suspected high-level members of Al Qaeda and at Guantánamo and other military detention centers.

A military psychologist who studies the effect of those techniques on U.S. forces told the Senate panel how concerned he was upon learning in 2002 that one of the techniques, waterboarding, was being considered for use against terrorism suspects.

“I responded by asking, ‘Wouldn’t that be illegal?”‘ said the psychologist, Jerald Ogrisseg.

The military never used waterboarding, which simulates the experience of drowning, but the CIA used it on three prisoners with the approval of the Justice Department.

Three weeks after the meeting, Mark Fallon, deputy commander of the Criminal Investigation Task Force at Guantánamo, wrote an e-mail message expressing shock at the language of Fredman and others in the meeting minutes.

Today’s Question by Aart Hilal

You are known as a writer with great influence on public. If you were the one who direct humanitarian activities, to which sphere of activity you would orientate humanitarianism : Sting is trying to rescue the tropical rain forest, Bono lectures to leaders of the strongest states, Sharon Stone collect financial resources for humanitarian purposes, Gilberto Gil is a Minister of Culture. Have you ever thought or wished to politically engaged?

I think that it is everyone’s responsibility to be involved in one�s community. I’ve always been very skeptical about people that say: “I want to save the world, help others!” This is because to save the “world” is a Sisyphus project : too abstract to actually be put into practice. What is possible – and the most difficult task – is to first look at oneself and try to identify what’s wrong. Before searching for the other, one has to find oneself.
I took forty years to find myself � to accept my dream: to become a writer. Only when I started to walk down the path of my personal legend was I able to honestly turn myself towards others: before that there were too many walls inside my soul.
I looked around me and said: “I can’t change the world, I can’t change my country, I can’t change my city, I can’t even change my neighborhood! what I can change is my street.” That’s when I went to a favela ” in Rio favelas are in the center of the city � and met a group of people that were taking care of children. Since then I’ve been cooperating with them and now we take care of 430 children.

Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

The warrior of Light behaves like a child.
(Manual of the Warrior of Light)

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Paulo Coelho and Privacy Zero – Signing

Today’s Question by Aart Hilal

Do you feel the connection with others Latin-American writers? Had the writers, such as Borges, Márquez and others have any influence on you or your work?

Of course I’m bound to other writers. Borges has been a constant source of inspiration. It’s through his novels and short stories that I found ideas that subsequently became books.
The Zahir for instance was a term that I found in one of his stories and his definition is what propelled me towards the realms of obsession.
He also guided me throughout my youth. I remember, when I only caressed the dream of becoming a writer, that I took a two day bus trip to Buenos Aires to meet him. I saw him in a caf – but didn’t have the courage to talk to him. I regret this. Specially from a man that said something that I regard as being one of the fundamental truths in life: “there no other virtue than being brave”.
With time I came to realize this: that braveness is not the absence of fear but rather the strength to keep on going forward despite the fear.

Edizione nº 175 : Le due gocce d’olio

Nella parte arte della cittadina di Tarifa c’è un vecchio forte costruito dai mori. Ricordo di essermi seduto lí­ con mia moglie, Christina, nel 1982, a guardare per la prima volta un continente dall’altro lato dello stretto: l’Africa. Allora non potevo immaginare che quel momento di ozio in un tardo pomeriggio avrebbe ispirato una scena del mio libro piú famoso, “L’alchimista.” E tanto meno potevo sognare che la storia che segue, udita in automobile, sarebbe servita da eccellente esempio per tutti noi che siamo alla ricerca dell’equilibrio tra il rigore e la compassione.

Un mercante invií² suo figlio a imparare il Segreto della Felicití  con il piú saggio di tutti gli uomini. Il ragazzo camminí² per quaranta giorni nel deserto, finché giunse a un bel castello, in cima a una montagna. Lí  viveva il Saggio che il ragazzo cercava.

Invece di incontrare un sant’uomo, perí², il nostro eroe entrí² in una sala e vide un’attivití  frenetica: mercanti che entravano e uscivano, persone che chiacchieravano in tutti gli angoli, una piccola orchestra che suonava dolci melodie; e poi c’era una ricca tavola imbandita con i piú deliziosi piatti di quella regione del mondo.

Il Saggio conversava con tutti, e il ragazzo dovette aspettare due ore perché arrivasse il suo turno di essere ricevuto.

Con molta pazienza, il Saggio ascoltí² attentamente il motivo della visita del ragazzo, ma gli disse che in quel momento non aveva tempo per spiegargli il Segreto della Felicití .

Gli suggerí­ di fare una passeggiata nel suo palazzo e di tornare dopo due ore.

– Tuttavia, desidero chiederti un favore – concluse, consegnando al ragazzo un cucchiaino da té, nel quale versí² due gocce di olio. – Mentre camminerai, porta questo cucchiaino senza versare l’olio.

Il ragazzo comincií² a salire e scendere le scalinate del palazzo, tenendo sempre gli occhi fissi sul cucchiaino. Trascorse le due ore, torní² al cospetto del Saggio.

– Allora – domandí² il Saggio – hai visto gli arazzi della Persia che si trovano nella mia sala da pranzo? Hai visto il giardino che il Maestro dei Giardinieri ha impiegato dieci anni a creare? Hai notato le belle pergamene della mia biblioteca?

Il ragazzo, vergognandosi, confessí² di non avere visto nulla. La sua unica preoccupazione era non rovesciare le gocce di olio che il Saggio gli aveva affidato.

– Allora torna indietro e conosci le meraviglie del mio mondo – disse il Saggio. – Non puoi confidare in un uomo se non conosci la sua casa.

Adesso piú tranquillo, il ragazzo prese il cucchiaino e torní² a passeggiare per il palazzo, questa volta prestando attenzione a tutte le opere d’arte che pendevano dal soffitto e dalle pareti. Ammirí² i giardini, le montagne circostanti, la delicatezza dei fiori, la raffinatezza con cui ogni opera d’arte era collocata al giusto posto. Di ritorno al cospetto del Saggio, riferí­ dettagliatamente tutto cií² che aveva visto.

– Ma dove sono le due gocce di olio che ti ho affidato? – domandí² il Saggio.

Guardando il cucchiaino, il ragazzo si rese conto che le aveva versate.

– Ebbene, questo è l’unico consiglio che ho da darti – disse il piú Saggio dei Saggi. – Il segreto della felicití  sta nel guardare tutte le meraviglie del mondo e non dimenticarsi mai delle due gocce di olio nel cucchiaino.

Édition nº 175 : Les deux gouttes d’huile

En haut de la petite ville de Tarifa se trouve un vieux fort construit par les Maures. Je me souviens de m’íªtre assis lí  avec ma femme Christina, en 1982, et d’avoir regardé pour la première fois un continent de l’autre cí´té du détroit : l’Afrique. í€ ce moment-lí , je ne pouvais pas songer que cet instant de paresse en fin d’après-midi inspirerait une scène de mon livre le plus célèbre, l’Alchimiste. Je ne pouvais pas non plus imaginer que l’histoire qui suit, entendue dans la voiture, serait un excellent exemple pour nous tous qui cherchons l’équilibre entre la rigueur et la compassion.

Un certain marchand envoya son fils apprendre le Secret du Bonheur avec le plus sage de tous les hommes. Le garí§on marcha quarante jours dans le désert, et il arriva í  un beau chí¢teau, en haut d’une montagne. Le Sage que le garí§on cherchait vivait lí .

Mais au lieu de rencontrer un saint homme, notre héros entra dans un salon oí¹ se déroulait une activité intense ; des marchands entraient et sortaient, des gens discutaient dans les coins, un petit orchestre jouait de douces mélodies, et il y avait une table abondamment garnie des plats les plus délicieux de cette région du monde.

Le Sage parlait avec tout le monde, et le garí§on dut attendre deux heures que vienne son tour.

Très patiemment, il écouta attentivement le garí§on lui annoncer le motif de sa visite, mais il lui dit qu’il n’avait pas le temps alors de lui expliquer le Secret du Bonheur.

Il lui suggéra d’aller faire un tour dans son palais et de revenir deux heures plus tard.

« Cependant, je veux vous demander une faveur, poursuivit-il, remettant au garí§on une cuiller í  thé, dans laquelle il versa deux gouttes d’huile. Pendant votre promenade, tenez cette cuiller sans laisser l’huile se renverser. »

Le garí§on commení§a í  monter et descendre les escaliers du palais, gardant toujours les yeux fixés sur la cuiller. Au bout de deux heures, il retourna auprès du Sage.

« Alors, demanda ce dernier, avez-vous vu les tapisseries persanes qui sont dans ma salle í  manger ? Avez-vous vu le jardin que le Maí®tre des Jardiniers a mis dix ans í  créer ? Avez-vous découvert les beaux parchemins dans ma bibliothèque ? »

Le garí§on avoua, honteux, qu’il n’avait rien vu. Son seul souci était de ne pas renverser les gouttes d’huile que le Sage lui avait confiées.

« Alors, retournez voir les merveilles de mon univers, déclara le Sage. Vous ne pouvez pas faire confiance í  un homme si vous ne connaissez pas sa maison. »

Tranquillisé, le garí§on prit la cuiller et retourna se promener dans le palais, observant cette fois toutes les Å“uvres d’art accrochées au plafond et aux murs. Il vit les jardins, les montagnes autour, la délicatesse des fleurs, le raffinement avec lequel chaque Å“uvre d’art était mise í  sa place. De retour auprès du Sage, il rapporta dans les moindres détails tout ce qu’il avait vu.

« Mais oí¹ sont les deux gouttes d’huile que je vous avais confiées ? » s’enquit le Sage.

Regardant la cuiller, le garí§on comprit qu’il les avait renversées.

« Voici donc le seul conseil que j’ai í  vous donner, dit le plus Sage des Sages. Le secret du bonheur consiste í  regarder toutes les merveilles du monde et ne jamais oublier les deux gouttes d’huile dans la cuiller. »

Edición nº 175 : Las dos gotas de aceite

En lo alto de la pequeña ciudad de Tarifa existe un viejo fuerte construido por los moros. Recuerdo haberme sentado allí­ con mi mujer, Christina, en 1982, para pararme a contemplar por primera vez el continente que se encuentra al otro lado del estrecho: ífrica. En ese momento no podí­a imaginar que ese perezoso atardecer inspirarí­a un pasaje del más famoso de mis libros: El Alquimista. Tampoco podí­a soñar que la siguiente historia, que me contaron en el coche, servirí­a como excelente ejemplo para todos los que perseguimos el equilibrio entre el rigor y la compasión.

Cierto mercader envió a su hijo a aprender el Secreto de la Felicidad con el más sabio de todos los hombres. El muchacho anduvo durante cuarenta dí­as por el desierto, hasta llegar a un bello castillo, en lo alto de una montaña. Allí­ viví­a el sabio que el muchacho buscaba.

No obstante, en lugar de encontrar a un hombre santo, nuestro héroe entró en una sala en la que se deparó con una enorme actividad: mercaderes que entraban y salí­an, personas conversando por los rincones, una pequeña orquesta tocando suaves melodí­as, y una mesa muy bien servida con los más deliciosos platos de aquella región del mundo.

El Sabio conversaba con todos, y el muchacho tuvo que esperar durante dos horas hasta que pudo ser atendido.

Con mucha paciencia, el Sabio escuchó atentamente el motivo de la visita del chico, pero le dijo que en ese momento no tení­a tiempo para explicarle el Secreto de la Felicidad.

Le sugirió que diese un paseo por su palacio, y regresase al cabo de dos horas.

-De todas maneras, voy a pedirte un favor -añadió, entregándole al muchacho una cucharita de té en la que dejó caer dos gotas de aceite-. Mientras estés caminando, lleva contigo esta cuchara sin derramar el aceite.

El joven empezó a subir y a bajar las escalinatas del palacio sin apartar la mirada de las gotitas de aceite. Dos horas más tarde, regresó ante la presencia del Sabio.

-Entonces – preguntó el sabio- ¿ya has visto los tapices de Persia que están en mi comedor, y el jardí­n que al Maestro de los Jardineros le llevó diez años concluir? ¿Y te has fijado en los hermosos pergaminos de mi biblioteca?

El muchacho, avergonzado, confesó que no habí­a visto nada de eso. Su única preocupación habí­a sido no derramar las gotas de aceite que el Sabio le habí­a confiado.

-En ese caso vuelve y conoce las maravillas de mi mundo -dijo el Sabio-. No puedes confiar en alguien hasta que no conoces su casa.

Ya más tranquilo, el joven muchacho tomó una vez más la cucharilla y volvió a pasear por el palacio, pero esta vez fijándose en todas las obras de arte que colgaban del techo y las paredes. Vio los jardines, las montañas de alrededor, la delicadeza de las flores, el refinamiento con que cada obra de arte habí­a sido colocada en su lugar. Por fin, una vez más ante la presencia del Sabio, le contó pormenorizadamente todo lo que habí­a visto.

-Pero, ¿dónde están las dos gotas de aceite que te confié?- preguntó el Sabio.

Mirando a la cuchara, el joven se dio cuenta de que las habí­a derramado.

-Pues este es el único consejo que puedo darte – dijo el más Sabio de los Sabios-. El secreto de la felicidad está en saber mirar todas las maravillas del mundo, sin olvidarse nunca de las dos gotas de aceite de la cucharilla.