Archives for March 2011

March 15 2011: Feeling like Princess Leia



Now I don’t need to leave my house in order to give interviews. I just need to push my hologram button…

SCHUTZENGEL (The Valkyries)



Note: “The Valkyries” is already published in several languages (from English to Korean). However, both the Russian and the German publishers decided to launch the book in 2011. That’s why ALEPH will be published in these two languages only in 2012

Buy the German edition online: Schutzengel

IN ENGLISH y ESPANOL: The Valkyies and the pact with defeat (1 min reading)

ESPANOL: Comunidad Las Valkirias in Facebook

ALEPH: Publication dates (at the end of the post)

Forgiving and forgetting


Nicosia (December 20, 2010 )
f I must say the way I’m doing, I will say that I forgive but I don’t forget; not because I want to remember the bad things that hapenned to me, but because my heart is not ready to forget…

I also think that forgetting is the supreme way of forgiving but it must be a natural process that comes (if it comes) without our intervention. When we forget something that has been fogiven it means that we evolved in our spiritual way to such an extend that we are very different from the one we were in the past, when we were hurt.

I think that we should give ouselves the freedom to forget or not the things that happenned to us, so that our souls be free to follow their way…


mizfee (August 3, 2010 at 9:00 am)

Forgiving someone who has wronged you, betrayed you, is a very hard thing to do. I struggle with this daily. But I find that the act of forgiveness is not something you do as a gift for the other person, but as a gift for yourself.
You hold on so tight to your anger, your principles, that you just clench so tightly at this thing you can’t let go.
How do you find peace if you’re constantly reminding yourself how badly the other person treated you? Yet that person has moved on, created a new life, finding happiness in his own way. Let go, let go of the anger, and you can then unclench the hand and reach for something else, something new, hopefully something better. Maybe you don’t forget, but over time the memory of the pain fades, and it doesn’t hurt so much anymore.
Then forgive and move forward.
Justice happens when that pain doesn’t affect you anymore and the powerful memory of days long gone don’t hang around too long.


Comments on the post “Forgiving and Forgetting”

Which one is the best?

Today Harper Collins UK sent to my agent the suggested covers for ALEPH
In your opinion, which one is the best?

You may argue: but we don’t know anything about the book. You may click in the name above for a small description; but what matters is which one, in a bookstore, will be more attractive.

The English edition of ALEPH will be published in September . Click HERE to know other publication dates

Please leave your comments here, in this post.

Love
Paulo

O post é em ingles porque estamos falando da capa na Inglaterra, Australia, Nova Zelandia e Canadá.
Hoje a Harper UK enviou as sugestíµes de capa para minha agente. Qual é a melhor, na sua opinií£o?
Isso dito, eu adoro a capa de O ALEPH no Brasil
Com amor
Paulo

Personaje de la semana: Alicia

Me pregunto si habré cambiado durante la noche. Veamos: ¿Era yo la misma al levantarme esta mañana? Me parece que puedo recordar que me sentí­a un poco distinta. Pero, si no soy la misma, la siguiente pregunta es ¿Quién demonios soy? ¡Ah, este es el gran enigma!

Si hubiera crecido, hubiera sido un niño terriblemente feo, pero como cerdito me parece precioso, creo. ¡Oh, cómo me gustarí­a poderme encoger como un telescopio! Creo que podrí­a hacerlo, sólo con saber por dónde empezar.

Si cada uno se ocupara de sus propios asuntos, el mundo girarí­a mucho mejor y con menos pérdida de tiempo.

Empieza por el principio y sigue hasta llegar al final; allí­ te paras.

Serí­a tan agradable si algo tiene sentido para un cambio.

Si no sabes a dónde vas, cualquier camino te llevará allí­.

Las aventuras primero, las explicaciones ocupan demasiado tiempo.

Alicia es un personaje magistral, creado por Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, a.ka. (más conocido como) Lewis Carroll

Traduccion: Karem Molina Escobar

Ignorance and greed


Demonstrations in Dhaka these days, supporting Yunus

I was teaching in one of the universities while the country was suffering from a severe famine. People were dying of hunger, and I felt very helpless. As an economist, I had no tool in my tool box to fix that kind of situation.
I went to the bank and proposed that they lend money to the poor people. The bankers almost fell over.
They explained to me that the bank cannot lend money to the poor.

‘Mohammad Yunus, the 2006 Nobel Peace Laureate, is one of the people I most admire in the world today.

In Nov 2010 e was one of my CHARACTERS OF THE WEEK in this blog.

A man who made an enormous difference in this world by creating the microcredit, Yunus now has to face ignorance and greed

Some alarming events have unfolded over the last days. This reached a climax on March 8th when the High Court of Bangladesh upheld the Central Bank’s decision to remove Professor Yunus from his post as Managing Director of the Grameen Bank, which he founded over three decades ago.

Poor people are a like bonsai tree, a little tree.
You pick the seed of the tallest tree in the forest and take the best seed out of it, and plant it in a flower pot. You get a tiny little tree, we call it a bonsai.
Nothing wrong with the seed, you’ve got the best seed possible.
Nothing wrong with the tree, because you actually picked the tallest tree in the forest.
But actually it grows this far… why? Because we put them in the flower pot. The base.
We need to change the base.

Next Tuesday (TOMORROW!!!) the ultimate decision about Prof. Yunus’ position as Managing Director of Grameen Bank will be taken by the Supreme Court. If the verdict is negative, Prof. Yunus would have to leave Grameen Bank and probably also his house. Yunus Centre could be shut down in order to block international communication and Prof. Yunus might even be arrested if he continues fighting after the verdict.

Poverty is unnecessary.

The only weapon that we currently have and that the government doesn’t, is international awareness and presence in media and people’s heads!
If you agree that Yunus deserves your support, please use this FACEBOOK LINK: Support Yunus and leave there your comment. It can make a huge difference.

For more information, please contact >Friends of Grameen

We pray for Japan


Lord, protect our planet, because we live here, and here we dwell with our daily tragedies.

May our daily reconstruction be the result of the very best that we carry within us.
Give us the courage
to be able to reconstruct what was destroyed
to be able to recover what was lost
to be able to accept what was gone forever.
May you give us courage to look ahead,
may we never look back nor allow our soul to be discouraged.

Lord, give us enthusiasm, because Enthusiasm reaffirms to us that everything is possible, as long as we are totally committed to what we are doing.

Lord, may the Earth continue to transform seeds into wheat, may we continue to transmute wheat into bread. Do not leave us in solitude.

Have compassion on us, Lord. For we often think we are dressed when we are naked.

Do not forget, in your mercy, our friends in Japan, who are now teaching us the meaning of Courage, Reconstruction, Solidarity and Enthusiasm.

Amen

日本の為に祈ります

主よ、我々の住むこの惑星を守りたまえ
私達は日々、悲劇と直面しながらこの星の上で生きています

私達が行う日々の復興活動が私達にとっての最善/最高の結果であります事を

破壊された生活を立て直す勇気を私達に与えてください
失った物を回復させる勇気を私達に与えてください
永遠に失われたものを受け入れられるように勇気を与えてください
決して後ろを振り返る事なく、前進する勇気を与えてください
私達の魂がこの苦難を乗り越えられますように
 
主よ、私達に熱意/情熱を与えてください
熱意/情熱は、それに真剣に取り組んでいるかぎりは
全ての事は可能だという事を私達に教えてくれます

主よ、この地球が種を小麦へと
小麦からパンへと変える力を与えてください
そして私達を決して一人きりにしないでください

主よ、私達に思いやりを

しばしば、私達は裸なのに服を着込んでいると思い込んでしまうのです

主よ
勇気、復興、連帯と情熱の意味を教えている日本の友人達の事を忘れないでください

アーメン

(translated by Ken Crane )


“Dear Lord, I humbly ask for your divine mercy. Please save Japan from her sufferings.
The people I’ve met there showed me nothing but kindness, respect and fellowship.
Lord, wipe away the tears of those who are weeping, fuel the strength of those who are dying and give hope to those who are losing it.
I ask for your most divine mercy in this time of great surrender. Amen.”

(Pinoy Boy Journals in Facebook, five minutes after my post)

Turkey: ALEPH #1


First it was Brasil (published in August 2010)


Source: Jornal O Globo

__________________________
Then Portugal (published in Feb 2011)


Source: Bertrand

__________________________


Source: Idefix Online

(click in the images above to see full size)

And I am sure that my readers in the next countries where ALEPH will be published will also support me. Publication dates at the end of this post
__________________________
ABOUT THE BOOK: When I was twenty-two, I devoted myself to the study of magic. I followed various paths, walked too close to the edge of the abyss, slipped and fell, gave up and returned to the path. (To read more, CLICK HERE )
__________________________

Could you help us to chose the UK cover? Please CLICK HERE

__________________________

The list is far from complete, but these are the confirmed dates so far. There are some languages (like German, Russian, Japanese, for example) where “The Valkyries” is being release this year, so ALEPH will be published in 2012

EN TODOS LOS PAISES DE AMERICA CENTRAL Y AMERICA DEL SUR: SEPTIEMBRE
EN USA (ESPANOL) AGOSTO

Japan: the blast of the wintry wind

JAPAN, 11 MARCH 2011

As banked clouds
are swept apart by the wind,
at dawn the sudden cry
of the first wild geese
Winging across the mountains.

In a mountain village
at autumn’s end””
that’s where you learn
what sadness means
in the blast of the wintry wind.

Saigyo (XIIth Century)

________________________________

Each of the rain drops has a tale to tell
about the sorrows of people
about the hardships living things go through
about the arrival of sparrows.

Yamamura Bocho (XXth Century)

_______________________________

Out in the marsh reeds
A bird cries out in sorrow,
As though it had recalled
Something better forgotten.

Ki No Tsurayuri (Xth century)

______________________________

The evening sky itself
becomes something to cherish
when I gaze at it,
seeing in one of the clouds
the smoke from her funeral pyre

Murasaki Shikibu (XI century)

_____________________________

Oh you yellow leaves
that whirl upon the autumn slopes
if only for a moment
do not whirl down in such confusion,
that i may see where my beloved dwells.

Kakinomoto no Hitomaro ( 8th century)

He stole my soul

by Christina Lamb ( Sunday Times)

When I stepped off the Ryanair plane in the medieval town of Pau in the French Pyrenees almost two years ago to interview the multi-million-selling author Paulo Coelho, the last thing I expected was to end up as the heroine in his next book.

I had just come back from a month in Iraq “” about the last time it was still reasonably safe for journalists to work there before kidnappings, executions and car bombs became regular events. A group of us had even managed to go for a picnic to Samarra on the left bank of the Tigris and climbed its famous spiral minaret, which is now a sniper post.

Perhaps for this reason my mind was not entirely on Coelho’s latest novel, Eleven Minutes, a story about sexuality, which would be the world’s bestselling book of 2003.

His publicist had told me he was living in a hotel, and I must admit that, accustomed to staying in somewhat insalubrious places as a war correspondent, I was looking forward to somewhere luxurious with lots of free bath goodies. After all Coelho is the world’s second-biggest-selling author after John Grisham.

Instead, I found him in an old-fashioned pension between a porn shop and a store selling orthopedic aids in the scruffy town of Tarbes. Coelho, a true Brazilian, explained he had moved into a hotel to simplify his life and had chosen this one because it had good heating and was near the Catholic shrine of Lourdes, where he spends every New Year’s Eve. He had two rooms, one he shared with his fourth wife also called Christina, and one for writing.

He was an entertaining interview. Dressed in black T-shirt and black jeans with a trim white beard, at 56 he looked almost priest-like but had an angel tattooed on his forearm and a naughty twinkle in his eye. It crossed my mind how odd it was that less than a week after dodging bullets in Falluja I should be sitting in a French hotel discussing orgasms and angels over tea.

Critics tend to sneer at Coelho’s books as philosophy for horoscope readers. But the public loves them. Fans include Bill Clinton, Jacques Chirac, Shimon Peres, Russell Crowe and Julia Roberts. Publishers Weekly describes him as “a literary pop star”. His books have sold 60m copies at the last count in 156 countries, an astonishing feat, particularly for someone from a non-English-speaking nation.

We talked about the success of his books, his two years in Notting Hill, when he would wander bookstores longing that one day his work would grace the shelves, and his first novel, which he lost in a pub on Portobello Road.

He also told me that he only started writing a new book when he saw a white feather and laughed when I asked where they came from.

For a man who is a fervent believer in magic and the occult, he was surprisingly interested in what I thought of as the real world. He had written a column opposing the war in Iraq and was fascinated to learn that I had just returned from covering it. I had been vehemently against the war myself, not believing Iraq to be a real threat but a distraction from the real war on terror in Afghanistan and Pakistan where I spent most of my time. But the war had been over so quickly and the stories I had heard from survivors of Saddam’s secret prisons so appalling that at that time I was beginning to think perhaps it had been the right thing to do.

Coelho was adamant it was wrong.

“I fear that they are using the war on terrorism as a pretext and I find this whole doctrine of pre-emptive strike very dangerous,” he said. “Tomorrow they can use it to say, look the Brazilians are not taking proper care of the Amazon, we can’t breathe any more, so let’s invade Brazil and take over the Amazon.”

He was fascinated to learn that I had first gone to Afghanistan in the late 1980s during the Soviet occupation and that some of the people I had known then as good guys “” and had travelled round with on motorbikes “” had subsequently founded the Taliban and were now on America’s Most Wanted list.

Such talk of war seemed a world away from the spirituality of his books, which he once described as “fairy tales for grown-ups”, and I began to feel that the role of interviewer and interviewee had been reversed.

The next day, back in England, I was amused when a white feather drifted onto my face on the Stansted Express to London.

Coelho rarely grants interviews so I was mortified when, due to pressure of space, my subsequent article about him was severely cut and published without a photograph.

A few months later I was in Afghanistan staying at a remote firebase with American soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division searching for Osama Bin Laden. I was amused to see The Alchemist among the well-thumbed paperbacks on their bookshelves. I was there, dusty and tired from a patrol through the mountains, when I got the first e-mail from Coelho.

I replied sheepishly, apologising for the truncated article. He went on to say he had enjoyed my own book on Afghanistan, The Sewing Circles of Herat, so much that he had listed it as one of his Top 10 Reads on the website of Barnes & Noble, America’s biggest bookstore.

And so began an exchange of e-mails. He, from the windmill to which he had moved in France where he was writing a new book; me, usually, on the road.

Modern technology is a wonderful thing. I e-mailed him from the village near Kandahar where I stayed during the Afghan elections, or to tell him about the new cocktail bar in Kabul. He sent me messages from places like Yemen where he had never before been. I began to look forward to hearing the “You’ve got mail” ping and finding Paulo Coelho in my inbox.

Once or twice he suggested meeting, but I was always travelling, seeing little enough of my husband (who is Portuguese and is also called Paulo) and son. Besides, I was aware of how the male character in his books always refers to the seductive power of being one of the world’s bestselling writers.

Then last June, when we were in Portugal, I came back from the beach and checked my e-mails. Among the usual monotonous updates from the coalition forces in Kabul and junk offering penis enlargement there was one from Coelho with a huge attachment.

It was the Portuguese manuscript of his just completed book, The Zahir, named after a story by Borges about something that, once touched or seen, can never be forgotten. With it was a message saying: “The female character was inspired by you.”

He added that he had thought of trying to meet but I was always away so he had used my book on Afghanistan and internet research. Apparently he had got my last e-mail apologising for my tardy reply because I was away with a Nato patrol in Afghanistan, just as he was writing about his character going on just such a patrol. “So there “” and in most parts “” you are,” he wrote.

I was part astonished, part flattered, part alarmed. He didn’t know me. How could he have based a character on me? I felt almost naked.

Like most people, I guess, there were things in my life I would not wish to see in print. I was also worried that Coelho, like other authors, might think being a foreign correspondent is much more glamorous than it is. Yes, we get to meet presidents and see remarkable places, but we spend much of our time waiting for planes that never come and travelling on dodgy airlines like Afghanistan’s Ariana (when I complained that passengers using mobile phones in flight might interfere with the instruments, I was told: “Don’t worry, we don’t have any”).

So with some trepidation I downloaded the 304-page file and opened it. As I read the manuscript I recognised things I had told him in Tarbes, insights into my private world, as well as concerns I had discussed in my book.

The first paragraph began: “Her name is Esther; she is a war correspondent who has just returned from Iraq because of the imminent invasion of that country; she is 30 years old, married, without children.”

At least he had made me younger. It occurred to me it would have been nice if she had been beautiful or sexy, but then I remembered in his interview he said he liked to put minimal details so readers made up their own minds.

I read on. The narrator was Esther’s husband, clearly based on Coelho himself, a successful songwriter turned novelist whose hobby was archery. But Esther herself had vanished and he was devastated. So was I. I was starting to enjoy the idea that the heroine was based on me, and now here she was disappearing on page one.

In fact most of the book is about her husband’s obsessive search for the woman he called his Zahir, who filled his thoughts, driving him to madness. Most of what we learn about her is through her husband and, to be honest, she comes across as a selfish bitch who wants to go off covering wars and then return to enjoy the nice life provided by his wealth, while criticising him for not paying her enough attention.

I thought uncomfortably about the arguments I have with my own Paulo each time I return from an assignment in a hellhole where people have nothing, and how I often find it hard to relate to what seem like trivial problems back here.

It seemed uncanny to read Coelho’s words: “Whenever you’re far away, I wish you were near. I imagine the conversations we’ll have when you or I come back from a trip. I phone you to make sure everything’s all right. I need to hear your voice every day . . . But what happens when we’re together? We argue, we quarrel over nothing, one of us wants to change the other, to impose his or her view of reality.”

I was slightly concerned about his description of how Esther and her husband had met. “One day, a journalist comes to interview me. She wants to know what it’s like to have my work known all over the country but to be entirely unknown myself . . . She’s pretty, intelligent, quiet. We meet again at a party, where there’s no pressure of work, and I manage to get her into bed that same night. I fall in love, but she’s not remotely interested. When I phone, she always says she’s busy. The more she rejects me, the more interested I become.”

But here and there as the book went on I recognised bits of my life. He described Esther changing continents more often than she changed shoes, her vast network of contacts in the terrorist world and consequent fear of being followed.

She becomes obsessed with Kazakhstan, while my own passion is Afghanistan, and he talked of her feeling strongly, as I do, that people in such countries have values we have lost: “The most important thing in all human relationships is conversation, but people don’t talk any more, they don’t sit down to talk and listen. They go to the theatre, the cinema, watch television, listen to the radio, read books, but they almost never talk. If we want to change the world, we have to go back to a time when warriors would gather round a fire and tell stories.”

Esther’s description of becoming addicted to war was a little close to home: I had written in my own book about colleagues turning into war junkies and fearing doing the same. “It’s like a drug,” she says. “As long as I’m in a war zone, my life has meaning. I go for days without having a bath, I eat whatever the soldiers eat, I sleep three hours a night and wake up to the sound of gunfire. I know that at any moment someone could lob a grenade into the place where we’re sitting, and that makes me live, do you see? Really live, I mean, loving every minute, every second. There’s no room for sadness, doubts, nothing; there’s just a great love for life.”

Coelho is remarkably perceptive on how war brings out the best and worst in people. I remember telling him of my shock at seeing the looting that followed the fall of Basra, locals tossing patients out of hospital beds to seize equipment. This is how he puts it: “People from small, provincial towns where nothing ever happened and where they were always decent citizens find themselves invading museums, destroying centuries-old works of art and stealing things they don’t need.

“

During my interview with Coelho, when he expressed surprise at what I do, I told him that I often wonder if being a war correspondent is a form of running away from real life. When Esther first tells her husband she wants to cover wars, he tells her that she is mad, saying she already has everything a woman could want.

She replies: “I have everything, but I’m not happy. And I’m not the only one either . . . Some people appear to be happy, but they simply don’t give the matter much thought. Others make plans: I’m going to have a husband, a home, two children, a house in the country. As long as they’re busy doing that, they’re like bulls looking for the bullfighter: they react instinctively, they blunder on, with no idea where the target is. They get their car, sometimes they even get a Ferrari, and they think that’s the meaning of life, and they never question it. Yet their eyes betray the sadness that even they don’t know they carry in their soul . . .”

She goes on to say that she wants to report on wars “because I think that in time of war, men live life at the limit; after all, they could die the next day. Anyone living like that must act differently”.

It could have been me talking except for one thing “” I have a son, and while I still have a hunger to see what is happening and to hear peoples stories, I have no intention of getting killed doing so.

Unlike Esther I don’t carry torn bits of bloodstained shirt of a dead soldier to give to people as a reminder that on the edge of death people think of love. Nor have I ever thought of running off with my interpreter and giving French lessons in exchange for learning how to weave carpets. But when she accepts an assignment to go on a Nato patrol in Kabul even though pregnant, it sounds rather familiar.

Astonished by what I had read, I told my mum and my husband. Far from sharing my feeling of flattery, he was highly suspicious about why another man should be writing a book on his wife. I told a few friends and they looked at me as though I was mad. I decided it was better not to mention it to anyone else.

Then Coelho e-mailed to say he was coming to London to receive an award and wanted to invite me for dinner. I suggested the Frontline Club, which seemed a suitable venue, and the Brazilian bar manager almost fainted when she realised who he was. It felt odd to be meeting a man who had not only written a book about me but in his alter ego was married to mine.

We went back to exchanging e-mails and I thought little more of it until, two weeks ago, The Zahir was launched in Brazil. It was the cover story of the country’s biggest news magazines. Suddenly journalists were trying to find out who inspired the story. Who was Coelho’s “muse”?

Soon there was a veritable “war of muses” as other women stepped forward to claim the credit. There was Cecilia Bolocco, a television presenter and former Miss Universe from Chile ; an Italian actress, Valeria Golino; and an unnamed Russian fashion designer who claimed to have had an affair with the author.

Coelho responded with a statement that it was none of them. His muse, he said, was a British war correspondent from The Sunday Times who had inspired him with her “courage and sensitivity”.

I was in Zimbabwe pretending to be a tourist (it is the only way we can report on the country) when a journalist from the Portuguese daily Correio da Manha called me to say they had discovered I was Esther. There followed the most bizarre interview, as I continued to pretend on the phone that I was not a journalist in case any of Mugabe’s spies was listening.

Despite my odd behaviour, Correio da Manha “revealed” me as Coelho’s muse on its front page last Sunday. All last week I fielded phone calls from newspapers in Spain, Portugal, Brazil, South Africa, even Britain, asking how I felt being “Paulo Coelho’s muse”.

Friends started teasing me, asking if I was planning to launch a range of clothes. Once I got used to it, I decided I quite liked being a muse. But I was not quite sure what muses do. The only muses I knew about were Picasso’s Dora and Lady Amanda Harlech, whom the designer Karl Lagerfeld describes as his ideal woman. But they were more for their looks than their obsession with small wars.

I asked Coelho how a muse should behave. “Muses must be treated like fairies,” he replied, adding he had never had a muse before. I thought being a muse probably involved lying on a couch with a large box of fancy chocolates, looking pensive. I rejected the torn jeans I usually wear in favour of a floaty dress and even applied some lipstick. But being a muse is not easy if you work full time and have a five-year-old. I did not feel at all muse-like last week when my son had a tantrum in Woolworths because I would not buy him the Scooby-Doo Meets Batman DVD.

The Zahir does not even come out here till June 2005, by which time my character will be available in an astonishing 8m copies in 83 countries and 42 languages, including Kasakh. In the meantime I have learnt that going to interview celebrity authors can be more hazardous than covering wars. They might not shoot you but they can steal your soul.

__________________

The Zahir: A Novel of Love, Longing and Obsession by Paulo Coelho published by Thorsons/HarperCollins

20 SEC READING: Time to give, time to receive

It is important to know when we can give attention and when we need attention.

Often we are inclined to give, give, give without every asking anything in return.
We may think this is a sign of generosity or even heroism.

But it might be little else than a proud attitude that says:
“I don’t need help from others. I only want to give.”

When we keep giving without receiving we burn out quickly…there is a time to give and a time to receive.

We need equal time for both if we want to live healthy lives.

Henri Nouwen in Bread for the Journey

Libya: “Do not feel safe. The poet remembers.”

excerpts from the article by Roger Cohen, published today in The New York Times

Hearings should be held in the U.S. Congress and throughout Western legislatures on these questions: How did we back, use and encourage the brutality of Arab dictators over so many years? To what degree did that cynical encouragement of despots foster the very jihadist rage Western societies sought to curb?
________________
There you have the Cairo-Tripoli axis. They were useful, Mubarak and Qaddafi, for intelligence and renditions; for oil and gas in the case of the Libyan. They were also killers.
Disappear is a transitive verb for dictators. That’s what they do to foes, disappear them in the night for questioning that becomes a nameless forever.
________________
No law governs these captives’ fate. They vanish “” and then they are tossed into mass graves. Qaddafi massacred over 1,000 political prisoners at Abu Salim in June 1996. Was Jaballa Matar among them?
It’s important to have names. The skulls in the sand were once sentient beings who screamed for justice.
________________
Matar told The New Yorker this was “an appropriate moment for Americans to reflect on how they have for three decades allowed their elected officials to support a dictatorship as ruthless as Mubarak’s. To ask, for example, what are the reasons that have motivated the current vice president of the United States to say, as recently as Jan. 27, that Mubarak is no dictator.”
________________
There are many reasons I oppose a Western military intervention in Libya: the bitter experience of Iraq; the importance of these Arab liberation movements being homegrown; the ease of going in and difficulty of getting out; the accusations of Western pursuit of oil that will poison the terrain; the fact that two Western wars in Muslim countries are enough.

But the deepest reason is the moral bankruptcy of the West with respect to the Arab world.
________________
Timothy Garton Ash, in his book “Facts are Subversive,” quotes the Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz who wrote:

Do not feel safe. The poet remembers.
You may kill him “” another will be born.
Deeds and words shall be recorded.

Yes, the poet remembers, and Qaddafi’s deeds “” his crimes “” will be recorded. One day we will know what befell Jaballa Matar and the numberless dead.

To read the full article: Lybian Closure

( I know by experience what Roger is talking about. To see my photo as a former prisoner of conscience in the Brazilian military dungeons, CLICK HERE )

Grace

I Need to enjoy all the gifts that God gave me today. Grace cannot be saved and put away for later.

There is no bank where you can deposit favors you’ve received, to use them according to our will.
If I do not enjoy these blessings now, I will lose them forever.

God knows that we are artists of life.
One day he will give us a chisel for sculpture, the other day brushes and canvas.
Another day he will give us a pen to write. But we will never use a chisel on canvas, sculptures or feathers.

I must accept the blessings of today, to create with what I have; if I do this with detachment and without guilt, tomorrow I shall receive more.

Character of the week: Chantal Prym


__________________________

PORTUGUES AQUI:> Personagem da semana: Chantal Prym
ESPANOL AQUI : > Personaje de la semana: Chantal Prym
FRANçAIS > Chantal Prym

___________________________

A man, his horse and his dog were traveling down a road. When they were passing by a gigantic tree, a bolt of lightning struck and they all fell dead on the spot.
But the man did not realize that he had already left this world, so he went on walking with his two animals; sometimes the dead take time to understand their new condition…

The journey was very long, uphill, the sun was strong and they were covered in sweat and very thirsty. They were desperately in need of water. At a bend in the road they spotted a magnificent gateway, all in marble, which led to a square paved with blocks of gold and with a fountain in the center that spouted forth crystalline water.
The traveler went up to the man guarding the gate.
“Good morning. What is this beautiful place?”
“This is heaven.”
“How good to have reached heaven, we’re ever so thirsty.”
“You can come in and drink all you want.”
“My horse and my dog are thirsty too.”
“So sorry, but animals aren’t allowed in here.”
The man was very disappointed because his thirst was great, but he could not drink alone; he thanked the man and went on his way. After traveling a lot, they arrived exhausted at a farm whose entrance was marked with an old doorway that opened onto a tree-lined dirt road.

A man was lying down in the shadow of one of the trees, his head covered with a hat, perhaps asleep.
“Good morning,” said the traveler. “We are very thirsty – me, my horse and my dog.”
“There is a spring over in those stones,” said the man, pointing to the spot. “Drink as much as you like.”
The man, the horse and the dog went to the spring and quenched their thirst. Then the traveler went back to thank the man.

“By the way, what’s this place called?”
“Heaven.”
“Heaven? But the guard at the marble gate back there said that was heaven!”
“That’s not heaven, that’s hell.”
The traveler was puzzled.
“You’ve got to stop this! All this false information must cause enormous confusion!”

The man smiled:
“Not at all. As a matter of fact they do us a great favor. Because over there stay all those who are even capable of abandoning their best friends…”

From my book “The Devil and Miss Prym”

Carnaval 2011: Filhos de Gandhy/ Children of Gandhy



1] Turn on your speakers (VERY LOUD!) and click on the thumbnail. A window will open, and you can hear the song by Gilberto Gil
2] Open another window in your browser so you can read the lyrics and sing together
3] Time to dance! Dancing keeps the bad vibes away


PORTUGUESE

Omolu, Ogum, Oxum, Oxumaré
Todo o pessoal
Manda descer pra ver
Filhos de Gandhy

Iansí£, Iemanjá, chama Xangí´
Oxossi também
Manda descer pra ver
Filhos de Gandhy

Mercador, Cavaleiro de Bagdá
Oh, Filhos de Obá
Manda descer pra ver
Filhos de Gandhy

Senhor do Bonfim, faz um favor pra mim
Chama o pessoal
Manda descer pra ver
Filhos de Gandhy

Oh, meu Deus do céu, na terra é carnaval
Chama o pessoal
Manda descer pra ver
Filhos de Gandhy

ENGLISH VERSION

Omolu, Ogum, Oxum, Oxumaré (*)
Everybody
Come here to see
Filhos de Gandhy

Iansí£, Iemanjá, chama Xangí´
Oxossi (*) also
Come here to see
Filhos de Gandhy

Merchant, knight of Bagdad
Oh, Children of Obá (*)
Come here to see
Filhos de Gandhy

My Lord of Bonfim, please do me a favor
Call everybody
To come here to see
Filhos de Gandhy

Oh my God in Heaven, here on Earth is Carnival
Call everybody
To come here to see
Filhos de Gandhy

(* ) Orixás, religious entities in Candomble, an African-originated or Afro-Brazilian religion, practised chiefly in Brazil.

Filhos de Gandhy (Children of Gandhy) was inspired by an act of violence on the Indian subcontinent and the manifestations of which, although rooted deeply in Africa, were born in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil.A little more than a year earlier — on the 30th of January, 1948 — the great Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi had been assassinated.

Filhos de Gandhy was born beneath a tree in one of Salvador’s poorest neighborhoods. The men who were gathered there — stevedores, dockworkers. Carnival was about to begin and they were forming a bloco (carnival group) of their own. One of the men suggested to name the bloco after the Indian leader. It was suitable to all, and the theme followed naturally.

The name is mispelled (Gandhy instead of Gandhi) because the founders were worried about political implications.

Acording to the Brazilian version of Wikipedia, today the group has over 10.000 participants.

Further information in LITTLE PINK BLOG

НЛО ЗАСЕКЛИ!!! Aliens!!!

SIBERIAN air traffic controllers claim that a female-sounding alien spoke to them in a cat-like language.
They say that a mysterious object – which they believe was a high-speed UFO – appeared on flight monitors over the remote Russian city of Yakutsk, the Daily Mail reported.

It rapidly changed direction in the sky and reached speeds of nearly 1000km/h – surrounding planes were seen to be travelling significantly slower.
The aviation workers tried to make contact with the ship, as evident in a video posted to YouTube.

“I kept hearing some female voice, as if a woman was saying mioaw-mioaw all the time,” one air traffic controller told the pilot of a passing Aeroflot flight.
The UFO was automatically designated as “00000” as it did not have a flight number.

Airport officials have not commented on the footage.

(NOTE: if any of my Russian friends here can translate the conversation, we all appreciate…)

Thank you Roman Makush

The conversation below is going on when UFO flies close to the aircraft on the radar monitor:

CONTROLLER: /delivers info/
PILOT: There is bad connection here. Repeat please.
CONTROLLER: /repeats info/
PILOT: It’s hard to get it. Keep flying on 11100 meters.
CONTROLLER: It’s a connection check out. How do you hear me?
PILOT: Much better. But there was muttering before. It seemed like another channel laid over.
CONTROLLER: Got you. /says info again/
PILOT: Can’t get you, can’t hear.

Then the controller starts checking out connection.

PILOT: Ok, I hear you now. There was this strange meowing female voice interfering with the frequency.
CONTROLLER: When did you hear it? In which time interval?
PILOT: All the time from the very beginning when our communication started.

10 sec reading: patience and speed

A Warrior of Light needs patience and speed at the same time.

The two biggest mistakes of a strategy are
a]to act prematurely
bto let the opportunity pass by.

To avoid making these mistakes, the warrior copes with each situation as if it were unique, and applies no formulas, prescriptions or the opinions of others.

Caliph Moauiyat asked Omar Ben Al-Aas what was the secret of his great political skill:

“I have never gotten involved in any matter without first studying the way out;
“on the other hand, I have never become involved and wanted to get out right away,” was his answer.

____________________________

in WARRIOR OF THE LIGHT: A MANUAL