Priest murdered by an Algerian

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Fr. Charles de Foucauld was murdered on December 1, 1916.

He has been an inspiration to me. I have tried to be like him. I tried to be one of the Little Brothers of Jesus. I have also failed.

However, this failure has not been without……..to understand: read his story, his writings and see the work he has inspired.

Blessed Charles Eugène de Foucauld (15 September 1858 – 1 December 1916) was a French Catholic religious and priest living among the Tuareg in the Sahara in Algeria. He was assassinated in 1916 outside the door of the fort he built for the protection of the Tuareg, and is considered by the Catholic Church to be a martyr. His inspiration and writings led to the founding of the Little Brothers of Jesus among other religious congregations. He was beatified on 13 November 2005 by Pope Benedict XVI.

Charles de Foucauld was an officer of the French Army in North Africa where he first developed his strong feelings about the desert and solitude. On his subsequent return to France, and towards the end of October 1886, at the age of 28, he went through a conversion experience at the Church of Saint Augustin in Paris.

In 1890, de Foucauld joined the Cistercian Trappist order first in France and then at Akbès on the SyrianTurkish border, but left in 1897 to follow an undefined religious vocation in Nazareth. He began to lead a solitary life of prayer, near a convent of Poor Clares and it was suggested to him that he be ordained. In 1901, at the age of 43, he was ordained in Viviers, France, and returned to the Sahara in French Algeria and lived a virtually eremitical life. He first settled in Béni Abbès, near the Moroccan border, building a small hermitage for “adoration and hospitality”, which he soon referred to as the “Fraternity”.

Later, he moved to be with the Tuareg people, in Tamanghasset in southern Algeria. This region is the central part of the Sahara with the Ahaggar Mountains (the Hoggar) immediately to the west. Foucauld used the highest point in the region, the Assekrem, as a place of retreat. Living close to the Tuareg, and sharing their life and hardships, he made a ten-year study of their language and cultural traditions. He learned the Tuareg language and worked on a dictionary and grammar. His dictionary manuscript was published posthumously in four volumes and has become known among Berberologues for its rich and apt descriptions. He formulated the idea of founding a new religious institute, which became a reality only after his death, under the name of the Little Brothers of Jesus.

On December 1, 1916, de Foucauld was dragged from his fortress by a gang of armed bandits led by El Madani ag Soba, who was connected with the Senussi Bedouin. Their intention was to kidnap de Foucauld, but when the gang was disturbed by two guardsmen, one startled bandit (15-year-old Sermi ag Thora) shot their prisoner through the head, killing him instantly. The murder was witnessed by sacristan and servant Paul Embarek, an African Arab former slave liberated and instructed by Fr de Foucauld.

His life goes on

Charles de Foucauld died alone, and without the immediate fellowship of others sharing his practice of the life of Jesus of Nazareth and hospitality in the desert of Algeria. Yet he was successful at inspiring and helping to organize a confraternity within France in support of his idea. This organisation, called the Association of the Brothers and Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, consisted of lay and ordained members totaling 48 people at the time of his death.

It was this group, and specifically the efforts of Louis Massignon, the world-famous scholar of Islam, and a best selling biography written by René Bazin in 1921 – La Vie de Charles de Foucauld Explorateur en Maroc, Eremite du Sahara – which kept his memory alive and inspired the family of lay and religious fraternities that include Jesus Caritas, the Little Brothers of Jesus and the Little Sisters of Jesus, among a total of ten religious congregations and nine associations of spiritual life.

Though originally French in origin, these groups have expanded to include many cultures and their languages on all continents.

The 1936 French film The Call of Silence portrayed Charles de Foucauld’s life.

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The classic summer cucumber

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Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) is a widely cultivated plant in the gourd family, Cucurbitaceae. It is a creeping vine that bears cylindrical fruits that are used as culinary vegetables. There are three main varieties of cucumber: slicing, pickling, and burpless. Within these varieties, several different cultivars have emerged. The cucumber is originally from South Asia, but now grows on most continents. Many different varieties are traded on the global market. In North America, the term “wild cucumber” can refer to plants in the genera Echinocystis and Marah, but these are not closely related.

Earliest cultivation

The cucumber is listed among the foods of ancient Ur, and the legend of Gilgamesh describes people eating cucumbers. Some sources also state it was produced in ancient Thrace, and it is certainly part of modern cuisine in Bulgaria and Turkey, parts of which make up that ancient state. Cucumbers are mentioned in the Bible as one of the foods eaten by the Israelites in Egypt. From India, it spread to Greece (where it was called “σίκυον”, síkyon) and Italy (where the Romans were especially fond of the crop), and later into China.

Robert Daniel, in discussing an ostracon dated to the second half of the third century AD, has suggested identifying an otherwise unknown word, ολγιττα, with the Arabic al-qitta’, the common word for cucumber.

According to Pliny the Elder (The Natural History, Book XIX, Chapter 23), the Ancient Greeks grew cucumbers, and there were different varieties in Italy, Africa, and Moesia.

Roman Empire

According to Pliny, the Emperor Tiberius had the cucumber on his table daily during summer and winter. The Romans reportedly used artificial methods (similar to the greenhouse system) of growing to have it available for his table every day of the year. “Indeed, he was never without it; for he had raised beds made in frames upon wheels, by means of which the cucumbers were moved and exposed to the full heat of the sun; while, in winter, they were withdrawn, and placed under the protection of frames glazed with mirrorstone.”

Reportedly, they were also cultivated in cucumber houses glazed with oiled cloth known as “specularia”.

Pliny the Elder describes the Italian fruit as very small, probably like a gherkin, describing it as a wild cucumber considerably smaller than the cultivated one. Pliny also describes the preparation of a medication known as elaterium, though some scholars believe he was referring to Ecballium elaterium, known in pre-Linnean times as “Cucumis silvestris” or “Cucumis asininus” (“wild cucumber” or “donkey cucumber”), a species different from the common cucumber. Pliny also writes about several other varieties of cucumber, including the cultivated cucumber, and remedies from the different types (9 from the cultivated, 5 from the “anguine”, and 26 from the “wild”). The Romans are reported to have used cucumbers to treat scorpion bites, bad eyesight, and to scare away mice. Wives wishing for children wore them around their waists. They were also carried by midwives, and thrown away when the child was born.

Modern Times

Cucumbers are used as a substitute by the media for “real” news in the Summer months.

 

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QUEEN APPOINTS COMMUNIST PM

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Staff applaud Theresa May, and her husband Philip, walk into 10 Downing Street.

Contrary to all expectations, a short meeting with Her majesty the Queen, has transformed former (Conservative) Home secretary Theresa May into Prime Minister May, champion of the poor and dispossessed.

Prime Minister May said afterwards, she no longer is for the “privileged few” but she is for you and me struggling to make ends meet, out there in the real world. No longer will she persist in the age-old Tory tactic of divide and rule; she is for Unionism – “the Conservative and Unionist party“.

The pound has fallen, yet again, as this news sinks in to the fat cats and their professional gamblers.

Has PM Theresa May been seduced by the sartorial excellence and erudition of Jermy Corbyn?

Is this the beginning of a great cross-party conspiracy: a “union” of purpose to make our government a government “by the people, for the people“?

The only pill to cure Brexit?

Watch this space.

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Tom Watson discusses the Labour leadership

billybOur secret rapporteur recorded tho following conversation before Tom Watson (aka Billy Bunter) disappeared into the House of Commons’ tuck shop.

““I’m thinking it out, Toddy,” he answered, without moving. “Can’t say I like either of the beasts much! Of course, in some ways, Birdy would make a better Form captain than Jerry.”
“How do you make that out, fathead—I mean, old fellow!”
“Well, Skinner thinks that if Birdy gets in, a man will be able to dodge games practice without being reported to Wingate.”
“Oh crumbs!”

That consideration, evidently, had a strong appeal for Bunter!

“Still, Jerry’s’s not a bad chap in some ways!” said the fat Owl. “He’s a good deal more civil than Birdy, if a fellow drops into his study to tea.”
“Oh!” gasped Toddy.
“And—he’s not reeking with money like Birdy, but, he’s a jolly good deal easier to touch for a small loan when a fellow’s been disappointed about a postal order,” added Bunter thoughtfully.

Peter Todd gazed at him. Bunter evidently had his own original ideas about the qualities that were required in a Form captain!

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UKIP has produced its plan for Brexit

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On instigation of Brexit paragraph 50, UKIP will immediately introduce the following bills into Parliament in order to ease the burdens of the British public and increase employment.

  1. The instant return of Pounds, shillings and pence.
  2. The banning of all decimal terminology. The use of the words centigrade, grams, centimeters, meters and kilometers together with liters etc to be considered a hate crime against the British way of life. 
  3. The reintroduction of steam trains with sole purpose of returning the words “train spotters” to mainline culture and allowing Nigel and Michael to indulge their weekend passion.
  4. All TV fiction to adhere to the production values of “Midsummer Murders”. If by any chance a writer might introduce a “coloured” character, the role must be approved by UKIP on the guidelines of “he realises the errors of his ways”.
  5. All British holidays have to be to places that sell “chips” (being called pomme frits is not good enough). The penalty for breaking this law is a hundred percent tax payable to UKIP’s beer fund.
  6. All foreign languages to be forbidden in British schools. If English is good enough for us, the Aussies and the Yanks, then its good enough for everyone. The “free periods” thus created to be  replaced by such subjects as “dressing as a Englishman should and not imitating a greasy dago”
  7. All permitted music on the radio to be strictly 4/4 (emphasis on the “on beat”) or preferable 2/4. Waltz is also allowed. However, any sounds called jazz or considered to have its roots in jazz, to be banned. There must be brass band music at least 50% of air time.

I think we have covered the seven important points (two more than Boris). End of discussion.

 

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The UK has become a Mad-hatter’s Tea Party

Mad-Hatters-Tea-Party
The Cabinet and Shadow Cabinet hold similar meetings

The UK electorate has thrown the British people though the Looking Glass with the recent referendum on membership of the EU.

“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”

The Tories have lost their head. The Labour Party is loosing its.

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Off with their heads

As Boris Johnson said, “If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?”

Good advice for the future is on offer everywhere.

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”

“I don’t much care where –”

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”

“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” UK remarked.

“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Nigel Farage: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”

“How do you know I’m mad?” said UK.

“You must be,” said Farage, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”

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Referenda are un-democratic – more so than the EU

Referenda are the tools of the mob. Those who believe everything can be settled by a simple “yes or no” – a binary solution to the complexities of politics.

Referenda as a precedent produced the people’s courts of Communism. They have their basis in the wails of the Colosseum rather than the debate of the Senate.

A society built upon referenda would:

  1. Hang murderers
  2. Castrate sex-offenders
  3. Crucify child molesters
  4. Chop off the hands of thieves
  5. Force tax-avoiders to spend a day naked in the stocks and be publicly humiliated, pelted with rotten fruit and excrement (my own particular wish).

Fortunately, we live in an enlightened society. We recognize that matters are often complex. To every complaint, there is another side. Matters are decided by discussion between learned council. Judgement lies with a jury of our peers. And finally, punishment is decided upon by those respected for their fair wisdom.

The parameters for our behavior are decided upon in a similar way. We elect political representatives upon whom we trust to inform themselves on matters, form an opinion and debate vociferously until a decision is obtained. We have a system that gives equal power of debate to those who may oppose a particular point of view. We expect that decisions are made based upon knowledge, conscience and common sense.

Referenda allow for non of this. They are the batterings and abuse of the hustings. No time for true debate; over simplifications; lies; fear mongering; argument without responsibility. Yet on this basis, decisions are expected to be made.

How can they be correct? or informed? or sensible? The only criteria they satisfy is that they are popular – which brings us back to the 5 points above – they too are popular.

No. All complex political decisions on the welfare of a country – its membership (or not) of International organizations etc, must be made by the land’s elected political representatives.

That is the parliamentarians’ job.

Sovereignty lies with parliament, not with the people.

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I have read the arguments: VOTE STAY

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You will see it makes sense.

This week, we Britons face the biggest democratic decision of our lifetimes. The outcome of the referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union will shape our politics, our economy, our society and our role in the world for decades to come. We must be clear about what we would be turning our back on were we to vote to leave.

Much of the case to remain in the EU has been framed in terms of the economic risks of Brexit. Membership of the world’s largest single market has played a critical part in Britain’s transformation from the economic malaise of the 1970s into the world’s fifth largest economy. No one can predict exactly what the costs of leaving that market would be, but there is little doubt that they would be significant. The Bank of England, the IMF, the World Trade Organisation, the OECD and the World Bank have all warned of the risks. Nine out of 10 of the 600 economists surveyed for The Observer last month think Brexit would damage Britain’s growth prospects.

But the European Union was always much more than an economic project. It was an idealistic undertaking, born out of the desire to never again see the continent racked by war.

This is easily forgotten in an age where the idea of European nations warring against each other seems inconceivable. But our continent faces newer, global challenges: the risks of climate change; the mass movement of people fleeing conflict and abject poverty in Africa and the Middle East; the deadly consequences of microbial resistance; the question of how to hold to account corporate behemoths that trade across national boundaries. The need for a collective of countries to find ways of acting together has never been greater.

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Do you EU or do you EU not?

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Way back, before mobiles, tablets, games consoles and even PC’s,  in 1975 the UK had a referendum:

Do you think that the United Kingdom should remain part of the European Community (the Common Market)?

I campaigned with all the vim, verve, vitality and animal cunning of a red admiral (butterfly, that is) for a NO vote.

As a young man whose brains had slipped below the belt line, it was important to identify with the “Left”. They had by far the most attractive women. The other side’s ladies all had the sexual attraction of a Margaret Thatcher with a broken leg.. I had also discovered that a few choice Ho Chi Min quotations slipped into the pub’s obligatory political conversation would almost guarantee they wouldn’t be the only thing slipping inside that night – nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

Physically identifying with the “Left” was imperative. A red scarf or Lenin badge on the collar of the denim shirt, or a red star on your Che Guevara beret, was about the only way you could push your way through to get served in the Uni bar.

I did a lot of posturing for the NO side that year.

However, when the voting booth curtain was drawn so that even my latest squeeze could not see – I voted YES.

Why?

First, I had always wanted to work in a foreign land. To learn a new language, new customs. An adventure-lust that I did satisfy: 30 years of work in Denmark, Danish (plus Swedish and Norwegian) earning a Danish pension with a view of Holbæk fjord from my window.

The other reason (which never happened) was less selfish. I have always been a huge supporter of organised labour. How someone could believe their job, its conditions and pay, had any form of security without being a member of the relevant Trade Union, has always been beyond me.

I imagined the formation of a European Union of Miners; a European Union of Nurses; a European Union of Sanitation Workers etc. Just imagine the power the threat of a strike by the EUSW would have.

Alas my multi-cultured adventurism had clouded me to the obvious endemic xenophobia of the majority of Trade Unionists. In all European countries, not just the UK.

Although, now I look back, this advanced mistrust of “foreign” as so often expressed in the UK (Enoch Powell lived just down the road) was probably just as much a stimulus to my leaving HMUK as was my curiosity for Danish girls and Carlsberg.

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So what (according to the Independent) have been the gains from membership of the EC – now EU?

1. It gives you freedom to live, work and retire anywhere in Europe

As a member of the EU, UK citizens benefit from freedom of movement across the continent. Considered one of the so-called four pillars of the European Union, this freedom allows all EU citizens to live, work and travel in other member states.

The pillar I lean on. As does organised crime.

2. It sustains millions of jobs.

A report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, released in October 2015, SUGGESTED 3.1 million British jobs were linked to the UK’s exports to the EU.

How many jobs have been lost due to resourcing into other EU countries.? Or shipped out of the EU altogether, disguised within EU trade agreements with eg India, Thailand or China?

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3. Your holiday is much easier – and safer.

Freedom to travel is one of the most exercised benefits of EU membership, with Britons having made 31 million visits to the EU in 2014 alone. But a lot of the benefits of being an EU citizen are either taken for granted or go unnoticed.

This Schengen Agreement (and the EU lands who did not sign up) demonstrate the lie. As does the border checks as a result of refugee hysterics. This is not to mention the indignity of airport security examinations (not attributed to the EU, but certainly not alleviated by it).

4. It means you’re less likely to get ripped off.

Consumer protection is a key benefit of the EU’s single market, and ensures members of the British public receive equal consumer rights when shopping anywhere in Europe.

This assumption ignore the fact that in many EU countries the consumer protection laws (plus methods of payments) are far more advanced and sophisticated than the UK’s.

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5. It offers greater protection from terrorists, paedophiles, people traffickers and cyber-crime.

Another example of a lesser-known advantage of EU membership is the benefit of cross-country coordination and cooperation in the fight against crime.

Why is it that we have had so many violently tragic examples of the lack of cross-country coordination and cooperation in the fight against crime? The bad guys move about just as freely as the good guys. How many time have we heard – in the last 12 months – “but he was not on our terrorist radar”.

6. Our businesses DEPEND on it.

According to 71% of all members of the Confederation of British Influence (CBI), and 67 per cent of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the EU has had an overall positive impact on their business.

In other words, our businesses are so weak in their construction and ability to make money, they have to rely on handouts from the EU. To the extent that they are DEPENDENT.

7. We have greater influence.

Robin Niblett, Director of think-tank Chatham House, stated in a report published last year: “For a mid-sized country like the UK, which will never again be economically dominant either globally or regionally, and whose diplomatic and military resources are declining in relative terms, being a major player in a strong regional institution can offer a critical lever for international influence.”

Influence over what? That EU laws would not be against our interests? This would be irrelevant if we were not a member. Influence over restrictions on UK’s arms industry to sell outside the EU? There are no restrictions. Influence over foreign policy? The UK has its own foreign policy. The EU has a fictitious foreign policy with no sovereignty in any of its states.

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Or – and this is my strongest objection to the EU – influence over the secret club whose national allegiances lie somewhere between their mother tongue and the Cayman Islands? This club disguised as EU potentates who were willing – and still willing – to grind a fellow member of the EU (Greece) into the dirt. Disdaining EU solidarity for the safety of their dollars hidden in “secrecy jurisdictions” – read tax-havens – around the world.

Anything that would divide the UNION OF HIDDEN CAPITAL can only be a good thing.

Vote Brexit.

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10 reasons why the Danes are happy

This meme is incorrect
This is incorrect.

What makes Denmark happy is, not so much the product (which is important of course) but the PROCESS (I will use capitals to emphasise important points).

Addressing the five reasons in the picture

1. There is no statutory minimum wage in Denmark. Rates of pay for manual workers and salaried work are established by COLLECTIVE AGREEMENTS.

a. Over 65% of Danish employees are members of a trade union.
b. The COLLECTIVE AGREEMENTS are negotiated by these unions, covering effectively 80-90% of Danish workers.
c. An agreement may determine the actual rate of pay or minimum wage at industrial level. The standard wage varies by age (different wage rates for workers over and under 18 years), experience (higher wages for more experienced workers), qualifications or performance and work severity.
d. Although Denmark has no official minimum wage the COLLECTIVE AGREEMENTS often determine a de facto minimum wage for different workers, and THIS IS RENEGOTIATED EVERY 2 OR 3 YEARS.
e. These COLLECTIVE AGREEMENTS are recognised by all (including the courts) as sacrosanct. In any dispute, the first question is, “What does the COLLECTIVE AGREEMENT say on this matter?”
f. The AVERAGE MINIMUM WAGE is 28.6426 AUD

2. Full time is usually 37 hours a week, but it is allowed to NEGOTIATE a higher number of hours.

3. If you have the academic qualifications (that is, passed the Student exam with sufficiently high scores), then UNIVERSITY EDUCATION IS FREE.

a. Students can also receive a small grant based upon their home and family circumstances. This is reduced in relation to their parents or their own income. Most students have a part-time job.
b. The normal time for a University education is 5 years, when students who pass their exams are awarded a Master’s degree.
c. A bachelor degree, which can be awarded after 3 years study, is not considered by the civil services or private industry, as a completed academic education.

4. CHILDCARE IS NOT FREE IN DENMARK.

a. Childcare monthly rates in Copenhagen for 2016: Nursery 718.071 AUD. with lunch / 599.292 AUD without lunch. Kindergarten 530.013 AUD. with lunch / 397.158 AUD without lunch.
b. However, every parent is guaranteed a child-care place in a local authority institution from the child’s 6th month.
c. Both parents have the right to take maternity leave. They divide and share this time. The present maternity leave is 52 weeks after the child’s birth. On maternity leave, they receive the equivalent of “sick pay”. This can vary, depending on the COLLECTIVE AGREEMENT in their sector, between 100% and 50% of their normal wage.
i. THEIR JOB MUST BE AVAILABLE WHEN THEY RETURN. In other words, the employer can only employ a contracted worker as a replacement. The agreed length of the maternity leave will determine the limits of this contract.

5. HEALTH CARE IS FREE. There are some exceptions: Prescription charges and some dental care are but two of the few. However if you are on a low income or a pensioner, you can receive a financial subsidy.

The fundamental five IMPORTANT reasons

 

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  1. Danes are educated to negotiate.
  2. The consensus is that the “social-security net” is as essential as any other form of insurance..
  3. The consensus is that the National Health Service is as sacred as any other form of insurance.
  4. The consensus is that education should be free as it is a vital form of insurance for the future.
  5. The consensus is the Dane will pay up to 50%, and more, in income tax, to pay for these freedoms – and insurance policies.

One final point: the word SOLIDARITY is the basis of most Danes assessment of their national responsibilities.

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