Isn’t this photo amazing? Definitely an island somewhere, not sure where it is but it looks inviting. Don’t you wish you could skydive somewhere like this? I do … It would cure my fear of heights really quickly, jumping out of a plane.
They say you should never sit down and write in the middle of the night because this is the time I sit and ruminate over all that is going on in my head. With the day’s business in the hopper and hubby tucked in bed sleeping I close out my night with some music, or maybe some tv, and then to go to bed eventually and read for a bit before calling it a day. That usually takes place around 5 a.m.
So I know today that there are sober people here in Montreal who are reading my blog, since it is synched up with my facebook account. I have a few weeks before school gets going and I get bogged down with responsibilities and reading to do for class. So I might as well make good use of my time.
A little Linkin Park … Minutes to Midnight.
Everybody knows I am in my ninth year of sobriety and eight months. I will mark ten years in December. And I’ve been saying for a while that I was waiting for something exciting to happen. Because I’ve been doing the same thing week in and week out for as long as I have been in sobriety.
Everybody has a life – in my sober circle. People are coming and going from the rooms. One of my friends headed off to Japan for a YEAR last Friday. What an adventure he is going to have. Having settled his 12 year cake before his departure he goes with some serious sobriety on his side.
I watch people. I know many people. I go to the same meetings week in and week out. I do my service like clockwork. It is all very easy to manage. I’ve been watching people for a long time. My friends have come and gone from this city and some of them have returned. And we all grow up together in the rooms.
Today we talked about truth … And the Great Comforter. The truth shall set you free. On our medallions it says “to thine own self be true.”
I guess I have been missing people in my life. My birthday came and went without fanfare and I didn’t say anything about it on that Sunday either. The one person I wanted to see for my birthday wasn’t available. Another year in the hopper and what do I have to show for it?
What have I learned in the last calendar year? French went in one ear and out the other. It is all defeating to tell you the truth. And in a few weeks I am going to walk back into a classroom and pick up where I left off, with no French practice under my belt this summer.
What a waste of time and money. Like I am really going to find a job I want at this point and have to speak french … fuck me …
I have been watching the women at my meeting. They flock to the meeting like little hens. All gathering there with their sponsors. They all vie for time with them and the like. I am a little envious of it all really.
I watch friends in certain meetings having these really great relationships, sponsors and sponsees going to meetings together and celebrating milestones and cakes. People talk about the steps and working with others. I have all the bases covered in my life. But my sponsor is conspicuously absent. I see him an hour a week at my home group.
We don’t go to meetings together like we used to. He is either too busy or too tired from work to get out. And he is terribly picky with where he goes to meetings. He gets very distracted too easily. But I am still going to meetings.
I come and go and nobody misses me.
I don’t have “friends” as in people I do things with. We see each other at meetings but never once has anyone offered a meal or a coffee. I just take up a chair at whatever meeting I go to on any given night. People are cordial and they say hello and that is it. Maybe I get asked to read something or someone has something to say about an observation they make about me in passing, people notice that I show up now and I am always in my same seat.
I never deviate from my plan.
I’ve been itching for something to change. I’ve sussed out the gays here and there. We all know who we are and we go about our meetings never mentioning the little secret we all share. I’ve been surrounded by the gays for a long time. I go to meetings where I find commonality. And I am beginning to wonder if I should find a gay sponsor with some time.
I mean there is nothing wrong with my sponsor that I have, except I never see him. He devotes a hell of a lot of time with his other sponsee Dave. A friend from our home group. Dave has a family and a wife and a baby on the way and my sponsor makes sure he has work and gets to meetings and works his steps diligently. Am I jealous? No, Dave is a newbie and he is also in a challenging group of people by descent. He carries the message to his native community and that is very important that he stay sober.
I know he is getting all the care he needs to stay sane, sober and to be able to put money in the bank and food on the table. I don’t begrudge them anything.
But in the same breath I wonder “What about me?”
I don’t talk to my sponsor about personal things. Nobody cares about where I am in my life. Nobody asks and who cares really? I’ve been in this funk about what about me for a while.
I’m feeling a little “Rose’s Turn …”
Things at home are fine. Hubby has his teaching this fall, his friends are all returning to Montreal in the next week or so and they will all be partying together and that is all well and good, but at the same time I ask, “what about Me?” Because once that starts I am on my own …
I haven’t said anything to anyone about what I am writing here. But it doesn’t mean that I haven’t thought through this already. Is it proper to ask What about me? or I am being selfish and self centered?
They say if times are good, don’t get used to it because things will change. And if times are bad to buckle down and hang on because those times too will pass.
I’ve not been close to many people in the rooms. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I’ve not found it necessary to go out of my way for people. I do what I am supposed to do every week. I have my home group, I set up tables and chairs and make coffee for the gaggle of women who now call our group home.
I go to meetings every week on the same days. When school starts I will loose my Thursday night meeting because of class. I don’t take classes on Tuesday’s, that’s my dedicated sober day.
I am an aging gay man. I have a few gay friends. My close gay friends are married with careers. And I know that if I need to see any one of them, all I need to do is ask. People have been busy with work and school all summer. And I have gotten to see them over the past few months.
I am thinking about talking to a member of Sunday Nighter’s in the coming days about all these things. I think I need the perspective of another gay man who has been sober longer than I have. And he is.
My sponsor is a good hard working man, but he isn’t serving my needs, and that sounds very selfish, I know. The only commonality that we share is the home group and Harry Potter. Aside from that he doesn’t do anything else for me. We haven’t had a sober conversation in a long time. Since the day that we went up North and cut wood at Tom and Rene’s and I made a major faux pas up there and neither has let me forget it.
Speaking of Tom, he was at Sunday Nighter’s earlier tonight for the speaker meeting. I wonder if he spoke or just took a seat? I did not stay to find out. I had to talk to my friend and get his number on the way home. I need to call him this week.
End of rant … And now for story time …
We read from Experience, Strength and Hope today. And one of the passages from the book mentions our man who is a drunk and is happened upon by a great comforter, someone who is able to take him where he needs to go to get help for our problem. And he get’s sober eventually and stays sober.
I mention this story because it is how I made it back to the rooms. During the year 2001, 9-11 happened and we were all shocked and the drink became the great equalizer. It drowned our fears and cares and raised money for those in need.
By the end of the year I was coming to my bottom. I said a few prayers …
Prayer one – I need the hangover of death.
By that time I was blackout drinking not knowing how I would get home after a night of debauchery. But I would get home and not know how I managed that.
Prayer two – Put an alcoholic in my path.
I was working at that same time, in a little antique shop. One day a young man walked in looking for a job. And it so happened that I had a job to offer him. He dutifully came to work every day. With a smile on his face and a pep in his step.
And he would say to me every day … ” I did not drink today.”
To which I would respond with, “that’s nice.”
It took a while for me to catch on why he was telling me this truth. Because it came to pass that one day we were on a delivery to Palm Beach and in the truck he told me that he was celebrating a cake the following day.
Prayer three was – To get me to a meeting. December 9th 2001.
It so followed that I gave in and told him that I was an alcoholic as well and he had invited me to come with him to that anniversary meeting. It was a gay meeting. And gay men on South Beach can be cruel. If you don’t have the looks, you might as well fuck off. I stayed for the meeting, And after that meeting, I hung around outside for the next meeting at 10 p.m.
That’s where I met my friends and I rooted myself. It was a 10 p.m. meeting in the same place every night of the week. Fonda and Ed, Charlie who would become my temporary sponsor and all the others I met while there. So I got sober and I remain sober to this day.
Fonda and I share a close friendship. Our birthday is on the 31st July. And we got to talk on that Sunday. We have been close friends for almost ten years now.
I knew who God was. I never had a problem with calling God, God…
Some people do. And that’s ok. As long as they find a power greater than themselves. It all works out in the end. I had my great comforter and he took care of me when I needed it. Maybe because I was willing and broken enough to pay attention to the signs.
And so it goes …
3:24 a.m. This is War. 30 Seconds to Mars … Fantastic
What a way to end a post …
Thanks for reading. More to come, stay tuned …
The CN Tower’s time has come. It is no longer the world’s tallest building.
The CN Tower is no longer the world’s tallest building or free-standing structure.
For years, Torontonians have known that their claim to fame’s time was nigh as planned towers around the world threatened to break its 30-year-old record.
Finally on Wednesday, a structure under construction in the Arabian Desert succeeded in passing the Toronto tower’s 553.33-metre height.
Burj Dubai — a glitzy hotel, residential and commercial building being built in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, for a price tag of $4.1 billion US — will be more than 150 stories tall when it reaches its final height of 800 metres.
CN Tower officials said little about the record-breaking structure.
“When the time comes and the building is complete, we will congratulate the Burj Dubai project on their unique achievement,” officials wrote in an e-mail.
On the streets of Toronto, residents mourned the end of an era.
“We had a lot of pride when we did it,” said Paul Mitchell, a steelworker who secured the antenna atop the tower on its completion in 1976. “It was a lot of fun.”
But he added that he was surprised the tower held its record for 30 years. “That was quite a feat.”
In other cities across the country, though, people dismissed the blow to Toronto’s ego with a laugh.
“I guess they’ll have to get a big box of Kleenex and get used to it,” one Winnipegger said.
Guinness World Records has recognized the CN Tower as the world’s tallest free-standing structure and the world’s tallest building.
The Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, however, disputes the latter claim. They argue a “building” must be designed for residential, business or manufacturing use, and say the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, were the world’s previous tallest building.
Burj Dubai surpassed the Kuala Lumpur towers’ height in late July.
Originally found on: Neil McKenty’s Blog.
A militant secularist group wants the municipality of Verdun to remove the crucifix from its council chambers. The mayor has flatly refused. His argument seems to be that the crucifix is intimately bound up with the Catholic founders of the island of Montreal. Furthermore, if secularists successfully remove the crucifix in Verdun, will the crucifix at the City of Montreal be next and after that will they want the Cross dismantled and removed from high atop Mount Royal?
But is it possible the secularists have point when they argue displaying the crucifix in the public square violates the doctrine of separation of church and state? A crucifix in this case is a double symbol. It points toward history and it points toward religion. There is no doubt the crucifix in Montreal commemorates the history of the city’s founding by Catholic explorers from France. It also points to the Catholic religion.
But we now live in a pluralistic society. Suppose in this day and age a militant group of Jews wanted the menora displayed in Montreal’s council chambers.
Would we be better off if Montreal were to stay religiously neutral by banning all crucifixes. Or would that be a distortion of the city’s Catholic heritage?
What do you think?
This was my response to this question:
In Montreal, reasonable accommodation is on the table in religious circles. It is no wonder that some groups are trying to “Cleanse” Montreal of certain items, peoples, and traditions just because they do not fit the mold of some.
If it is not one thing it is another in this city. We cannot strip the Catholic nature and tradition of this city because religious tradition is the base cult of belief. If someone is so threatened by the visage of religious items, then I have to ask, what is the problem they have with themselves?
It is a forgone conclusion that when people have issues with someone or something, it is a direct reflection of what they feel inside themselves. In Verdun no less… They are so backwards to begin with – having lived there I know.
I think this is pointless argument. But you know there are always some religious fanatic at either end of the spectrum. I have a BA in Religious Studies and I am acutely aware of the religious bias and hatred in this city. It’s really sad…
I would hate to see some group lobby to take the cross off the mountain, There would be a war for souls there!!!
As of 9 p.m. Sunday night we are told that the Green Line through the Downtown Core is now Open and Safe for Traffic. Which means the Metro from Lionex Groulx to Berri Uqam is running safely. So we are told tonight. There has been no tunnel incursion or damage and the mayor opened the Green Line tonight for the media.
And the barricaded streets are open as well, save for one small section of De Maisonneuve. Which means life can return to normal, well, as normal as normal can be for the circumstances faced by the city. Privately owned buildings will have to submit inspection reports of their foundations as repairs to the breech under the Bay are continuing. The News reported that the reinforcement of the cracked slab have taken place and that the metro tunnel is safe for travel.
CTV.ca News Staff
A sagging concrete slab continues to cause problems galore with transportation infrastructure in downtown Montreal, leaving a large area eerily empty.
A tunnel linking The Bay department store to the city’s subway network is at risk of collapse because of the slab, which has dropped less than 2.5 centimetres, and must be reinforced, city officials said Saturday.
The subway running under that part of the city was shut down in response to the problem, and Mayor Gerald Tremblay had some bad news for commuters.
“We’re not going to re-open the Metro until we have secured the concrete slab,” he told a news conference.
The work has already begun. A contractor has been brought in to strengthen and stabilize the slab.
“We have to put maybe a thousand posts under the slab to support the slab,” said Yves Provost of Montreal Public Works.
A number of city streets will remain cordoned off in the meantime.
“It’s in the middle of the downtown core, so we’re talking about three blocks from one way and three or four blocks from the other way,” Andre LeClerc, a spokesperson from Montreal Police Services told CTV Newsnet on Saturday.
“It covers the area close to the Bay store and for safety reasons we had to make a perimeter to block off cars so they couldn’t go in.”
The affected area is bordered by Sherbrooke, Ste. Catherine and Bleury Streets, as well as University Avenue and is home to Montreal’s Eaton Centre as well as hundreds of stores and restaurants.
Employees at the Bay store first alerted officials to the problem when a leak was discovered in the ceiling of the store.
“They noticed some leaking from the ceiling in the Bay store, which is where it all started. From there, they checked out some of the foundation and that’s where they noticed there was a crack,” LeClerc said.
Experts haven’t been able to conclude what caused the cracks or how long they had been there, but say the area has a history of problems.
“That particular area, that segment has always been susceptible to water infiltration. It wasn’t the first time. The fact that now it (the slab) has deflected a depth of an inch is a new development,” structural engineer Helen Christodoulou told CTV Newsnet on Saturday from Montreal.
“Anything can happen. When you have a sudden deflection of a slab, you certainly have movement and when you have water infiltration there is a sign of weakness.”
Officials are trying to determine whether Boulevard de Maisonneuve, the street that runs above the east-west tunnel running from the Bay department store to the McGill subway station, will need to be reinforced.
Despite the gridlock, police say the evacuation was successful.
“We had great co-operation from the citizens, so that’s why today we can safely say with the help of them, we’ve managed to have a very safe area in which pedestrians can go around,” LeClerc said.
Serge Tremblay of the Montreal Fire Dept. said a decision will be made soon on whether some of the traffic restrictions can be lifted by Monday.
Tremblay said he also wants assurances that such problems won’t pop up elsewhere in the downtown core.
“I’ve asked that verifications be made as soon as possible and I’ve asked for a report on these structures as soon as possible,” he said.
With a report from CTV Montreal’s Stephane Giroux and files from the Canadian Press
Take THAT Russia !!!!
Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Friday the government will install two new military facilities in the Arctic to boost Canada’s sovereign claim over the Northwest Passage and signal its long-term commitment to the North.
Resolute Bay is located near the eastern entrance for the Northwest Passage.
He said the Canadian Forces will build a new army training centre in Resolute Bay and refurbish an existing deepwater port at a former mining site in Nanisivik.
“Canada’s new government understands that the first principle of Arctic sovereignty is: Use it or lose it,” said Harper, who made the announcement in Resolute Bay.
“Today’s announcements tell the world that Canada has a real, growing, long-term presence in the Arctic.”
With a mid-summer temperature of 2 C when Harper spoke, Resolute Bay will be home to a new army training centre for cold-weather fighting that houses up to 100 military personnel.
The training centre will use existing government buildings, which will be refurbished at a cost of $4 million, said a government news release.
Harper, who made the announcement with Defence Minister Gordon O’Connor, also announced an expansion of the Canadian Rangers by 900 members.
The reserve unit of the Canadian Forces patrols remote, isolated and coastal communities. There are roughly 4,100 Canadian Rangers in 165 communities across the country.
Former mine site of deep-sea port
A deep-sea port to be used for military and civilian purposes will be built in Nanisivik, the site of a former lead and zinc mine on northern Baffin Island.
Nanisivik’s existing port already has basic docking platforms and a fuel tank storage facility. Used by the occasional cruise ship and Canadian Coast Guard vessels, the port is near Lancaster Sound, the eastern entrance for the Northwest Passage.
Coast Guard ship Des Groseilliers at the port in Nanisivik.
Ottawa says it will cost an estimated $100 million to refurbish the port site. Construction is slated to begin in 2010, with an end date of 2015.
Heavy equipment operators are busy cleaning up the site of the former mine, which shut down five years ago. It’s contaminated with heavy metals from more than 25 years of operation.
A spokesman for the mine’s owner, Breakwater Resources, said contaminated soil has been removed from the port site.
“We’ve actually removed all the contaminated soil that was associated with the dock cell,” said Murray Markle.
“There was some hydrocarbons there that we excavated last year, there was metal contamination in the soils. We’re in the process of cleaning that up.”
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is greeted by Arctic Rangers as he arrives in Resolute Bay on Friday.
(Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)
Markle said the port is ice-filled in the winter but gets a lot of use in the summer.
“All the big cargo ships use it, there’s 50 feet of water right at port side, so there’s really not much of a limitation there. It is a deep-sea port,” he said.
Denmark sends expedition to Arctic
Harper said both installations will help back up Canada’s claim to the Northwest Passage — a claim disputed by numerous countries including the United States, Japan and the entire European Union.
The pressure is on Arctic nations because of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which gives them 10 years after ratification to prove their claims under the largely uncharted polar ice-pack. All but the United States have ratified the treaty.
Fuel tank storage facility at the Nanisivik port.
Denmark will send a scientific expedition to the Arctic on the weekend to try to cement its claim on the region. Led by Danish and Russian icebreakers equipped with sonar to map the seabed, the team includes 40 scientists, 10 of them Danish.
“We will be collecting data for a possible [sovereignty] demand,” said expedition leader Christian Marcussen. “It is not our duty to formulate a demand of ownership.”
Earlier this month, Russia sent an icebreaker to the North Pole to conduct scientific experiments and plant a Russian flag on the seabed, a symbolic claim to undiscovered oil and gas supplies, as well as undersea mineral riches.
Earlier this year, Canadian hydrographers were sent to Alert to complete underwater mapping research in support of Canada’s sovereignty claim.
Russia, Canada and Denmark all claim they are physically connected to the Lomonosov Ridge, a 2,000-kilometre underwater mountain range that stretches to an area between northern Ellesmere Island and Greenland from Siberia.
With files from the Canadian Press
BBC News Online
President Sarkozy flew home especially for the funeral
A funeral service including Jewish prayers has been held at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris for Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger. The former Archbishop of Paris, who died on Sunday aged 80, was born Aaron Lustiger to Polish Jews who had settled in France before World War I.
The French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, interrupted his summer holiday in the United States to attend the funeral.
Cardinal Lustiger became a Catholic at the start of World War II.
The ceremonies at Notre Dame began with a reading of a Jewish psalm, followed by the Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead.
Cardinal Lustiger worked to improve Catholic-Jewish relations
Arno Lustiger, a cousin and 83-year-old Auschwitz death camp survivor, read the Kaddish before a crowd of some 5,000 mourners.
President Sarkozy described Cardinal Lustiger as “a great man, a man who was important to the French, believers and non-believers alike, a man of peace, unity and reconciliation”.
Cardinal Lustiger was an outspoken opponent of racism and anti-Semitism, who appeared frequently on television as a commentator on current issues.
He was buried in the cathedral’s crypt, like most former archbishops of Paris since the 17th Century.
His successor, Archbishop Andre Vingt-Trois, praised the late cardinal’s role in “the development of relations between Jews and Christians, with the encouragement and support of [former Pope] John Paul II”.
Cardinal Lustiger died on Sunday in a clinic in Paris, where he was admitted in April.
The cleric was archbishop of Paris for 24 years before stepping down in 2005 at the age of 78. He was made a cardinal in 1983.
His mother Gisele was deported and killed by the Nazis at Auschwitz during the war.
Canadians, all from British Columbia, were demanding China pull out of Tibet
Three Canadians arrested by Chinese police following a protest at the Great Wall against China’s presence in Tibet have been released.
Melanie Raoul of Vancouver was arrested Tuesday in China.
(Courtesy of Freya Putt)
The British Columbian activists — Lhadon Tethong, Sam Price and Melanie Raoul — left China after their release on Wednesday and flew into Hong Kong.
“It was draining, exhausting, psychologically traumatizing, although we weren’t physically hurt,” Raoul, 25, told CBC News from Hong Kong.
Raoul and Price, both of Vancouver, were arrested Tuesday after they unfurled a 42-square-metre banner reading “One World, One Dream, Free Tibet 2008″ in English and Chinese from the Great Wall.
The banner adds three words — “Free Tibet 2008″ — to the official slogan of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which began their one-year countdown on Tuesday.
Tethong, 31, was arrested Wednesday. She was not involved in the Great Wall protest, but she spent her time in China writing a blog and posting videos and photos online about what the group calls China’s “propaganda campaign” leading up to next year’s Olympic Games.
Five other activists — two from the U.K and three from the United States — were also arrested and released.
All the activists are part of Students for a Free Tibet, a New York-based group for which Tethong serves as executive director.
Tethong said the group knew their actions on the Great Wall weren’t legal and that arrests were a possibility.
Lhadon Tethong, one of three Canadian protesters released by Chinese authorities, is seen at a Buddhist temple in Beijing in this undated photo.
(Beijing Wide Open/Canadian Press)
“We knew that was the most likely scenario, but it’s not like it was the goal of what we were doing,” said Tethong, a Tibetan-Canadian who was born and raised in Victoria, but now lives in New York.
“The goal was to raise the issue.”
“Some people might think that’s sort of extreme, but we would say China violating the fundamental human rights of Tibetans and their own people and the cultural genocide of Tibet is extreme.”
Police surrounded Tethong in front of an Olympic merchandise store in Beijing and demanded to see her passport. They brought her into a police station, where they showed her printouts of her blog.
“They definitely took jabs at me for being Tibetan,” Tethong said. “They were saying I have an an accent like a Chinese and I have blood from China.”
We were scared for her
Tethong’s sister, Deyden Tethong, told CBC News that she and her family were scared while Tethong was in custody.
“It was nerve-racking for us,” Deyden said at 12:15 ET, about 15 minutes after learning that her sister had boarded a plane out of Beijing.
“We were very scared for her, but at the same time she keeps saying, ‘I have a Canadian passport, so I know people are looking out for me.’”
Sam Price, 32, was one of six activists arrested Tuesday in China.
(Courtesy of Freya Putt)
Deyden said she was surprised her sister was detained, since she was not part of the group of activists on the Great Wall.
“The activists that were taken off the Great Wall, that made sense,” Deyden said. “It was pushing the boundaries and it was illegal, but my sister, all she was doing was blogging about her feelings … and talking about what she saw and what she felt.”
Raoul’s mother, Valerie, said she is excited to see her daughter again.
“We don’t know when they’ll be coming back to Vancouver, but they know they’ll get a really big welcome,” she said.
Harper Promised to Help
The incident drew international attention, with videos of the Great Wall protest posted on YouTube. Prior to news of the activists release, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Wednesday that his government was working to gather information.
“We’ll be doing everything we can do to help and of course pointing out to the Chinese government — as we’re entitled to do — that such expressions of opinion are a natural part of the human rights that Canadians do expect in this country,” Harper said.
The Students for a Free Tibet group wants Tibet freed from China and say the Chinese government is using the Games to gain international acceptance.
The group also wants the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to push the case for Tibetan freedom.
China invaded Tibet in 1950, and in 1999 declared it to be an “inseparable part of China.” In 2004, a government policy paper said Tibet had always been part of China, and before the Chinese imposed direct rule, Tibet was “even darker and more backward than medieval Europe.”
With files from the Canadian Press
Tonight CBC News started a series of reports on the 1 year celebration in Beijing beginning today – the 8th of August. What will the world say to Beijing over the next year? We know that China’s record on Human Rights violations is something that can not be ignored.
Secondly, China’s support of the Sudanese government and the fact that China could make serious progress in helping the Darfur region conflicts. That China could save lives and chooses not to, just speaks volumes of how it sees the world not only in Darfur, but in their own back yards, and in Tibet. I think a release of Tibet and the acknowledgment of this sacred land would be monumental on China’s attitude towards the world. The widget will remain on my blog for the next year as we discuss this question in greater depth.
Our question today
and for the next year will be simple
Should we go to Beijing
Or should we Boycott
The Summer Olympic Games in Beijing China???
One World One Dream
From the Beijing Olympic site
The Official Beijing Olympic Website
“One World One Dream” fully reflects the essence and the universal values of the Olympic spirit — Unity, Friendship, Progress, Harmony, Participation and Dream. It expresses the common wishes of people all over the world, inspired by the Olympic ideals, to strive for a bright future of Mankind. In spite of the differences in colors, languages and races, we share the charm and joy of the Olympic Games, and together we seek for the ideal of Mankind for peace. We belong to the same world and we share the same aspirations and dreams.
“One World One Dream” is a profound manifestation of the core concepts of the Beijing Olympic Games. It reflects the values of harmony connoted in the concept of “People’s Olympics”, the core and soul of the three concepts — “Green Olympics, High-tech Olympics and People’s Olympics”. While “Harmony of Man with Nature” and “Peace Enjoys Priority” are the philosophies and ideals of the Chinese people since ancient times in their pursuit of the harmony between Man and Nature and the harmony among people, building up a harmonious society and achieving harmonious development are the dream and aspirations of ours. It is our belief that peace and progress, harmonious development, living in amity, cooperation and mutual benefit, and enjoying a happy life are the common ideals of the people throughout the world.
“One World, One Dream” is simple in expressions, but profound in meaning. It is of China, and also of the world. It conveys the lofty ideal of the people in Beijing as well as in China to share the global community and civilization and to create a bright future hand in hand with the people from the rest of the world. It expresses the firm belief of a great nation, with a long history of 5,000 years and on its way towards modernization, that is committed to peaceful development, harmonious society and people’s happiness. It voices the aspirations of 1.3 billion Chinese people to contribute to the establishment of a peaceful and bright world.
The English translation of the slogan is distinctive in sentence structure. The two “One”s are perfectly used in parallel, and the words “World” and “Dream” form a good match. The slogan is simple, meaningful, inspiring, and easy to remember, read and spread.
In Chinese, the word “tongyi”, which means “the same”, is used for the English word “One”. It highlights the theme of “the whole Mankind lives in the same world and seeks for the same dream and ideal”.
Go Into Your Neighborhoods, Into Your Shoppes, Into your parks and look around you for strangers in your area. The family has asked for her safe return. Please return this child to her family. Take a moment to recognize people who are strangers to your area.
CTV.ca News Staff – Updated Mon August 6 2007
Quebec police searching for a missing nine-year-old say three young Trois Rivieres girls have similar stories of a stranger asking them to help find a missing dog.
Some sightings even happened the day Cedrika Provencher vanished from her neighbourhood.
Investigators are now trying to piece together a description of a suspect but have only sketchy details to go on. The man has been described as white, between the ages of 30 and 60. They are also focusing on information about vehicles.
They have assembled replicas of everything Cedrika was wearing, hoping that could trigger a potential witness’s memory.
Cedrika has been gone since Aug. 1, and police are sifting through some 500 tips that have poured in from the public.
On Tuesday, the day Cedrika went missing, two of her neighbours reported talking with her as the little girl enjoyed a bike ride at around 8 p.m. Cedrika asked them to help her find a lost little black dog.
A group of teens later found her bicycle abandoned close to where her neighbours spotted her, around 8:30 p.m. Police have said they believe that whatever happened to Cedrika happened during that half-hour time frame.
Authorities are urging parents to ask their daughters if they too have been approached by a man in recent weeks.
“Maybe he was approaching lots of young girls around here,” said Isabelle Gendron of the Surete du Quebec.
“That’s why we’re asking mothers, fathers tonight to ask your little girl, ‘were you approached by a man looking for a dog?’”
In the meantime, police divers searched the nearby St. Maurice River for traces of the missing girl.
Cedrika’s father, Martin Provencher, spoke with the media Sunday, pleading to the public not to give up searching for his daughter.
He said if his daughter had indeed been taken by a stranger, he wants the kidnappers to leave her on a street corner where someone would surely find her and take her home.
Melissa Provencher, Cedrika’s big sister, also pleaded with whoever took her little sister to please return her safely.
“I would like for the person who took her to be generous enough to bring her back to me.”
With a report from CTV’s Genevieve Beauchemin and files from The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — The father of a missing nine-year-old girl is calling on the public to come forward with any information about his daughter’s whereabouts.
Martin Provencher told reporters today that his daughter Cedrika may have been kidnapped and he is urging her captors to leave her on a street corner.
Quebec police resumed their search for the missing girl this morning in Trois-Rivieres, Que., about 140 kilometres northeast of Montreal.
Authorities say they have received hundreds of tips in recent days and are now focusing on information about vehicles.
They suspect the girl was abducted by a man who asked for her help in finding a lost dog.
Cedrika Provencher disappeared at about 8 p.m. Tuesday from her neighbourhood in Trois-Rivieres.
This is Cabot Square – and the Children’s Hospital to the Left of frame.
I guess I am not a thinker, by the standards of some. There are blogs that I read that put my writing of certain subjects to shame. I cannot tell you of the forest or the trees, the birds or the animals, the river or the trail.
I don’t talk about heavy metal drinking and the stupid things I did last weekend so that my friends can read just how much of an insane member of society that I really am. I have my own insanity in my sobriety. And just because I am sober, did not make it all better as I mentioned earlier tonight.
What can I tell you that would make you think? If you walk out the front doors of my building you face the BattleNet 24 Internet Gaming Station. They are always open and never close. There are three radio stations in the building that this cafe is located on the ground floor. The Towers, as I call it is a North – South facing building. We are an East – West facing building.
You cannot walk 50 paces in any direction from this building and NOT run into a busker looking for food, money and beer. There are two pubs located within 200 yards of our front door, and one karaoke bar with pool tables. Our Asian community loves karaoke. I live in what we call the Concordia ghetto area, since we are only a few blocks from campus.
There is an architecture museum across the street on Rene Levesque above the tunnel that I have visited before, when they had an open house and also they had a wonderful Expo ’67 exhibit on the anniversary.
There are 20 churches within walking distance of my home. Pentecostal, Evangelical, Catholic (French) and Catholic (English), Bethel Baptist and Franciscan friary that is due to be closed right around the corner from here.
Are you thinking yet? This will get your juices pumping… I wrote it some time ago on another blog I owned.
A fellow is dealing with the “homeless” factor in his ministry of life. And so I left him some words of advice, But I don’t know how else to tell you this, but share with you Montreal‘s daily ritual.
We have recycling posts (street collecting boxes – that have since been removed in opt for recycling in the stores primarily) all over the city where the homeless go and collect cans and bottles from these depots and they go to the grocery stores to exchange their “returnables” for more beer and wine money. They troll the kiosks and metro platforms and street garbage cans for returnable merchandise day and night. They ride the metro from one end of the city to the other every night. The stores will not sell beer and liquor after 11 pm to stem the problem. In Ontario you cannot buy liquor or beer on Sundays, but in Quebec you can.
So the tide of homeless drunks starts to rise as the stores open and they “stock up” for the morning. Downstairs on the corner (just outside) my front door they sit on the corner begging drugs and money. Out front of the grocery store and on every street corner and in the spaces in between, they sit like hookers who have claimed their spot on the sidewalk.
They are all over the place, “Literally!”
You cannot walk 50 feet in any direction in Downtown Montreal and not get begged for cash or food. Or smell POT in the air from the street kids!!! The kiosks are even worse. One cannot get through the door with out passing by someone sitting IN the doorway where you have to navigate around them, or find them sleeping, “Sprawled out” across the floor in doorways drunk and comatose!
They piss in the kiosks, they throw up on the floors, they beat each other up, and the men are “PIMPING” the women, so you see there is a whole “other” dynamic.
At night, as the evening “MEETINGS” commence they wait like buzzards for free coffee and what ever food is set out for the attendees. And they become belligerent and vocal and VIOLENT towards the people who want a cup of coffee and a cookie because that’s why we have coffee and cookies to help calm them down( the people in recovery). We have decided not to engage the homeless any longer and the city wide “homeless” directors (there are they in Montreal) men who run in homeless circles, powerless to affect change because people are set in their ways.
We have missions in town here that specialize in the feeding and housing of homeless people, every day and every night. The first problem is the sheer NUMBERS of homeless people who have migrated East from the west and up from the U.S. and down from the North, Yes, it IS a very sad reality.
There are natives who are stuck in the divide between their leaving their reservations for the bright big city, they don’t make it and end up hooking and begging in the park, they become addicted, well most are already addicted to something or other, when they get here, and they never return to their homes for fear of persecution and alienation, so they sit in the parks all day and night and troll the strip here in Downtown for cash. They are violent and painfully in trouble with each other. Come sit in Cabot Square with me and watch. It is truly sad.
IN the WINTER when the temps drop to (-20 C ) and farther, the homeless think that they can sleep in the kiosks because of the warmth of the trains, think again. They lock the kiosks at night and the homeless end up on the streets in doorways and under bridges and such. The missions go out with buses trying to get them off the street before they freeze to death. Some don’t make it and invariably, we loose a number of homeless people each Winter.
It is a rude saying, but, If you feed a stray animal they will continue returning to eat as long as food is available. And you know what that means. You will be spending allot of money on a problem that will not go away because of their lack of ability to get off the street and societies apathy to step up and help them as a community! “Oh, but it’s NOT our problem!”
Yes it is and no it’s not.
By whatever default – people end up homeless out of one circumstance or another. NOW, the reality is, DO they want off the street, if you ask any of them here, they will say NO!! So they choose to stay on the street, when they know that help is available and rehabilitation is possible.
Most of our homeless population will not ask for help, (the natives by example). They are a sad lot. Drunk, Addicted, Violent and Doomed by Default. Montrealer’s are FED UP with the population of homeless who have overtaken the streets and green spaces and Metro Kiosks. And the city does SQUAT!! They do nothing, they see nothing, they say nothing.
So what can we do as a religious body, to feed, clothe and assist the homeless, NOT Very Much.
It is a long standing problem with no city wide attention, as of yet. Most Christian people can talk the talk, but they cannot talk the talk and walk the walk for fear of being seen doing something that Jesus would have done, to go out on a Sunday and minister to the poor. Only one man I know did that from Dans le Rue – and he retired and moved away and someone else is taking care of his kids now.
Oh what would their friend and family say if they were seen cavorting with homeless people, God forbid they follow you home! or what happens if you get attacked by one on a bad day or night? Dealing with the homeless here is a dicey business, you never know when one will try to beat you up or stab you for some cash or drugs for their next fix. A homeless person is not above violence. Especially when it comes to jonesing off of drugs. That is for sure on any Saturday night or the full moon.
The “soup truck” cavorts through downtown daily feeding the multitude of young people who hang out at the Berri Metro selling drugs and hooking and such. It is very sad, that if you walk through the village on any corner at any time, they sit there, in their leather and spikes, boots and makeup, with their placards begging for food.
Some of our homeless populations are handicapped (in wheelchairs) and some of our young people have PETS!!! YES dogs and some have more than one. SO it is not only a feed the human story, it is a FEED THE PET AND THE HUMAN STORY!!!
How do we help them, well one at a time, rehabilitation is possible but at the end of the day it is useless. They stay on the streets because they know no different. The shelters and feeding stations are powerless and TOO POOR to feed the multitudes because the city won’t fund the missions and shelters. So individual churches go out and try to make a dent in the sea of the hungry and downtrodden, but alas, they are too numerous and we are too powerless to help so many who are in need.
The worlds poor, are rising in number and dying by the thousands daily in 3rd world and poorer countries, they are dying in the big cities, unnoticed by the daily hum and ritual of every day life and the business of work and survival.
Think before you put yourself out there and try to tackle a cities homeless problem, it takes alot of work, money, food and prayer. And not to mention Fortitude. I am all for helping the homeless, but I know how to pick my battles wisely. I don’t mean to sound so discouraging, but this is the reality in my big city!!
No one is immune to the homeless – we are called to share and to give – but when is enough enough?? If i gave a quarter to every homeless person I saw on the street every day, I would have NO money to feed myself on a daily basis.
THERE ARE JUST TOO MANY OF THEM TO COUNT AND HELP!!
What the saddest fact is in the homeless populations here are the women who have young children, and are on the streets. Just at Cabot square, the mothers work the Upper kiosk at the top of the escalators, and their kids beg at the bottom of the escalators. Junkie mothers with kids in tow, is terribly disturbing, Along with their “pimps” who abuse both the children and the mothers!!
What the fuck is that ??? And we are powerless to change them. Because they are stuck. There are NOT enough resources to help them off the street, get them into rehabs (waiting lists are 6 to 8 months in Quebec) and who is gonna take the children? Like family services has the ability to care for every homeless child and young person on the street? NO!!
There are natives from the many reservations and Inuit locales at all points North. They come to have their children cared for at the Children’s hospital right up the street from here. They pile out of vans, buses and cars. Some are transient and some are better off than others. When a native leaves their reservation in Quebec, it is every man and woman for themselves. Nobody gives a shit. And if they do not assimilate, they end up in a park and on the street, because they get “hooked on whatever” and they don’t repatriate.
There is – along Ste. Catherines Street a city block long mural on the wood that barricades the burned out and empty buildings that LITTER the West end of Downtown like broken defunct sentinels of lore. If you walk from here to Alexis Nihon Plaza, there are Inuit women who are vicious, belligerent, and sometimes violent. If you pass them by when they are drunk and high they swear obscenities at passersby.
They accost people for smokes and money. They are there, in the same spots day in day out… Because they have no place else to go. Cabot Square in the locale in my neighborhood where all native peoples gather. It is a rallying point for the “troops” so to speak. I pass homeless kids in front of the grocery store and I buy them cooked and prepared foods from the deli. We don’t give the kids cash, but we feed them. But they choose to stay on the street, so what are we supposed to do?
We write about these issues and nothing gets done, and I am not a rich aristocrat with money who is sitting on the land on the West end, and developers have not been able to get the land released for development. If it DID get released, we could clean up this end of the city and make it beautiful. But all we see when we walk down the street is hungry, homeless, drunk and high folk, and the burned out decrepit buildings that haven’t seen life in over a decade. The mayor does nothing…
Politics and Crime…
I could go on and on and on… But you get the picture.
If cities and local governments do nothing as they always have, this problem will continue. Until the Worlds governments take a BIG LONG LOOK at the homeless and hungry populations and they DO something concrete to stop it, we will be having this conversation until we all die.
This is a world wide problem, and no you are not alone in your quest to be Jesus, but I know that Jesus is not a “half measure” kind of man, so pick your battles wisely. Mark Kelly from CBC News did a “Seven Series Report” here in Montreal on the homeless last Winter, did it do any good for the city? Not One Bit.
The shelters are still overflowing and they can’t help everyone that Montreal calls homeless and destitute. I know a man who comes to my meeting. He’s been in the program longer than I’ve been in Montreal (now almost 7 years) and he is homeless and prefers the shelter to a life. I look at him and he still doesn’t get it but who am I to judge?
Sometimes the disenfranchised are hopeless which is sad, because I have come so far in the last six years, but many are still where I found them so long ago.
And that is sad…
June 28, 2007 - New HIV/AIDS Bio-containment Laboratory opens at the Jewish General Hospital’s Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research
Testing and research into HIV/AIDS have taken a major step forward with today’s opening of a new $5 million HIV/AIDS Bio-containment Laboratory in the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research (LDI) at the Jewish General Hospital (JGH).
The laboratory, whose development was spearheaded by Dr. Mark A. Wainberg, Director of Research at the JGH, will be used to grow the HIV/AIDS virus and to test tissue samples to determine how patients respond to various types of medication.
This is the fourth and most sophisticated laboratory of its kind at the LDI since the hospital began its pioneering work in HIV/AIDS under Dr. Wainberg’s supervision in the early 1980s.
“The Jewish General Hospital and the Lady Davis Institute deserve a great deal of credit for having recognized the importance of HIV/AIDS research so soon after the outbreak of the epidemic 25 years ago, and for continuing to support major, ongoing initiatives to fight the disease,” Dr. Wainberg said.
Dr. Wainberg, an internationally recognized expert on HIV/AIDS, added that the new laboratory, which is affiliated with the McGill AIDS Centre, is among the few Level 3 facilities in a Canadian hospital. In such a facility, safety precautions are so strict that Health Canada has permitted the HIV/AIDS virus to be studied and stored there. It is also one of only two centres in Quebec that are authorized to perform clinical genotyping – i.e., checking the virus’ genetic sequences to determine whether it has mutated so as to become resistant to anti-viral drugs. This test is an essential component of HIV therapy.
A total of 82 people have been trained to work in the laboratory, which received $2 million from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation for construction and equipment. The rest of the funding was provided by the JGH Foundation and various donors.
The city of Montreal will increase recycling services to divert garbage that will pile up in alleys and on sidewalks this weekend, as thousands of Quebecers get ready to move homes.
While the rest of Canada stops to enjoy July 1 celebrations with parades and barbecues, Quebecers have to sweat through the province’s annual moving day.
The ritual usually leaves mountains of garbage, castaway furniture and clothes collecting pollen in back alleys and under stairwells.
But this year the city is putting more recycling trucks on the road to pick up some of the refuse.
“If the citizen decides to hide it in his back lane, then we’re going to have a big problem,” said city of Montreal executive member Marcel Tremblay.
Quebec’s annual moving day has fallen on Canada Day since 1973, when the provincial government decided all rental leases should start on July 1, to minimize disruption for children in school.
Montreal residents can call (514) 872-3434 or (514) 872-2237 to find out when extra recycling pickups are scheduled for their neighbourhood.
Montreal still suffers from affordable housing shortage
Quebec tenant groups are angry the provincial government won’t fund an emergency rental supplement this year for families forced to move to apartments they can’t afford.
With Quebec’s annual moving day just 11 days away, affordable housing activists say a growing number of families will have to move into apartments they can’t afford.
Until last year the provincial government offered emergency rental supplements to low-income families to help buffer the affordable housing shortage that saw vacancy rates drop to below one per cent in Montreal.
While vacancy rates have since stabilized at about three per cent in Montreal, the Quebec Coalition of Tenants’ Association says there is still a need for the program because many families still won’t be able to find affordable homes.
The “lack of large apartments at any price” is the problem, coalition spokesman André Trépanier said. “But for sure, there’s more apartments that are expensive, and the few large apartments available are very expensive.”
Many Montreal families will find themselves living in temporary shelters run by the city after July 1 because they can’t find a suitable apartment, Trépanier warned. The city also offers free storage to families struggling to find new dwellings.
Montreal has set up a housing hotline for residents seeking assistance. The number is (514) 868-4002.
If You Don’t have to Move
Then DON’T !!!
For Christ’s Sake …
Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby, who this season became the youngest player to win the NHL scoring title, is now the youngest team captain in league history.
The Penguins made the move official during a luncheon on Thursday.
“Sidney has done so much for this franchise in his first two seasons, made so much history, that you have to keep reminding yourself that he is only 19 years old,” Penguins general manager Ray Shero said on the team’s official website.
“It is obvious to all of us — coaches, players, management, staff — that he has grown into the acknowledged leader of the Pittsburgh Penguins. It is only appropriate that he wears the ‘C’ as team captain.”
Crosby, who won’t turn 20 until August, served as an alternate captain while topping the NHL with 120 points (36 goals, 84 assists) in his second season, earning him a nomination for the league’s most valuable player award.
“I was always told that age is just a number,” Crosby said. “I try not to let it get in the way of anything.”
Crosby’s precocious production also helped the Penguins to the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference and their first playoff berth since 2001, though they were brushed aside in five games in the first round by the Ottawa Senators, now in the Stanley Cup final against the Anaheim Ducks.
After Pittsburgh was eliminated, Crosby revealed he had played the final weeks of the regular season and the playoffs with a fractured bone in his left foot.
Crosby, a native of Cole Harbour, N.S., is the youngest-ever NHL captain by about two months. The Tampa Bay Lightning named Vincent Lecavalier captain in 2000, when he was 19 years 11 months old, but later rescinded the title.
The Penguins have not had a captain since Mario Lemieux announced his retirement in January 2006.
With files from the Canadian Press
Linkin Park – What I’ve Done (Music video)
Finally, New music from Linkin Park. I happen to Love this group.
Music video for Linkin Park’s new single, What I’ve Done.
It features the band performing
in the desert, while reflecting on a variety of social issues including global warming, famine, war, and destruction. The music video was shot in the Californian desert.
Album: Minutes to Midnight
Realease date: 14 May 2007 (Worldwide) , 15 May 2007 (North America)
Get the single at iTunes! Click below to go to iTunes:
Shock and Awe, 1917
Last Updated April 2, 2007
Easter 2007 is the 90th anniversary of the First World War Canadian military attack on Vimy Ridge in France. CBC is commemorating the events with special broadcast coverage, online photo galleries: Four Days in April about the battle and Building the towers about Canada’s war monument, and thoughts from a young Canadian student visiting war memorial sites in Europe.
The towering 10-storey white limestone Vimy Memorial Monument near Arras, France, fell into disrepair as rain eroded the soft stone and winters cracked some of the building blocks. After three years of restoration work, which included dismantling and rebuilding much of the structure, the dedication of the restored monument takes place Monday, April 9.
We may marvel at the firepower
of the hundreds of missiles and smart bombs used in U.S. attacks on Iraq, but an overwhelming battlefield fusillade creating shock and awe is not a new idea. In fact, Canadian soldiers fighting in the First World War were pioneers of the tactic.
Click for map
Source: National Archives
It was at Vimy Ridge, a strategic 14-kilometre long escarpment that overlooks the Douai plain of France. German occupying troops controlled the ridge using a network of trenches that snaked along the crest and down into the valley, connecting with another network of natural caves. 150,000 French and British soldiers had died trying to take it back. Allied commanders believed the ridge to be impregnable.
But the Canadians had a plan, the first battle strategy for this new nation’s commanders to conceive and execute on their own. Even military “experts” of the time admitted dubiously that the Canadians’ plan couldn’t be any worse than the British tactics at the Somme, which cost 24,000 Canadian casualties. So the Canadian army – all four divisions, totalling 100,000 men – got the go-ahead.
The ground assault had been planned meticulously for months. Full-scale replicas of the Vimy terrain were built to rehearse unit commanders on what to expect both from the enemy and from Canadian units on either side. Canadian spotters had identified and mapped about 80 per cent of the German gun positions. Five kilometres of tunnels were dug in order to move Canadian troops and ammunition up to the front without their being seen by German observers. And for a couple of weeks leading up to the battle, Canadian and British artillery pounded the Germans with 2,500 tons of ammunition per day.
At 5:30 in the morning on Easter Monday, April 9, 1917, the assault began. It was raining. It was freezing cold. And it began with a huge artillery barrage… shock and awe 1917-style.
Canadians under fire at Vimy
Source: National Archives
Over 1,100 cannons of various descriptions, from British heavy naval guns mounted on railway cars miles behind the battlefield, to portable field artillery pieces dragged into place by horses, mules or soldiers just behind the Canadian lines, fired continuously – in some cases until they exhausted their ammunition.
The Canadian battle plan was simple: the withering barrage provided a screen for the Canadian troops to hide behind. Hundreds of shells would land at once, spraying plumes of muddy earth upward like a polluted version of some giant decorative water fountain. Every three minutes the 850 Canadian cannons would aim a little higher, advancing the row of shellfire forward by 90 metres.
The attacking Canadian foot soldiers were expected to keep up, advancing, taking and occupying German positions, moving forward, never stopping, never racing ahead. Falling behind would make them clearer targets for German guns mounted higher up the ridge. Getting ahead of the artillery would put them in danger of being blasted by their own guns.
The giant naval cannons focused on the reinforced concrete bunkers protecting German heavy gun emplacements. The immense but inaccurate shells sent plumes of dirt, concrete and shrapnel skyward with every impact. The craters left behind were as large as houses.
The fight to take Vimy Ridge cost Canada dearly, but it would become the cornerstone of the nation’s image of its place in the world. In four days, 3,600 Canadian soldiers died, another 5,000 were wounded. But the ridge was taken, much of it in the first day. The valour of the troops, the originality of the plan, the success where larger, more established armies had failed, all contributed to a new nation’s pride.
The battle was hailed as the first allied success of the long war, achieved mostly due to the innovation of using a creeping, continuous massive artillery barrage to protect squads of advancing troops. Both sides used the tactic in future battles.
But even today we’re paying the cost. At Vimy and other former First World War battlefields, the ground is so full of unexploded ordnance that visitors are warned not to stray from marked pathways. The risk from shells that fell and never exploded is still so high that it’s too dangerous, nearly a century later, to walk onto the actual battlefield to search for remains of soldiers listed as “missing.”
Today, there’s a large park at Vimy Ridge, dedicated to Canada. The striking memorial features a 30-tonne limestone figure carved from a single block, a hooded figure representing Canada herself, gazing down on a single tomb overlooking the Douai plain.
The twin stone pillars list the names of 11,285 Canadian soldiers who died in France and whose remains were never found.
The Turquoise Mountain Foundation
Developers are threatening to demolish the medieval cities of Afghanistan; the last masters of traditional Afghan arts are dying; high unemployment is breeding extremism; Afghans need jobs, skills, economic opportunities and a renewed pride in their national culture. The Turquoise Mountain Project will conserve a section of a medieval city, work with householders to improve living conditions, restore ancient buildings and create an academy to preserve and develop traditional skills. The project will provide vocational training, improve the living conditions of poor citizens, conserve heritage, foster the export market for Afghan goods and lay the foundations for tourism. The Turquoise Mountain (Firuzkuh in Dari) was the greatest indigenous Afghan capital of the middle ages, destroyed by Ogodei, son of Genghis Khan in ca. 1220-22 and lost to history. Its only surviving monument is the magnificent Minaret of Jam. The name of the project evokes Afghanistan’s unique tradition of art and architecture.
The Turquoise Mountain Foundation is a non-profit, non-governmental, Afghan Social Foundation, driven by Afghans. It is not intended to be a sterile heritage project. The project aims to include neighbourhood renewal benefiting the poorest citizens. It hopes to provide assistance and small grants to traditional home owners to encourage them to value and preserve their existing buildings. Mud architecture is energy efficient, much easier to heat and cool and maintain and unlike its modern replacements does not depend on Kabul’s almost non-existent electricity supply.
The project will not impose alien theories or disrupt existing structures: instead it will begin with a construction project and the craftsmen and techniques will be organically developed from the construction work. It will build on the existing workshops and traditions, support existing masters, and hopes to train apprentices from the traditional craft communities as well as introducing talented street-children and the disabled to the traditional arts. The Foundation aims to run short courses for Afghan undergraduates, architects, designers and engineers to encourage the use of traditional arts and designs. The school’s trainees will not only work with historical restoration projects and museum conservation; they will also be encouraged to develop links with construction companies and commercial trading and export houses. Thus heritage will be combined with vocational training, training with academic instruction and both with private sector development and tourism.
Afghanistan is fortunate to have traditional Islamic cities which are almost unique in the world. The royal capitals of Kabul, Herat, Ghazni and Balkh have all been inhabited for thousands of years: the citadel of Herat, capital of the Persian province of Ariana, was ancient at the time of the visit of Alexander the Great. In each city, layers of Persian, Hellenic, Central Asian and Islamic architecture lie next to traditional houses, baths and shrines, and compared to cities in other parts of Asia these have suffered little from modern development. But the oldest areas are now often the poorest with impassable streets filled with sewage and waste, and the houses lack basic services. The fall of the Taliban in 2001 has propelled a property boom. In Kabul and Herat developers are demolishing sections of the traditional city to construct concrete shopping malls and Western villas.
Afghanistan has unique traditions in tile-work, incised and lattice wood-work, plasterwork, masonry, pottery, metalwork, music, glasswork, calligraphy, carpet-weaving and embroidery. Traditional workshops from the tile-workers in the Friday Mosque in Herat to the potters in Istalif near Kabul, continue to work within traditions which are centuries old but the masters are aging, few apprentices are coming forward and their skills will soon be lost. Already, standards are dropping. Recent international attempts at conserving the medieval masterpieces in Herat are struggling to find artisans with appropriate skills.
Get your copy of The Places In Between by Rory Stewart: HERE