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Holocaust

Day of Remembrance …

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The international Day of Remembrance has begun in Israel. The day that we remember the 6 million Jews, and many others that went to their deaths in Nazi concentration camps. Those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it.

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big1402 KL Auschwitz Work makes free Arbeit macht frei Today

Nazi Records

These – Bad Arolson is where the millions upon millions of files for Nazi records have been kept and for years now been open to the public for research purposes.

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Yad Vashem. The Holocaust museum in Israel.

You who live safe
In your warm houses,
You who find, returning in the evening,
Hot food and friendly faces:
Consider if this is a man
Who works in the mud
Who does not know peace
Who fights for a scrap of bread
Who dies because of a yes and a no.
Consider if this is a woman,
Without hair and without name
With no more strength to remember,
Her eyes empty and her womb cold
Like a frog in winter

Meditate that this came about:
I commend these words to you.
Carve them in your hearts
At Home, in the street,
Going to bed, rising;
Repeat them to your children,

Or may your house fall apart,
May illness impede you,
May your children turn their faces from you.

Primo Levi

Survival in Auschwitz


Book Review: beatrice & virgil

Thanks to my friend Will, over on You Tube, I read another book because he really likes this author Yann Martel, the famed writer of “Life of Pi.” Thursday night is the meet and greet here in town and I will be getting Will his autograph.

I have to say that this book was interesting. A little unassuming, and surely strange. It was a short read, but a good read nonetheless. With little books, you have to pay attention to the words, because if you miss something, you will ruin the read, and that was surely the case with this book.

A couple times I wanted to put the book down but I always went back to reread something I missed. This read was interesting in that the story starts out with one story about a writer and morphs into a literary adventure between this writer and one of his readers.

And just who and what are beatrice and virgil? And why did he choose this title of the book? You’ll have to read to find that out.

What happens next needs to be tread very carefully. Every word means something. You have to read every word in the order that they were written, and not skip anything because if you do, you may miss it. You will have to buy the book to understand what “IT” is…

The twist in the book is subtle. Though the subject matter discussed is important for historical purposes. I enjoyed the read, as I am sure you will as well.


Yom Hashoa … 4-11-10

What did you do today to remember ???

It kind of slipped my  mind, the day and all. I spent the last 2 days typing out my Old Testament Samuel Diachronic Presentation into my computer 32 slides in all and I finished it earlier tonight. Now I can get to bed at a nominal hour and listen to my over night radio show.

I have three papers to write in the next seven days. In order not to be tossed from the M.A. program. The fourth paper isn’t due until the 29th and that should not be a problem. I have to get Sophia and Origen written by next Tuesday. God give me strength…

I spoke to my friend down in Florida, the lady keeping an eye on Louise. She is home now, and was sleeping when I called earlier today. Things must be going very well that they discharged her so soon after surgery.

That’s all I have for you at the moment. So from Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz, I remember …

“You who live safe
In your warm houses,
You who find, returning in the evening,
Hot food and friendly faces:
Consider if this is a man
Who works in the mud
Who does not know peace
Who fights for a scrap of bread
Who dies because of a yes and a no.
Consider if this is a woman,
Without hair and without name
With no more strength to remember,
Her eyes empty and her womb cold
Like a frog in winter

Meditate that this came about:
I commend these words to you.
Carve them in your hearts
At Home, in the street,
Going to bed, rising;
Repeat them to your children,

Or may your house fall apart,
May illness impede you,
May your children turn their faces from you.”

Primo Levi

Survival in Auschwitz


Scholars make finds in Nazi archive

By ARTHUR MAX, Associated Press Writer

BAD AROLSEN, Germany – From prison brothels to slave labor camps, 15 scholars concluded a two-week probe Thursday of an untapped repository of millions of Nazi records, and hailed it as a rich vein of raw material that will deepen the study of the Holocaust.

It was the first concentrated academic sweep of the long-private archive administered by the International Tracing Service since it opened its doors last November to Holocaust survivors, victims relatives and historical researchers.

German historian Christel Trouve said the nameless millions of forced laborers began to take shape as individual people as she studied small labor camps — which existed in astonishing numbers.

Among the striking revelations was the identification of the man who rescued an 8-year-old boy in Buchenwald, Israel Meir Lau, who later became Israel’s chief rabbi.

Lau had said his rescuer was a person called Fyodor from Rostow. Kenneth Waltzer of Michigan State University found it was Fyodor Michajlitschenko, 18, arrested by the Gestapo in 1943, who gave the small boy ear warmers and treated him like a father in Block 8 until the camp’s liberation.

“A lot of us found the collections here, approached in the appropriate way, really opened up new significant scholarly lines of inquiry,” said Waltzer, who is director of his university’s Jewish Studies department.

Jessica Anderson Hughes of Rutgers University discovered that prostitutes servicing other prisoners in concentration camp brothels often came from ordinary backgrounds — exploding the myth that most had been prostitutes before their arrest.

Hughes said the lists in Bad Arolsen allowed her to attach names to the prisoner-prostitutes at Buchenwald, one of the largest concentration camps which had one of eight known brothels for prisoners.

With the names she could look up incarceration records — and she found some women were married, some single, some were mothers. The records said many were arrested for petty theft or other minor crime.

“We always portrayed them as volunteers, but I wanted to know why they volunteered,” she said. She believed the prostitutes faced “a choiceless choice.”

The opening of the files to scholars followed pressure from survivors and from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. The importance of the archive was highlighted in a series of stories by The Associated Press, which was the first news organization to be granted extensive access to the long-restricted papers.

The research project was organized jointly by the tracing service and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, which brought scholars from six countries to begin assessing the significance of the archive, the largest collection of Nazi documents.

The 50 million pages stored in this central German spa town since the mid-1950s previously had been used by Red Cross staff to respond to inquiries about missing persons or the fate of family members, and later to document compensation claims.

With the population of survivors quickly shrinking, the 11 countries that govern the archive agreed in 2006 to widen access to the files. It took another 18 months for all 11 to ratify the required treaty amendments before the archive could open.

Reto Meister, the archive’s director, said he still gets 1,000 inquires a month asking for personal information. Now, the archive is also getting dozens of academic inquiries or visitors every month, he said.

The gray metal shelves and cabinets contain 16 miles (25 kilometers) of transport lists, camp registries, medical records, forced labor files and death certificates of some 17.5 million people subjected to Nazi persecutions.

Taken together with written and oral testimonies and the transcripts of war crimes trials, the dry data at Bad Arolsen add texture to the known picture of the Holocaust, from the first concentration camps created within weeks of Hitler’s rise to power in January 1933 to the defeat of Nazism in May 1945.

“It was much more than I expected,” said Trouve.

“I’ve been working on concentration camps for 15 years. We know there was forced laborers in Germany — millions of them,” she said. “But then you go through these lists. You see the farmer employing so many people. You see the factory employing hundreds of people. Everything was blurred, but suddenly you have a clear image.”

Jean-Marc Dreyfus, of Manchester University in Britain, said the archive “won’t utterly change our view of the Holocaust, but it will be very precious for researchers to complement and pursue new research.”

___

Associated Press investigative researcher Randy Herschaft contributed to this article from Bad Arolsen


Came to Believe…

It is really hard to try and explain to some readers that unless you have walked a day or a week or a month and quite possibly a year in my shoes, NO ONE has the right to judge me or leave nasty comments on this blog, thinking that I would even entertain posting those comments here.

The other night I wrote on the seven deadly sins, as I did a nightly inventory of my sobriety and I prayed for some wisdom in posting that post and I even PAGED it as well so that it can be readily accessed from the front page.

Illness forces one who is ill to grow up, faster than usual. It asks of us to persevere through the illness and to hope and pray that one will live through adversity and come victoriously to the other side. 162 of my friends went into that dark night with me. They are all dead, I am still alive. I must be doing something right.

People who think they know God, come here and tell me about their God and they share with me their warped views of Christianity. They leave nasty comments with vile judgments and accusations. How could I possibly know God, be a Christian and be Gay? My God does not care that I am gay and he doesn’t care that you are straight. My God tells me that I must walk this path, and I must pray and I must respect the station of God, and I do that. I am sure that every Christian who reads this blog has a different conception of God, and you may not agree with me and that’s ok. What a bore it would be if we all agreed on every note of Christianity.

When I got sick, and doctors told me that I had, at best, 18 months to live, that I better make good use of that time, I took that diagnosis home with me and I was alone. Because I would be Coming Out again, and AIDS was the great leveler. It surely separated the boys from the men, and the girls from the women. I tell this story again because it is who I am – what I am – and where I came from.

I had to come to believe that I was going to live, when all of my friends were dying. Against all odds, a group of men rallied round me and forced me to think, they begged me to believe in them, if I could not believe in myself or in God at that present moment. I cried for days. I worked my ass off and I listened to every word that was spoken to me in that first 18 months. I listened to the men who made sense of living. I listened to men encourage me through the toughest time of my life. Were THEY wrong???

The path lies ahead of you. What you choose to do with that knowledge is up to you. I had a choice, I could stay on the path and follow the leader, or I could go it alone. I chose to follow the leader. When Christianity turned its back on the sick and the dying, WE were still there. When the Christians were condemning us, and labeling us, WE were still there, we walked through that hell. I accuse many for what they did to me and my friends. I accuse you for turning your back on so many, families, friends, lovers, churches, congregations, funeral parlors, office workers, hospital workers and doctors and nurses.

You have not a shred of experience on what we lived through. You have not a leg to stand on when you speak your vile accusations and judgments. God as my witness, You have no idea who I am, you did not see with thine own eyes the horror I witnessed. You did not weep at the bodies laid wasted by those who abandoned them. I reckon, you did not shed one guilty tear of remorse for your actions.

And God Wept…

I counted the days, one by one, on paper, in my house, in my heart and in my mind. I sewed my own memorial quilt with the others and when they died I wept for my friends and those who loved them to the end. I worked night and day to care for the sick and the dying. I worked night and day to keep myself alive. And I was sober as well. I experienced rehab and I read my Big Book, I worked my steps and I let go of my resentments and my ego. Because let me tell you, there is no EGO when it comes to mortality. You beg God for one more day, one more week, one more month. You tell me if you’ve ever knelt before God, knowing that your life is in his hands, and you don’t let go of your EGO pretty damned fast.

God does not deal is egos and attitudes, although you wouldn’t know that by the actions of some Christians I run across on this blog. You’d think that God stepped out of his heaven to tell some Christians that it is their duty and responsibility to speak for the almighty!

I beg to differ…

I do not know of any Christian, priest, minister, pastor or the like who has ever heard from the Almighty and has access to the 1-800 number to the heavenly host. Not one day goes by as of late that I don’t think about my mortality. Because we are quickly approaching my diagnosis anniversary. It has been 14 years and counting, and I am still here, 162 of my friends are DEAD!!!

The longer I lived the more I believed that I would make it – the more I walked the path, I learned about me, about others, I learned what true compassion was, because I watched people like you, HUMAN BEINGS become ANIMALS, un-compassionate and uncaring. I witnessed the worst that humanity threw at us, don’t think for one moment that I have forgotten after so many years. I have not…

I know very few noble men and women in my life. I know that the men and women who worked tirelessly to help me and others stay alive, did that because they had to. The believed in us when nobody else did. They hoped that we would survive the medications, the drugs, and or the lack there of. Those men and women stood at the gates of death and protected us to the best of their ability to see that no one would go alone and those who lived would not forget the kindness shown to them in their darkest hours.

YOU who think you know God. YOU who think God has anything to say about me. YOU who think that you can prance around your little churches proclaiming “Jesus Saves” on Holy Sunday and at prayer meetings and revivals, out of one side of your mouth, and from the other you spout such vitriol and hatred!!! How could you possibly be in communion with the same God who created heaven and earth and all that you see before you!

May God have mercy on your souls.

In 40 years of life, I know who I am today. I survived. I lived. I persevered. I broke all the records and markers that my doctors gave me. I survived a family that turned their backs on me. I survived loosing my friends, my fellows, my boyfriend at the time. I survived finding my lovers corpse 5 days after he killed himself, rather than telling me that he was sick. I survived the curse that his mother said to me as I signed his body out of the coroners office to send his rotted corpse home to his family when she spoke those words:

“I Hope that every night when you close your eyes, that you see my dead sons body before you until the day that you die…”

Not a night goes by that I don’t pray for his soul and for mine. Not a day goes by that I am not reminded that this body is but a shell that I happen to inhabit for this lifetime. Not a day goes by that I am not reminded that I could die at any moment because my constitution is not that of a 26 year old boy any more. Not a day goes by that I don’t start my day with prayer and pray during the day and before I go to sleep at night that i don’t thank God for that day and pray that there is air in my lungs when I get up the next morning. It seems that God listens to my prayers, because there is still air in my lungs tonight.

You must concede that I know of what I speak of. You must concede that somewhere in God’s heaven are millions of souls who have gone before me, who speak to God on my behalf. You must concede that Sister Georgette, my sainted Grey Nun aunt, isn’t up there speaking to Mere D’Youville on my behalf. You must concede that after all these years, that I know how to pray. You must concede that probably I have prayed prayers for myself and my friends that YOU have never thought about praying for yourself or your families.

Death and Dying is not just a spectator sport for those who live and die with illness. You look at a child who is sick, and you feel pity for them, yet you spurn the lot of us who are sick and dying. There was no pity on your face, only recriminations and condemnation. Until you face your appointed hour could you ever utter one single word against me, my friends or our family.

We learn a great deal about life in the pursuit of death. We learn a great deal about prayer when the chips are down and we have to utter those “Hail Mary” prayers. I don’t think that YOU could shine a light on my prayer life with the certainty that you think you have. I don’t believe that YOU could even imagine what it is that I pray for on a nightly basis. I don’t believe that YOU could ever know the relationship that I have with God, because of the way you treat others. Humans are imperfect beings.

Religious men and women across the board for centuries have prayed to God, studied the finer points of God and they speak about theologies and religions, and nobody has the definitive word on God, what He thinks and what He believes of anyone on earth. Scripture, Talmud, the Qu’ran, the Bible, the Upanishads and the Vedas all speak of spiritual nature and spiritual truth. Words written by man, inspired by God are open to interpretation by the best scholars and religious leaders. Centuries of collected works are borne into a system of belief for the masses because YOU need to believe in something, and far be it from me to tell you what to believe, and As God as my witness, YOU have no right to tell me what to believe, how to live my life, or who I can love.

Matthew 7:1-5

Judging Others

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?

You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brothers eye.”

On top of 40 years of lived experience on this earth, and 14 years balancing the fine art of the living and the dead, I have spiritual truth on my side. I have years of sober time under my belt. I have worked to become selfless and ego-less. We have a reading called the Promises in AA that we believe will come to pass if one works the program of recovery to the best of their ability.

“If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Are these extravagant promises? We think not.

They are being fulfilled among us – sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.They will always materialize if we work for them.”

Every week at my home group meeting we read this passage from the Big Book. And I can tell you that I have come to believe because I have watched God walk into our meeting and rest and I have seen his grace fall on the souls of those who come to that meeting week in and week out. I have seen God move in ways that probably YOU will never see in your lifetime. I have been blessed and my friends have been blessed by God because we come together to learn, to change, to work and to share our message with those who might need to hear it.

Over the last five years I have worked on my religious truth. I have studied God INTIMATELY. I know who God is and I know who God is not. I have prayed simple prayers in some of the most beautiful churches on the earth. I have walked the staircase to the roof the Pinnacle of the Holy Catholic Church. I have stood in awe of the expanse of Rome and I have looked down into Papal Gardens where I am sure, centuries of Popes have communed with God in their time.

I have spoken to Pontiffs, I have worshiped in the greatest Church that exists on the planet. I have communed with the bones of saints and prophets. I have stood in the place of honor where the disciple Peter’s bones rest beneath the cuppola of the Vatican. I have walked the hallowed halls of the catacombs beneath the Vatican and I have seen the early Christian catacombs on Rome where the first Christians worshiped God.

There is not one egotistical bone in my body. I have worked tirelessly for years to share a message of hope and love with my readers. I have worked with the sick and the dying. I have spent a lifetime learning how to die. I have spent a lifetime studying the path to righteousness. I don’t care one bit for righteousness, I DO care about Holiness. I care that I live a holy and blessed life. I care that those I listen to live holy and blessed lives. I care that the religious authority that I follow RESPECTS me for WHO I am and are not bothered by WHAT I may be.

The world is so caught up in labels. What good have labels done to people in the past? The Nazi’s believed that labeling people and putting them in extermination camps was useful. To route the world of Jews, Gypsies, Christians, (oh yes they exterminated Christians too), homosexuals, the Polish and the sick and dying. MILLIONS of people WERE MURDERED because they were labeled as useless and dirty.

I once believed, as a young person that I wanted to carry a label, but 40 years of experience has taught me that once you label someone, they are as good as dead. Once you label someone, they loose something of themselves. The uniqueness of the soul is tarnished by those who would see them labeled. In centuries of time gone by, we have seen what labels do to human beings. Because if YOU can label us, then You believe that you can separate us from the whole, and section us off from the normal human population. You do not own that power any longer.

My Husband, my friends, and my fellows love me for the man I am today. One who gives freely of his soul every day that I live. One who writes with such passion and strength. One who lives with determination that I can safely say that probably YOU will never see in your lifetime. Because faced with imminent death, I am sure you would not rise to the level of enlightenment that I have seen in my lifetime.

Ah, you might get sick, get cancer, or some other disease, you will say a prayer here or there, and maybe you just might see the face of God before he takes you, but you will still be as judgmental and vile as you are today. Nothing will change.

Because a sick heterosexual is far better in Gods eyes than a sick homosexual.

Because you believe that God will hear and harken your prayer before he does mine. Well, I wonder about that. What do you think? YOU who sputter unchristian words now need God’s grace, because like me, now you are sick and you need God to heal you and make you better. Do you think that you are going to walk a different path than I have? Do you think that your illness might be better than mine? Do you believe that a heterosexual should be pushed up the line of healing before God, before someone like me?

You have no idea what it feels like to face your own death, several times over in my case. And lived to tell the tale. And you think that I am prideful or have one ounce of hubris in my soul? You think that I am arrogant and that I come from a place of ego rather than a place of selflessness???

I have come to believe…

One day YOU will stand before God, and on that day YOU will reckon for all that you have done on this earth, and for me it is this last thought that keeps me going in my pursuit of Christian faith, that at the end of my life when I stand before God I will hear him say:

“Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Will God say the same words to you???


What is Wisdom???

This was the question our fearless professor asked us in class today.

Dictionary.com defines wisdom as: the quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight.

He also asked what is intelligence and does that differ from wisdom?

What is wisdom to me? Wisdom is something that comes with time, investment in life and knowledge collected over a lifetime. Wisdom is the practical application or pragmatic application of truth and goodness. For something to be wise, it has to follow that it is true. And that it comes from a place of goodness, and that wisdom can be applied to everyday life.

Intelligence, is over rated. The collection of information from study, life and experience, but all that knowledge is useless, if it goes no where. You can be smart and you can be intelligent, but you don’t necessarily become wise because of a degree or age. Intelligence is not the same as wisdom.

Who is wise? and Why? Who do you think is wise? and why?

I was asked if I felt that I was wise, on paper I indicated that I might be because I have 40 years of life experience and a few years of HIV under my belt. What I offer my readers is a lot of wisdom. Years of tried and true practice of action, faith and experience. Ask any sick person, young or old, and you will find that they are wise beyond their years. For those of us who faced the barrel of a gun and certain death and lived to tell the story, are wise.

I believe that men and women who survived atrocities are wise people. People like Elie Wiesel and every other man – woman and child who survived the Holocaust. I don’t know very many really wise men, as in Wise Men, but I believe that every one of us who shares their experience, strength and hope with one another is wise. Alcoholics come a dime a dozen, I know very few wise and sober men and women, I can count them on one hand.

Someone who has survived a life and is willing to give freely of that life is wise. Someone who is content to being who they are, living outside the ego, those who really know who they are and can help us move forward in our own lives is wise. This discussion will continue over the next few weeks as class moves forward.

In other Blog News:

I was very angry to learn that a fellow Blogger has taken down his Blog because of assholes who had to go and muddy the water on a young vibrant and loving father of two young boys. Copper was one of the most important young wise men I knew because of who he is and what he brought to my readers and the Blog Sphere as a whole. I am saddened that he has gone from us and I condemn all those who had to go and fuck it up for the rest of us.

This from Joe My God:

In Tuesday’s post about gay parenting, many of you weighed in on this growing phenomenon and what it means in the larger picture of our rapidly changing gay culture. Overwhelmingly, you expressed support for gay parents, with small minority expressing strong distaste for gay people who desire to have children. A few commenters directed readers to a blog called Cooper’s Corridor (a site unknown to me) for insight into the life of good gay dad.

Late in the day, Cooper’s Corridor disappeared.

With his permission, here is Cooper’s explanation:

I have deleted my blog. I’m very sad that I have felt the necessity to do this, because I loved the Corridor and feel it had a unique voice of its own. I started getting many hundreds of hits on my blog and multiple e-mails, some very nice, but others full of vitriol and judgement. Yet others poked fun at me. I feel threatened. I won’t expose my sons to that kind of scrutiny, so I ended it right then and there. I’ll continue writing privately, but never again will I expose my heart and soul and those of my children to public consumption. It may seem like an over-reaction, and although it hurts terribly, I feel I had no choice. It’s a sad world we live in when gay men denigrate and deliberately choose to hurt others.

I feel awful. I have pleaded time and time again for a civil tone in the comments of JMG. With a weekly comment volume in the thousands, I don’t have the time to moderate or even read many of the comments and I depend on our (mostly) thoughtful and smart community of JMG participants to keep the peace. And it works, mostly. Reviewing the comment thread of the post in question, with a handful of exceptions, there’s really not too much there that is very offensive.

But the idea that an apparently great blogger and fantastic gay father could be silenced by nasty JMG readers, even if they were directed to his blog by commenters and not me….well, that really fucking bothers me.

I offer my embarrassed apologies to Cooper.


Harper visits Auschwitz

CBC.ca Story Here

Prime Minister Stephen Harper toured the former death camp at Auschwitz on Saturday, a historic site in Poland that has come to symbolize the Nazi genocide against Jews during the Second World War.

Harper walked through the grounds accompanied by Piotr M.A. Cywinski, director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, and laid a wreath at the foot of a wall where thousands of prisoners were gunned down.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper arrives at the Wall of Death for a moment of reflection at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.Prime Minister Stephen Harper arrives at the Wall of Death for a moment of reflection at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.
(Tom Hanson/Canadian Press)

The prime minister then toured the rest of the camp in southern Poland where an estimated 1.5 million people, most of them Jews, were killed.

Harper saw the barbed wire fences that kept prisoners penned in, gallows where they were hanged, gas chambers where they were slain in staggering numbers and ovens where their bodies were burned.

The prime minister said nothing publicly during his visit. His message in a book of remembrance read, “We are witnesses here to the vestiges of unspeakable cruelty, horror and death.”

Harper is the second Canadian prime minister to visit Auschwitz. Jean Chrétien paid a visit in 1999.

Earlier on Saturday, Harper met briefly with former Polish president Lech Walesa, the founder of Poland’s Solidarity movement.

Walesa, who organized strikes and protests in the 1970s and 1980s against Poland’s then Communist government, has an office in the old town section of the port city of Gdansk.

After meeting with Walesa, Harper travelled to Wawel Castle, near Krakow, to view wall tapestries and other artifacts that Canada helped preserve during the Second World War.

He arrived in Poland on Friday, flying in from a NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania, where he secured a commitment from allies for increased troops for the war in Afghanistan.


Freaky Friday …

The boys at Word Press are rolling out new features for us, so for the next few days I will be trying to learn how to use the new functionality of the system. Like I said earlier, it is snowing here in Montreal. Something we were not expecting, because they told us that we would get rain! Well, they were wrong!

I have finished my final take home exam for my Introduction to Theology class last night. How much can one write on Deitrich Bonhoeffer’s Letters from Prison? Eberhard Bethge wrote a prologue to After Ten Years, and we were to read this short reading from Bonhoeffer and comment on what we thought was important. I wrote four pages. I am hoping that suffices, because I am not wasting any more time on this class.

We got the class evaluations the other day and I was not kind…

There’s not much else going on here this week, I got all my financial aide situated and paid and I am registered for classes for another calendar year. I have been going to school continually for now 5 years without a break [read: VACATION]!!! We haven’t been anywhere since our honeymoon in 2004.

What else is going on? Nothing much, so I guess I will close for now. Maybe more later…


Holocaust Memorial Day …

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You who live safe
In your warm houses,
You who find, returning in the evening,
Hot food and friendly faces:
Consider if this is a man
Who works in the mud
Who does not know peace
Who fights for a scrap of bread
Who dies because of a yes and a no.
Consider if this is a woman,
Without hair and without name
With no more strength to remember,
Her eyes empty and her womb cold
Like a frog in winter

Meditate that this came about:
I commend these words to you.
Carve them in your hearts
At Home, in the street,
Going to bed, rising;
Repeat them to your children,

Or may your house fall apart,
May illness impede you,
May your children turn their faces from you.

Primo Levi

Survival in Auschwitz

Let us Remember so that We Never Forget…


Holocaust survivor learns father's fate

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By ARON HELLER, Associated Press Writer

JERUSALEM – In 1942, 8-year-old Moshe Bar-Yuda walked hand-in-hand with his father to a collection point in his hometown in Slovakia and watched him being shipped off to a Nazi labor camp. The boy never saw him again, and for 66 years was left to wonder about his father’s fate.

Because of a newly opened Nazi archive, the mystery has been resolved.

Bar-Yuda, now 74, was one of the first to obtain Nazi documents now available to the public after they were stashed away for more than 60 years in a secret German archive. Up to now, only limited queries were answered.

The Bad Arolsen documents — transportation lists, Gestapo orders, camp registers, slave labor booklets, death books — contain references to about 17.5 million people, Jews and non-Jews. It is the largest registry of Holocaust victims ever.

The archive showed that Bar-Yuda’s father, Alfred Kastner, was killed in a Nazi gas chamber at the Majdanek death camp in Poland on Sept. 7, 1942, less than six months after his son watched him being taken away. Bar-Yuda said despite the tragic ending, he was grateful to finally have some closure and an exact date to recite Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead.

“I don’t want to say I feel terrible, and I don’t want to say the word ‘happy,’ but I feel like this open wound has finally been closed,” he said. “It closed very sadly but at least it closed.”

About 6 million Jews were killed by German Nazis and their collaborators in the Holocaust of World War II.

In August, the International Tracing Service (ITS) of the International Committee of the Red Cross, which administers the archive, began transferring digital copies of its documents to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, to Yad Vashem, Israel‘s Holocaust memorial, and to the Institute of National Remembrance in Warsaw, Poland.

The vast archive of war records in the small German town of Bad Arolsen opened its doors to the public in November, giving historians and Holocaust survivors access to concentration camp records detailing Nazi horrors.

The ITS has completed digitizing some 50 million index cards from shelves that would stretch 16 miles long and fill a half-dozen buildings in Bad Arolsen. The remainder of the records, relating to slave labor and displaced persons camps, will be transferred in installments between 2008 and 2010, the agency said.

Yad Vashem said it would begin responding to queries in February.

Bar-Yuda already has his answer. After reading about the opening of the archive, he turned to an old friend who worked at Yad Vashem and had been to Bad Arolsen, to find out if she could uncover any information about his father. Two weeks ago, he was handed the document that recorded his father’s execution.

Alfred Kastner, number 2802, was executed in Majdanek.

Bar-Yuda, a retired journalist and envoy for the quasi-governmental Jewish Agency, was hidden during the war with his mother and two siblings and later escaped to Palestine.

Other survivors said his father had perished, either in Majdanek or in the Auschwitz death camp. But there was nothing official and no records about him — beyond the one that showed he was deported from Bratislava on March 27, 1942.

“I’ve been trying to find out what happened to him. I didn’t know anything,” said Bar-Yuda, who recently wrote a book about his own Holocaust experience.

Bar-Yuda said knowing how his father’s life ended was a great comfort after years of devastating uncertainty.

“The question marks are gone,” he said. “Now I know how to deal better with the knowledge, and not with the confusion.”

Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev said the Holocaust museum was speedily integrating the new material into its database in the hopes of providing more answers.

“This story illustrates how the millions of documents in Yad Vashem’s archives, including the recently received documents from the ITS, allow us to be able to uncover the missing pieces of information, so that survivors and others will be able to finally complete the picture as to what happened to their loved ones during the Holocaust,” he said.

Allied forces began collecting the documents even before the end of the war, and eventually entrusted them to the Red Cross. The archive has been governed since 1955 by a commission that ratified an accord in November that unsealed the archive.

Yad Vashem expects the next batch of material from Bad Arolsen to arrive later this year and to have the full copy of all the ITS records by 2010.

It recently uploaded a special online request form on its Web site, and encouraged survivors seeking material from the German registry to do so.

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington said the museum will begin responding Thursday to requests for information from the archives made by Holocaust survivors and their families. The museum also will be open for members of the public to look at documents.


Holocaust survivor learns father’s fate

 holocaust-files.jpg

By ARON HELLER, Associated Press Writer

JERUSALEM – In 1942, 8-year-old Moshe Bar-Yuda walked hand-in-hand with his father to a collection point in his hometown in Slovakia and watched him being shipped off to a Nazi labor camp. The boy never saw him again, and for 66 years was left to wonder about his father’s fate.

Because of a newly opened Nazi archive, the mystery has been resolved.

Bar-Yuda, now 74, was one of the first to obtain Nazi documents now available to the public after they were stashed away for more than 60 years in a secret German archive. Up to now, only limited queries were answered.

The Bad Arolsen documents — transportation lists, Gestapo orders, camp registers, slave labor booklets, death books — contain references to about 17.5 million people, Jews and non-Jews. It is the largest registry of Holocaust victims ever.

The archive showed that Bar-Yuda’s father, Alfred Kastner, was killed in a Nazi gas chamber at the Majdanek death camp in Poland on Sept. 7, 1942, less than six months after his son watched him being taken away. Bar-Yuda said despite the tragic ending, he was grateful to finally have some closure and an exact date to recite Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead.

“I don’t want to say I feel terrible, and I don’t want to say the word ‘happy,’ but I feel like this open wound has finally been closed,” he said. “It closed very sadly but at least it closed.”

About 6 million Jews were killed by German Nazis and their collaborators in the Holocaust of World War II.

In August, the International Tracing Service (ITS) of the International Committee of the Red Cross, which administers the archive, began transferring digital copies of its documents to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, to Yad Vashem, Israel‘s Holocaust memorial, and to the Institute of National Remembrance in Warsaw, Poland.

The vast archive of war records in the small German town of Bad Arolsen opened its doors to the public in November, giving historians and Holocaust survivors access to concentration camp records detailing Nazi horrors.

The ITS has completed digitizing some 50 million index cards from shelves that would stretch 16 miles long and fill a half-dozen buildings in Bad Arolsen. The remainder of the records, relating to slave labor and displaced persons camps, will be transferred in installments between 2008 and 2010, the agency said.

Yad Vashem said it would begin responding to queries in February.

Bar-Yuda already has his answer. After reading about the opening of the archive, he turned to an old friend who worked at Yad Vashem and had been to Bad Arolsen, to find out if she could uncover any information about his father. Two weeks ago, he was handed the document that recorded his father’s execution.

Alfred Kastner, number 2802, was executed in Majdanek.

Bar-Yuda, a retired journalist and envoy for the quasi-governmental Jewish Agency, was hidden during the war with his mother and two siblings and later escaped to Palestine.

Other survivors said his father had perished, either in Majdanek or in the Auschwitz death camp. But there was nothing official and no records about him — beyond the one that showed he was deported from Bratislava on March 27, 1942.

“I’ve been trying to find out what happened to him. I didn’t know anything,” said Bar-Yuda, who recently wrote a book about his own Holocaust experience.

Bar-Yuda said knowing how his father’s life ended was a great comfort after years of devastating uncertainty.

“The question marks are gone,” he said. “Now I know how to deal better with the knowledge, and not with the confusion.”

Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev said the Holocaust museum was speedily integrating the new material into its database in the hopes of providing more answers.

“This story illustrates how the millions of documents in Yad Vashem’s archives, including the recently received documents from the ITS, allow us to be able to uncover the missing pieces of information, so that survivors and others will be able to finally complete the picture as to what happened to their loved ones during the Holocaust,” he said.

Allied forces began collecting the documents even before the end of the war, and eventually entrusted them to the Red Cross. The archive has been governed since 1955 by a commission that ratified an accord in November that unsealed the archive.

Yad Vashem expects the next batch of material from Bad Arolsen to arrive later this year and to have the full copy of all the ITS records by 2010.

It recently uploaded a special online request form on its Web site, and encouraged survivors seeking material from the German registry to do so.

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington said the museum will begin responding Thursday to requests for information from the archives made by Holocaust survivors and their families. The museum also will be open for members of the public to look at documents.


Huckabee wanted to isolate AIDS patients

 THIS IS DISGUSTING!!

By ANDREW DeMILLO, Associated Press Writer 25 minutes ago

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Mike Huckabee once advocated isolating AIDS patients from the general public, opposed increased federal funding in the search for a cure and said homosexuality could “pose a dangerous public health risk.”

As a candidate for a U.S. Senate seat in 1992, Huckabee answered 229 questions submitted to him by The Associated Press. Besides a quarantine, Huckabee suggested that Hollywood celebrities fund AIDS research from their own pockets, rather than federal health agencies.

“If the federal government is truly serious about doing something with the AIDS virus, we need to take steps that would isolate the carriers of this plague,” Huckabee wrote.

“It is difficult to understand the public policy towards AIDS. It is the first time in the history of civilization in which the carriers of a genuine plague have not been isolated from the general population, and in which this deadly disease for which there is no cure is being treated as a civil rights issue instead of the true health crisis it represents.”

The AP submitted the questionnaire to both candidates; only Huckabee responded. Incumbent Sen. Dale Bumpers won his fourth term; Huckabee was elected lieutenant governor the next year and became governor in 1996.

When asked about AIDS research in 1992, Huckabee complained that AIDS research received an unfair share of federal dollars when compared to cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

“In light of the extraordinary funds already being given for AIDS research, it does not seem that additional federal spending can be justified,” Huckabee wrote. “An alternative would be to request that multimillionaire celebrities, such as Elizabeth Taylor (,) Madonna and others who are pushing for more AIDS funding be encouraged to give out of their own personal treasuries increased amounts for AIDS research.”

Huckabee did not return messages left with his campaign.

When Huckabee wrote his answers in 1992, it was common knowledge that AIDS could not be spread by casual contact. In late 1991, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there were 195,718 AIDS patients in the country and that 126,159 people had died from the syndrome.

The nation had an increased awareness of AIDS at the time because pro basketball star Magic Johnson had recently disclosed he carried the virus responsible for it. Johnson retired but returned to the NBA briefly during the 1994-95 season.

Since becoming a presidential candidate this year, Huckabee has supported increased federal funding for AIDS research through the National Institutes of Health.

“My administration will be the first to have an overarching strategy for dealing with HIV and AIDS here in the United States, with a partnership between the public and private sectors that will provide necessary financing and a realistic path toward our goals,” Huckabee said in a statement posted on his campaign Web site last month.

Also in the wide-ranging AP questionnaire in 1992, Huckabee said, “I feel homosexuality is an aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle, and we now know it can pose a dangerous public health risk.”

A Southern Baptist preacher, Huckabee has been a favorite among social conservatives for his vocal opposition to gay marriage. In 2003, Huckabee said that the U.S. Supreme Court was probably right to strike down anti-sodomy laws, but that states still should be able to restrict things such as gay marriage or domestic partner benefits.

“What people do in the privacy of their own lives as adults is their business,” Huckabee said. “If they bring it into the public square and ask me as a taxpayer to support it or to endorse it, then it becomes a matter of public discussion and discourse.”


A Holocaust mystery finds some answers

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By ARTHUR MAX and MONIKA SCISLOWSKA, Associated Press Writers 

BAD AROLSEN, Germany – Deep in Shari Klages’ memory is an image of herself as a girl in New Jersey, going into her parents’ bedroom, pulling a thick leather-bound album from the top shelf of a closet and sitting down on the bed to leaf through it.

What she saw was page after page of ink-and-watercolor drawings that convey, with simple lines yet telling detail, the brutality of Dachau, the Nazi concentration camp where her father spent the last weeks of World War II.

Arrival, enslavement, torture, death — the 30 pictures expose the worsening nightmare through the artist’s eye for the essential, and add graphic texture to the body of testimony by Holocaust survivors.

“I have a sense of being quite horrified, of feeling my stomach in my throat,” Klages says. Just by looking at the book, she felt she was doing something wrong and was afraid of being caught.

Now, she finally wants to make the album public. Scholars who have seen it call it historically unique and an artistic treasure.

But who drew the pictures? Only Klages’ father could know. It was he who brought the album back from Dachau when he immigrated to America on a ship with more than 60 Holocaust orphans — and he had committed suicide in 1972 in his garage in Parsippany, N.J.

The sole clue was a signature at the bottom of several drawings: Porulski.

Klages, 47, has begun a quest to discover who Porulski was, and how her family came to be the custodian of his remarkable artistic legacy. The Associated Press has helped to fill in some of the blanks.

What unfolds is a story of Holocaust survival compressed into two tragic lives, a tale with threads stretching from Warsaw to Auschwitz and Dachau, from Australia to suburban England, and finally to a bedroom in New Jersey where a fatherless girl makes a traumatic discovery.

It shows how today, as the survivors dwindle in number, their children and grandchildren struggle to comprehend the Nazi genocide that indelibly scarred their families, and in the process run into mysteries that may never be solved.

This is Shari Klages’ mystery: How did Arnold Unger, her Polish Jewish father, a 15-year-old newcomer to Dachau, end up in possession of the artwork of a Polish Catholic more than twice his age, who had been in the concentration camps through most of World War II?

None of the records Klages found confirm that the two men knew each other, though they lived in adjacent blocks in Dachau. All that is certain is that Unger overlapped with Porulski during the three weeks the boy spent among nearly 30,000 inmates of Dachau’s main camp.

“He never talked about his experiences in the war,” said Klages. “I don’t recall specifically ever being told about the album, or actually learning that I was the child of a Holocaust survivor. It was just something I always knew.”

As adults, she and her three siblings took turns keeping the album and Unger’s other wartime memorabilia.

The album begins with an image of four prisoners in winter coats carrying suitcases and marching toward Dachau’s watchtower under the rifles of SS guards. It is followed by a scene of two inmates being stripped for a humiliating examination by a kapo, a prisoner working for the Nazis.

One image portrays two prisoners pausing in their work to doff their caps to a soldier escorting a prostitute — intimated by the seam on her stocking. Another shows a leashed dog lunging at a terrified inmate.

The drawings grow more and more debasing. Three prisoners hang by their arms tied behind their backs; a captured escapee is paraded wearing a sign, “Hurray, I am back again”; an inmate is hanged from a scaffold; and, in the final image, a man lies on the ground, shot dead next to the barbed-wire fence under the looming watchtower.

The album also has 258 photographs. Some are copies of well-known, haunting images of piles of victims’ bodies taken by the U.S. army that liberated the camp. Others are photographs, apparently taken for Nazi propaganda, portraying Dachau as an idyllic summer camp. Still others are personal snapshots of Unger with Polish refugees or with American soldiers who befriended him.

Barbara Distel, the director of the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site, said Porulski probably drew the pictures shortly after the camp’s liberation in April 1945. He used identical sheets of paper, ink and watercolors for all 30 pictures, she said, and he “would never have dared” to draw such horrors while he was still under Nazi gaze.

“It’s amazing after so many years that these kinds of documents still turn up,” Distel told the AP. “It’s a unique artifact,” and clearly drawn by someone with an intimate knowledge of the camp’s reality, she said.

Holocaust artwork has turned up before, but Distel and Holocaust scholar Michael Berenbaum, who is with the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, say they are unaware of any sequential narrative of camp life comparable to Porulski’s.

“I’ve seen two or three or four, but never 30,” said Berenbaum.

In Coral Springs, Fla., where she now lives, Klages showed the book in 2005 to a neighbor, Avi Hoffman, executive director of the National Center for Jewish Cultural Arts. Hoffman immediately saw its quality and significance. The two became determined to uncover its background and find out if the artist had created an undiscovered body of work.

In August, Klages, Hoffman and Berenbaum went to Germany to begin their hunt. They hired a crew to document it, hoping a film would help finance a foundation to exhibit the book.

They began chipping away at the album’s secrets at the Dachau memorial, outside Munich, where they found an arrival record for Michal Porulski, which listed his profession as artist, in 1941.

They learned that Unger hid the fact that he was Jewish when he reached Dachau three weeks before the war ended. “That probably saved his life,” Hoffman said. They also discovered a strong likelihood that the album’s binding was fashioned from the recycled leather of an SS officer’s uniform.

Unger, an engaging youngster, became an office boy and translator for U.S. occupation authorities at Dachau, which was turned into a displaced persons camp, and obtained a U.S. visa in 1947.

Research by Klages’ group and the AP has begun to pull together the scattered threads of Porulski’s life from long forgotten records at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts, a tiny museum in Warsaw, Auschwitz and Dachau, the International Tracing Service of the Red Cross, the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial archives in Jerusalem, Australian immigration records and data from England.

Porulski enrolled in the Warsaw arts academy in 1934 after completing two years of army service. Attached to his neatly written application is a photograph of a good looking young man with light hair and dreamy eyes.

It says he was a farmer’s son, born June 20, 1910, in the central town of Rychwal, although in later records Porulski said he was born five years later.

Chronically poor, he left the academy after failing to secure a loan for his tuition but was later reinstated. After Germany invaded in 1939, he made some money painting watercolor postcards of Nazi-occupied Poland, two of which have survived and are now in the Warsaw Museum of Caricature.

In June 1940, he was arrested in a Nazi roundup “without any reason,” he wrote many years later in an appeal for help from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

Two months later, he and 1,500 others were the first Poles to be shipped from Warsaw to Auschwitz. He spent eight months there, then was sent to the Neuengamme camp and finally to Dachau, near Munich, in May 1941.

In Dachau, according to a brief reference in a Polish book on wartime art, he painted portraits, flowers, folk dance scenes and decoration for a clandestine theater.

In 1949 he sailed to Australia and tried to work as a painter and decorator but mostly lived off friends. He returned to Europe in 1963 and lived in England and France. He visited Poland in the early 1970s for several months, and stayed with his sister, Janina Krol, in Gdynia on the Baltic coast, and another relative outside Warsaw, Wanda Wojcikowska.

He brought his sister paintings of Dachau, his niece, Danuta Ostrowska, now 75, recalls. But her mother threw them away, saying “I can’t look at them.” The family still owns 10 of his mostly prewar paintings.

He was robbed of his money and passport, and Poland‘s communist authorities wanted Porulski out of the country, Wojcikowska’s daughter, Malgorzata Stozek, recalls. “My mother even found a woman willing to marry him, to help him stay in Poland,” she said. But he already had borrowed money from his sister and left.

His letters from England said he found work maintaining bridges, Stozek said. “He wrote that the moment he finished painting a bridge over some river, he had to start again.” It could have been a metaphor for a life going nowhere.

“One day I came to see my mother and she was crying because he wrote to her that he had no money, he was hungry and was sleeping on park benches. He lived in terrible poverty,” Stozek told the AP.

He was so lonely, she said, he had considered suicide.

In 1978 he sent a request for war compensation to the International Tracing Service in the central German town of Bad Arolsen, which houses the world’s largest archive of concentration camp records and lists of Holocaust victims.

“I have no occupation of any sort. I was unable to resume my studies after all those years in the camps,” he wrote. “I am just by myself, and I live from day to day.”

The ITS replied that it had no authority to give grants, but was sending confirmation of his incarceration to the U.N. refugee agency to support his earlier reparations claim.

Unger also shows up in the Tracing Service, in a 1955 two-page letter he wrote recounting his ordeal that began when he was 9.

Unger’s father had a prosperous furniture business near Krakow. “Then the infamous horde of Nazis overran our town, disrupted our life, murdered my parents and little sister, and robbed us of all we had.” He was the only survivor of 50 members of the Unger family.

Christian friends hid him for a while, but he ended up imprisoned inside the Krakow ghetto, then was moved to a series of concentration camps.

His daughter says that after he immigrated to America, he told a cousin with whom he lived in New Jersey that his job at Dachau had been to tend the ovens. The Nazis commonly used inmates for such purposes — it was one of the few ways of surviving.

Newly arrived in America, Unger spoke to Newark newspapers of his years of torment, saying he escaped three times during marches between camps but was always recaptured.

At one point, he told the Newark Evening News, he was herded into a gas chamber at Natzweiler camp with 50 other prisoners, but they were spared at the last minute because some of them were electricians whom the Nazis needed for their war effort.

The two lives, briefly intertwined by the Holocaust and an album of photos and paintings, ended 17 years apart — Unger by hanging himself in 1972, Porulski in 1989 in St. Mary’s Hospital near Hereford, England, of pneumonia and tuberculosis.

The death certificate gives his age as 74 and his profession as “painter (retired).”

Shari Klages was 12 when her father died.

He had just been laid off from his 18-year job in the aeronautics industry, and his wife had been diagnosed with brain cancer. His suicide is given added poignancy by the image of the hanged inmate in the album, and Klages believes it was his Holocaust experience that weighed most heavily on him.

“I have no doubt it was the most significant contributor to his death,” she said.

___

Associated Press investigative researcher Randy Herschaft in New York contributed to this report. Arthur Max reported from Bad Arolsen, Germany, and Monika Scislowska from Warsaw.

On the Net:

National Center for Jewish Cultural Arts

Dachau

International Tracing Service


Monday Night …

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I got some mail from London today and in it was a really wonderful gift from my Big Sis, needless to say I was amazed and overjoyed. I have really great family and friends, all over the world. It is far easier to love one another than to criticize or be hateful. So this little note starts off my gratitude list for tonight. Thanks Sis…

  • I didn’t drink today
  • I hit a meeting
  • I had a great day in class this morning
  • I saw some new friends
  • I did some writing earlier
  • I have great friends
  • I have a great life
  • Tomorrow is my Home Group
  • And I am right, and I am happy!!

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 “Oh to be this young and beautiful – again…”

So I was trolling my reads today and I ran across this picture over on DAN NATION, it seems he’s got a new job in the valley and I spied me some Chad Fox, isn’t he a cutie? Kinda makes me want to move out to the coast and join the Sunday Brunch Crowd! I even got an invitation from Dan the man himself!! I love me some CHAD FOX!!

What could be better than a room full of beautiful men on a Sunday morning? I don’t know about you but we don’t have that many good looking men here in our fair city! OMG!!

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The Forest, I love the forest. If you get a chance go over and take a look see at COOPER’S CORRIDOR, he has some beautiful writing and photos of his family from an outing this past weekend. Cooper is another fantastic read, no one should go without every day. He breathes such joy and wonder into my day, because he is such a gifted writer. I think this weekend we shall take a meander out to the green space and take some photos of our forest in the middle of the city (we call it Mount Royal). The real forest is far, far away from here up North.

From Cooper’s Blog: one of his favorite words, Forest:
“Because it is full of promise … because it is wild … because it is fragile … because it is strong … because it sings of simply being … because it is part of my bones and blood … The forest is in my heart”

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You can go read my friends and show them some love. First we have Steve, we call him Dr. McCoy, because he’s a Trekkie! I wrote a piece earlier for Arkano, he lives in South America and he is new to our little “Bubble of Love.” My read list, over on the Blog Roll is getting ‘closer’ by the day, as I noticed that many of my friends here, read over there and they comment as well. So please, if you like to look at beautiful men, and you are interested in fantastic reads, check out my read list. I have updated all the links and I am sure everyone will appreciate your visit.

Fall is on it’s way, it is 19c here and rain is in the forecast for the next couple of days! AS is the custom here in Montreal, the weather cools off, the rain comes, then we have our fist cold snap “in the city” then the leaves start turning in earnest. This photo above is a wishful prayer for Montreal in the coming weeks.

Tonight’s meeting was an experience. I heard what I needed to hear. I spent an hour doing nothing but be present and to live in the moment. My Monday night commitment to support “Came to Believe” persists. Things I heard tonight:

  • It’s all Good
  • Live in the Moment
  • Stay in the Now
  • At any time of the journey, you are right where you are supposed to be at any given location and at any moment on the time line
  • There are no mistakes in God’s time
  • Live and Let Live
  • Easy Does It
  • But for the Grace of God
  • Think, Think, Think
  • First things First

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I took a resentment to a meeting, and I left her there. But I will close with this little blurb on the Blog Nazi!! If you have a complaint about anything you see, read or perceive on this blog, please, by all means, let me know. If I have misrepresented Concordia University in any way, I haven’t heard that from any one. My disability and my student status is between my doctor, myself, my husband, my department, the government and the University and NO ONE ELSE! What I do with my education is my business. If you don’t like something on this blog, there are certainly other blogs for you to read. I am not changing my presentation or writing for anyone, even YOU Rebbecca.

They say in AA that acceptance is the KEY to all of my problems, and if someone has a problem with you, that – that is a direct signal that someone has a problem with themselves. And what YOU think of me is none of my business. If I have a problem with you then I need to look at me and find out what’s wrong with me. So you got a problem, first ask yourself what that problem is, and then fuck off…

I’ve never EVER had anyone complain about something I have shared on this blog, nor posted to this, my personal web log. AND I am not going to take horse shit from some chick who has an axe to grind with me so get the fuck off my blog! Oh, that felt good!

DO YOU GET THE PICTURE???


Pope speaks of Europe’s tragic past

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By VICTOR L. SIMPSON, Associated Press Writer 

VIENNA, Austria – Pope Benedict XVI acknowledged Europe‘s tragic past and warned of its uncertain future Friday as he honored Jews killed in the Holocaust and urged the continent to accept its Christian heritage.

Abortion must never be considered a human right, Benedict said, and urged European political leaders to encourage young married couples to have children and the continent’s graying population “not to become old in spirit.”

“Europe cannot and must not deny her Christian roots,” the pope declared, saying that Christianity has “profoundly shaped this continent.”

Benedict opened a three-day pilgrimage to Austria, once the center of a Roman Catholic-influenced empire and now a wealthy but small nation that has seen considerable dissent against the church, as in much of Europe.

In an evening address to Austrian officials and diplomats in the former imperial Hofburg Palace, Benedict spoke of the “horrors of war” and the “traumatic experiences of totalitarianism and dictatorship” that Europe has undergone.

The pope, born in neighboring Bavaria, Germany, began his visit by paying tribute to Holocaust victims.

He stepped out of his popemobile in a driving rain and joined Vienna‘s chief rabbi, Paul Chaim Eisenberg, in prayer before an austere stone memorial honoring the 65,000 Viennese Jews who perished in Nazi death camps and others burned at the stake in the 1400s after refusing to convert.

He made no public remarks during the seven-minute stop but told reporters aboard his plane from Rome that he wanted to extend his sense of “sadness, repentance and friendship to the Jewish people.”

In 1938, the city’s vibrant Jewish community numbered 185,000 members. Today, there are fewer than 7,000.

Alluding to the nation’s past complicity with the Nazis, President Heinz Fischer conceded in a greeting to the pope that Austria had “dark hours in its history.”

Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, Austria’s top churchman, noted Christianity’s roots in Judaism and urged his countrymen never to forget the atrocities committed against the capital’s Jews.

“It is part of the tragedy of the city that here, of all places, this root was forgotten — even denied — to the point where godless will destroyed the people to whom God gives his first love,” he said.

Benedict, who visited and vacationed here often as a cardinal, faced a challenge: Many Austrian believers, disgusted by clergy sex scandals and deeply resentful of a government-imposed church tax, have grown cold — and tens of thousands have left the church altogether.

Benedict’s trip underscored the difficulties the Vatican confronts across Europe, where cathedrals are empty as disillusioned believers question the relevance of faith in the postmodern era.

The pope defended the vitality of Christianity today, saying Christians throughout history have been examples of “hope, love and mercy.”

In his condemnation of abortion, Benedict said he was speaking out “for those unborn children who have no voice.”

He also urged Europeans to ensure humane care of the elderly, assailing “actively assisted death,” a reference to euthanasia and assisted suicide.

In a reflection of anti-pope sentiment held by some Austrians, about 300 young demonstrators marched through central Vienna on Friday to protest the pontiff’s conservative stance on homosexuality, gay marriage and other issues.

“I think the pope represents a system that has repressed people and other religions for hundreds of years. It’s simply antiquated,” said Ludwig List, 19, holding a banner that read: “Papa Don’t Preach.”

Security was heavy for Benedict’s visit, with more than 3,500 police officers and soldiers and 50 aircraft deployed to protect him. The Interior Ministry said the measures were taken even before this week’s thwarted terrorist plot in Germany.

On Saturday, the pope holds an open-air Mass to commemorate the 850th anniversary of the founding of Mariazell, a famous shrine to the Virgin Mary about 60 miles southwest of Vienna.

The Vienna Archdiocese said 33,000 pilgrims had received tickets for the event and that 70 bishops, mostly from Eastern Europe, would join in. Benedict called the anniversary “the reason for my coming” and said he would go as a simple pilgrim.

Benedict’s visit concludes Sunday with a Mass at Vienna’s St. Stephen’s Cathedral and a visit to the Heiligenkreuz abbey outside the capital.

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Associated Press Writers William J. Kole and Veronika Oleksyn contributed to this report.