Thursday, March 31, 2016


Stromae - House'llelujah

There is no end to the possibility of loving all our fellow humans in their differences and because they are different and love us the same way.


Our salvation is in our music that is becoming universal


We all remember, from our history text books at least, the events from 1957 to 1962, the total hysteria of the USA about Soviet spies which had led to McCarthyism and the execution of the Rosenberg husband and wife. The fall of Cuba out of their zone or sphere of influence was a trauma they are just right now trying to put behind. The spying was primitive with those spying planes that had no chance what-so-ever to get through: the first one was the last one. On both sides they ended up with spies in their prisons kept nicely warm to be used in some political negotiations as leverage.

Consider the case of a Soviet spy in New York and that of an American pilot of a spying plane shot down over the USSR, plus the fact that East Germany turned tricky and led to the construction of the wall, and to top it all like the cherry of the cake one naïve American student preparing his PhD on communist economic policy in eastern Europe was at the wrong place at the wrong moment and got arrested and prosecuted as a spy by the East Germans. But the East Germans hated the Russians who had for sure liberated them from Hitler, but who had also destroyed Berlin in the most ruthless way possible, though the Palace of the Hohenzollern was pulled down by the East Germans.

Tricky situation indeed to negotiate the release of two Americans, one of whom is a real security risk in exchange of one Soviet spy. And it took some time and a lot of patience, including against the CIA who only wanted to recuperate the security hazard out of Soviet hands before he cracked. It took a lawyer from Brooklyn, a pure Irish descendant to manage to bridge the two or three divides to get what he wanted. All those among you who have actually lived this period will remember the stress, the danger, the fear amplified by what the film does not tell: the Bay of Pigs debacle in 1961 and the Soviet missile crisis in Cuba in 1962. We went through a few years of absolute scare about the possibility of a nuclear war.

We can have a nostalgic look at the past. I was in East Berlin and East Germany for the first time in 1963. I worked in a mine near Leipzig then, in Borna. There will be more trips. The most dramatic will be in 1968 after the Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia. My own son will go once in the 1980s I just wonder how Donovan managed to get lost when coming out of Friedrichstrasse Bahnhof which is practically round the corner to Unter den Linden. Well some must have some fun now and then. And it only cost him a coat and a cold.

We can also measure the immense change we have been through: reunited Germany; united Europe (nearly finished though Russia will always be on the side); free and emerging Vietnam; China the second economic power in the world; apartheid gone with the wind; Cuba accepted anew  by the USA; the banana republics of South America also gone. And yet the dangerous places have just moved to other areas and mostly because of the dumb policy of one US president who decided to solve the problem he had with his own father by proving to the world the USA could create havoc in the Middle East, and they did. And North Korea is the answer of the shepherdess to the shepherd: a perverted and fouled love song that prolongs the Korean War that was a total failure in the objective of the time to get Mao Zedong and the Communists in China down.

Is the world really a better place today than it was in 1957-1962? You have to be naïve to believe that. The main difference is that spying is no longer that crucial and it has been replaced by the protection of intellectual property against pirating. Pirates and Hackers are the two plagues or our modern world. More than ever the danger is no longer from the outside but from the inside. Let’s move our minds and backsides a little bit and let’s clean up the mess Bush Jr. did and all European countries, especially the super-duper secular ones who pretend that everyone has the right to be a Muslim, a Jew or a Christian, or whatever, provided it is kept absolutely invisible in the public sphere, are today confronted to the bill.

Dematerialization and castration of at least two generations of immigrants in Europe from previously colonized countries, which means at least three, four or more centuries of colonial alienation, exploitation and extermination when necessary leading to uprooting them from their countries and transporting them into countries that refused to recognize and respect the fact that they are different. As the fundamentalist secularists would say: “They can believe in what they want provided I do not see it.” And the hazardous population is not outside but inside our borders. We have walled them up in our backyard without any rights whatsoever as for opinions and religions.

The old Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome we all in Europe inherited from centuries of wars and the two world wars was turned into a Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome called the Cold War and we are still in that mood. We see the danger outside when it is inside, and not inside our territory only but inside our minds. The new situation is that the PTSS of the Cold War is confronted today to the Post Traumatic Colonial Stress Syndrome of the uprooted millions of previously colonized people who we have brought in our countries for salaried slavery. And we think that by mocking the religion of these human beings who are suffering in their inner essence we will free them of their PTSS. Only Charlie can be that dumb. I am sure that kind of anti-empathetic attitude would have turned the 1957-1962 situation into a holocaust. And that’s the real danger today. The Islamic State will be defeated but what do we do afterwards? Cartoons of the Prophet dicing onions…? And I am trying hard to remain polite. I guess some secular fundamentalists do think so. Papaoutai? Really this time.

Stromae help us out of this diabolical fix!


Wednesday, March 30, 2016


Shakespeare in the Globe with cristall diamonds


A very fascinating book. Light and beautiful with its full page illustrations. The whole story seems to be a touristic presentation of London in Shakespeare’s days and the attempt of drawing twenty-nine words from everyday street or theater life and look for them in Shakespeare’s plays, find them, explain them and indicate where they come from, which play they have been extracted from.

Some of these phrases are still commonly used, others have become obsolete. The author tries to remain as politically correct as possible and does not mention that you can easily hear “For Goodness sake” in the place of “For God’s sake” among people who still abide by the commandment that says “Thou shalt not use the name of the Lord in vain.”

The funnier element is that every phrase is “illustrated” with a short summary of the situation in which it was used in the precise play it is coming from. But the author does not give the quotation and that is a shame. We have the Canada Dry of the advertisement but it is no Scotch. Too bad because it is always better to speak to the Lord rather than to his angels.

A book that can be a nice present to someone who likes pictures and slightly exotic pieces of knowledge. You can also visit the reconstructed Globe and imagine what it was in the old days.



Jean de Patmos at (37)

Jean de Patmos
L’Apocalypse de
Jésus Christ

Atelier de Grec Biblique du Diocèse de Poitiers
 Traduction :
Ingrid Auriol, Katy Breuil, Michel Caubet,
Jean Couprie,  Jacques Lefebvre, Odile de Loynes.

L’Apocalypse enfin révélée ! Ecrite à la fin du premier siècle de notre ère, cette œuvre prophétique, un des piliers de la littérature chrétienne et du Nouveau Testament, n’existait pas encore en langue française dans une traduction fiable, fidèle, et qui respecte le style et les intentions de l’auteur, Jean de Patmos, « le disciple que Jésus aimait ».
La signification profonde de ce livre, perdue vers le VIIIe siècle, quand l’Église dut rechercher la protection des rois francs pour assurer sa survie, est enfin restituée par une équipe de spécialistes du grec biblique. Soucieux d’offrir au public le plus large les secrets de cette œuvre majeure,  ils ont fait appel aux commentateurs antiques, qui en détenaient encore les clés, mais aussi aux ressources les plus modernes de la linguistique et de l’exégèse biblique.
Sceau après sceau, le livre se révèle enfin pour éclairer le lecteur de sa lumière éclatante sur les destinées du monde.

La couverture a été réalisée par le graphiste Jean-Paul Chabrier.

Remerciements à Véronique Ragagnon, gemmologue, pour ses précieuses remarques concernant les pierres.

Edition KDP Amazon Kindle
Gestion Editions : La Dondaine, 8 rue de la Chaussée, 63880 Olliergues (Puy de Dôme)
ISBN – 2-905831-28-4
ASIN: B014Y4BE0C      EUR 5,20                               $5.83
Publisher: Editions La Dondaine; 1 edition (September 4, 2015)
Publication Date: September 4, 2015

Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.


The Black Death is perdition and salvation


An interesting book because it brings together a lot of information that is generally scattered around and it updates that information at all levels, particularly the medical level.

If the first chapters sound very technical and factual, the author reaches later on the cultural level and that is essential. The Black Death was a traumatic experience for the world and particularly for Europe, or it is rather better known for Europe.

The trauma can be explained easily. Let’s say the European population went down 50% in about ten years. I lengthen the period slightly because it did not disappear as fast as it appeared. It took three years to reach the whole of Europe and then five to eight years to ease out (not completely but mostly). If you consider the lowering of the population to be 50% you have to add to this the births (one child per woman every 18 months or so) from which you could subtract the normal infantile death rate which was enormous, about 50% within the first six or eight years of a child’s life. That means that over ten years the death toll of the Black Death was a lot more important than 50% and probably closer to 75% of the potential population that should have been reached ten years after the arrival of this Black Death.

The only records we have for the population are church records. Priests died just like anyone else. As soon as the priest was dead the various christening, marriage and burial registers could not be held any more. We would have to wait for a new priest to arrive in the parish.

We have to take into account the fact that the epidemic spread in rural areas along different ways than those in urban areas. The Middles Ages were a time of a great improvement of agriculture, proto-industry, food and social conditions (the religious reform of the 10th century that brought 52 Sundays and about 25 days of no work at all: nearly 80 days of non-working time a year). The result was a tremendous demographic expansion that reached its limits in the last third of the 13th century and then overpopulation in rural areas caused some younger ones to just become vagrant people moving to cities or moving around in rural areas and becoming thieves of some kind. That’s long before the Black Death. But the Black Death will be spread in rural areas by these vagrants and of course by the numerous markets in cities that attracted the rural producers who went back to their rural areas after market day with the disease. We do not know when the markets were closed down, if ever; because the cities had to get food from the rural areas in a time when supermarkets did not exist.

A last element has to be added. The monasteries are essential for religious and cultural reasons. The monks have duties towards the outside population and towards the “beggars” and “travelers.” The beggars and travelers were bringing in the disease, whereas the monks going out to take care of the living and the dead outside brought the disease back inside. That explains for example that the Abbey Church of La Chaise Dieu built by Clement VI, the Jew-friendly pope suoted by this book and who was a monk in this abbey before becoming the Pope, contains a Danse Macabre of great fame. We are here in a rural and mountainous area and that area was touched by the Black Death drastically. In rural areas it is not rare that a whole village be erased from the map; and when in any village the priest died (high risk since the priests were taking care of the dying at least at first and maybe longer prudence would justify) there was no religious connection and recording of anything, explaining why we cannot have figures. We may have the figures up to the death of the priest and then we have to wait for the arrival of a new priest – eventually – several years later to catch up haphazardly on the blank spot.

Two ideas are slightly surprising. Vernacular languages did not start being used at the time or after the Black Death. Vernacular languages had been commonly used for at least three centuries by minstrels, Meistersänger, troubadours, trouveres and many others of this poets-singers profession who went around from one castle to the next, from one market place to the next, from one fair to the next to recite the poetry they had composed or they had learned by heart from other colleagues whose apprentices they were because there were no books, not even one bible in every church because there was no printing press. Literature, poetry was essentially oral and orally transmitted and distributed in the vernacular languages. One famous example is of course the Welsh triads and the story of Tristan and Iseult coming from these triads down into Cornwall and then into French Brittany to be recorded in the 12th century in French (and later to be translanted into Old Norse and German in the 13th century), the French of the time spoken among the Norman nobility and population that had taken over England in Hastings (1066). All that is long before the Black Death. What is original about Chaucer is that he wrote or composed his poetry in Middle English which was no longer the French of the older times but the new language of the elite, the court, the nobility and the socially superior classes. Note we must have three copies (all of them with serious variations) of the original Canterbury Tales and they were popular because Chaucer himself went around to recite them from memory of course. Very often these “readings” were accompanied by music on some kind of lute or harp, at times a pipe. See for that the sculptures known as the musician angels of the Abbey Church of La Chaise Dieu, once again of Clement VI.

Another surprising element is the connection between the Black Death and the Renaissance. The Renaissance would not have been possible without a deep reflection on life and death;, on cultural matters that took place during and after the Black Death period that has to be seen as longer than four years. This evolution and the dire need of a whole new generation of educated people to replace the dead in all managerial and administrative positions made it urgent to enter some “mass education” for a new enlarged elite. This is the evolution that brings up one invention without which the Renaissance is not possible: the printing press (1450) which made universities possible with books, which brought the Reformation and it is this boiling pot of needs, wants and desires that brought the Quattro Cento (that includes late Gothic art and culture and the first phase of the Renaissance) and the Renaissance itself. But the Renaissance is still a feudal period economically and socially. The ownership of the land is still feudal and it will take several centuries to get that feudal system out, first England starting with Henry VIII, though very limited as for anti-feudal reforms, and then the Stuarts, Cromwell and the Glorious Revolution; then France in 1789 and Germany and Italy in the 19th century, not to speak of Russia. Voltaire still defended before the French Revolution  that no subject of a modern king, like the French one for instance, the one he called “my king”, was supposed to refuse obeying the king’s orders and could not ask in any way for the king to be removed, let alone be beheaded (Charles I of England is not far from his own consciousness). That is pure political feudalism. Though it is true Leibnitz is slightly more advanced but check the English Bill of Rights and it states freedom of speech only for the members of parliament and within the normal locales for the various parliamentarian and electoral activities of MPs, the latter concerning at the very most 5% of the population. That is not exactly a non-feudal democracy, is it?

But this short book could be very useful as an introduction to the historical reflection on the impact of a pandemic on human society.


Tuesday, March 29, 2016


An essential exploration of the crucible of the modern world


This enormous book is essential, as we are going to show and I will regret straight away, not to mention it again later, that this version of the book has been shortened. It is unacceptable that some sections be cut off, even if it is duly indicated in due place what passages have been pruned. This being said this book covers the Persian Empire from the the first shah Kayumars to the Arab conquest. It thus covers the following periods (tentative enumeration): Median Empire (728-549 BC); Achaemenid Empire (550–330 BC); Seleucid Empire (312–63 BC); Parthian Empire (247 BC–224 AD), also called the "Arsacid Empire"; Sasanian Empire (224–651), also called the "Empire of Empires"; Muslim (meaning Arab) conquest of Persia (633–654 AD). It thus covers the great shift in this region from Zoroastrian heritage to Islam and the transient period under Alexander and the emergence of Christianity with the Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire. In the background two entities are mentioned though not as clearly as we would like: the Turks and China. The first one is not well defined at all but the second one covers China and most of Central Asia and it is an essentially commercial power, hence the famous Silk Road. There are a few mentions of India but with little consequence.

Some people call this book an epic. We could discuss this classification, and the present edition has decided to call it a “Book” and no an “epic.” This is probably correct because it is far from being only an epic. There are epic moments and episodes but there are many other passages and sections that are not epic at all, at least not in the traditional meaning of the word, dealing as they are with a lot of political considerations about power, how power is supposed to be managed, touching many social questions and a lot of religion. Of course this is only a translation and as such it interprets the original text. We thus have to be careful not to analyze the meaning Dick Davis invested in the original text as if it were the original meaning, and in his introduction he acknowledges the difficulty to translate some words that he actually preferred to keep in the original language like “farr” or “nard.” The latter is a game and has only a cultural dimension; The former is a political and religious concept that determines the feudal conception that is behind this Persian Empire. We will come back to this concept in no time. I would like now to concentrate on a few remarks.


The first thing I would like to say is that Persia was probably a slave state at the beginning but it must have evolved towards a feudal state. But we must understand that the feudalism of Europe developed from the 10th century BCE, which is when this book was written though the historical time of the story ends in the 7th century BCE. Due to the development of long dynasties in the Persian Empire the slave system of the beginning evolved towards some feudalism that has to be defined though it kept right to the end a vast and important number of slaves often counted in hundreds or thousands and offered from one noble man to another, from one king to another. There is an evolution because in the last centuries of this story slaves are still mentioned but along with serving boys and serving girls. Note these serving people are always boys and girls. This may reflect a certain social mobility with age but it may also reflect the fact that to be a servant went along with a short life expectancy. We understand this fact for slaves due to the ruthless work, use and abuse they were submitted to, but it is more surprising with servants, except if this linguistic evolution covers up the existence of a vast slave population or covers up the slow evolution from a slave system to a serf system which would then be feudal. That’s where the translation might be misleading.

Feudalism is based on allegiance as the social principle structuring society. This book is at the limit of a grotesque emphasis set on that hierarchy. The book is from the point of view of the aristocracy and nothing but the aristocracy. There are two types: the nobles themselves who have various territories under their control and the military elite seen as all kinds of lions, tigers, panthers, elephants whereas the metaphor of trees, mostly cypresses, is generally kept for the nobility. To compare a knight with such a tree is either the mark of his being a noble person, or it is the recognition of his nobility of character, hence the granting of such nobility to such deserving persons. At the top stands as tall as a cypress reaching the sky and as shiny as the sun the king of kings, the king of the world, the king of the seven climes, in other words the Persian emperor or king. Absolutely everyone owes him obedience and nothing but obedience. Not obeying is betraying. This authority is strictly connected to a blood line and is transmitted along that blood line. It is often called “lineage.” In spite of all the treacherous moments in this long history, and even the change of dynasties, the blood line of the king is untouchable and unquestionable. The king is endowed with two things that are the “divine farr” and “wisdom”. The “divine farr” is difficult to define. It is some kind of iridescent halo that is perceived (maybe not seen because maybe invisible) by people that makes this king stand over the mediocre people around him who do not have that “farr.” The connection with god is not that clear. The king is often described as the one who possesses two qualities, justice and wisdom, and these two qualities are interwoven, together like the warp (justice) and the weft (wisdom) of any woven fabric.

We have to ask the question whether these kings owed their power, rank and authority to the fact that they had been chosen by God himself. The religious dimension is often insisted upon but not as anything special for the king who like anyone else will end up in dust, in total nothingness, void. Life is seen as an alternation of pleasure and suffering, good and evil, and as an evanescent state that always leads to death and non-existence. Beyond death there is nothing except the memory of those who survive the dead person. Note that women are just out of the picture. The queen, or the women in the King’s harem are nothing but episodic decoration, entertainment and treachery but they hardly deserve mentioning. This is no sexism. It is pure archaism which was nothing blamable at the time of the facts, and even at the time of writing. Note too that daughters are done – that’s their function – to be married to kings and noble people as the tool leading to and reinforcing alliances.

The King is untouchable because of his lineage, even if he is bad and turns vicious and evil. The concepts of paradise and hell are introduced in the book, at the very end, when Islam takes over.


Yet the religious dimension of this book is enormous. Religion and the royal throne are said to be interwoven by wisdom. Religion is said to be the pith of justice. The religion at stake here is Zoroastrianism, that religion that evolved on what is today the Iranian Plateau where the last migration out of Africa ended around 45-40,000 years BCE at the earliest, where they must have spent the Ice Age and from where they migrated after the Ice Age down into Mesopotamia  and the middle East to move then through the Caucasus and Anatolia to Europe as the carriers of Indo-European languages and cultures, and down into the southern part of Central Asia and from there to India and Pakistan as the carriers of Indo-Aryan languages and cultures. This religion is clearly monotheistic and the god they believe in is the un-created creator of the universe and of life, hence of man, the master of time and the rotation of the sky, and he is visible everyday in the sun. The rituals are dedicated to this god in fire temples. They believe life is transient, alternating suffering (which is essential and maybe even central) and pleasure, based on the good and evil you do, and this life is terminated for everyone the same way: back to dust, back to non-existence. This religion is also the supporting ideology of the feudal (and slave) hierarchy that organizes the world. This religion dictates the three dangers that menace a king: that he be unjust first; that he promote worthless people to positions of authority; that he only accumulate wealth for his own glory and be greedy about it.

This is clearly condemned not for the evil that it represents but because it is the negation of justice and wisdom, the two qualities a king must have to keep society united, productive and strong. We could even consider that the frozen character of this hierarchical society is close to a caste system with the king at the top, nobles, warriors and then simple people (who may or may not include serving people), serving people and slaves. This is not actually really social or divine. It is nothing but nature and it is expressed with metaphors like: “A crab cannot sprout an eagle’s wings, and an eagle cannot fly beyond the sun.” (p. 781) or “If an elephant fights with a mosquito, this is a breach of justice and faith.” (p. 140) These metaphors are amplified by a story about Ruzbah’s wisdom when confronted to the absurd demands from the king to destroy first and then to restore second a supposedly rich and prosperous village. Ruzbah to satisfy the first request goes to the village and abolishes with one speech all authority. In no time anarchy takes over and ruin is the result. When confronted to the second request Ruzbah goes to the village again and selects an old wise man and instates him as the head of the village. Within no time authority being restored the village gets back to some kind of normal life and prosperity. Prosperity is the result of authority, order and obedience. That is the only wisdom that should govern society.

Hence we find here a crossroads of the four major religions that existed at the time in this vast region. Four antagonistic religions, the fourth one being evasively alluded to.


First Zoroastrianism is the official meaning mandatory religion of the Persian Empire. I have already presented it.

Then Christianity is the religion of the Roman Empire and then of the Byzantine Empire, with the mention at the very end of one monastery with monks: they recuperate the naked body of the last assassinated king of Persia and then bury him in some kind of tomb they build themselves. It will cost them their lives because the usurper and assassin will order them all to be put to death. This Christian faith is most of the time tolerated but not taken seriously. In a way it is rejected as laughable. Jesus is not at all recognized as a respectable or even acceptable character. Yet the King marries Byzantine princesses to seal an alliance necessary for the survival of Persia. No serious presentation or discussion of it is included.

The third religion is that of the Arabs. The Arabs were courted in older centuries now and then though always on the fringe and the side within a vaster fight or struggle against the Byzantine Empire, the Turks without any specification and the Chinese Emperor. Alliances through marrying princesses is a common political decision with the three groups I have just mentioned, though the Turks are at the bottom of the hierarchy, seen as perpetual and fundamental enemies and “genetically” polluted. The Arabs of Yemen are here and there courted and there must be one or two marriages with some princesses from there. The Arabs of la Mecca are only mentioned at the end with the fall of ,the Persian Empire, once and for all, and the conversion of the people to Islam. In the meantime Muhammad and Islam had been born in Mecca in the seventh century AD. This religion is presented in a letter from Sa’d, the commander of the Arab army, to Rostam, the commander of the Persian forces. The summary sounds like a rather strong criticism of the “true faith.” It is intended to be a condescending and arrogant letter anyway, answering a letter from Rostam to Sa’d that was just as arrogant. The author makes fun of the black silk turban of the Muslims as opposed to the Persian crowns of Persian kings. This religion and its description introduces a strong reference to hell and paradise seen at the punishment or the reward of the good and evil you have done in your life.

The fourth religion is in fact double but is only alluded to. It is Hinduism and Buddhism. In fact Buddhism shares the principle of an ever-changing world dominated by the cycle of birth-life-death seen as a cycle of suffering, though the Buddhists add rebirth that is totally foreign to Zoroastrianism. This rebirth concept of Buddhism corresponds to the concept of reincarnation of Hinduism, this latter concept the Buddhists have often discussed though the canonical texts do not speak of reincarnation but of rebirth. The most striking resemblance though is the hierarchical caste system of Hinduism as compared to the hierarchical Persian feudal society. The book becomes then a testimony of the fact that these religions were all born in the same crucible that the zone covered by Persia was after the Ice Age. A crucible that was probably very close to homogeneity when the water started to rise again but then differentiated itself strongly with the arrival of the future Indo-Europeans in the Middle East becoming the third linguistic and cultural pillar of what was only Turkic and Semitic before their arrival. One absence will have to be explained one day: the absolute absence of Jews. The Semites are exclusively Arabs and later on Muslims, though note in the long section on Sekandar (Alexander the Great) the mention of Abraham.


“Sekandar set out for Mecca . . . he came to the house made with such toil by Abraham, the son of Azar. God named the site the House of Holiness, the goal of all God’s roads . . . Sekandar approached Qadesiya, laying claim to the land from Jahrom in Pars as he went. Nasr, the son of Qotayb, heard of his approach and went out to welcome him with a group of horsemen bearing lances . . . the man, who was coming . . . was a descendant of Esmail, the son of Abraham . . . [Nasr complains against Jaza, the son of a usurper who seized power in Yemen.] When Sekandar heard these words he sought out everyone he could find from the family of Jaza and had them killed: the children’s souls were parted from their bodies, and not one of his race was left alive. With the help of his warriors he freed the Hejaz and the Yemen from their unjust rulers and exalted the tribe of Esmail.” (p. 488-489)

Abraham born and raised in Mecca is the Islamic version of the story. “The son” meaning the only son of Abraham being Esmail is the same. That’s no reference to Jews but to Arabs: Abraham and the story of his nearly sacrificed son is common to all Semites of the region at the time and the differentiation between Esmail and Isaac was to come with the emergence of the old Testament or at least to come at some time differentiating at the same time the Jews from the Arabs, the latter becoming Muslims later on. Note the invaders of Yemen against the Arabs are not specified enough to identify them, but since the Horn of Africa and Yemen were the normal passage of all (but one) migration out of Africa moving then along the Southern Arabian corridor, we can imagine that they were invader from the Horn of Africa. But that is not clear at all in this text to be able to identify them.


This book then becomes one essential historical testimony of the reality described by the author. It is as much a historical testimony of the period as the Old Testament and many other works produced by the elite of the time, those who knew how to read and write on one hand, and those who were connected in a way or another with the various religions in the area on the other hand. Read as such it opens a few gates to a lot more because it is the crossroads of several cultural and religious traditions and it probably reveals how there probably was only one crucible or spiritual-mental birth zone to all western Middle East religions (the three Semitic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam) on one hand and the eastern Middle East and Central Asian religions (Hinduism and Buddhism).  And the birth and spreading of the seeds took place long before the arrival of Alexander the Great.

An essential book then.


Monday, March 28, 2016


Vanessa Chevallier at (33)


Deux sœurs.
Une maison de rêve.
Un petit coin de campagne paisible.
Paisible? Si au début de leur installation, les sœurs Brausch pensent retrouver le domaine familial et renouer avec leurs souvenirs d'enfance, le rêve pour elles va vite tourner au cauchemar.
Le Mal se cache parfois dans la douceur d'un paysage, le long d'une rivière qui vient frapper les pales d'un moulin endormi dans la plaine. Mais le Mal peut prendre plusieurs visages et n'est jamais celui auquel on s'attend.

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·                     File Size: 978 KB
·                     Print Length: 514 pages
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·                     Publisher: Editions La Dondaine; 1st edition (July 2, 2015)
·                     Publication Date: July 2, 2015
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Quel bonheur de pouvoir lire un premier roman ! Et celui-ci ne dépareille pas à ce plaisir. Il y a une certaine naïveté dans ces personnages, deux femmes essentiellement, et un père de toute façon qui vient juste de mourir et que les deux sœurs enterrent ensemble et ainsi se retrouvent, l’une s’installant dans le moulin du père mais elle était restée pas très loin, l’autre venant la rejoindre et laissant Paris derrière elle, faisant de Paris ce qu’il est profondément, un décor temporaire pour visiteurs toujours éclairs. Y a-t-il des Parisiens de souche, surtout quand ils sont nés là par une sorte d’accident de parcours dans une pérégrination sans fin ?

Mais le roman devient rapidement dans le petit village où nous sommes, presqu’une petite ville de canton provincial écarté, le cadre d’une sinistre querelle territoriale. C’est à toi, je le veux, tu me le donnes où je te tue. Et tout va balancer entre un moulin ancien et un pigeonnier tout aussi ancien, entre une cleptomane pie voleuse et un vautour médical mangeur de chairs. Un peu d’amour pour ces deux sœurs, mais si peu et toujours frustré par une mort soudaine. Le suspense sentimental se double et s’enfle d’un suspense criminel.

Et le meurtrier, si ce n’est pas une meurtrière, fera feu de tout bois, n’hésitera sur aucun investissement sanguinaire, ne reculera devant aucun obstacle charnel. Qu’on s’en débarrasse et laissons au charnier le soin de trier avec un peu d’aide de la gendarmerie. Ce cynisme assassin est pire encore que l’envie criminelle.

Le pire étant que justice sera faite de facto mais pas de jure. Comme on faisait au Moyen Age. Nos villages de la France profonde n’ont toujours pas changé.

Ce qui est le plus troublant, mais aussi fascinant reste le fait que on passe du point de vue d’une sœur à celui de l’autre sœur et qu’entre deux l’auteure se fait redresseuse de récit pour lui donner la direction nécessaire pour aller sinon droit au but, du moins dans la bonne direction. Et ici et là une vue en plongée dans les profondeurs troublantes et obscures du psychisme de ces gens biens sous tous rapports, comme ils disent après le drame qui a surpris tout le monde tellement ces gens-là étaient normaux. Et le pire c’est qu’ils étaient et sont toujours pour les survivants encore plus normaux que normaux, banals comme les fours et les moulins d’autrefois.


Sunday, March 27, 2016


Jacques Coulardeau at (53)


The 2008 Race for the White House


I was asked to review Connie Corcoran Wilson’s first volume of her OBAMA’S ODYSSEY. I accepted because it was vastly entering my field of competence and my practice as a university professor teaching US politics, culture and history along with the English language.

This essay will provide the readers with three reviews of books first.
1-                          Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, by Barack Hussein Obama;
2-                          Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters, by Barack Hussein Obama
3-                          Nairobi To Shenzhen: A Novel of Love in the East, byMark Okoth Obama Ndesandjo

Then I included my presentation of November 2009 in Brest, France, later published in Paris: BARACK OBAMA’S VIRTUAL STYLE IN HIS INTERNET MESSAGES TO HIS SUPPORTERS (11/05 – 02/02) by Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne.

You will then finally find my review of Connie Corcoran Wilson’s book: OBAMA’S ODYSSEY: The 2008 Race for the White House, 2015. You can of jump to it directly, page 27.

The whole collection of articles, presentation and reviews is built along a discourse on history and what a historian can say about a present situation he or she is involved in. I also assess the campaign of Donald Trump so far by the date of March 16, 2016.

That sets Connie Corcoran Wilson’s book in perspective: it is a blog written and published on Yahoo in 2008 but republished in 2016 in a situation where Hillary Clinton severely rejected in 2008 is now the front running candidate of the Democratic Party with the full support of President Barack Obama whose State Secretary she was from 2008 to 2012.

This 2008 rejection is typical of a blog but the reuse of this blog 12 years later is hardly hiding an ideological stance against the establishment of the Democratic Party, no matter what it may stand for in 2016.  

It may also appear as support for the contending candidate against Hillary Clinton in the primaries, but it may also turn out to be objective support for the contending candidate of Hillary Clinton in the presidential election itself. Let’s say that the rather sectarian rejection of Clinton’s attitude at the time of the Lewinsky shady business because she did not asked for divorce is of the same level as the barking Clinton Donald Trump depicts in his March 16 hostile TV ad.

Enjoy the debate and the confrontation of ideas, knowing that if there is no truth in history but only points of view, there is no truth in real life but ideological and political competition that may turn sour at times with the bigotry of some actors.

Research Interests:

This research is based on a long experience of the USA, directly in many states and indirectly in my teaching. In 2008 onward the role of Barack Obama in the USA opened a lot of eyes in Europe on the constitutional reality of a country that has had only one constitution in spite of all events, dramas and

The role of the Blacks, Afro-Americans if you prefer, was and has been essential in US history though over dramatic. I have spent a lot of research and teaching time on PTSS, Slavery or Slave, and on the way American Indians have managed to recuperate their own essence.

I wrote and published a lot in the last few years on decolonialization in America, USA and Mexico, on post-colonial studies (recently James Baldwin and Marcus Garvey) and on theater (both Black and Indian, including Chicano/a).

When Connie Corcoran Wilson asked me to review the first volume of her "Obama's Odissey" I accepted at once and found quite a lot of pleasure - and surprises - in doing so.

This research needs a lot of discussing, debating and even maybe rebutting. All opinions are thus welcome. Please read the Abstract that is not included in the paper itself.


True Story of course: War is a monster of God made man


An extremely disquieting and disturbing film at first that turns pacified and pacifying in the end.

Imagine Poland in 1945 liberated by the Soviet Union but practically occupied BY THE Soviet army, waiting for some Polish government to come into power. Imagine a nunnery, a convent in other words, with nuns being searched by rough Soviet soldiers who search everything particularly the nuns and not with their fingers, mind you, and these rough visitors leave seven of them pregnant and one with syphilis (the abbess). Imagine a mission of the French Red Cross there, under the command of a Colonel who used to be an extreme right militant before the war, with a Jewish doctor, the last survivor of his family, and his assistant, a young woman from a communist family.

The woman and then the man get involved in the situation in the convent in spite of the abbess who is a fundamentalist and imposes rules from another time: the nuns are not supposed to show their body and be touched physically, even by a female doctor. The rapes are a stain, a sin and the nuns are made to feel guilty about it: the trauma of the rape is turned into an inescapable practically unhealable form of psychotic PTSS. Seven children will be born. The first two will be taken by the abbess and she will – in absolute secret – entrust them back to God, in other words expose them in order for them to die. She commits a crime that is also a sin (Thou shalt not kill) in order to cover the situation. She is discovered as a murderess by the other nuns in time for the last five children to be born and saved by one younger nun who is the actual caretaker of the convent and who can count on the help of the French communist lady doctor.

The end is optimistic. The convent is turned into an orphanage. They host orphans living or surviving in the street and that covers up the fact that the babies are the children of rape.

If the end is maybe too optimistic the film shows very well what happened in Poland from 1943 to 1946. The Soviet army was ruthless as soon as it moved west pushing the Germans back. It took absolutely no prisoners among the German troops, which I know from experience due to the testimony of my mother-in-law whose first husband was a lieutenant in the Wehrmacht on the Polish front in 1944. At the same time they got rid – or let the Germans get rid – of the Jews from the ghetto in Warsaw. In the meantime they trapped the remnants of some Polish liberation army and managed to have them all shot in some forest east and they respected no rights of no Pole. Looting, pillaging and raping were the little brothers and sisters of the big siblings WAR and NO QUARTER. Supreme Lord have mercy on us. We have to think of Led Zeppelin’s song:

Close the door, put out the light. 
You know they won't be home tonight.
The snow falls hard and don't you know?
The winds of Thor are blowing cold.
They're wearing steel that's bright and true
They carry news that must get through.

They choose the path where no-one goes.

They hold no quarter.

Walking side by side with death,
The devil mocks their every step 
The snow drives back the foot that's slow,
The dogs of doom are howling more 
They carry news that must get through,
To build a dream for me and you 

They choose the path where no-one goes.

They hold no quarter.
They ask no quarter. 
The pain, the pain without quarter.
They ask no quarter.
The dogs of doom are howling more!

And out of that carnage and mess a government will come up under the leadership of the Polish United Workers’ Party, in other words a quasi communist party, supported by the Soviet Union and this government will tolerate and let live the Catholic Church and its institutions, including convents and monastery. So the happy ending might be considered as possible. But the whole of Europe went through the worst imaginable traumatic experience in those years, which is still surviving today in the European consciousness and culture.


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