Quite a few losses for the world of late, and two, in particular, for Canada: Tarek Fatah and Gordon Lightfoot. The interesting thing about Lightfoot, given how celebrated he is by the left in this country, is that if you read the lyrics to Canadian Railroad Trilogy, you can see it is a song celebrating pioneers, celebrating the building up of the country by European immigration. Quite interesting – people don’t pay attention, otherwise he’d be getting posthumous cancellation. Glad he isn’t. Also gone, Harry Belafonte and Dame Edna/Barry Humphries, both exceptional talents. I went through a real Dame Edna phase when I was living in Japan, for some reason. Not sure of the correlation, or if there ever was one. For what it’s worth, my fave Lightfoot song is not among the well-known. Enjoy.
I so love it – I meant to post it on my birthday but forgot. It’s by Maura Dooley.
What Every Woman Should Carry
My mother gave me the prayer to Saint Theresa.
I added a used tube ticket, Kleenex,
several Polo mints (furry), a tampon, pesetas,
a florin. Not wishing to be presumptuous,
not trusting you either, a pack of 3.
I have a pen. There is space for my guardian
angel, she has to fold her wings. Passport.
A key. Anguish, at what I said/didn’t say
when once you needed/didn’t need me. Anadin.
A credit card. His face the last time,
my impatience, my useless youth.
That empty sack, my heart. A box of matches.
Today is the 78th anniversary of the unconditional surrender of Germany, effectively ending the European theatre of war in World War II. My uncle, like so many young men, did not live to see victory.
I always say that I need to know where people stand on two issues to know everything I need to about them. Issue one is Israel – do they support its right to exist as the Jewish state? – and issue two is Ukraine – do they understand that the Ukrainians are in the right to keep fighting, to not want to give up an inch of territory? Which brings me to this remarkable, eye-opening article about Ukraine. What it describes is not something you will read or hear much about in the Western media (and I don’t just mean conservative media, although they are the worst offenders), sadly: it shows us a Ukraine that is inventive in the face of Russia’s aggression, it shows us Ukrainians recycling weaponry and rebuilding cities. It shows us a visionary Ukraine – innovative and clever. There are insights throughout the piece on what will happen if Ukraine wins and what might happen if – God forbid – they lose.
Canada is useless – we can’t/won’t meet our NATO responsibilities and we have next to nothing to offer Ukraine. We are in no position to criticize the United States on this matter, but I do wonder why the US is refusing to give Ukraine any F16s, and why they are so slow on sending the Abrams tanks they promised. I sometimes think maybe we’ve reached a point in history where we prefer murky endings to wars, no clear victor, attrition, stalemates. Are we afraid of what a change in geopolitics it would represent if Russia lost? Do we just like to reflect and ponder too much?
Two New Posts…
…on my Substack.
To keep my French up, I watch French news programs and recently, I saw an interview with Robert Badinter. Badinter is a serious person, a heavyweight. He is in his 90s and absolutely on the ball. He was France’s Minister of Justice in the ’80s and oversaw the end of death penalty there. His father was murdered in Sobibor. I could not find the whole interview but here is part of it – he is talking about Ukraine, about Europe, about war, about Putin and his war crimes. He also touches on the French protests about retirement age. There are no subtitles, so only for French speakers.
Pope Francis was hospitalized a couple of weeks ago and while in the hospital, he baptized a baby in the neo-natal ward. What a story that baby and his mama will have to tell! I love that the child’s name is Michelangelo – so beautiful. This clip doesn’t put all of the subtitles in, but at the end he says to the mum that she should tell her local parish that her son has been baptized by the Pope. (In your face, local parish!)
If that weren’t enough, upon his release he signed a kid’s cast and then comforted a couple whose child had died. This must have been so meaningful for them.
First, may I wish to all who celebrate a joyous Easter and a Chag Sameach – so nice when Passover and Easter overlap. And, of course, this year Ramadan is also part of that overlap, that Venn diagram of faith and longing, so let me add a Ramadan Kareem. When I lived in Turkey, Ramadan took place in March and, in fact, my students threw me a rather sad birthday party as they would not eat! There was also this man who rolled through the streets at dawn, shouting through a bullhorn to get everyone up so that they would eat before the sun rose. After a few days, I was sleeping through it, but it was quite jarring at first. Somewhat related to all of the above, is this beautiful scene from a mosque in Algeria. (Sorry – can’t embed for some reason.) It was earlier this week, during Ramadan prayers. I love how the Imam does not miss a beat, and plus, he is gentle with the kitty. Continuing on our religious feline theme, Christopher Smart’s magnificent I Will Consider my Cat Jeoffry, from the Jubilate Agno. I won’t print the whole poem, but here is a snippet:
For he is of the tribe of Tiger.
For the Cherub Cat is a term of the Angel Tiger.
For he has the subtlety and hissing of a serpent, which in goodness he suppresses.
For he will not do destruction, if he is well-fed, neither will he spit without provocation.
For he purrs in thankfulness, when God tells him he’s a good Cat.
For he is an instrument for the children to learn benevolence upon.
For every house is incomplete without him and a blessing is lacking in the spirit.
So true. Please click on both links above.
Born on this day, 101 years ago. Something I wrote about her shortly after her death.