…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.