News, at last!


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Saint-Benoît-du-Lac (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I live near this splendid Benedictine Abbey, in Quebec. During the fall, the colours are extraordinary.

Please accept my apologies for not posting frequently. I have moved to a new apartment, but my floors are covered with boxes containing books. This situation will end soon. I have hired an ébéniste who will build bookcases on each side of a fireplace and above my desk. He will also provide more adequate storage. I have difficulty working in the middle of this “mess.”

Moving turned out to be more exhausting than I anticipated.

I am currently finishing a post on immigration in the United States. Originally, only free white persons could be given citizenship. Yet, the United States became the world’s foremost refuge, which may not last if deportations continue and DACA is rescinded.

I thank you for your understanding.

Love to everyone,_Quebec


© Micheline Walker
19 October 2017







American Tragedies


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Robert E. Lee (Photo credit:

Ironically, as a Presidential hopeful, Donald J. Trump was endorsed by the National Rifle Association of America. He was also endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan, a hate group who participated in the Charlottesville events. By accepting such endorsements, President Trump may have emboldened the killers. Stephen Paddock (9 April 1953 – 1st October 2017) was shooting from the 32nd floor of a hotel, which allowed him to kill or wound many people and complicated the work of the police. Fifty-eight (58) concertgoers are dead and some five hundred were wounded. Mr. Paddock had booked a room at the Mandalay Bay. So far, authorities are at a loss in determining a motive. Stephen Paddock is “unknowable.”

I wish to offer my condolences to the family and friends of the victims of both tragedies. The Last Vegas shooting was by far the bloodier, but although the Charlottesville events did not lead to numerous deaths, they were the more meaningful tragedy.

Charlottesville and the American Civil War

The Charlottesville tragedy is particularly significant because it is rooted in the American Civil War, the worst of American tragedies. Less than a hundred years after Americans fought the American Revolution, secession was unthinkable. Robert E. Lee attended West Point and served in the United States army.

Yet, on “18 April, he [Lee] was offered by presidential advisor Francis P. Blair, a role as major general to command the defense of Washington.  He replied:

Mr. Blair, I look upon secession as anarchy. If I owned the four millions of slaves in the South I would sacrifice them all to the Union; but how can I draw my sword upon Virginia, my native state? 

(See Robert E. Lee, Wikipedia.)

The Civil War (1861-1865) opposed the Union, the North, and the Confederates, or the South. When Abraham Lincoln was elected to the Presidency of the United States, in November 1860, slave states, the South, stood to lose “their way of life, based on slavery.”

Times had changed.

First, the slave trade was abolished in 1807 by an act of the British Parliament (see The Slave Trade Act of 1807, Wikipedia). Second, in 1833, slavery itself was abolished (see The Slavery Abolition Act of 1833, Wikipedia). What had been considered morally acceptable when the slave trade began in the 16th century had become unacceptable. For centuries, captured Africans were packed like sardines in slave ships, the penultimate of which was the Wanderer. It sailed to Jekyll Island, Georgia delivering some 400 slaves.

USS_Wanderer_(1857) (1)

Wanderer in U.S. Navy service during the American Civil War (1861–1865), after her days in the slave trade were over. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Besides, the economy of the South was an agricultural economy. The South was rich, but unlike the Union, its economy demanded the cheap labour that had long been provided by slaves. As for the North, the Union, its economy was developing into an industrial economy. Furthermore, the 1840 a World Anti-Slavery Convention was held in Exeter Hall, a Masonic Hall. Exeter Hall is a synonym for the Anti-Slavery Society. Freemasons played a significant role in the abolition of slavery.  (See World Anti-Slavery Convention, Wikipedia.) To sum up, the South was doomed, but didn’t act.


The 1840 Anti-Slavery Convention, by Benjamin Robert Haydon, 1841, London, England (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yet, to some extent, the South was a victim of history. Slavery had not been looked upon as a wrong when the Atlantic Slave Trade began, in the 16th century. Slaves were brought to the Americas, packed like sardines aboard slave ships. They were then purchased by plantation owners who probably believed the blacks were not human beings, at least not altogether. The impact of the Age of Enlightenment on the morally acceptable was enormous and it put slavery where it belonged, in the wrong. However, vested interests and an ingrained state of mind, not altogether American, stood in the way of abolition. Abraham Lincoln himself feared for the South’s economy.

For instance, Lincoln asked Giuseppe Garibaldi to lead an army, but Lincoln knew about an agricultural crisis.

“Garibaldi was ready to accept Lincoln’s 1862 offer but on one condition, said Mr Petacco: that the war’s objective be declared as the abolition of slavery. But at that stage Lincoln was unwilling to make such a statement lest he worsen an agricultural crisis.” (The Guardian, UK)

It remains that a right, slavery, had become a wrong and that it could not be made a right again. It violated the United States’ very own Declaration of Independence, whose main author was Thomas Jefferson, a slave owner:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

But a black could not be transformed into a white. Once they were freed, former slaves were targeted by white supremacists. They became the victims of such groups as the Ku Klux Klan. After the Union won the war, Robert E. Lee himself could not see the blacks as equals. He thought the blacks should not be given the right to vote, which remained the case until the 1960s.

Slavery and Racism: the colour black

At this point, the necessity arises to distinguish between slavery and racism. One can assume that slavery is as old as the world and that slaves have not always been members of the black race. Arabs have enslaved white women. However, the blacks have long been held in contempt. In two former posts, I noted that Senator John C. Calhoun (18 March 1782 – 31 March 1850) did not favour the annexation of Texas by the “Union” because some Mexicans were métis (see Manifest Destiny, Wikipedia).

“We have never dreamt [sic] of incorporating into our Union any but the Caucasian race—the free white race.”

North-African philosopher Ibn Khaldūn (27 May 1332 – 17 March 1406) did not consider the black race as equal to the white race. He saw them as “dumb animals” and, therefore, candidates for slavery.

“Therefore, the Negro nations are, as a rule, submissive to slavery, because (Negroes) have little that is (essentially) human and possess attributes that are quite similar to those of dumb animals, as we have stated.” (See Racism, Wikipedia.)

Historically, the blacks have been considered the inferior race, “dumb animals,” and “submissive to slavery.” Had the whites and the blacks been put on an equal footing, there would not have been an Atlantic Slave Trade and plantation owners would not have grown very wealthy by making slaves do the work. French Count Arthur de Gobineau (14 July 1816 – 13 October 1882), a friend of Alexis de Tocqueville, also considered the black race as inferior to the white race. Gobineau is the author of An Essay on the Inequality of the Human Racespublished in 1853. (See Related Articles #2)

The Abolition of Slavery

The Union won the war and slavery was abolished. By 1865, United States President Abraham Lincoln had already emancipated 3 million slaves. On the 1st of January 1863 Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, an executive order. On the 1st of January 1863. (See Emancipation Proclamation, Wikipedia.) However, slavery was not ended officially until the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution was passed by the Senate, on 8 April 1864, and by the House of Representatives, on 31 January 1865. A total of four million slaves were freed and Abraham Lincoln paid the ultimate price. He was assassinated on 15 April 1865, six days after Robert E. Lee “surrendered his entire army to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865.” (See Robert E. Lee, Wikipedia)

But it had been a very bloody war:

Four years of intense combat left 620,000 to 750,000 soldiers dead, a higher number than the number of American military deaths in all other wars combined.



A print showing Union Army General-in-Chief Ulysses S. Grant accepting Confederate General-in-Chief Robert E. Lee‘s surrender on April 9th, 1865. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Civil War left profound traces. It ended slavery, but racism grew and it intensified the discussion about the nature of the American federalism. After the Civil War, “power shifted away from the states and towards the national government.” (See Federalism in the United States, Wikipedia.) Several Americans fear their government.

Labour unions remembered Lincoln, which is also significant.


Flyer distributed in Lawrence, Massachusetts, September 1912. The Lawrence textile strike was a strike of immigrant workers.

The Permit

President Trump was criticized for stating that there was violence on “both sides:” a hate group, who protested “legally,” and counter protesters. There was indeed a mêlée, but a permit to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee (19 January 1807 – 12 October 1870) cannot justify the killing of Heather D. Heyer. Besides, there is violence and there is violence.

In other words, a hate crime was perpetrated in Charlottesville. Although the neo-Nazi group had a permit, twenty-year-old James Alex Fields drove a motor vehicle into a group of counter protesters killing 32-year-old Heather D. Heyer, a paralegal from Charlottesville, and wounding 19 other counter protesters. James Alex Fields killed, which is a crime.

May you rest in peace, Heather Heyer.


No permit can justify murder. The President of the United States therefore blundered by suggesting that a permit lessened James Alex Fields’ guilt. Words such as “permit” and “legally” were uttered by white nationalists to excuse their crime. One wonders whether a hate group should be provided with a permit to protest. In Charlottesville, a permit could and did invite disorder including murder. Freedom is not a free-for-all. Freedom and a free-for-all are poles apart.

It may be judicious for the American Civil Liberties Union (A.C.L.U.) to reëxamine its position regarding the Charlottesville events. Everything has its limits including liberty. Liberty cannot be put into the service of criminal conduct. The Charlottesville events border on Thomas Hobbes‘ view of man “in a state of nature:”

“in a state of nature each person would have a right, or license, to everything in the world. This, Hobbes argues, would lead to a ‘war of all against all’ (bellum omnium contra omnes).” (See Related Articles #9)

As for the Las Vegas shooting, there is a sense in which Stephen Paddock also acted “legally.” In the United States, civilians are permitted to carry firearms. What could Stephen Paddock do with his collection of firearms? I suspect that when a President such as Donald J. Trump is in office, a person who has a collection of firearms may shoot and kill. It would be in the best interest of a Presidential hopeful to refuse an endorsement from the National Rifle Association and the Ku Klux Klan a fortiori. Deaths by gun are far too numerous and too many victims are blacks. The right to bear arms makes it difficult for a police officer to know whether he or she is addressing a person bearing arms. Not that police brutality is acceptable, but that in the United States police officers are caught between a rock and a hard place. It’s “a war of all against all.”


  1. Walter Crane: from Slavery to Wage-Slavery (21 December 2015)
  2. Comments on Racism (2 February 2015)
  3. Freemasonry & Abolitionism  (31 January 2014)
  4. Ignatius Sancho & Laurence Sterne: a Letter (14 December 2013)
  5. The Abolition of Slavery (15 November 2013)
  6. From Manifest Destiny to Exceptionalism (10 November 2013)
  7. “Sorry Chancellor Merkel” (30 October 2013)
  8. The Noble Savage: Lahontan’s Adario (21 October 2012)
  9. The Social Contract: Hobbes, Locke & Rousseau (13 October 2012)←

Love to everyone 

Amazing Grace

Heather D. Heyer (Photo credit: CNN)

Micheline Walker
8 October 2017


Allan J. MacEachen, as I knew him


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Allan J. MacEachen, a long-serving Liberal MP and senator from Cape Breton, has died at St. Martha’s Hospital in Antigonish, N.S., on Monday night. (Mike Dembeck/Canadian Press)

(Also see the Conclusion.)

My dear friend and former neighbour for 22 years, the Honourable Allan J. MacEachen, died on 12 September 2017, the year Canada celebrated its 150th birthday and the year he turned 96. Mr MacEachen passed away at St Martha’s Hospital in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. He had studied at St Francis Xavier University and returned to StFX to teach Economics. He owned a house across the street from the campus, a few steps from my house. In fact, Allan J.’s backyard ran into mine. I didn’t fully own my backyard. We therefore shared the backyard and a barn.

In other words, this post isn’t about Allan J. MacEachen, a foremost Canadian politician and also a statesman. It is about the extraordinary gentleman who lived next door to me and about a very dear friend. Let us begin with the barn.

The Barn

That barn was quite the building. It could have been used as a garage, but it served as storage space. That is where we kept our gardening tools, a lawn mower, ladders, scaffolding, not to mention picks and shovels and tires. Paul mowed the lawn. To be precise, Paul mowed three adjoining lawns: Mr MacEachen’s, Dr Cecil MacLean’s and mine. Dr Cecil MacLean, a graduate of the Sorbonne, was Chair of the Department of Modern Languages. Initially, he was the Carnegie Chair of French.

The barn was somewhat special. For one thing, it had a hidden room. How else could it be so long a building on the outside, but not very deep inside? I was perplexed and I decided to investigate matters. I found a small door, hidden behind an apple tree and vegetation I had to cut my way through. The door had been left unlocked, so, I climbed in and explored. After it was found, I had a lock installed on the door. It was no longer hidden. The next time he came from Ottawa, Mr MacEachen was introduced to his collection of antiques. He was very interested and had some of these antiques refurbished.

I enjoyed looking after our backyard. In the summer, I filled a white urn with red flowers and put a tall green plant in the middle. I sat the urn close to his back door, which is where he parked the car. Finding the right place for this urn was not easy. I walked back and forth until I found what I believe was the best location. I also loved delineating the driveways, his and mine. I had gardeners put little white stones, crushed marble I believe, on one side of the two adjoining driveways. On the other side, we had a very long hedge which I trimmed so it wouldn’t scratch Mr MacEachen’s car.

The Drive from the Airport: poor Mr MacEachen

Before flying down from Ottawa to Antigonish, Mr MacEachen would phone me, or Pearl did. Pearl Hunter was Mr MacEachen’s secretary and, to a large extent, a colleague.

She died on 22 July 2017, which must have saddened Mr MacEachen enormously. We had a marvellous lunch together a few summers ago. There were four of us: Allan J., Pearl, Craig Smith, who was Mr MacEachen’s devoted and constant companion after Mr MacEachen suffered a stroke in 2004, and there was little me. How thoughtful of Mr MacEachen to invite Pearl!

Sometimes, when I knew he was coming to Antigonish, I called in our cleaning ladies: Adèle and her sister. Both lived in Pomquet, a nearby Acadian community. As well, on one occasion, I drove Mr MacEachen’s car to the airport to pick him up. I arrived at the airport safely and on time. However, on our way back to Antigonish, we stopped to eat a doughnut at a Tim Horton‘s and, as we left, Mr MacEachen said that he would drive the rest of the way. Based on this one event, one can tell Mr MacEachen was a born diplomat. He was much too polite to tell me I was a poor driver and I didn’t ask why he wanted to drive.

The Frozen Pipes

One day, when Mr MacEachen arrived home, his heating system had failed and the radiators had burst. I was in Sherbrooke, Quebec, visiting with my family. As for Mr MacEachen’s tenant, Joe, he was also absent. Poor Allan J. could not sleep in his house. He went to see Cecil who considered sending him to my house. But what about the stuffed rabbit lying on my bed: a Steiff rabbit. Mr MacEachen went elsewhere. When his tenant left, I started visiting the house every day. Yet, there was another incident, which is my main story. It is about the intrusion of a raccoon.

The Raccoon

That event is an event to recall. The fellow–I called him Stokely in memory of another raccoon, found his way down the chimney to the bottom of the fireplace. The fireplace was in a beautiful room which the raccoon damaged extensively. The door to that room was closed, so I did not open it during my daily visit. As a result, Allan J. was the first to see the damage. In fact, the raccoon was still in the chimney. We blocked it from the room, but Stokely lived there. I said to Mr MacEachen that I would look after everything with the help of good friends.

Claude said that we would have to smoke Stokely out. Smoke him out? Wouldn’t that hurt him? No, he said. We used Cuban cigars, perhaps a gift from Fidel Castro himself. I protested. Imagine, history going up in flames so a raccoon would leave his comfortable nest in a chimney! But Claude insisted. We only needed a few cigars. Claude had made a grid that would block the chimney. I believe Richard was with us, waiting to see the raccoon emerge and leave. When Stokely came out, he looked in every direction and ran to safety. Richard told Claude to drop the grid.

I had to throw several cushions away and called in professional cleaners. I also had to replace one of the curtains. It had to be custom-made and Mr MacEachen always ran the risk of paying what I called the senatorial fee–by then Mr MacEachen was a senator. The curtain was sown shabbily and I have always regretted not making it myself. 

There were other backyard adventures. For instance, the alarm system Mr MacEachen had installed was sensitive and would go off if a curtain moved. The Company would then phone me and I’d run to the house and inspect, sometimes fighting my way through heavy snow. But all was always well.

A Kind Gentleman

Mr MacEachen was very considerate. After Dr Cecil MacLean died–Cecil and I were always together, he told me he would protect me. I did not learn until much later that I needed protection. He knew that I lived alone and went to bed early so that fatigue would not prevent me from teaching the next day. At Christmas, he asked if I had a place to go and brought me a gift. He also made sure I was not left alone on my birthday.

One July, the week of our birthdays, I drove to Lake Ainslie, Cape Breton, where Mr MacEachen had a house. He had invited members of the Robichaud family and a relative of his, a priest. It turned out the Robichaud family knew one of my father’s best friends. As for the priest, he had been in Rome when my mother’s cousin taught theology at what was then called the Angelicum

Mr MacEachen also toured my house. I had told him that my bedroom was the smallest room in the house. Why was I depriving myself of larger quarters?  I led him from room to room. As he looked, he seemed reassured. The house was small but it was a jewel, the smallest room in particular. I had a beautiful blue house, covered with cedar shingles. Many of you know that this is the house I sold during the Summer of 2002. I had fallen ill because my workload had become too heavy.

Mr MacEachen tried to prevent me from selling the house, but I thought it was too late to cancel. Two years later, my disability benefits were terminated. So, once again, Mr MacEachen tried to help me resume my career, but the Vice-President did not listen to him. I wanted to return to my office and it was available. However, I was being sent elsewhere. No, I had never been remiss in my duties despite chronic fatigue syndrome. 

They didn’t know me, but Mr MacEachen did.


I knew a more private Mr MacEachen, but I agree with Justin Trudeau. Mr MacEachen (6 July 1921 – 12 September 2017), “made this country.”

Allan MacEachen remembered as ‘peerless’ parliamentarian by Justin Trudeau

(two videos: scroll down to hear Prime Minister Justin Trudeau)

He is Canada’s “father of medicare.” The Medicare Care Act was passed in 1966, fifty-one years ago.

The man who said to me: “I will protect you,” protected all of us Canadians. He knew about the social contract and lived it. Citizens pay their taxes and their government makes sure they are safe. Mr MacEachen made sure Canadians were safe.

The Government of Nova Scotia celebrated Mr MacEachen’s life on Sunday 17 September 2017, at the Keating Centre, St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish. His funeral took place at Stella Maris Catholic Church in Inverness, Cape Breton and he was buried in the parish cemetery.

May you rest in peace, Mr MacEachen. You have built a country and will always be remembered.


Sources and Resources:

Dear Readers,

I have moved to my new apartment, but it was a difficult and lengthy move, longer than I anticipated. My challenge was downsizing. The apartment I have bought is spacious, ±1056 sq ft (±98.1 sq meters), but it has fewer rooms than my former apartment. I had to give furniture, books and clothes, but I still have everything I need.

Given my age, this building is a safer environment than the building I left. It has elevators and it is situated within walking distance of a small market place and a café.

The time has come to return to my weblog. I have missed you. I still have boxes containing books to unpack. Some of these books will be given, but I am having bookcases built to house the ones I am keeping.

Love to everyone 

Sissel Kyrkjebø sings Ave Maris Stella
The creation of this Marian hymn is attributed to Saint Venantius Fortunatus


Ave Maris Stella in a 14th-century antiphonary

© Micheline Walker
20 September 2017








Salve Regina: the Season’s Antiphon


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Leonardo da Vinci, a study of the Head of Madonna, c. 1484 CE. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Marian Antiphons

The Marian antiphons are:

These four antiphons are sung during the eight Canonical Hours, or Divine Office. They may precede or end a psalm. The Salve Regina is sung at Compline and is the best-known of antiphons. Antiphons have been associated with Benedictine monasticism. They are in the Catholic Gregorian Chant repertory which is perhaps rooted in part in Iberian Mozarabic Chant and also originates in Judaism. There are 150 psalms. Many psalters are illuminated manuscripts. The Marian Antiphons were written in Latin, but Wikipedia entries provide an English translation.

Britannica[1] describes antiphons as “Roman Catholic liturgical music, chant melody and text sung before and after a psalm verse. These were sung originally by alternating choirs (antiphonal singing). The antiphonal singing of psalms was adopted from Hebrew worship by the early Christian churches, notably that of Syria.” But Marian antiphons are not “true antiphons.”[2]

In its description of antiphons, Britannica adds that “[t]he four Marian antiphons are long hymns, not true antiphons but independent compositions especially noted for their beauty.” The four Marian antiphonies may have changed as polyphony developed. Moreover it is not uncommon for composers to set a known text to music. In an earlier post, I noted that Michel-Richard de Lalande wrote a Regina CæliSeveral composers have written a Regina Cæli and several, a Salve Regina. Many of these liturgical texts have numerous settings. Mozart’s Requiem is a mass.

It may therefore be prudent to describe Marian antiphons as content rather than form. But they are in the Catholic Gregorian Chant repertory which may be rooted in Iberian Mozarabic chant.  Marian antiphons, however, are not psalmody. It should be noted as well that Marian hymnology includes antiphons that differ from the four Marian antiphons. For instance, the antiphon Ave Maris Stella (click on Ave Maris Stella) is the Acadians‘ national anthem. Acadians are the French-speaking inhabitants of Canada’s Atlantic provinces: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.


Salve Regina manuscript, 1787 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hermann of Reichenau

Scholars disagree, but the Salve Regina and the Alma Redemptoris Mater, a prayer, but also a Marian antiphon, are attributed to Hermann von Reichenau [3] (18 July 1013 – 24 September 1054), also called Hermannus Contractus or Hermannus Augiensis or Herman the Cripple, a crippled son of the Count of Altshausen. Hermann was taken to a Benedictine abbey, where he was schooled, at the age of seven. He later entered the Benedictine order. He was a composer, a music theorist, mathematician, and astronomer. He was beatified (cultus confirmed) in 1863. (See Hermann of Reichenau, Wikipedia.) The Salve Regina is one of the Leonine Prayers.

Although the dates do not coincide precisely, there are four Marian antiphons just as there are four seasons. However, although Christian feasts are celebrated on or near solstices and equinoctial points, they also occur at other moments of the year. Christmas is celebrated near the longest night of the year, the winter solstice, and the summer solstice coincides with St John’s Day, or Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, Quebec’s national holiday, celebrated on 24 June. Easter is celebrated near the vernal equinox. It is Eastertide. As for the autumn equinox, it occurs near the mostly forgotten Michaelmas, la Saint-Michel, on 29 September.

An artistic rendering of “Herman the Lame” as he is sometimes called (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


St. Michael, detail from Abraham and the Archangel Michael, Lower Saxony, … Courtesy of the Institut für Denkmalpflege, Halle, Germany  (Photo credit: Encyclopædia Britannica)

As for liturgical seasons, there are eight : Advent, Christmastide, Epiphany, Pre-Lent, Lent, Easter Triduum, Eastertide. In the Catholic Church, there are eight Marian Feast Days. (See Marian Feast Days, Wikipedia).

The main Catholic Marian Feast Days are:

In the Eastern Orthodox and Greek-Catholic liturgical calendars, the most important Marian Feast Days are:


A complete discussion of Marian hymns would demand a closer examination of several Christian denominations: Armenian, etc. But for most Christians, the next Marian feast day is the Assumption of Mary, called the Dormition of Mary in the Eastern Church. It is celebrated on the 15th of August.

I will conclude by quoting, once more, Britannica’s entry on antiphons: “The antiphonal singing of psalms was adopted from Hebrew worship by the early Christian churches, notably that of Syria.” Moreover, Mary is venerated in Islam. (See Mary in Islam, Wikipedia.) This quotation points to the Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.



Love to everyone ♥ 





The Music

I’m using Arvo Pärt‘s Salve Regina, with footage taken from Sátántangó (1994) for the second time. However, Wikipedia’s entry on  Herman of Reichenau includes a fine interpretation of the Salve Regina by Les Petits Chanteurs de Passy. It is delightful.

Homemade music video for Salve Regina by Arvo Pärt. Performed by The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir. Conducted by Paul Hillier.
Amazon link:…

Footage taken from Sátántangó (1994) directed by Béla Tarr.
Imdb link:


© Micheline Walker
3 August 2017





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flag-fireworks1 (1)

US Flag and Fireworks (Google images)

I missed July 4th, Independence Day for the citizens of the United States, but wish to send special greetings to my neighbours.  I spent several holidays at my grandfather’s house in Massachusetts. I grew to love his home and his land. The year is young, so greetings to everyone.

Life has not been easy for many of you since Mr Trump was elected to the presidency of the United States. You have had to rely on courts to block some Executive Orders. These are your courts and they represent you, your vision, your values. Many Americans would keep law-abiding “dreamers,” rather than deport them.

The children of undocumented immigrants may be safe. Their parents, however, are being returned to an uncertain future and some may be executed because they have stood against a tyrant. Iraqi Christians are being deported. Yes, there are Christians in the Middle East, but fewer and fewer. As for Muslims, the majority are good persons who deserve respect and love.

A Strange Illness

A large number of nations are home to refugees whom they may deport. Countries have a right to limit immigration. However, one should consider the plight of immigrants and refugees and that of persons who may be deported to their native land. In Sweden, upon learning that they their family would be deported, the children of Russian refugees have fallen ill. It’s a strange disease. They do not die, but enter into a state of resignation so complete that they are neither dead nor alive. They lose consciousness. Such phenomena are difficult to explain, but these children may have felt, or feel, they were, and are, not worthy of living.

In Sweden, hundreds of refugee children have fallen unconscious after being informed that their families will be expelled from the …

Rachel Aviv


Uppgivenhetssyndrom, or resignation syndrome, is said to exist only in Sweden, and only among refugees. The patients seem to have lost the will to live. “They are like Snow White,” a doctor said. “They just fall away from the world.” Photograph by Magnus Wennman for The New Yorker

Canada and “Illegal” Immigrants

Certain immigrants and asylum-seekers were not allowed to stay in the United States under former President Obama’s administration. But they were deported at a slower rate and in smaller numbers. We did not see “dreamers” cross the border and the cost of frozen limbs. No one can enter Canada illegally, but recent asylum seekers who arrived during winter months, were helped by the police and then arrested, but not in a brutal manner. Canada has to protect its citizens. It has immigration laws and it may deport would-be Canadians, rightly or wrongly.


  • Christians
  • The Plight of Immigrants

Canada’s Armenian community sponsored at least one flight of threatened Armenians. These refugees were Christians as are Iraqis being deported from the United States. One may think the Armenians who were on that one flight to Canada were “lucky.” To a certain extent, they were. Members of Canada’s Armenian community felt relief and newly-arrived Armenians were greeted to this country. They had nevertheless lost their home and, perhaps, children and relatives. It has often been said, in France and Canada, that “nous sommes tous du pays de notre enfance.” We all belong to the country of our childhood. Immigrants lose their native land and some remember circumstances that were better in the country of their birth. History or destiny are not always kind to people. Most immigrants have to learn a new language and they may be underemployed in their new country, which may constitute a profound loss.

President Trump’s Islamophobia

In this regard, we have learned that President Trump’s Islamophobia is selective. It does not include Saudi Arabia.

He could also be that he does not realize that there may be tragic consequences to his Islamophobia. For one thing, he may be cultivating terrorism. How long will Muslim migrants accept being looked upon as would-be terrorists on the basis of their religion? Think, moreover, of the copycat phenomenon. Think also that there is a degree of diversity in the Middle East. Although most citizens are Muslims, certain minorities were not “Arabised” in the 7th century CE. Some did not convert to Islam. For instance, there are Buddhists in Saudi Arabia. (See Buddhism in Saudi Arabia, Wikipedia.) Finally, deporting people who have grown roots in a country other than their native country may lead to an illness resembling the fate of those children in Sweden who have given up: uppgivenhetssyndrom.

War and terrorism have caused a large number of innocent people to walk away from their homes in the Middle East. It’s a crisis and such crises have happened before. We have to manage them.  

The G20 Summit

Mr Trump is at the G20 Summit. It would appear he may be compromising the United States’ status as global leader. He is, at any rate, facing opposition. The climate, for instance, is a global issue and there are trading agreement, defence alliances and questions such as migration and various international accidents.

Greetings to all my Americans readers.

Love to everyone


George Gershwin‘s “Summertime”


© Micheline Walker
6 July 2017





Canada’s Honourable Allan J. MacEachen: Nationhood and Leadership


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Allan J. MacEachen

First elected into office in 1953, under the Liberal government of Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent, the Honourable Allan J. MacEachen was instrumental in designing Canada’s social programmes.

Although he was not reelected in 1958, his only political defeat, he did not leave Ottawa.  He worked instead as a special assistant and consultant on economic affairs for the Right Honourable Lester B. Pearson, a Nobel Laureate.

Under Louis St. Laurent, Canada had begun putting into place social programs that would protect Canadians.  For Mr MacEachen, this endeavour would culminate in the Medical Care Act, passed by Parliament in 1966, when Mr MacEachen served as Minister of National Health and Welfare (1965-1968).  The implementation of Medicare was a major victory for Mr MacEachen and an enormous gift to Canadians.  It was, in fact, a major historical moment. A nation was born.

Very few persons could have been as dedicated as Mr MacEachen in his role as Canada’s Minister of National Health and Welfare. Mr MacEachen had worked as professor of Economics at St. Francis Xavier University, which is home to the world-renowned Coady International Institute, founded in 1959 and named after the Reverend Dr Moses Michael Coady, a coöperative entrepreneur who created the Antigonish Movement.  On 19 November 2009, during an interview with Steve Sutherland of the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation),  Mr MacEachen said he was a “disciple” of Father Coady who wanted to “enable people to get a vision of possibilities.  (StFX Digital Archives, Quotes by Rev. Dr. Moses Coady) ”

Moreover, Allan J. MacEachen was born in Inverness, Cape Breton, the son of a coal miner.  The coal miners of Cape Breton toiled painfully, and often died, reaping coal deep underground and bringing it to the surface. (Have you seen Margaret’s Museuma 1995 British-Canadian film based on a story by Sheldon Currie, a former teacher at StFX?) When interviewed by Steve Sutherland of the CBC, Mr MacEachen said that the miners of Inverness were “poor” and, that, when they had to retire, they did not have a “pension.”  He had witnessed poverty.

The Honourable Allan J MacEachen studied at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT), and became a professor of Economics.  In his CBC interview, he said that people were not interested in what he knew.  They wanted to know what he could do for them. They had needs which he understood and he was in a position to help his nation.  He had the knowledge and the shrewdness to do so.

During the same interview, Mr MacEachen stated that, as a politician, he had learned that he had to “obey” his constituents.  He had learned to “listen” to the people, to “serve” them, and to “take Canada into account.”  That interview is a lesson in leadership and nationhood.  Mr MacEachen cared for the people, as should all elected officials.

Former US President Bill Clinton is a recent visitor to StFX University.  On 11 May 2011, President Clinton opened StFX University’s Frank McKenna Centre for Leadership.  That Centre has solid foundations.

The Honourable Allan J. MacEachen was Minister of Amateur Sport, Minister of National Health and Welfare, Minister of Manpower and Immigration, Minister of Finance, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Secretary of State for External Affairs, Deputy Prime Minister of Canada, and a Senator.  In this capacity, he was the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

For two decades, the Honourable Allan J. MacEachen was also my next-door neighbour in Antigonish, N. S. and a dear friend.  I am honoured to say that he remains a dear friend.


© Micheline Walker
12 August 2011
updated 3 July 2017


God: the Clock & the Clockmaker


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François-Marie Arouet, known as Voltaire, by Nicolas de Largillière, 1724 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Comment

I read a post and the comments that followed it. I will not quote the post nor will I quote the entire comment. The post was about a scientist being denied tenure at a university, i. e. a permanent position, because he felt God had something to do with the creation of our universe. Basically, the comment was about “Jesus’ words about people thinking they are serving God by killing believers…”

We do not live in a perfect world. Terrorists wrap bomb(s) around themselves and wreak destruction in the name of God. In short, we have killed thinking that we were “serving God” (the Crusades, Jews, sorceresses, etc.).


Marble head representing Emperor Constantine the Great, at the Capitoline Museums (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jesus and the Christian Church as an Institution

Yes, we have killed in the name of God. Jesus, however, did not leave a sacred text and he talked in “parables” which is what a fabulist does, according to La Fontaine (see his Preface to his first volume of fables (1668), paragraph 6. Jesus, Isa ibn Maryam, did not write a sacred text nor did he found a Church. There were followers of Christ before 325 AD (CE), but the Christian Church was not founded until the First Council of Nicaea, which took place near the current Istanbul, Turkey. The Christian Church was founded under Roman Emperor Constantine I (27 February 272 CE –  22 May 337 CE), Saint Constantine or Saint Constantine the Great, Equal-to-the-Apostles, in the Eastern Church (Orthodox). (See Constantine the Great, Wikipedia.) Istanbul was first named Byzantium, It was the capital of the Byzantine Empire. On 11 May 330 AD, it became Constantinople, the holy see of the Christian Church. (See Constantinople, Wikipedia.) Constantinople was renamed Istanbul after the Turkish War of Independence, fought between 19 May 1919 and 24 July 1923.


Sermon on the Mount by Carl Bloch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


James TissotThe Beatitudes SermonBrooklyn Museum, c. 1890 (Photo credit Wikipedia)

The Sermon on the Mount: the Beatitudes

I have asked several theologians about the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. After studying the Gospels, reports not sacred texts, they have concluded that Jesus taught what is often summarized as “unconditional love,” (mercy, compassion, etc).

Matthew‘s account (5: 3-12 KJV) of the Sermon on the Mount discusses the Beatitudes, expressed as “blessings.” (See Beatitudes [a list], Wikipedia.)  

“In almost all cases the phrases used in the Beatitudes are familiar from an Old Testament context, but in the sermon Jesus gives them new meaning. Together, the Beatitudes present a new set of ideals that focus on love and humility rather than force and exaction[.]” (See Sermon on the Mount, Wikipedia)


French Enlightenment writer and philosopher Voltaire (21 November 1694 – 30 May 1778) advocated two freedoms, “freedom of religionfreedom of speech,” and the “separation of church and state.” However, although he attacked “the established Catholic Church,” he could not deny God a role in Creation:

« Ce monde est une horloge et cette horloge a besoin d’un horloger. » in Poésies et « L’univers m’embarrasse, et je ne puis songer / Que cette horloge existe et n’ait point d’horloger » in Les Cabales de Voltaire (1694-1778).

“This world is a clock and this clock needs a clockmaker.” in Poésies and “I am intrigued by the universe, and cannot help thinking / That this clock should exist and there not be a clockmaker.”

There is “candour” in Voltaire’s statement. He is the author of Candide (1762). If God is good why did He allow such a calamity as the 1755 earthquake in Lisbon. It destroyed the city and its surroundings. (See 1755 Lisbon earthquake, Wikipedia.)

One can also say that, if there is a God, why did He allow Otto Warmbier to die. Not only is nature cruel, but so are certain human beings. Evil is a problem.

These are the “big” questions. The human condition is a “big” question. We are born and we give birth, but we die. One accident can shatter our dreams, take away a person’s dearest, perfectly legitimate and realistic expectations.

On the day my mother died, I sat next to her and spent hours telling her that she would see her dead children, her mother, her brothers and sisters, and angels everywhere. On that day, had there not been a God, I would have invented a God, a clockmaker, and an afterlife, which is perhaps the finest gift nature has bestowed upon us. We die, poor or rich, but we also live and can make our life and the life of those we know a happier passage. We can create and overcome what is otherwise absurd (see Albert Camus, Wikipedia). We compensate.

No, we should not kill in the name of God. We must protect our planet, be good and spread what happiness we can.

Sources and Resources

  • Fables de La Fontaine, I – VI, Gutenberg [EBook #17941] FR


HaydnThe Creation (Die Schöpfung, Hob. XXI:2) – The Heavens are Telling


God, the Architect

© Micheline Walker
30 June 2017






Arabization & Islamization, P. S.


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Woman with a Spray of Flowers, Safavid Iran, 1575 CE (Photo credit:

How can one publish a post dated 22 June on 24 June?  Well, it’s possible.

My post on Arabization and Islamization is dated 22 June 2017 because it was first published privately on 22 June 2017. I didn’t know whether or not I should publish it. There are individuals who wish to know whether or not Iranians are Arabs, but many of us were witnesses to the 1979 Iranian Revolution and the departure of the Shah of Iran. There were tragic moments.

Most Iranians, 90 to 95%, are Shia Muslims and Iran is not a member of the Arab World.


Ruhollah Khomeini returning to Iran from exile, on 1 February 1979 (Photo credit: Wikipedia).

For information on Europe and the Middle East, you will find answers at Eyes on Europe  & the Middle East. There are frequent changes to the current conflicts in the Middle East. Keeping up with events and alliances is too difficult.

Although I read extensively before writing my last post, I did not include Casualties of the Syrian Civil War nor Foreign Fighters in the Syrian and Iraqi War. I mentioned but did not discuss ISIL, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. They torture, enslave and kill.

I should point out that Bashar al-Assad, the President of Syria, is an Alawite Muslim (Shia Islam). Most Syrians however are Sunni Muslims and Syria has /had many minorities. Sadly, many Syrians have been killed or have walked out of their country. Moreover, Syria’s cultural heritage is being destroyed. (See Destruction of Cultural Heritage by ISIL, Wikipedia.)


I am profoundly disturbed by the atrocities committed by ISIL and by Human Rights violations in the Middle East and in North Korea. In particular, it worries me to know that US President Donald Trump travelled to Saudi Arabia and signed a US$110 bln arms deal.

The President knows, or should know, that there is enmity between Saudi Arabia and Iran. I am glad however that Europe is still a United Europe.

It’s a very short post. I have commitments at the moment. Things will slow down.

Love to everyone 

Danza Sufi


Arms Dealer, Osman Hamdi Bey (1908)

© Micheline Walker
27 June 2017









Arabization & Islamization


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Decorated Jar with Mountain Goats, ca. 3800-3700 BCE, Iran (Courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY)


Reproduction of the world’s oldest example of animation, dating back to the late half of the 3rd millennium BCE, found in Burnt City, Iran (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many of us are confused. Who is a Muslim? Who is an Arab? Are Arabs Muslims and  / or Muslims Arabs?

Sunni Muslims and Shia Muslims

Sunni Muslims

  • the majority
  • Wahhabism

Arabs are people indigenous to the Arabian Peninsula, also called Arabia. Saudi Arabia is an Arab country and most of its citizens are Muslims, a religion. Saudi Arabs are Sunni Muslims (a religion) but many are Wahhabis, a fundamentalist Muslim sect. However, Saudi Arabia is home to a Shia Muslim population.

Shia Muslims

  • the minority
  • Alawites

The people of Iran / Persia are not Arabs, but most are Muslims, Shia Muslims. Syrians are Shia Muslims, but Syria is also inhabited by Sunni Muslims. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is an Alawite Shia Muslim.

The Arabian Peninsula (left) and Iran/Persia (right)

The Arabian Peninsula is home to Arabs, but the people of Iran were Arabized in the 7th century CE. (See Arab Conquest of Persia, Wikipedia.)

The Prophet Muhammad & Arabization

  • Arabization
  • the prophet Muhammad
  • the founding of Islam
  • the Arabian Peninsula

Arabization was the spread of Islam (the Muslim religion) and particularly the Arabic language from the Arabian Peninsula to the Iberian Peninsula. Arabization started in 622 CE, the 7th century, when the prophet Muhammad (c. 570 CE – 8 June 632 CE), God’s messenger, founded Islam. Muhammad was born in Mecca, Arabia, now Saudi Arabia, in the Arabian Peninsula. Countries constituting the Arabian Peninsula are : Yemen, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, parts of Jordan and Iraq.


The Arabian Peninsula (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The map below shows the three expansions of Patriarchal Caliphates, or Arabization.


Arab Conquests from 661 to 750

Age of the Caliphs. Expansion under the Prophet Muhammad, 622-632. Expansion during the Patriarchal Caliphate, 632-661. Expansion during the Umayyad Caliphate, 661-750  (Photo credit: Caliphate, Wikipedia.)

Saudi Arabia

  • Sunni Islam (± 75%)
  • Wahhabism: fundamentalism
  • an Absolute Monarchy
  • Human Rights violations
  • Raif Badawi

Saudi Muslims are Sunni Muslims, but many are Wahhabis. As described in Wikipedia, Wahhabism is “ultraconservative,” “austere,” “fundamentalist,” or “puritan(ical).” Saudis behead, crucify, mutilate, flagellate and imprison unjustly. Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy, which means that King Salman has divine rights. (See Divine right of kings, Wikipedia.) Raif Badawi has been in a Saudi jail for five years because he had a website in which he advocated greater liberalism in Saudi Arabia.

Mr Badawi appealed his first sentence: 6 years of imprisonment and 600 lashes. Upon appealing his sentence, in 2015, Raif was sentenced to a 10-year term in jail, 1,000 lashes, and a fine of approximately $250,000.00. Upon his appeal, Raif Badawi was also accused of apostasy, an accusation which carries a death sentence. Mr Badawi’s wife, Ensaf Haidar, a human rights activist, lives in my community with her three children by Mr Badawi. They are our cause, but it could be a desperate cause. Saudi Arabia is an extremely rich country. It was the first country President Trump visited in his official capacities.

Iran / Persia

  • Shia Islam (90 to 95%)
  • an extremely old civilization
  • conquest by Alexander the Great (334 BCE)
  • before Arabization: religions
  • Human Rights violations

Iran / Persia fell to Islam in the 7th century. Iran is one of the world’s oldest civilizations, dating back to Sumer: 4000 BCE. It was Elam and Elamites spoke the Elamite language. It flourished as the Achaemenian Empire or Achaemedid Empire (ca. 550 BCE – 330 BCE). Persepolis was the capital of the Achaemedid Empire.  It was conquered by Alexander the Great (334 BCE) and Hellenized. It was the Seleucid Empire (312 BCE – 63 BC; defeated in 238 BCE), the Parthian Empire (247 BCE – 224 BCE) and the Sasanian Empire (224 to 651 CE, or the Arab conquest).

It was named Persia from the Greek Persis (see Persepolis, Wikipedia). The Arab conquest of Iran saw the decline of the Persian language as well as the religions of Persia, Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism. Iran had much to contribute to the Islamic Golden Age, from the 8th century to the 13th century. It’s conversion to Shia Islam occurred under the Safavid Dynasty (Safavid Shahs) in the 15th century. By the 18th century, under Nader Shah,

“Persia briefly possessed what was arguably the most powerful empire at the time.” (See Iran, Wikipedia.)

In 1935, Persia was renamed Iran  by decree from Reza Shah. The term Aryan was used by Arthur de Gobineau. Iranians are Aryans, as in Indo-Iranian languages, but not as a white master race. (See Comments on Racism in RELATED ARTICLES.) The Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, fled a Westernized Iran during the 1979 Iranian Revolution, led by Ruhollah Khomeini.

Iran is multicultural. It comprises Persians (61%), Azeris (16%), Kurds (10%), and Lurs (6%). Iran is not a member of the Arab World. (See Iran, Wikipedia.)


Panel with striding lion Neo-Babylonian, ca. 604 – 562 BCE, Mesopotamia (Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY)


Winged lion with ram’s head and griffin’s hind legs, enameled tile frieze from the palace of Darius I at Susa, ca. 510 BCE; in the Louvre, Paris,  © (Courtesy of the Encyclopaedia Britannica)

The magnificent lions shown above date back to a pre-Islamic Persia. Works I showed in a post entitled Islamic Art featured the art of Iran and other Muslim countries. The second lion is a hybrid or zoomorphic beast. His hind legs are those of a griffin, a legendary animal.

“The Musician Girls” & “The Tortoise Trainer”
Osman Hamdi Bey
, Pera Museum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Turkey is also a Muslim country. Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, (Eastern Orthodox Christianity) fell to the Seljuk Turks in 1453. Constantinople became the capital of the Ottoman Empire, but although it is home to Muslims, 75% of whom are Sunnis, and others Alevis, Shia Muslims, Turkey was not Arabized. Turkey became a Persianate society. Wikipedia quotes Marshal Hogdson:

The rise of Persian had more than purely literary consequences: it served to carry a new overall cultural orientation within Islamdom. … Most of the more local languages of high culture that later emerged among Muslims … depended upon Persian wholly or in part for their prime literary inspiration. We may call all these cultural traditions, carried in Persian or reflecting Persian inspiration, ‘Persianate’ by extension.

Constantinople was renamed Istanbul after the Turkish War of Independence. Turkey is not one of the 22 countries of the Arab World.

Under Arabization, Wikipedia lists reversions of Arabization, such as the Reconquista and “[t]he 1948 founding of the non-Arab state of Israel.”

The Attacks on Tehrān, Iran

There is enmity between Saudi Arabia and Iran. In Reading Recent Events, I inserted a photograph of Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the Iranian Revolution. Shortly after President Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia, Tehrān, Iran’s capital, was attacked by ISIL. It was a twin attack targeting both Tehrān’s Parliament building, or Islamic Consultative Assembly, and the Mausoleum of Ruhollah Khomeini, which is sacred to Iranians. The Wikipedia entry on the 2017 Tehrān Attacks reports 17 civilians dead and 43 wounded (see 2017 Tehrān Attacks, Wikipedia).

The End

Turkey was not Arabised and Iran differs from Saudi Arabia. Iran is home to Shia Muslims and Saudi Arabia is inhabited by Sunni Muslims and Wahhabis. They are different entities. Iran is not a member of the Arab World. The 22 states making up the Arab World are listed under Arab World (please click). Iran’s cultural heritage is extremely rich. As well, it has a parliament. As noted above, in 1979, Iran refused to be Westernized.


A map of the Arab world, based on the standard territorial definition of the Arab world, which comprises the 22 states of the Arab League (Comoros is not shown). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Not only has a reversion of Arabization begun, but so have attempts to create a more liberal Islam. The Arab Spring started with the Tunisian Revolution on 17 December 2010.  (See Arab Spring, Wikipedia.) The Tunisian Revolution was successful. It led to greater democratization. However, other Muslims societies are also seeking reforms. Raif Badawi is in a Saudi jail because, as noted above, he advocated a more liberal Saudi Arabia. The Saudis still behead people.

Saudi Arabia is an Arab country, but Iran is not. Iran, however, is a Muslim country. It is home to Shia Muslims mainly, There are other religious groups in the Middle East. Islam however is one of the Abrahamic religions. Jesus, Isa ibn Maryam, was a prophet in the Abrahamic religions. (See Jesus in Islam, Wikipedia.) However, Muhammad, who was born in Mecca, founded Islam. He was 40 when the archangel Gabriel, brought him messages from God. Christianity is rooted in Judaism, one of three Abrahamic religions, the third being Islam:

  • Judaism (seventh century BCE),
  • Christianity (first century CE),
  • Islam (seventh century CE).

I will close by quoting Wikipedia

The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as Abrahamism, are a group of Semitic-originated religious sects that claim descent from the practices of the ancient Israelites and the worship of the God of Abraham.” (Read more under Abrahamic religions, Wikipedia.)

Also read Philosophy of Religion, Encyclopædia Britannica.


Sources and Resources

The Encyclopædia Britannica

Love to everyone 

Osman Hamdi Bey


Osman Hamdi Bey, 1979 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

© Micheline Walker
24 June 2017








Otto Warmbier Dies


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The Weeping Angel of Amiens (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)


Otto Warmbier

The North Koreans did not free Otto Warmbier, they sent home a dying young man. Whatever brutality they inflicted caused his death. When he returned to the United States, nothing could be done for him.

Despite the irreversibility of his fate, I am very thankful to President Trump for securing Otto’s release. He ensured that a dying young man would pass away home, in the United States, and surrounded by his loved ones, his parents in particular, Fred and Cindy Warmbier. Otto’s mother said that her son’s facial expression changed during the last days of his life. He arrived in the United States looking anguished, but died looking serene, at peace.

He will also be given a proper funeral, which will help his parents, his siblings, his friends, and all of us. We were all touched and our thoughts are with his family. Otto Warmbier was the quintessential victim of man’s inhumanity to man.

I would like to offer my deepest condolences to his grieving family and I hope that an angel will be by their side for the rest of their life. They have suffered. They saw videos of their son crying when he was condemned to 15 years of hard labour and looking dejected as guards took him away to serve an unjust sentence.

I have placed above the image of the “Weeping Angel of Amiens,” once again. It is so powerful an image. The soul is immortal. So, no one could take his soul away from Otto.

May you rest in peace.


La Cathédrale d’Amiens
« Un Bal », La Symphonie fantastique, Hector Berlioz
Charles Munch, conductor


© Micheline Walker
20 June 2017