The Algerian War: the Aftermath


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Peuples du désert, C. Novel

Leaving Algeria: the Harkis and the Shephardi Jews

In 1961, as the War of Independence was drawing to a close, Algerians were drowned in Paris. (See Massacre of 1961, Wikipedia.) Moreover, before the mass exodus to France, the French disarmed the Harkis and left them behind. Harkis, now called French Muslims of Algerian descent, had been loyal to France during the eight-year War of Independence. It is estimated that as many as 150,000 were massacred. Torture was used on both sides of this conflict, the French and the National Liberation Front (FLN), and it was deemed acceptable. Harkis had to flee and did so with the assistance of French officers acting against orders.”   

“About 91,000 managed to flee to France, some with help from their French officers acting against orders, and today they and their descendants form a significant part of the Algerian-French population.” (See Algerian WarWikipedia.)

In 1962, Shephardi Jews also fled to France and some to Israel. They had identified with the French during colonial times (1830-1962). They were the descendants of Jews who had escaped the Spanish Inquisition and many spoke Spanish. (See Algerian War, Wikipedia.)

The cease-fire was declared on 18 March 1962 by Charles de Gaulle, at great risk to his life. He would not listen to his bodyguards. De Gaulle pronounced Algeria independent on 3 July 1962 and Independence Day is celebrated on 5 July. French settlers wanted to stay in Algeria and were bitterly disappointed when De Gaulle declared a cease-fire and set about freeing Algeria. For some settlers, it was betrayal.

In fact, there was resistance. Settlers who wanted to stay in Algeria formed a secret army, the OAS, or Organisation de l’armée secrète. The OAS fought against the National Liberation Front (FLN). Both factions were Muslim Algerians. (See Algerian War, Wikipedia.)

The fate of Harkis and Shephardi Jews is discussed under various entries in Wikipedia: Algerian WarGuerre d’Algérie, Independence Day, Algeria (5 July), etc.


A Young Harki, 1961 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Aftermath: Ben Bella and Boumédiène

  • socialism
  • Arabisation

After France left Algeria, the country contemplated socialism. Its first president was Ahmed ben Bella, who described himself as an Islamist of “mild and peace loving flavour.” (See Ahmed ben Bella, Wikipedia.) The Sand War, fought in October 1963, occurred during ben Bella’s presidency. Morocco was claiming ownership of Algerian territory. Ben Bella grew into an autocrat and a thief. He was deposed by his friend and colleague Houari Boumédiène (FLN). Boumédiène was a popular leader, but he fell ill and died in 1978, at the age of 46. Houari Boumédiène also contemplated socialism and put into place measures reflecting the influence of socialism.

Algerians are not Arabs. They are descendants of Berbers who converted to Islam. As we have seen, initially, Algerians were not attracted to Islamic fundamentalism and jihadism. Consequently, when Algeria’s neighbours to the east started promoting intégrismeIslamic fundamentalismresistance to Islamism culminated in the Algerian Civil War (1991-2002).

The Algerian Civil War, 1991: Fundamentalism

The Algerian Civil War “followed a coup negating an Islamist electoral victory.” (See Algerian Civil War, Wikipedia.) In December 1991, the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) seemed about to defeat the National Liberation Front (FNL). The election was cancelled in January 1992 and a High Council of State was formed under the presidency of Chadli Bendjedid. During the Algerian Civil War, the government of Algeria, the National Liberation Front, opposed members of the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) who, contrary to the government, the FLN, were fundamentalist Muslims advocating Sunni Islamism and djihadism

Barbaric massacres occurred during the Civil War. Most followed the hijacking of Air France Flight 8969 (1994), to which I have referred in my last post (See Related Articles). It was an act of terror that found a tragic echo in the attacks of 9/11 in the United States. The terrorists’ intention was to blow up the Eiffel Tower in Paris, but France’s anti-terror unit, the Groupe d’Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale (GIGN), killed the terrorists at Marseille.

In 1999, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, a member of the National Liberation Front (FLN), was elected president of Algeria. It could be that Islamic fundamentalism had lost its appeal, but given the wars waged in the Middle East during the 2000s, some fundamentalism  could not be averted.

“In 2006, the GSPC, the Groupe salafiste pour la prédication et le combat,[1] was officially accepted as a branch of al-Qaida in a video message by Ayman al-Zawahiri; soon thereafter, it changed its name to al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).” (See Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Wikipedia.)

Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Algeria’s President, has not been seen since January 2016, which has fuelled rumours that he is extremely ill.


To sum up, after Algeria gained its independence, its leaders identified with socialism. However, groups were progressively drawn into the fundamentalist Islamism that was rooting itself in neighbouring Arab countries of the Middle East. It was called SalafistIslamic revivalism.” Algeria resisted Islamic fundamentalism, but it found supporters.

The driver of the death truck of the 2016 Nice attack, Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, was Tunisian. It has now been determined that the attack was planned over a year and that Mohamed Bouhlel had accomplices. He responded to calls to attack citizens of coalition countries fighting ISIL. Yet, he was not a suspect. (See 2016 Nice attack, Wikipedia.)

The Kouachi brothers (Charlie Hebdo shooting) were of Algerian descent and the two were radicalised in the Middle East. In other words, after France left Algeria, the Arabisation of Algerians led to a degree of Islamic fundamentalism and at least two of the three major attacks on France have been perpetrated by descendants of the population of France’s Colonial Empire. ISIL, however, remains at the heart of terrorist attacks on France and European cities. Last week, Munich was attacked. When will it end?

These are terrible days, but I doubt that radical Islamism will abate until it is rejected by Islam itself. Neither Islamic fundamentalism, nor autocratic leadership, Syria’s Bashar al-Assad‘s, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, can benefit the Middle East. Its citizens are walking out. It seems that Assad is ready to talk. (See Malta Today.)

President Obama is still the President of the United States and he is a man of peace, despite the strikes. The talks have to occur soon. Participants should be supplied  with plenty of good food and drinks, sit at a round table, and put an end to this misery. Muslims are not migrating because they want to. They are migrating because they have to. This is self-destruction. Make Syria safe for Syrians, Iraq safe for Iraqis and free Saudi Raif Badawi. It is difficult to imagine why King Salman of Saudi Arabia fears an innocent blogger whose wife and children are living in my town. They are awaiting a beloved husband and father.

Reconciliation should happen soon, because members of the extreme Right could be voted into political office in mostly tolerant countries.

The Arab Spring was a call for greater democracy. It was energetic opposition to Islamic fundamentalism and Islamic radicalism, i.e. ISIL, by Muslims themselves.[2] But Assad was led by his fear of losing power. If he acts as he should, the migrant crisis will end and he may save himself.

Apologies for a long absence due to migraines.
Love to everyone.


Sources and Resources

  • Wikipedia
  • Britannica
  • Films on YouTube
  • The Atlantic Monthly
  • The Economist
  • Touareg de l’Ahaggar, by Christophe Novel (image below video)

[1]  Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat
[2] The Arab Spring began in Tunisia, but Algeria was not a participant.

The Battle of Algiers
music by Ennio Morricone (a very good composer)


Touareg de l’Ahaggar, C. Novel

© Micheline Walker
25 July 2016





France in North Africa


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Le Vendeur de peau, Jean-Léon Gérôme (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I edited parts of the article I posted on 18 July and did so a few hours after it was posted. I had sensed a connection between the result of the Brexit referendum and the 2016 Nice attack, but also felt there was a difference. The connection was the “send them back” printed on the shirts of certain British pro-leave voters. France’s Front National‘s is an anti-immigration political party. Britain does not have an anti-immigration or nativist political party, in which it differs from France. However, some leave voters thought, or we led to think, that leaving the European Union meant excluding immigrants.

French colonialism

One may wonder why France has been targeted by terrorists three times in the last two years:

These attacks cannot be explained in any satisfactory manner. They are barbaric and senseless. Let’s give love a chance.

However, these attacks may be associated with France’s history as a colonial power. It was in North Africa, Algeria especially. Algiers was captured in 1830, Tunisia was conquered in 1881, and Morocco was a French protectorate from 1912 to 1950.

A long time ago, these countries were inhabited by Berbers. However, Algeria fell to the Arabs (7th century CE) and then to the Ottoman Empire (1560-1830), often referred to as the Turkish Empire. The French captured Algiers in 1830 and walked out of Algeria under Charles de Gaulle. On 18 March 1962, de Gaulle declared the cease-fire that ended the Algerian War (1954-1962). Below is a video of his speech. FR

However, the violence continued after the cease-fire. Approximately 800,000 Pieds-Noirs had to flee to France. Pieds-Noirs (literally black feet) is the name given French settlers in North Africa. They had lived in Algeria for a long time, several generations. Moreover, many Algerians had been educated in France and identified with France. (See Algerian War, Wikipedia.)

France remained a target. You may remember Air France Flight 8969. The anti-terror unit of the National Gendarmerie killed all four hijackers without further loss of life among passengers and the plane’s crew. Three passengers had been killed by the hijackers. France has been attacked several times. (See List of Terrorist Incidents in France, Wikipedia.)

There are Berbers to this day in North Africa, in the Atlas Mountains in particular, but the population of Algeria was Arabised and so was, to a greater or lesser extent, the population of Tunisia and, less so, the population of Morocco. However, North-African terrorists are Arabised Berbers. The Arab Spring began in Tunisia, on 18 December 2010.

Although ISIL has claimed responsibility for the 2016 Nice attack, the attacker, Mohamed Lajouif-Bouhlel, lived in France, but was born in Tunisia. The Kouachi brothers (Charlie Hebdo, January 2015) were born in Paris of Algerian parents, but they were radicalized in the Middle East. In France, colonialism and terrorism may therefore be related.

Therefore, when members of the Front National claim that France cannot be multicultural, i.e. nativism, they are expressing their determination not to admit Muslim immigrants into France. At the moment Muslim migrants are flooding Europe. Therefore, Muslims are the immigrants. ISIL and the Syrian Civil War have wreaked havoc on the Middle East and these conflicts are taking a toll on Europe.

The result of the Brexit referendum may reflect the nativism advocated by the Front National. 

Marine Le Pen in Quebec

Marine Le Pen visited Quebec recently. A large number of Canadians are refugees or the descendants of refugees, and many are immigrants or the descendants of immigrants. Consequently, although it can only welcome a limited number of Syrian refugees, 25 thousand, the majority of Canadians do not see Syrian refugees as potential terrorists or as persons who will drain Canada’s social programmes. That has not been the Canadian experience so far.

Such is not Marine Le Pen’s opinion. She believes immigrants are impoverishing France and, in an interview with Ici Radio-Canada‘s Anne-Marie Dussault, Madame Le Pen stated that terrorists had entered France with the flow of migrants. She was warning Canadians. FR

Canadian civil servants flew to Jordan to screen the Syrians who have entered my country and it picked them up in refugee camps. In fact, Quebec is attempting to transform its immigrants into French-speaking Québécois. It may or may not work, but meanwhile Quebec is building bridges.


France has been attacked because of its former colonial empire, which included Indochine (Vietnam). So it has trained personnel to deal with crisis, its Gendarmerie’s Intervention and crisis management unit (GIGN). It is its SWAT team. France is otherwise protected, but terrorist attacks are difficult to prevent. Who would have thought that someone would rent a 19-tonne truck and drive it through a crowd watching a fireworks display?

This act of hate did however bring grist to Marine Le Pen’s mill. I listened to several interviews last weekend. Members of the Front National seemed disturbingly pleased to add this grim trophy to their collection.

Marine Le Pen could be the next President of France.

Love to everyone. 


Nice: a Carnage and Nativism

Maher Zain – Alhubbu Yasood | ماهر زين – الحب يسود |


© Micheline Walker
21 July 2016

Nice: a Carnage and Nativism


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People gather in front of a memorial on the Promenade des Anglais for the victims of the Bastille Day attack. Photograph: Ian Langsdon/EPA

Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel CREDIT: MATRIXPICTURES.CO.UK


It happened again. France has been attacked.

On Bastille Day, 14 July 2016, France’s National Day, Mohamed Lajouif Bouhlel, who was born in Tunisia, but emigrated to France, drove a rented 19-ton lorry through a crowd watching a fireworks innocent display along the Promenade des Anglais. His victims could not flee easily, so as the truck careened down its path, it killed l84 innocent individuals and wounded 102. Many of the wounded have been released from hospital, but others were critically injured. France has been attacked by terrorists associated with Isil. As for the Nice killer, who was shot by police, he was a Muslim who may (or may not) have been radicalized.

The Front National: nativism

A member of the Front National, a nativist party, stated that multiculturalism could not work in France. The French had to be among the French. I was reminded of the Brexit referendum which was interpreted by many as a vote that would allow Britain “to send them back.” Britons were best left among themselves.

Marine Le Pen went further. She used the word “war.” I doubt that she meant war as in World War II. She was probably referring to manners in which her party, the Front National would eradicate “the fundamentalist Islamic scourge (l’islamisme radical).

War is a word one should avoid. George W Bush used it after the 9/11 attacks on the United States. Fighting terrorism was essential but invading Iraq was war. It is now believe that the 2000s wars in the Middle East were instigated by then British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The wars waged in the 2000s were renamed wars against terrorism, but they were wars. These wars do not seem to have done anyone any good.

Marine Le Pen

Marine Le Pen, the president of the Front National, stated the following:

La guerre contre le fléau du fondamentalisme islamiste n’a pas commencé, il est urgent maintenant de la déclarer. Nous l’engagerons vraiment en mettant en place une série de mesures que j’ai déjà détaillées et sur lesquelles j’aurai l’occasion de revenir, qui visent à s’attaquer à la source du phénomène.

[The war against the fundamentalist Islamic scourge has not begun. Declaring it is urgent. We will engage into war using measures I have already mentioned in details but to which I will have the opportunity to return. They aim at the source of this phenomenon.]

A la sidération et la compassion doivent désormais s’ajouter l’action, les nécessaires mesures de prévention et de répression, et la détermination la plus totale à éradiquer le fléau du fondamentalisme islamiste. C’est aujourd’hui la volonté profonde du peuple meurtri de France, je mettrai toute mon énergie à ce qu’elle soit entendue et les combats enfin menés.

[To shock and compassion, we must add action: measures to prevent and to repress, and the most total determination to eradicate the fundamentalist Islamic scourge. Today such is the profound will of the bruised people of France. I will devote my entire energy to ensuring that France is heard and the combats undertaken.]

Please click on the link below:

Réaction de Marine Le Pen à l’attentat de Nice

In Le Figaro provides the list of measures Marine Le Pen advocates: greater authority on the part of nations, the reinstatement of military service, the creation of a national guard to replace the current “Opération Sentinelle,” greater vigilance at borders, more weapons, the creation of a French agency fighting terrorism, the reinstatement of “renseignement [information] de proximité.”

Parmi les moyens évoqués, elle a plaidé pour l’affirmation de l’autorité de l’État, la restauration progressive du service militaire, la création d’une garde nationale pour «remplacer le dispositif sentinelle », l’augmentation des moyens militaires à 2% du PIB avec une évolution à 3%, le contrôle des frontières, la mise en place d’une agence française de lutte contre le terrorisme et le rétablissement du renseignement de proximité.

Madame Le Pen is suggesting reinforced security on the part of France. Safety measures are indeed necessary. France has been attacked three times. But Isil is not Islam and it has not been established that the killer was radicalized. France’s Front National “hailed” the Brexit results which it may have misinterpreted. Some leave voters were misled by the campaign of  politicians who put into their service nativistic ideology and rhetoric. But the word nativism cannot be used to describe the majority of Britons, but members of the Front National advocate nativism.

But the problem is rooted elsewhere. Tunisia was a French colony. How can France send back those it colonized. As for the migrants, they are the homeless victims of Isil and autocratic leaders who are killing their own people. Syria’s Bashar al-Assad stands accused of genocide.

As I wrote in a recent post, we cannot roll back history, but there were and there are consequences to colonialism. There was a time when the sun never set on the British Empire and a time when the world spoke French.


I grieve for the families who have lost a husband, a wife, a sister, a brother, a child, or other relatives. And I grieve for their friends.

This post has been rewritten. As previously worded, it was a slight distortion of my own views. I apologize.

Love to everyone. ♥

Frederick DeliusOver the Hills and Far Away – YouTube
Sir Thomas Beecham conducts Royal Philharmonic Orchestra [EMI]


L’Ange pleureur d’Amiens (Professor Moriarty)

© Micheline Walker
18 July 2016

Marie Laurencin & Sharing


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Marie Laurencin (Photo credit: Google Images)

I am having connection problems with WordPress. The difficulty seems to be a poor connection to Google. That problem will be resolved, but, for the time being, I get logged out and cannot put likes to the posts I read.

As you know, I am also writing a book on Molière which is a relatively easy but time-consuming and expensive endeavour. The books, if they are available, often cost a fortune. Moreover, given health limitations, I should hire an assistant, a person who would borrow books for me and return them to the university. He or she would work no more than three or four hours every second week. I also need photocopies of certain articles.

An any rate, I’m still here, but technologies are playing tricks on me. It will be resolved.

I am reposting: Marie: the Words to a Love Song (Guillaume Apollinaire/ Léo Ferré)


Sources & Resources

Love to everyone

Jacques Offenbach « Barcarola »


© Micheline Walker
13 July 2016










Theresa May, Britain’s Prime Minister


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Theresa May (Photo credit: EN Wikipedia)

In my last post, dated 6 July 2016, I expressed alarm because, with the exception of Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party, British Leaders were resigning when in fact the country was in dire need of leaders who could deal with the result of the Brexit vote. It seems Jeremy Corbyn’s fate is being decided as I write by members of the Labour Party.

In other words, Brexit is not over, but Parliament is nearly functional, which is how it should be. Prime Minister-designate Theresa May (née Brasier; born 1 October 1956) will be Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, beginning Wednesday evening, 13 July 2016. Theresa May was Home Secretary.

British Prime Minister David Cameron would not take into consideration a petition signed by 4,000,000 Britons. It could be that Mr Cameron had to respect the letter of the law or be perceived as inconsistent. But 1,000 lawyers are now saying that the Brexit result “is not legally binding.”

Britain as a colonial power

The Brexit decision was surprising. Britain was a formidable colonial power, but would Amerindians return the descendants of Pilgrim Fathers and Puritans to their ancestors’ native land, England? No. They wouldn’t and couldn’t. Yet, European colonial powers made themselves at home on territory they had merely discovered. In the Americas, they nearly wiped out American “Indians,” north and south. Many were displaced and many starved. A large number died because they had no immunity to the diseases of Europeans, such as smallpox. Several were otherwise eliminated.

“Current estimates are that the epidemic killed up to 90 percent of the Native population in the Massachusetts Bay area. When the Pilgrims arrived in 1620, they saw evidence of massive depopulation and attributed it to the “good hand of God . . . that he might make room for us there.” Another epidemic—this time smallpox—hit in 1633–1634.” [1]

As practised by Europeans, both genocide and settler colonialism have typically employed the organizing grammar of race.” [2]

Not that anyone should feel guilty and atone. These events belong to the past. But times have changed and one should respect all members of the human race and particularly the citizens of countries one colonized.

Countries have the right to limit immigration, but the “Yes! we won! Now send them back” is rather ugly. If British political leaders used the EU referendum as a platform to lure voters into thinking that voting to leave the EU would justify their getting rid of “them,” they acted irresponsibly. Just who is “them?”

Moreover, thinking and stating that Britons would be “better off on their own” may not be the case in a global economy and so many years after entering into a partnership with the EU.

Theresa May speaks to reporters after being confirmed as the leader of the Conservative Party and Britain's next Prime Minister outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, central London, July 11, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall

Theresa May speaks to reporters after being confirmed as the leader of the Conservative Party and Britain’s next Prime Minister outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, central London, 11 July 2016. (REUTERS/Neil Hall)


Britons need not put themselves through the agony of another referendum. They have shown that they were divided in nearly equal halves, which probably suffices. But the matter of a second referendum is under discussion.

I didn’t intend to write another post on Brexit, but Britain has a new leader in Theresa May.

Love to everyone

P. S. Jeremy Corbyn will be on the Labour leadership ballot, NEC rules.


Sources and Resources

See United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, 2016, Wikipedia


[1] See Jeffrey Ostler, “New England and the Pequot War, in Genocide and American Indian History (Oxford Research Encyclopedia).

[2] Patrick Wolfe, Settler colonization and the elimination of the native,


The EU (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

© Micheline Walker
12 July 2016
Revised: 12 July 2016

More Thoughts on Brexit


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Total number of voters: 33,577,342
In favour of leaving: 17,410,742
In favour of staying: 16,141,241
Bregrets: 1,200,000

A Teacher’s Reading of the Brexit Vote

Most teachers consider a mark of 51.89% on a quiz or test a very low grade. It usually indicates that the student is likely to fail the course. Moreover, in certain Canadian universities, teachers are asked not to give a final mark between 45% and 50% to a student who is graduating or finishing his or her degree. Marks between 45% and 50% are lowered or raised, depending on the student’s overall performance and, occasionally, on his or her circumstances.

Therefore, according to classroom standards, if 51.89% (17,410,742) of Britons agreed to leave the European Union, and 48.11% (16,141,241) voted to stay, breaking away from the European Union is not warranted. It is too literal a reading. The spirit of the law negates its letter. (See United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, 2016, Wikipedia.)

“Intentionally following the letter of the law but not the spirit may be accomplished through exploiting technicalities, loopholes, and ambiguous language.” (See Letter and spirit of the law, Wikipedia.)

If we delete Bregrets (1,2 million) from the “leave” voters, the gap is even narrower. Bregrets may feel they did not know precisely what they were voting for or against. They may also feel they were not sufficiently informed regarding the consequences of their vote.

Using numbers instead of a percentage, 17,410,742 million Britons (51.89%) voted to leave the EU and 16,141,241 million (48.11 %) voted to stay. If Britain leaves the European Union, it would be by too small a majority. Although Bregrets voters (1,2 million) cannot be counted officially, they cannot be ignored. Nor can one ignore the demonstrators in Trafalgar Square or elsewhere in Britain. I dare not subtract 1,200,000 from 17,410,742, and add 1,200,000 to 16,141,241.


  • sovereignty
  • immigration

The plot thickens. According to professor Michael Dougan, there was misrepresentation on the part of Brexit advocates.

One issue was sovereignty. Some voters believed, or were made to believe, that the UK would regain its independence if it left the European Union. Such a view is puzzling. Britain was one of the foremost colonial powers in history, if not the foremost. It is independent.


Propaganda (Photo credit: Google images)

Another issue is immigration.  Some “leave” voters thought they were voting to exclude certain immigrants from entering England or to send them back.

Countries do regulate the number of immigrants they accept, but we cannot assume that migrants who are risking their lives to enter Europe are terrorists. Migrants flooding Europe are fleeing terrorism, war, and repressive autocracies. They are the victims of Isil or Daesch, the Syrian Civil War, and autocrats who violate human rights. Some countries cannot accommodate immigrants at this point because they are still recovering from the breakdown of the Soviet Union.


Jeremy Corbyn has repeatedly refused to step down. (Photograph: Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

For instance, Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party, now regrets using the words Hamas and Hezbollah. However, is anyone suggesting Mr Corbyn is an anti-Semite? If Mr Corbyn is an anti-Semite, so is Noam Chomsky. YouTube has several videos featuring Noam Chomsky discussing various subjects, including Israel and Palestine.

There is sympathy for Palestinians, and many countries recognize the State of Palestine. Nearly 50 years after the Six-Day War, Israel still occupies Palestinian territory and it is building a wall part of which is located in the occupied territories.

The problem at this point would be Islamophobia.


  • clarity
  • leadership

I will conclude borrowing several words from my last post. I then wrote that it may be in the best interest of Britons not to break from the European Union at this point. My opinion has not changed. John Kerry, the United States Secretary of State, has suggested Britain could walk back its decision, which may be a good idea. Should Britain leave the EU if its population does not express itself clearly? There is no consensus at the moment.

In my opinion, the EU referendum failed to give British Prime Minister David Cameron a clear mandate to either leave or remain within the EU. One must also consider that although a decision made on so tiny a majority would be legally acceptable, it may be too literal, in which case it may not “sit well” with Britons, a factor that cannot be dismissed.

Moreover, can Britain leave the EU if there was misrepresentation? If voters believed, or were led to believe, that once it was “independent,” Britain could close its door on Muslims or certain other immigrants, or send them back, there may have been unsavoury political manoeuvering. However, I will not go further regarding this matter for lack of information. What we know is that there was no planning.

We also know that Britain is experiencing a leadership crisis. Prime Minister David Cameron plans to resign in October and Mr Corbyn has been asked to resign but has resisted such requests. A nation cannot be without leaders. Whether or not Britain wants to leave is not clear; yet its leaders are being asked to resign.

This is my last post on the of Brexit “incident.”

The Canadian experience may be worth looking at. The 1995 Quebec Referendum nearly broke Canada (49.42% voted in favour of separation and 50.58% voted against), which led to the passing of the Clarity Act. If a province, Quebec or another province, wishes to leave Confederation, the decision will not be based on a 50 – 50 vote, i.e. 49.42% (leave) versus 50.59% (stay). Such a result showed division.

Love to everyone.


Sources and Resources


© Micheline Walker
6 July 2016


Brexit. The Day after the Vote


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David Cameron

British Prime Minister David Cameron as he speaks in the House of Commons on June 29, 2016 (Home Office / Parliamentary Recording Unit via Agence France Presse Photo)

The day after the vote…

I remember the Quebec Referendums, the 1995 referendum in particular. There was so much fear.

  • Would older Quebec citizens get their pension cheques?
  • How would Quebecers purchase groceries?
  • Could they still use Canadian currency?
  • Would the Canadian armed forces still protect them?
  • Would Desjardins be the only bank?
  • Just how would they pay the rent or make their mortgage payments?
  • Would they need a passport to visit friends and family in Ottawa, Toronto and provinces west of Ontario or east of Quebec?
  • What would happen to Acadians and other French communities living outside Quebec?
  • Would Canada cease to be a bilingual country?
  • Could Quebec count on its immigrants to remain in Quebec?
  • Would there be yet another exodus of its more affluent population? (This is what happened when the Parti québécois was first voted into office (1976).
  • Would Quebecers leaving Quebec sell their home in American currency? Some still do.

These may seem picayune details, but they are not, which is why the Clarity Act was passed. Canada had to made sure no province could walk away from Confederation in a precipitous manner thus creating considerable anxiety, disorder and years of instability.


As it turns out, those who advocated leaving did not have a plan. What would happen the day after the vote?

Countries that have not joined the EU

Not all European countries have joined the European Union. But the countries that did not join knew that the next day would not differ from the day before. Their decision not to join was not made overnight and could not plunge millions of citizens into years of detrimental uncertainty. As for other countries denied membership, they simply remained as they had been.

There is nothing wrong with not belonging to the EU, but the decision to leave must reflect the will of the people.


Countries belonging to the European Union. This map still shows Britain as a member. (Photo credit: Google)

A Consensus

It would seem imprudent for countries to leave the EU overnight and do so after a mere referendum. Important decisions, such as leaving the European Union require more than a referendum. There has to be a consensus. Too many citizens are opposed to leaving the European Union. The referendum showed that nearly half of Britons opposed leaving the European Union. Therefore, there is no consensus.

A “Dangerous Mindset”

After Donald Trump attacked President Obama for not blaming Muslims for the Orlando massacre, President Obama stated that Mr Trump, the Republican presidential presumptive, had a “dangerous mindset.”  I believe the gentleman shown in the photograph below also has a “dangerous mindset.”


Yes! We won! Now send them back. (Diamond Geezer via Associated Press)

John Kerry’s Suggestion

John Kerry, the United States Secretary of State, has suggested that Britain could “walk back” its decision. The British Government held a referendum, but there is dissent and a “dangerous mindset.”


Protesters gather against the EU referendum result in Trafalgar Square on June 28, 2016 in London, England. There is still the possibility that the British government will disregard the referendum result. (Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images)

Britain could still ignore Brexit referendum result. It wouldn’t be the first time in EU’s ‘sorry history’


In short, it may be in the best interest of Britons not to break from the European Union at this point. Not if there isn’t a consensus. Not if the motivation was even remotely racist. And not if there wasn’t a plan.

Love to everyone


Beatrix Potter (The National Trust)

© Micheline Walker
30 June 2016


Musing on Brexit


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One is surprised and one isn’t. During difficult periods of history, folding back has occurred, and we are at a difficult moment in history.

However, given that the results of the Brexit vote were very close and that the “leave” vote was followed by a wave of racist comments directed at Muslims and at members of the Polish population of Britain, I wonder whether or not Britons want to leave the European Union.

The reaction of many Britons brings to mind Donald Trump’s hasty determination that ISIL terrorists were the perpetrators of the Orlando Massacre. It appears the LBGT were targeted even though the suspected killer was an American citizen of Afghan origin.


A man wearing an anti immigration T-shirt walks during Armed Forces Day Parade in Romford, England, on Saturday. (Diamond Geezer via Associated Press)

Canada: The Clarity Act

Quebec has held referendums regarding a possible separation from the rest of Canada. For all practical purposes, the answer to the last referendum was both a “yes”  (49.42%) and a “no” (50.58%). (See Quebec Referendum, 1995, Wikipedia.) As a result, the Clarity Act was passed by the House on 15 March 2000, and by the Senate, in its final version, on 29 June 2000. (See Clarity Act, Wikipedia.)

During the political campaign that led to the election of Justin Trudeau as Prime Minister of Canada, Mr Mulcair, the leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada, asked the current Prime Minister of Canada what his number was regarding the Clarity Act, or Bill C-20. Mr Trudeau waited a little and then answered that his number was 9. “Nine Supreme Court justices said one vote is not enough to break up this country.”

Back to Britain

I realize that British prime minister David Cameron is opposed to another referendum, but it would be my opinion that the results of the British referendum are inconclusive. Nearly half of Britons voted against leaving the European Union and it turns out that among those who voted in favour of leaving, several misinterpreted the question. (See United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, 2016, Wikipedia.)

The Brexit question was not whether or not Britain should exclude Muslims and Poles from entering their country. If “leave” supporters misread or misunderstood the question, democracy may not have been duly served.

The refugee crisis is a destabilizing factor in Europe, particularly in those countries that have yet to recover from the breakdown of the Soviet Union. Moreover, there have been dreadful terrorist attacks. One lives in fear of another. But Muslim refugees are the victims of terrorists and autocrats.

In short, if Britain leaves the European Union, Britons would be making a numerically democratic choice, but if nearly half of Britons voted not to leave and if the “leave” vote reflects a perceptible degree of racism, it could be that the results of the referendum are both too close and too tainted for Britain to act.

I am not suggesting that the United Kingdom pass a “clarity act,” but if it is ascertained that racism played a significant role in the “leave” vote, it could well be that the tail is wagging the dog.

Love to everyone


Lucy Madox Brown by Ford Madox Brown, courtesy The National Trust

© Micheline Walker
28 June 2016

Molière’s “George Dandin”


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George Dandin, Alexandre-Joseph Desenne (Photo credit: Internet Archive)

George Dandin ou le Mari confondu (George Dandin or the Abashed Husband) is one of Molière‘s enigmatic plays. It was first performed on 18 July 1668,[1] at Versailles, and it was part of a Grand Divertissement Royal, a celebration of the French victory at Aix-la-Chapelle. It consisted of the play itself and a pastoral, a conversation between shepherdesses mainly.


  • Henri van Laun (the translator)
  • a comédie-ballet
  • a pastoral
  • sources: Guarini’s (Il Pastor Fido) and, perhaps, Boccacio (The Decameron)
  • the Dolopatos (the tale of a woman locked into a tower)
  • a mésalliance

George Dandin (1668) is a comédie-ballet and a farce, accompanied by a pastorale. My copy (Pléiade, 1956) does include the pastoral. It is in the endnotes, beginning p. 955). It is mentioned in Molière21 e-text. However, ironically, the pastoral is included in the Internet Archive translation we are using. It is Henri van Laun‘s (1820-1896) six-volume Dramatic Works of Molière with eleven ilustrations by Horace Vernet, Alexandre-Joseph Desenne, Tony Johannot and Louis Hersent. George Dandin appears in volume IV of Van Laun’s collection and it is complete. Henri van Laun has separated the acts into a larger number of scenes.

However, our Molière21 e-text contains the precious Notice and I should think the new Pléiade edition (2010) of Molière’s complete works also includes the pastoral, written by Molière and set to music by Lully. However, the pastoral can be read online in Henri van Laun‘s English translation of Molière, whose translation of George Dandin, I am using.

Pastorals – the Dolopatos

Pastorals find their origin in Guarini‘s (1538-1612) Pastor Fido (1590), The Faithful Shepherd. As for George Dandin, a farce, it may also be rooted in Giovanni Boccacio‘s (1313-1375) Decameron4th, 7th, and 8th days. The Decameron contains 100 tales told by young men and women hiding from the plague. These were very influential. Chaucer may have read the Decameron when he was on a mission to Italy in 1372. The structure of his Canterbury Tales resembles that of the Decameron.

Molière has written other pastorals, Mélicerte (December 1666), La Pastorale comique (January 1667), Le Sicilien ou l’Amour peintre (February 1667). He did so just before writing George Dandin. Molière was extremely sick when he wrote most of the above-mentioned pastorals. He had to take time off and was reported to be dying. It was a lung ailment. (See Molière, Wikipedia.) Molière died in February 1673.

George Dandin is also associated with an Indian work, the Dolopatos, written before the Common Era, before Christ, and translated into Arabic and Hebrew (see Salon littéraire). It was also translated into Latin and then French. As well, this farce is rooted in Molière’s own Jalousie du Barbouilléwhich may have been written before Molière’s return to Paris.

The Agroikos – Impoverished Nobility

In Greek literature, George Dandin, would be called an agroikos (rustic), a stock character. He is a peasant who has married into the upper classes and wishes to be separated from his wife when he realizes that he has simply bought a title: de la Dandinière. Such incidents were frequent in 17th-century France because aristocrats wanted to be ‘seen’ at court, which costs a fortune. They could not afford dowries for all their daughters. Often only one was endowed.

Angélique’s parents are also impoverished nobility, but they do not live in Paris. Angélique, however, was literally sold to Dandin and, even after the marriage, the Sotenvilles (sot=stupid) continue to see him as a peasant and so does their daughter.  The Sotenvilles did have not consult their daughter when arrangements for her marriage were made. It is a mésalliance.

A Mésalliance – Cuckoldry

In Act III, Scene 5, Clitandre points to the incongruous aspect of Angélique’s marriage to Dandin:

(…) et que c’est une étrange chose que l’assemblage qu’on a fait d’une personne comme vous avec un homme comme lui !
[(…) and that the union of a woman like you to a man like him is somewhat strange.(III, 5)]

I sense here a wish on the part of Clitandre to give order to the disorderly. The marriage has not been consummated (Act III, Scene V ), but there is a contract.

Typically, in Molière, a mésalliance (marrying into a different class) and a forced marriage (un mariage forcé) both lead to cuckoldry, the fate so feared by Arnolphe (L’École des femmes, 1662). Dandin was foolish and the Sotenvilles, sots, as their name suggest. When her parents will not allow her to be separated from Dandin, Claudine, Angélique’s maid, says:

“It is a pity to see a poor young wife treated in such a fashion; it cries to Heaven for vengeance.” (Claudine, III, 12) However, Dandin is treated neither as a husband nor as a nobleman.


Head of a Young Girl, François Boucher, c. 1745

The Dramatis Personæ is as follows:

  • Georges Dandin (George Dandin), husband of Angelica
  • Angelica (Angélique), Georges Dandin’s wife
  • Sir Sotenville (Monsieur de Sotenville), Angelica’s father
  • Mrs Sotenville (Madame de Sotenville), Sir Sotenville’s wife
  • Clitander (Clitandre), in love with Angelica
  • Claudine, Angelica’s servant
  • Lubin, Clitandre’s servant
  • Colin, Dandin’s servant

Act One

The play is a three-act farce and the overall dramatic action, the deceiver deceived, or trompeur trompé, is reflected in each act. The action is triggered in the same manner as in L’École des femmes. Dandin is told that he has a rival, Clitandre, by the rival’s valet, Lubin. Like Arnolphe, Dandin believes this intelligence will help him. He wishes to prove to his in-laws that he has a wicked wife from whom he should be separated, which her parents would never allow. However, Clitandre or Angélique always talk their way out of every ploy used by the ill-fated Dandin.

In Act One, Clitandre, who happens to be with Angélique, suggests that Angélique betrayed him.

Est-ce donc vous, Madame, qui avez dit à votre mari que je suis amoureux de vous ? (Clitandre, I, 6)
[Is it you then, Madam, who have told your husband that I am in love with you? (Clitandre, I, 6)]

She defends herself by making believe she is accusing him, but if reversed her words are an invitation to Clitandre to continue the galanterie. It’s a brilliant double entendre. Dandin is then asked to apologize to Clitandre who is a genuine gentilhomme. (I, 8)

Act Two

In Act Two, once again Lubin tells George everything. Angélique’s parents are brought to see their daughter breaking the terms of the contract, her marriage contract. Act Two, Scene 3 resembles L’École des femmes (III, 2). Dandin tries to impress upon his wife that, given the marriage contract, she has duties, but she is very quick to state that George married her parents. She was not consulted. Angélique denies that she has obligations towards George. When Clitandre dispatches une ambassade, a letter, she invokes the importance of pleasure, as does Agnès in L’École des femmes. She will not chase galants away.

Moi, les [men courting her] chasser ! et par quelle raison ? Je ne me scandalise point qu’on me trouve bien faite, et cela me fait du plaisir. (Scene 2)
[I drive them away! and for what reason? I am not scandalised at being thought handsome, and it affords me pleasure.] (Scene 4)

Angélique is caught speaking with Clitandre, but she feigns anger at Clitandre. (Scene 10) Once again, Dandin is punished. It seems Clitandre is being hit with a stick, but George Dandin is the victim. 

Act Three

In Act Three, Angélique thinks George is sleeping. She is outside with Clitandre. It’s night time and very dark. Believing he is speaking with Claudine, Lubin tells George Dandin everything. But matters are as in the School for Wives, he is speaking to the young couple’s barbon, Dandin. He asks Colin, his valet, to seek his in-laws.

In Scene 5, Clitandre is worried. Husbands have privileges. Angélique tells him that she does not make love with Dandin.

Serez-vous assez fou pour avoir cette inquiétude, et pensez-vous qu’on soit capable d’aimer de certains maris qu’il y a ? (Scène V)
[Are you weak enough to have such anxiety, and do you think it is possible to love a certain sort of husbands? (Scene V)]

The Dolopatos

In Scene VI, Angélique and Claudine, her maid, cannot re-enter the house. George Dandin has bolted the door. She tells him she has wronged him and, in desperation, she makes believe she has killed herself. When he opens the door to see if she is dead, she and Claudine lock him out. The Sotenvilles arrive and Angélique accuses George Dandin of having spent the evening drinking.

Angélique wants to end the marriage and so does Dandin, but Angélique’s father will not let her leave her husband. Monsieur de Sotenville gives himself the puissance absoluethe absolute power (Scène 7), of a pater familias. Angélique is asked by her father to apologize to Dandin, a husband from whom she wants to be separated.

Moi ? lui pardonner tout ce qu’il m’a dit ? Non, non, mon père, il m’est impossible de m’y résoudre, et je vous prie de me séparer d’un mari avec lequel je ne saurais plus vivre. (Scène 7)
[I! pardon him after all that he has said to me? No, no, father I cannot possibly make up my mind to it; and I beg of you to separate me from a husband with whom I can no longer live. (Scene 14)]

As for Dandin, the Sotenvilles force him to kneel down and apologize to Angélique. Therefore, George says to himself that all he can do is go and drown himself, which is indeed all the he can do:

Ah ! je le quitte maintenant, et je n’y vois plus de remède, lorsqu’on a comme moi épousé une méchante femme, le meilleur parti qu’on puisse prendre, c’est de s’aller jeter dans l’eau la tête la première. (Scène 8)
[Ah! I give it up altogether, and I can see no help for it. When one has married, as I have done, a wicked wife, the best step on can take is to go and throw one’s self into the water, head foremost. (Scene 15)]

As noted above, in Molière, mésalliance and forced marriages lead to cuckoldry. All Dandin has gained by marrying Angélique is a title: de la Dandinière, a hollow and ridiculous title. “Se dandiner” means to waddle.

A Problematical comedy

  • the contract
  • the parasites
  • Monsieur de Sotenville: a pater familias – fear

Marriage being a contract and a sacrament, Molière’s George Dandin is a problematical farce. In L’École des femmes, Arnolphe and Agnès were not married. But the Sotenvilles are George Dandin’s in-laws and parasites.[2] They married Angélique to him because of the money he could provide.

Initially, George Dandin was also a parasite. He wanted a title. But the curtain rises on a desperate husband who wishes to see the marriage terminated. We know that the marriage has not been consummated. (Scene V)

Monsieur de Sotenville is the archetypal pater familias. Claudine obeys because she is afraid of him. Fear is very much a factor in Molière. The Sotenvilles may still need Dandin’s money, but more importantly, a separation could be a scandal.

Ma fille, de semblables séparations ne se font point sans grand scandale, et vous devez vous montrer plus sage que lui, et patienter encore cette fois. (Scène 7)
[Such separations, daughter, are not brought about without a great deal of scandal; and you should show yourself wiser than he, and be patient once more. (Scene 14)]

Honour is invoked, but far more severe an element is the authority Monsieur de Sotenville has given himself. He possesses his daughter.

You must, daughter; I command you. (Monsieur de Sotenville, Scene 14)
This word stops my mouth. You have absolute authority over me. (Angélique, Scene 14)

“Poor lamb,” says Claudine, Angélique’s maid.

As Angélique bemoans, it will happen again and again. The structure of farces allows constant reversals. They are like the Saturnalia of ancient Rome.

Tout ce que vous me faites faire ne servira de rien, et vous verrez que ce sera dès demain à recommencer. (Angélique, Scène 7)
[Whatever you make me do will be of no use; we shall have to recommence to-morrow, you will see. (Scene 14)]

In the world of comedy, there are no rules of marriage. The genre promotes the marriage of the young lovers. In this play, however, the dramatic structure, i.e. the reversals, dominate. However, while militating in favour of the real young lovers, the farce is unkind to Angélique and Clitandre. They cannot marry because Angélique’s parents will not allow their daughter to come home.


George Dandin is filled with comical scenes, such as the double entendre. The manner in which the Sotenvilles deal with George is also comical. (I, 4)  So is the way in which Monsieur de Sotenville introduces himself to Clitandre. He mentions his lineage. (I, 5) In fact, the Sotenvilles are ridiculous. In George Dandin, lineage is mocked as it has never been. Madame de Sotenville’s maiden name is de la Prudoterie.

It could be said therefore that Molière rescues the comedic by pushing the farce to an extreme. Everything is a joke. When the curtain falls, the play will not have taken place. It will have been a joke.

The most famous line of the play is:

“J’enrage de bon cœur d’avoir tort, lorsque j’ai raison.” (Dandin, I, 4)
[It makes me mad to be put in the wrong when I am in the right. (I, 7)]

In fact, Dandin is both in the wrong and in the right. According to Will G. Moore, “Dandin is essentially in the right, but he is in all actual cases made to appear in the wrong.”[3]

Love to everyone


Sources and Resources

[1] There is disagreement concerning the date.
[2] Michel Serres, Le Parasite (Paris : Hachette littératures, coll. Pluriel, 1997 [1980]), p. 361-373.
[3] See W. G. Moore, Molière: a New Criticism (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1968 [1949]), p. 118.  


François Boucher
P. I. Tchaikovsky – Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35


Young Woman with Flowers in her Hair, François Boucher, Photo credit:

© Micheline Walker
24 June 2016
(Updated: 25 June 2016)


Orlando: the Many Issues


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Generated by IJG JPEG Library

Donald Trump (Generated by IJG JPEG Library)

I have read several articles about Mr Trump and my opinion remains unchanged. In fact, I believe he may jeopardize the safety of Americans, which is why I do not understand that the Republicans chose him as their nominee to the office of President of the United States.

However, Republicans have started to distance themselves from Mr Trump because of his avowed intention to prevent not only Muslims, but Mexicans and people originating from Latin-American countries, from entering the United States.

Although Mr Trump has lost the support of some key members of the Republican party, he remains defiant. He will finance his way to the Presidency. But will the citizens of the United States vote for a man who does not represent a party?

The Atlantic Monthly

The Atlantic Monthly published a series of articles on Mr Trump, one of which is about his mind. I am a little wary of such articles, but do believe that Mr Trump’s manners and language preclude his being considered an appropriate candidate to the office of President of the United States. As we say in Quebec, Donald Trump n’est pas sortable (he’s not fit to be seen). It may therefore be difficult for those Republicans who have turned their back on him to adopt a new stance.


The tragic Orlando Massacre invites serious reflection on the issue of discrimination, a sturdy perennial. The President of the United States cannot discriminate against people on the basis of ethnicity and faith. Nor can he discriminate against people on the basis of gender and sexual orientation. But Mr Trump does discriminate against Muslims, all Muslims, and Mexicans as well as other Americans of Latin-American origin. The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that:

“Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”
See Discrimination, Wikipedia.)

Gun Control

The good news is that Mr Trump now agrees with President Obama “for watch list gun ban.” Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association disagrees, but the fact remains that one cannot shoot without a gun and that arming people will not address the problem of terrorism. Omar Mateen had access to a powerful weapon and several guns.

The Second Amendment lost its validity the moment the United States had a militia. However, if one enjoys marksmanship, there are facilities where such individuals may  engage in their sport. Marksmen and women will not hurt anyone if their weapon is kept in a secure area. Sadly, some gun owners do not put their weapon(s) away from the reach of children which has caused siblings to shoot a sister or a brother. Children may think the gun is a toy.

Walking down the street carrying a gun can also lead to tragedies. For instance, the police may at times pull the trigger too quickly because of fear of being shot. It would be my opinion that endangering the life of innocent people is a breach of the social contract and that it negates the Second Amendment.

The Pulse

The Pulse was a club where L.G.B.T. (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans) socialized as is their right. Discriminating against people on the basis of sexual orientation seems extremely narrow-minded. As a WordPress colleague pointed out to me, people of different sexual orientation have a right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

I agree fully. Gays deserve the same respect as other law-abiding members of society, which includes gathering on a Saturday evening to socialize and relax. No one was creating a disturbance at the Pulse. I encourage you to read Half-man of Orlando ( Virginia Woolf wrote Orlando (1928).

Islamic Fundamentalism

As stated in an earlier post, although Mr Mateen claimed allegiance to the Islamic State, it does not appear he was directed to kill for Isil. However, as he was in the process of murdering people, he did tell the police that the United States should “stop bombing” Syria and Iraq. The Obama administration considers the Orlando massacre a crime of terror and hate, and it will welcome more Muslim refugees. The refugees are the victims of Islamic fundamentalism and rigid autocracies.

Americans are divided with respect to the role they should play in the Middle East, but in the end, it will be, and should be, for the Middle East to determine its fate.


In short, the Orlando Massacre has so many facets and it raises so many issues that it may well be one of the most significant events in recent history.

Love to everyone.


Half-man of Orlando ( (16 June 2016)
Donald Trump as President? No! (16 June 2016)
Orlando (13 June 2016)



Donald Trump, The Atlantic Monthly

© Micheline Walker
20 June 2016


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