Kasyan Yaroslavovitch Golejzovsky’s Harlequin


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KASYAN YAROSLAVOVITCH GOLEJZOVSKY 1892 Moscow – 1970  Moscow (Photo credit: Invaluable)

This mixed-media depiction of Harlequin, by Russian artist Kasyan Yaroslavovitch Golejzovsky, was sold at an auction, in Düsseldorf, Germany, on 9 November 2017. I congratulate its owners. I love this work of art for many reasons. For instance, movement is beautifully expressed. Would that I had the money to bid and buy at auctions. However, I visit, if only to see beautiful objects.

Harlequin is a zanno (zanni), a comic servant, who was introduced into the Commedia dell’arte by 17th – century actor – manager Zan Ganassa (c. 1540 – c. 1584): Zan (=zanni) Ganassa. Commedia dell’ arte actors were professionals. They were provided with an outline of the comedy (called a canevas in French), where they played a role, always the same role, which they improvised. The Italians travelled to other countries. Ganassa was in Spain from 1574 to 1584. Paris had its Comédie-Italienne, and Harlequin was in 18th – century London.

In the commedia erudita, however, actors used a script written by a playwright. Ben JohnsonShakespeare, Molière and dramatists preceding them often drew their material from Plautus (254 BCE [Sarsinia, Umbria, Italy] – BCE 154)[1] and Terence (195 BCE [Carthage, current Tunisia] – 159 BCE [Greece or at sea]).[2] Roman dramatists Plautus and Terence wrote in Latin, but the vernacular, early forms of Italian, was also used by actors. However, Plautus and Terence, found their inspiration in Greek New Comedy (320 BCE to the mid 3rd century BCE), from which they also borrowed. Molière‘s Miser (1668) is rooted in Plautus’ Aulularia.

Harlequin is perhaps the best-known of the commedia dell’arte’s zanni and one of its most celebrated characters. Harlequin always wears a costume. It is part of the mask, but behind the mask there is a man, or a woman. Until the creation of Pierrot, drawn from both pantomimes and the commedia dell’arte, the stock characters of the commedia dell’arte seemed what they appeared.

However, Pierrot, created in late 17th – century France, by the Parisian Comédie-Italienne, is a sad clown, a mask wearing a mask. He entertains an audience, but he loves Columbina who loves Harlequin. This is love’s triangle, an impossible love that may feed on jealousy. As the 17th century drew to a close in France, Madame de la Fayette[3] published La Princesse de Clèves, in which her heroine will not marry Monsieur de Nemours for fear he will stop loving her once his love is reciprocated. Jean Racine‘s Phèdre fails to save Hippolyte, whom she has falsely accused of trying to seduce her, when she learns Hippolyte claims to love Aricie. La Princesse de Clèves was published in 1678, the year after Phèdre was first performed.


Harlequin by George Barbier (Photo credit: Tumbler)


The Duel after the Masquerade by Jean-Léon Gérôme (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In this respect, he is perhaps the most enigmatic character of the commedia dell’arte, and the most human. Jealous love finds its best expression in a novel by Madame de La Fayette, La Princesse de Clèves (1678). But Molière’s Arnolphe, the blocking-character in The School for Wives, L’École des femmes, is jealous. The Gelosi (jealous) were also a commedia dell’ arte troupe, but jealous love is not associated with the Gelosi. In Britannica, we read that:

“The name was derived from the troupe’s motto, Virtù, fama ed honor ne fèr gelosi. (“We are jealous of attaining virtue, fame and honour”).[4]


Commedia dell’arte troupe, probably depicting Isabella Andreini and the Compagnia dei Gelosi, oil … CFL—Giraudon/Art Resource, New York (Photo credit: Britannica)


I will close by reminding my readers of the British John Rich’s harlequinades: tom-foolery and pandemonium. Unlike the clever, nimble and clownish British zanno  Harlequin, Pierrot is mime‘s sad clown performed by Jean-Gaspard Deburau (Battiste), Jean-Louis Barrault (Baptiste), and less-acclaimed mimes.  Jean-Louis Barrault is the star of director Michel Carné‘s 1945 film Les Enfants du Paradis (The Children of Paradise), one of cinema’s classics, written by Jacques Prévert. But is Picasso‘s family Harlequin “funny?” (See Arlecchino, Arlequin, Harlequin and Leo Rauth’s “fin de siècle” Pierrot in RELATED ARTICLES).

Stock characters must not deviate from their role, nor can actors. But masks tend to invite a response not intended in the manner a role is played.

Love to everyone 


Sources and Resources

Denis Diderot, Paradoxe sur le comédien (c. 1773-1777), published in 1830. (Google) FR
Denis Diderot, Paradoxe sur le comédien, Wikipedia FR


[1] Plautus, Britannica (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Plautus)
[2] W. Geoffrey Arnott, Terrence, Britannica (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Terence)
[3] In 1655, at the age of 21, already a salonnière, she married 38-year-old François Motier, comte de La Fayette, an ancestor to Gilbert Motier, marquis de Lafayette. She bore him two sons.
[4] Gelosi, Britannica: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Compagnia-dei-Gelosi

Claude Debussy : Clair de Lune, for Piano (Suite Bergamasque No. 3), L. 75/3

Pierrot et Harlequin Mardi Gras by Cézanne

© Micheline Walker
10 November 2017

Fauré & Ravel : Nostalgia


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6abriel Fauré, Élégie in C Minor for Cello & Piano Op. 24 (1880 – 1883)

Peter Schlosser - Dívka s pávem

Girl with Peacock by Peter Schlosser, 1896 (Photo credit: fleurdulys)

Peter Schlosser was an Austrian artist, in the days of Art Nouveau, Jugendstil and the Wiener Secession (the Vienna Secession). I found a post about him, but no entry. This above painting is dated 1896.

Gustav Klimt and other artists founded the Wiener Secession in April 1897. Klimt’s  Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer is dear to me because I was a friend of relatives, members in fact, of the Bloch-Bauer family. My friends were Hélène and Francis Gutmann. Francis, whose mother was a Bloch-Bauer, finished a PhD in physics, at the University of British Columbia, where I also completed a PhD. However, we had met in Victoria. I also met Mr. Bloch-Bauer, an uncle (I believe). He was an older gentleman at the time, the very late 60s. If my memory serves me well, he spoke French. Francis met his wife, my friend Hélène, in Montreal. He enjoyed playing the piano. The Nazis pillaged the family home. His brother-in-law, a prince, taught me the Viennese Waltz. Francis was born in Vienna and died in Montreal, in 2014.


Love to everyone 

Gabriel Fauré, Élégie in C Minor for Cello & Piano Op. 24

Paul Tortelier, violoncelle
Jean Hubeau, piano

Peter Schlosser - Dívka s pávem

Maurice RavelPavane pour une infante défunte (1899)
Orchestre national de France

Lake George by John Frederick Kensett, Hudson River School (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer 1 by Gustav Klimt, 1907

© Micheline Walker
5 November 2017

DACA: from the beginning…


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President Obama Meets Beneficiaries Of The Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals Policy

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 04: U.S. President Barack Obama meets with a group of ‘DREAMers’ who have received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals in the Oval Office of the White House February 4, 2015 in Washington, DC. ‘DREAMers’ are children who were brought into the U.S. illegally and were then granted temporary relief under Obama’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The above photograph features DREAMers or beneficiaries of DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.


President Trump plans to deport immigrants who arrived in the United States as minors. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is a policy of the Obama administration  adopted in June 2012 and rescinded by the Trump administration in September 2017 (See Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Wikipedia.) DACA beneficiaries received a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and were eligible for a work permit.

DACA is rooted in the DREAM Act (acronym for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act)


“The bill was first introduced in the Senate on August 1, 2001, S. 1291 by United States Senators Dick Durbin (D– Illinois) and Orrin Hatch (R– Utah), and has since been reintroduced several times (see Legislative history) but has failed to pass.” (See DREAM Act, Wikipedia.)

John Ward Dunsmore‘s depiction of Lafayette (right) and Washington at Valley Forge, a battle fought in 1777-1778 (Wikipedia)
George Washington by Gilbert Stuart, 1797 (Wikipedia)
Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peale, 1798 (Wikipedia)
Dred Scott  (Photo credit: PBS)
Gilbert Motier, marquis de Lafayette by Joseph-Désiré Court, 1791 (Wikipedia)

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.

If one reads the Declaration of Independence, quoted above, without taking its historical context into consideration, one cannot reconcile the phrase “all men are created equal,” with enslavement. Matters are all the more puzzling since, as Minister to France (1784 -1789), Thomas Jefferson helped the Marquis de Lafayette draft the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789), a monument to social justice drawing from the American Declaration of Independence. La Fayette had fought in the American Revolutionary War. Could it be that the Founding Fathers, especially Thomas Jefferson, were hypocrites? I have pondered this question and it would be my opinion that, in their eyes, black slaves were not fully developed men. The Founding Fathers: George Washington, John Adams, Alexander HamiltonJohn Jay, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison wished to create a union of white men. George Washington, the 1st President of the United States and Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, was a Mason and a slave owner, but did he know that blacks were human beings to the same extent as whites?

Thomas Jefferson is unlikely ever to have whipped his slaves, but I doubt that his attitude towards the blacks was substantially different from the view expressed, a century later, by Confederate General-in-Chief, Robert E. Lee’s (19 January 1807 – 12 October 1870)

“most noted comment, quoted by most Lee’s biographers, occurred in a [sic] 1856 letter to his wife, describing slavery as an evil institution, but one that had more adverse effects on whites than blacks. However, he viewed slavery as a “painful discipline” which elevated blacks from barbarism to civilization while introducing them to Christianity. He felt that the institution would come to an end in God’s good time, but that might not be soon.” (See Robert E. Lee, Wikipedia.)

The White Man’s Burden

In the White Man’s Burden, a poem published as the 19th century drew to an end, in 1899), Rudyard Kipling (30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936) expressed views that portrayed the inhabitants of colonies as “primitive:”

“The implication, of course, was that the Empire existed not for the benefit — economic or strategic or otherwise — of Britain, itself, but in order that primitive peoples, incapable of self-government, could, with British guidance, eventually become civilized (and Christianized).” (See The White Man’s Burden, Wikipedia.)


The British John Bull and the American Uncle Sam bear The White Man’s Burden (Apologies to Rudyard Kipling), taking the coloured peoples of the world to civilisation. (Victor Gillam, Judge magazine, 1 April 1899) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rudyard Kipling is the author of the Jungle Book (1894) and the Just-so stories (1902), classics of children’s literature. As for Lafayette, although he was an abolitionist and a Mason, he fought in the American Revolutionary War and probably realized that George Washington and other Founding Fathers of the United States could not be brought to view their black slaves as altogether human or “men,” but that they were good human beings.  The United States Declaration of Independence was worded in the language of John Locke (29 August 1632 – 28 October 1704) and also reflected Freemasonry. Equality would be the subject matter of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s (28 June 1712 – 2 July 1778)  Discourse on Inequality (1754) and a main theme in Rousseau’s Social Contract (1762). These documents are “cornerstones in modern political and social thought.”


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John Locke by Godfrey Kneller, 1697 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


J.-J. Rousseau by  Maurice Quentin de La Tour, 1753 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Naturalization Acts of 1790, 1795, 1798

  • Three Acts
  • Dred Scott

The case of Dred Scott is most revealing. In 1857, Dred Scott, a slave taken to free states by his owners, sued for his freedom and lost. Dred Scott vs Sandford  60 U.S  393 is considered one of the worst mistakes of the Supreme Court of the United States. Its decision was made shortly before the American Civil War (1861-1865) and it proved to be an indirect catalyst for the American Civil War.” (See Dred Scott vs Sandford 60 U.S.393.)

African-Americans had been taken to the Americas forcibly, yet they were not recognized as citizens of the United States until the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, adopted in 1868, three years after the South surrendered to the Union. As for American Indians, they were not  citizens until the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924.

“This law limited naturalization to immigrants who were free white persons of good character. It thus excluded American Indiansindentured servants, slaves, free blacks and later Asians although free blacks were allowed citizenship at the state level in certain states.” (See Naturalization Act of 1790, Wikipedia.)

John Adams’ Alien and Sedition Acts

The Naturalization Act of 1798, is one of four acts, the Alien and Sedition Acts, signed into law by John Adams, the 2nd American President of the United States and its 1st Vice President. The four laws under John Adam’s Alien and Sedition Acts are the following:

(See Alien and Sedition Acts, Wikipedia)

The Naturalization Act of 1798 was repealed by Thomas Jefferson and replaced by the Naturalization Law of 1802, which reduced the residence requirement of immigrants from 14 years to 5 years, as it had been under the terms of the Naturalization Act of 1795.  However, the Alien Enemies Act, was used after Pearl Harbor was attacked, on 7 December 1941. The Alien Enemies Act of 1798 would allow President Franklin Delano Roosevelt “to imprison JapaneseGerman, and Italian aliens during World War II.” Canadians followed Franklin Delano Roosevelt and also interned Japanese Canadians. (See Internment of Japanese Canadians.) The Alien Enemies Act was also used by President Harry S. Truman “to continue to imprison, then deport, aliens of the formerly hostile nations.” It has been revised but remains in effect. The Alien Friends’ Act and the Sedition Act went into dormancy. A modified Alien Enemy Act is still in force.

“The Sedition Act resulted in the prosecution and conviction of many Jeffersonian newspaper owners who disagreed with the government.” (See Alien and Sedition Acts, Wikipedia.)

The Chinese Exclusion Act of 6 May 1882 is particularly sad, and the United States was not the only country in which the Chinese were viewed as a peril, the Yellow Peril. It was the first American federal law prohibiting the immigration of Chinese laborers. Chinese had first emigrated to the United States during the California gold rush (1848-1855). Later, in the 1860s, they were employed to build the First Transcontinental Railroad from Nebraska to the Pacific Ocean. The Burlingame Treaty, signed in Washington (1868) and ratified in Beijing (1868), granted the Chinese equality with Americans. Yet, on 24 October 1871, 500 rioters entered Los Angeles’ Chinatown “to attack, rob and murder Chinese residents of the city.” Rioters “tortured and then hanged” 17 to 20 Chinese. The Massacre was “racially motivated,” and “it took place on Calle de los Negros (Street of the Negros), also referred to as ‘Nigger Alley.’ “It was the largest mass lynching in American history.” (See Chinese Massacre of 1871, Wikipedia.)


YellowTerror (1)

The Yellow Terror in all His Glory (1899) is a rebellious Qing Dynasty Chinese man, armed to the teeth, who stands astride a fallen white woman representing Western European colonialism (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

French aristocrat Arthur de Gobineau, the author of the Essai sur l’inégalité des races (The Essay on the Inequality of  Human Races, c. 1848), feared the Yellow Peril above all. As we have seen, he developed the theory of the Aryan master race, but he was not an anti-Semite.


As biology, botany, ethnology, and related disciplines developed, the matter of racial superiority or inferiority among races started to lose its grip. The findings of English naturalist, geologist and biologist Charles Darwin (12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882) were a revolution. According to Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, published in 1859, two years after the Dred Scott vs Sandford, humans had evolved “through a process of natural selection.” (See Charles Darwin, Wikipedia.) Darwin’s views were controversial. Wasn’t man created by God? There is such a thing as Scientific Racism (see Wikipedia), but Darwin was not a racist.

Lafayette and Washington

Gilbert Motier de Lafayette was a very good friend of George Washington. He named one his sons after the 1st President of the United States. (See Georges Washington de La Fayette, Wikipedia.) Georges Washington de La Fayette, Lafayette’s son went to the United States during the French Revolution. He studied at Harvard and lived at the home of George Washington, and Americans did all they could to save the life of the Lafayette’s during the French Revolution. As for Thomas Jefferson, during his stay in France, just prior to the French Revolution, he was a distinguished guest at Lafayette’s home. Lafayette was an abolitionist and a Mason. He was a member of la Société des amis des Noirs  (The Society of Friends of the Blacks). In a letter to George Washington, written in 1783, “he urged the emancipation of slaves and their establishment as tenant farmers.” (See Gilbert Motier de Lafayette, Wikipedia.) He bought land in the French colony of Cayenne to “experiment.” However, there was little he could to do to change the embedded mindset of his American friends. Slavery had long been looked upon as morally acceptable, the slaves were blacks, an inferior race, and one did not have to pay slaves.


Gilbert Motier, marquis de Lafayette by Joseph-Désiré Court, 1791 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


By rescinding DACA, President Trump would show that he has little respect for immigrants, especially, but not necessarily, coloured immigrants. DACA beneficiaries arrived in the United States as minors and, at times, alone. The only home they know is the United States. If President Trump deports immigrants who arrived to the United States as minors, and, at times, unaccompanied, America will not be “great again;” it will be cruel and it will be walking back to an age when immigration to the United States was restricted to “free white persons of good character.” Immigration to the United States is currently taking a turn for the worse. DACA beneficiaries featured in the photograph inserted at the top of this post are dark-skinned.

I prefer to think that ethnicity is not a factor in the Trump administration’s decision to deport DACA beneficiaries. But what about immigrants from the Near to Middle East. They may have pale skin, but ethnicity might deprive them of a home.

In a letter to his wife Adrienne, Lafayette wrote:

“The welfare of America is bound closely to the welfare of all humanity. She [America] is to become the honored and safe asylum of liberty! Adieu! Darkness does not suffer me to continue longer. But if my fingers were to follow my heart, I should need no daylight to tell you how I suffer far away from you, and how I love you.” (See Adrienne de La Fayette, Wikipedia.)

When Lafayette was in United States, it was a country in the making, a project. And it is still a project. It took a long time to accept African-Americans as citizens of America. As for DACA, Mr Trump might change his mind and not deport them. President Trump wants to reverse every decision made by the Obama administration. The Affordable Care Act is his main target.

In all likelihood the Founding Fathers believed that “all men were created equal,” but they lived in an age when humans looked upon the blacks and American Indians as inferior to white men. Matters have changed. The United States is now or should be “the honored and safe asylum of liberty!”


Sources and Resources

Love to everyone 


John Adams by John Trumbull, 1793 (Wikipedia)

© Micheline Walker
30 October 2017








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 




© Micheline Walker
19 October 2017







American Tragedies


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Robert E. Lee (Photo credit: Today.com)

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 ♥ 


[1] https://www.britannica.com/art/antiphon-music

[2] https://www.britannica.com/art/antiphon-music

[3] https://www.britannica.com/biography/Hermann-von-Reichenau

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: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000…

Footage taken from Sátántangó (1994) directed by Béla Tarr.
Imdb link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0111341/


© 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