Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Photo Meditation of the Month (May, 2011): BEING A TRUE HUMAN


A yellow dandelion flower (at bottom left) and white flurry
seed heads (on top). At bottom right,
some seed heads already lost
their seeds in the blowing wind.

Photo (Toronto: May 28, 2011) © Jerome D'Costa

Taraxacum, commonly called 'dandelion,' is a flowering plant that has a beautiful yellow, orange or white flower which later gives rise to many white flurry seed heads. These seed heads together look like a misty water fountain. With the wind, seeds fly and disperse to different directions. Then when the wind weakens, these seeds come down to the ground like parachutes. In the following year, new plants come out of these seeds.

Although the flowers look beautiful and the flurry seed heads attract onlookers, they are considered a nuisance because, once they take roots on the ground, they are quite difficult to get rid of. When they grow, they overpower other flower or vegetable plants. During weeding in the garden or crop field, if any part of its root gets torn and stays underground, it will grow from there. That’s why gardeners and crop fielders sort of hate these plants.

Some human beings are like dandelions. Outwardly, they look handsome or beautiful, but through their actions and behavior they create problems for others. Whey they prove their inner self, they are no longer considered handsome or beautiful. They may be nagging type, hateful, cunning, revengeful, or simply annoying. They lack in the correlation between their outside appearance and their internal qualities.

A mature and balanced person tries to be disciplined in words and deeds. If he or she follows Jesus’ precept of loving God and loving one’s neighbor, the world will be a more livable place.

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Monday, May 30, 2011

Artwork: A Dreaming Baby

A dreaming baby

Sketch (Toronto: February 2, 2011) © Joachim Romeo D'Costa

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Poem of the Month (May, 2011): A CALL FOR HUMAN RIGHTS


Police attack a Tunisian demonstrator on May 6, 2011
Photo courtesy: www.Talent-Tn.net
A Call for Human Rights

These are some Middle Eastern countries,
That gave birth to some ancient civilizations.
Recently common people there
Sought a little more breathing space,
They wanted a little more freedom,
They wanted a little more democracy,
They wanted a little more job opportunities,
They wanted a little more human right.

But, the rich and powerful, the deciders
Of the fate of the majority people,
Wouldn’t like to hear any of these.
They unleashed violence, threw bullets
At the peaceful and unarmed demonstrators.
Result? Deaths, bloodied streets, wounded citizens.
Government retributions, seeking out the leaders of
The social media “instigators and propagandists,”
And arresting of anyone deemed to be a threat
Is the vow of the incumbent rulers.

These demands are coming from their very own –
Their own brothers, their own sisters, their own fellow persons.
But, instead of trying to address the situation,
The easy thing is being done – muting the voices, making the people voiceless.
Like the head-burying ostrich in the sand, these rulers think
The problem and nuisance will go away soon!
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The Quotation of the Week (May 29 - June 4, 2011)

A Canadian lobster from a grocery store

Photo (Toronto: Sept. 12, 2010) © Jerome D'Costa

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Vatican Closes 500-Year-Old Monastery in Rome Over Worldly Lifestyles


Basilica di Santa Croce in Gerusalemme (the Basilica of the
Holy Cross in Jerusalem) in Rome has an attached Cistercian monks'
monastery which the Vatican has recently suppressed

Photo courtesy: www.whatsontianjin.com/

Former night-club striptease dancer-turned-nun Sister Anna Nobili in a jolly mood
Photo courtesy: www.bbc.co.uk/

Sister Anna Nobili in a liturgical dance sequence
during offering of the Holy Mass in the monastery

Photo courtesy: www.youtube.com

Pope Benedict XVI suppressed the Cistercian monastery, attached to the Basilica di Santa Croce in Gerusalemme of Rome, because of liturgical, financial and moral irregularities, reports the BBC. The suppression took place in last March after a Vatican inquiry, called “the apostolic visitation,” but was not made public, reports two Italian newspapers La Stampa and Il Messagero.

The Cistercian monks of this monastery are being transferred to other monasteries in Italy.

Vatican spokesman Father Ciro Benedettini said, “An inquiry found evidence of liturgical and financial irregularities as well as lifestyles that were probably not in keeping with that of a monk.” He also mentioned, “The church (basilica) remains open but the monks are awaiting transfer.”

Sister Anna Nobili, a former night-club striptease dancer, became a centre of controversy after she performed “holy dances” with wooden cross during the offering of the Holy Mass.

Several years ago, after visiting the shrine of St. Francis of Assissi in Umbria, she left her night-club dancing life and became a nun. In an interview to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Sister Nobili said of her former life, “I was wasting my life dancing for men in clubs. The nights were filled with sex and alcohol. It was an empty life but I liked it because I was the centre of attention. But my life has been transformed. I still dance but now I dance for God and I’m happy.” This Sister also calls herself a “ballerina for God.”

The monastery was generating controversy for some years. In 2009, Father Simone Fioraso, the showy abbot of the monastery, was removed by the Vatican to another monastery in Italy. The abbot was a former fashion designer who was able to attract rich and fashionable devotees of Rome for worshipping in the basilica. Show business worshippers also flocked there. Among them was the controversial American singer Madonna, who visited the monastery in 2008.

The Guardian of London reports, the Vatican’s recent removal of the monks to other monasteries, ending their 500-year presence at the basilica, follows Pope Benedict’s hard line with other wayward orders, including the Legionnaires of Christ, run by the Mexican priest Marcial Maciel Degollado, who fathered numerous children, was disciplined over sexual abuse allegations and was banished to a life of penitence.

The Italian newspapers speculate that the Vatican inspection suspected homosexual relations between monks at this monastery.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Doomsday Prophet Harold Camping Takes No Responsibility for Creating Fear and Anxiety Among Followers


Doomsday prophet Harold Camping as a preacher
Photo courtesy: Associated Press

The world didn’t end, the earthquakes didn’t happen, and his blind and unthinking followers could not go to heaven on May 21 this year. Harold Camping, the senile and self-styled doomsday prophet, had made the silly prophecy that earthquakes would destroy the earth and, just before that, 200 million believing Christians would be taken to heaven leaving all others to their ill fate.

After the non-event of May 21 Harold Camping is said to have been “flabbergasted.” Next day, he returned to his Family Radio preaching work.

As Mr. Camping used his religion or some verses from the Bible with his puzzling interpretation and calculation of the oncoming doomsday and created fear and anxiety among his followers, he is not being held accountable for it. If a non-religious person would create fear and anxiety among a number of people for non-religious reasons, he or she would most probably be held accountable for the costly nuisance. Some people are asking why Mr. Camping should go scot-free for such a deadly behavior.

Mr. Camping did not get rid of his own job, money or properties to be ready for the doomsday but a good number of his gullible followers did so and became bankrupt. Some wonder about the cunningness of this pastor and silliness of his suckered followers.

Without even being repentant about the false prophecy, Mr. Camping has the temerity to announce after May 21 that he had made a little mistake in his calculations, but, according to his new calculation, the world would definitely come to an end on October 21, 2011!

Some also mention, preachers like Mr. Camping belong to such Churches or Christian groups which teach that believers do not need a priest or pastor to interpret the Bible for them, but they, on their own, can read the Bible and understand its meanings. Here we see Mr. Camping has been interpreting the Bible and fixing a date of the doomsday for his followers.

Mr. Harold Camping's teachings and activities are critically studied by a Protestant website, called Jesus is Savior. Bookmark and Share

Monday, May 23, 2011

Doodle: A Saddened Face


A Saddened Face
Doodle (Dhaka: April 18, 1995) © Jerome D'Costa

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Quotation of the Week (May 22 - 28, 2011)

Some tall dried grasses in winter

Photo (Toronto: December 15, 2011) © Jerome D'Costa

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Some Doomsdayers Are Ready to Go to Heaven Tomorrow!


Some Doomsdayers predicting the end
of the world tomorrow, May 21

Sketch (Toronto: May 20, 2011) © Jerome D'Costa

Some call it the Apocalypse, some Armaggedon, some Doomsday, some End Time, some Day of the Rapture, and others Judgment Day. The bottom line is the world will come to an end on a certain day according to the prediction of Jesus Christ in the Bible. Jesus clearly mentioned that no one knows when the end of the world would come.

Yet, some people interprete it differently and try to pinpoint the date for the world's end in a violent way.

Harold Camping, 89, is such a doomsdayer (one who believes that the world will come to an end imminently with violent natural catastrophes followed by the return of Jesus Christ for the last judgment). He is a Christian evangelist who preaches through the Family Radio, based in San Francisco, to thousands of people in the USA.

Mr. Camping, who is a former civil engineer with his own construction firm, left his profession and became an evangelical Christian preacher. Through his reading and interpretation of the Bible and his numerical calculations came to the conclusion for the second time that an earthquake would occur on Saturday, May 21, and sweep true believing Christians to heaven and leave others in this world to be destroyed by the catastrophe.

He predicted that at 11:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time (PST), Friday, New Zealand would be the first country to be affected by the earthquake and it would make its way through Australia, Asia, Europe and North and South Americas. His place, California, would be hit at 6:00 p.m. PST, Saturday.

He said: "We know without any shadow of doubt it is going to happen." His followers and supporters in the USA and elsewhere have paid for billboards, posters and pamphlets announcing the imminent doomsday and asking people to be spiritually ready for it.

It is noteworthy that Mr. Camping made his first prediction that the doomsday would happen on September 6, 1994 when Jesus Christ would return. This outlandish prediction of his proved to be false.

Some believers, in the meantime, sold all their properties and gave away money to others to be prepared to go to heaven with Jesus Christ on May 21. Mr. Robet Fitzpatrick, a retired person in New York, is a strong believer of this doomsday prediction. He used up his total life savings of US $140,000 to put up posters in the city's subway (underground rail) system to announce the May 21 end of the world and to warn people to be ready for it.

Large Churches (Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and some Protestant Churches), however, teach what Jesus Christ already said: No one knows the exact time or day of the end of the world except God himself.

For further reading on the subject of the doomsday, you may visit the following:

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bangladeshi Mime Partha Pratim Majumder Becomes Member of the French Order of Arts and Letters


(L-R) Portrait of Partha Pratim Majumder
and himself as a mime artiste

Photos courtesy: www.mimepartha.com

The French Ministry of Culture recently awarded the title Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) to the Paris-based Bangladeshi mime artiste Partha Pratim Majumder, reports the Daily Star of Dhaka.

Partha Pratim Majumder, 56, an internationally-known mime and a former student of French mime maestro Marcel Marceau, was humbled by the award. “I am very happy to get the award as it will improve the image of Bangladesh abroad,” he told bdnews24.com.

After his initial 6-year training in Calcutta under Jogesh Dutta, Mr. Majumder introduced the art of mime in Bangladesh in 1974. Since then he has been playing a leading role in developing this art form in the country. He was given 2010 Ekushe Award in Dhaka last year for his unique contribution.

Besides acting in different American, British and Canadian movies and TV films, he acted in the short French film Bhai, Bhai, which won 26 international awards abroad. He acted as a model for advertisements of world-renowned companies like IBM, Nike, Macdonald, Thomson and Western Union. Many people saw his performances in Bangladesh, Germany, France Malaysia and USA.

Partha Pratim Majumder was born in 1954 in an artistic family at Kalachandpara village of Pabna District, Bangladesh. From 1966 to 1972, he received training at the mime academy of Jogesh Dutta in Calcutta. In 1981, he moved to Paris for further study of mime first with Etienne Decroux and, then from 1982 to 1985, at the mime school of Marcel Marceau. Later he joined the touring company of Mr. Marceau and performed in different countries. Once Mr. Marceau said: “Partha has achieved an inspiration which is uniquely his own.”

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Bangla (Bengali) Calligraphy: THE CONSONANT OF 'KAW'


A repetitive rendition of Kaw -- the first consonant
of Bangla (Bengali) alphabets

Calligraphy (Dhaka: February 28, 1992) © Jerome D'Costa

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Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Quotation of the Week (May 15 - 21, 2011)

A drain cover amongst melting snow

Photo (Toronto: February 27, 2011) © Jerome D'Costa
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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Charles Roach Refuses to Swear An Oath to the Queen To Gain Canadian Citizenship


Charles Roach's story in the
Toronto Sun of April 28, 2011

Courtesy: The Toronto Sun

(To read the full Toronto Sun story,
you may double-click the above image)

Charles Roach, 79, a Toronto lawyer who is originally from the islands of Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean Sea and, presently, a permanent resident of Canada for the past 57 years, has a way of viewing the Canadian citizenship.

According to his own admission to the Toronto Sun, he once had applied and was found eligible for the Canadian citizenship. But, due to his refusal to participate in the compulsory official oath-taking ceremony, where new Canadian citizens take an oath of loyalty to the monarch (of Britain), who at the same time is the head of state of Canada, he is still not a citizen of Canada.

Another time Mr. Roach had mentioned elsewhere that the mandatory oath to the “offshore queen” was a violation of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms’ provision of freedom of conscience.

Why doesn’t Mr. Roach like to take the oath of allegiance? Because, according to him, under the monarchy, the British were involved in slave trade of black Africans in the past. He expressed his willingness for taking the oath of allegiance to Canada and not to the Queen of England.

According to the same report, once he even had filed a class-action lawsuit against this oath-taking requirement, but he lost the case.

As a permanent resident, Mr. Roach is not allowed to vote, he is not allowed to hold any government job, he is not allowed to run a public office, and he even can be deported to his former country if found guilty of serious crimes. In one word, Mr. Roach doesn’t enjoy the rights and responsibilities of a Canadian citizen yet.

The same report states that Mr. Roach once served in the Canadian Armed Forces for about three years. He strove to improve the conditions of the blacks in Toronto and was one of the black persons to found the now world-renowned Caribana festival in Toronto.

The Logic of the Actions of Charles Roach Does Not Stand on the Firm Ground

As a reader of the recent Toronto Sun story on Mr. Roach, one could hardly believe what he or she was reading. He or she must have scratched his or her head on the reasoning used by Mr. Rose in refusing to take the Canadian citizenship under the existing circumstances. The reasoning and actions, mentioned in the newspaper story, are full of dichotomies.

  • Mr. Roach was born and brought up in Trinidad and Tobago, which were British colonies from 1802 to 1962. According to the Toronto Sun report, Mr. Roach was born there around 1933 but these colonies became independent only in 1962 after 160 years of the British rule. So, for 29 years (he came to Canada in 1954), he was the citizen of Trinidad and Tobago, he paid allegiance to and lived his life under the British monarchs of King George V (1910-1936), King George VI (1936-1952), and Queen Elizabeth II (1952 – until now) who ruled those two colonies.
  • When Mr. Roach applied for the Canadian citizenship, he knew well ahead that he would have to take an oath of allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II as the official head of Canada. He later refused to participate in the oath-taking ceremony led by a judge. If he did not like the existing oath-taking ceremony, why did he then apply for the citizenship in the first place?
  • Mr. Roach’s served at the Canadian Armed Forces for three years. The Canadian Armed Forces publicly express their allegiance and loyalty to the head of the state – the British monarch – and, if necessary, they also pledge to defend and protect the monarch and his or her kingdom at the cost of their lives. So, why did he join the army in the first place if he didn’t want to pay allegiance to the monarch?
  • As a permanent resident of Canada for the last 57 years, Mr. Roach has been living in Canada and enjoying necessary benefits (free healthcare, free or subsidized education, unemployment insurance, Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), old-age pension, and others) of the Government of Canada. All these benefits are given by the government in the name of the head of the state (British monarch). If Mr. Roach has any difficulty in pledging to the Queen, why is he taking advantage of these Government benefices? What’s, then, the difference between swearing an allegiance to the Queen and enjoying Canadian government benefits given in the name of the Queen?

These are dichotomies indeed!

The British Were the First to Abolish Slavery, Too

As a reader of history, one must acknowledge that Britain, like other European colonial powers, was deeply involved in African slave trade, and it was also the first to abolish slavery in the late 18th century.

Mr. Roach’s reasoning doesn’t hold water if he wants to blame the British monarch for the slavery and at the same time he enjoys the Canadian government benefices given in the name of the monarch.

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Friday, May 13, 2011

A Mirthful Stephen Harper, Canada's Prime Minister


Stephen Harper, leader of the Conservative Party of Canada,
at the victory in the recent election

Cartoon (Toronto: May, 2011) © Joachim Romeo D'Costa

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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Saturday, May 7, 2011

How Cartoonists See Osama bin Laden's Death


Cartoon courtesy: Shlomo Cohen (Politicalcartoons.com)

Cartoon courtesy: John Cole (The Scranton Times)

Cartoonists have a way of looking at persons and events which they present in a witty and humorous manner.

We present below some cartoons on the death or assassination of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden by the U.S. forces at Abbotabad, Pakistan.

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