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Pensieve: Discoveries, Presidents and Thefts

October 11, 2012

a person: the Pope’s Butler.

Rich people and celebrity figures everywhere, take note: if you wrong your manservants-or do wrong in the name of the people-they might not always have your back, no matter what they signed in those terms of employment. The Pope’s butler, Paolo Gabriele, is living proof of said advice: disgusted with the church’s corruption, he’s currently on trial for leaking thousands of documents to Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi, who published them in a book entitled Sua Santita. It’s almost like a scene straight out of a Shakespearean play (most of those were set in Italy anyway, right?): manservant tricks his master and exposes his flaws to the population, although in this case there’s not much humor. After all, why should a church have so many unholy secrets? What I’m curious to know is why the contents of the documents haven’t been published; is there a translated version of the book?

a place: Venezuela.

President Hugo Chavez. Sourced from

Once again Venezuelan’s have reelected Hugo Chavez to power in the recent presidential elections. Those who voted in favor of him are surely happy, but for those who aren’t, I can only imagine their dread of having him in power until 2019 (I use the word ‘power’ instead of the phrase ‘as president’ because that’s exactly what Chavez’s-or anyone who rules for such a long period of time-situation is. Like, you’ve had your chance and your say, let someone else rule the government–unless, of course, you don’t want to call it a ‘democracy any longer). I don’t applaud Chavez’s ostracizing the country from the rest of the world (although his distaste for puissances néocoloniales-neocolonial powers-should be a good hint to the United States et al. to amend their foreign policies).

a thing: Discovery of the Americas.

I’d never heard someone knock Columbus Day until I got to college, where the students in the Voice Office-most of them either African American or Domincan-started to bad mouth the day of what was normally a celebration of the great explorer and his wonderful discovery. I sat through a LatinFest night where the topic came up again, how we shouldn’t celebrate Christopher Columbus because he was a) not the first to arrive in the Americas (supposedly) and b) he ended up slaughtering thousands (millions?) of natives in the present-day Dominican Republic. Should we celebrate a man who carelessly killed innocent people-people who had every right to defend their own land, which was under seige? Perhaps not, although I always felt that the day was more of a celebration of the discovery than the man himself. And the sad fact remains that if we start truly scrutinizing national holidays, you end up realizing that in any war or victory, there’s always a loser-and sometimes that loser was treated quite terribly  (i.e.,the entire takeover of this very nation).

an event: terrorism raids in France.

As one Le Figaro article attested, “Cannes is the last place you’d equate with terrorism.” But so it happened: the glamorous home of the Cannes Film Festival got a dose of reality when al-Qaeda members were discovered to be living in the city, most notably Jeremie Sidney, a Frenchman who was involved with the bombing of a supermarket in Sarcelles a while back.  The whole incident has gotten the French press riled up to no extent, but I couldn’t help remark that a Le Figaro article titled “Terrorisme: Hollande peut reaffirmer son autorite” (Holland can reaffirm his authority thanks to the recent terrorist events) reminded me too much of another Le Monde article I’d seen after the Toulouse shootings, stating that the shootings would help former prez Nicolas Sarkozy in the polls. Honestly, the media is so crass: a president’s popularity should be the last thing on their mind when it comes to terrorism. Terrorism-or evidence of terrorists-is never a good thing.

an idea: Does deporting migrants have a positive effect?

“Italy must ensure that “migration cooperation with Libya does not lead to any migrant being returned to Libyan shores against their will, either by Italian authorities, or by Libyan authorities…” said UN expert Francois Crepeau in a recent statement to the organization. Mr. Crepeau’s main message was that Italy should be firm with it’s immigration policies but open up to international organizations like the Red Cross and UN to monitor (apparently many refugees from Libya, a country that was formerly colonized by Italy, have been coming in). It’s a statement that almost seems out of place; for example, would he have ever dared say such a thing to the US immigration office? (I doubt the American government cares whether migrants want to stay or not).  A question that came up while I was reading the article on the UN’s website was this: what happens to immigrants who are deported? Do they return to their home village/city, or do they try another city in their home country? Do they try to enter the country [that deported them] again, or do they try another one?


2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 18, 2012 5:57 AM

    Hi! Just putting in my 2 cents to your blog. Just to bring some light to the Pope paperwork it included everyday writings and notes of the pope probably in german and italian. The most tantalizing information includes a letter from a bishop asking not to be assign to a post. The pope didn’t hear to the pleads and still sent the bishop off. My idea of the whole case is conflicting. I do believe the butler shouldn’t have taken the paperwork. But I do see your point when you state that the church should keep its secrets in the holy realm. The reason why this man is being taken to court is for the principle of the matter. The Roman Catholic church has forever been a very secret place and for its workers to be diverging information and/or stealing from the bank as a case that preceded this one is sad, to say the least. So in conclusion I applaud the church for moving with times and being so open with its failures.

    In reference to Venezuela! There presidential elections come every 6 yrs. So Chaves will be in power until 2021!!! YES this is no typo. It will make 21 yrs of power for him so he has a great tag line for his 2021 election. I don’t want to say what I personally believe happen in this election, and neither can any Venezuelan, but it Rhymes with Sprigged.

    As a Dominican I actually have no offense with Columbus Day! It actually reminds me of fond memories considering my father would always quiz me on who discovered America in our home country. I actually believe the day is extremely underplayed, especially in the USA. Columbus Day reminds me that exploration has been around for ages and all current day immigrants, including myself, are continuing this cycle.

    • October 18, 2012 8:25 PM

      Haha thanks for commenting! I love to read what others think. You have a good point there with Columbus Day–if we didn’t have adventurous people, the world would be a very small and boring place!

      Venezuelan election-I LOL’d at the sprigged part. I think there should be a sort of psychoanalysis test that people who are elected head of state should take, to determine if they’re going to become a ridiculous dictator or not!

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