SINCE THE the burqa ban in France was first implemented last April 11, there have been 27 offenses recorded already. Amid stern protests from the Muslim communities around France and some European Union member countries, France enacted the law that was passed last year. According to French Prime Minister Francois Fillon, in defense of the burqa ban, the law was "in keeping with (French) national values."
This ban pertains only to the burqa, which is a full-body covering that includes a mesh over the face with a tiny slit for the eyes, as well as the niqab. Those permitted are the hijab and the chador. The hijab covers only the hair and neck but not the face, while the chador, covers the body but not the face. "The ban does not target the wearing of a headscarf, head gear, scarf or glasses, as long as the accessories do not prevent the person from being identified," the Interior Ministry said in a press release.
|John Demjanjuk during his trial in Munich.|
AS A CHILD engrossed in world history, the Alan Arkin 1987 movie, Escape from Sobibór was my first brush of the Holocaust and the Nazi Germany. It was from my father's movie collection, which was still in Betamax form. I was horrified and frightened with what I saw especially the scene where the escapees needed to leave their clothes that got stuck or enmeshed with the barbed wires. I didn't bat an eyelash. I didn't cover my eyes or peeped through in between my fingers. My mother, who was a history teacher that time, explained to me and my brothers the story about the Jews, the Nazis, and concentration camps.
The experience of watching the movie changed my life, for real. It gave me a clearer but haunting education about one man's evil and the unfortunate victims of the Holocaust (Jews, Christians, Russians, Homosexuals, etc.). For months after that, I became interested as to what happened to the survivors whom I saw depicted in the movie with their eyes beaming with a mix of happiness and fear as they ran for their lives bare naked and free. All in all, there were 27,900 Jews that were murdered in the Sobibór extermination camp in the German-occupied Poland.
Recently, in Munich, the trial of John Demjanjuk, accused of being an accessory to the murders of 27,900 Jews in Sobibór, is finally drawing to a close. The sick and ailing Demjanjuk, now 91 and confined to a wheelchair, draws many questions according to an article in the German Spiegel Online International. Questions like "If the court were to issue a guilty verdict, who benefits from punishment today?" and "Should it serve as a deterrent?" and "Is the intention to rehabilitate an old man?" are yet to be answered as the verdict is expected this week.
ON THE LIGHTER side of life, since it's the dreaded Manic Monday, karma is indeed a bitch and a naughty player especially when it comes to dogs. Just see:
I'VE BEEN TO Portugal twice in my life and I'm looking forward to visit it again in the near future. The recurring feeling I had when I was there the first time was disbelief. I thought, "Is this the Portugal that shared the other half of the world with Spain when the Pope, through the Treaty of Tordessillas, divided the world into two?" But you see, when I came back the second time, I appreciated it more and ultimately succumbed to the charm of Portugal and the Portuguese (They're many if you want to know!).
And now, in the advent of the financial crisis that hit hard Portugal (including Greece and other EU-member countries) and after a plea for the EU to bail them out the mess, which Finland has opposed, they have creatively come up with this video primarily addressed to the Fins to re-introduce themselves to the world once more.
Now, watch how some geniuses define FUN with a large red rubber balloon, water from the garden faucet, some tricky acrobatic stunts, and a very expensive high-definition video camera.
What? Still not fully awake sleepyhead? Now, to perk you up and make you chipper lock your eyes onto the GIF below.
NOW you're awake!