Sunday, April 29, 2007

Alexander Newski

I am just back from the Grimaldi Forum. The Monaco Philharmonic played Prokofiev along to the film by Eisenstein. It was quite fun in fact to see such a presentation. The film was made as a message to Nazi Germany not to Invade the borders of Russia. The message fell on deaf ears but the outcome historically was the same.

I wondered how Russians and Germans in the audience or even Orchestra might have perceived the film today. It was a lesson in propaganda no doubt. But as a story on it's own it was quite a fun experience.

I asked what was spirituality. One reader noted I am on a journey. It is one I have been on for a while now. Lately however I am noticing energy in my body in strange ways. Physically for a while I have a rash over my heart chakra. I have sebhoric dermatitis which is extremely irritating. However now my chakra seems to have opened up and energy seems to be pouring out of me splashing on whoever is near. The rash has for the moment disappeared.

I am lacking a guide, a spiritual advisor in some way, a shaman. It's a huge part of my life I have neglected till now and at present, it is screaming and roaring for attention. I don't know where it will lead. I am nervous about it.

So at the beach this morning I was conscious of more looks than usual from women on the beach. I felt like I was standing out for some reason. Was there fire coming from head and feet perhaps?
Those of you that know me will think the warrior has gone nuts. The rest of you probably know what I am talking about. I couldn't help but catch the eyes of people. As I returned from my swim I saw a few of the women around 40-50 years old trying to come into the sea, they all tried to engage me in conversation about the water. This doesn't happen here. To make even friendly contact is quite unusual, so with my energies flying around the place I as usual noticed it and filed it away for further examination.

It has been a busy weekend Lots of people around us. Lots of positive feedback from those around us. I notice the network of English speakers fluctuating as always. Groups that used to number in the 20s and 30s for a night out, now number less that 10.

It is normal here. There is such a transient community. People come for the weather, the adventure, to escape something, perhaps. They get bogged down in red tape, they don't bring the right information with them, they can't understand the unspoken rules and don't know why the waiters can be so rude. They understand less the strikes, the lack of French friends, the need to speak French. They think they are dynamic and positive people but with 15 to 20 percent unemployed in the region and they not speaking the language, is it no wonder the last a few weeks, or months or a best maybe a year or two before they give up.

You see it's all been tried before, the market is flooded and people who are will protect the territory they have.

I guess it's a little like the story of the film, there seems to be a desire to repeal the invader here. The invader here are those that don't 'get it'. But I don't have an answer as to why people come. There seems to be a lot of women run away to here. The guys come to work the girls come to hide. I wonder how much truth is in that.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

What is Spiritual?

You know as I sit here and write I have a plethora of things going through my mind as to what I should be writing about. I have met someone whom I think is a signpost. Recently they have pointed me near a Zen Monastery.
For me this was a real wow moment. I had not imagined there was one so accessible, so close. I am very excited about it.
In the turmoil of leaving home and friends, of being thrown in at the deep end, of breaking up with my ex, of fighting with myself to stay, of choosing to enter another relationship so soon, of just plain living, something somewhere has gotten misplaced.

I seem to have a spiritual hunger.

I seem to cathect a lot lately. To misplace energy into spaces that are not built for feeding the spirit.

I wonder how in this modern age, the spirit can be fed. How do we let go the trauma of birth, of learning to walk, to talk, to learn, to grow, to belong, to let go? Surely we must all to some extent or another suffer from Battle fatigue or post traumatic stress without actually realising it?
Surely the negative energy many people give off, sticks to us like sound to magnetic tape, and we need some space and time to brush this off?
To rebirth ourselves in consciousness and awareness, to feel deeper and more profoundly those ceremonies of life and their true meaning. What does it truly mean to marry? To get a job? To be unemployed? To be divorced? What are these labels we bandy around the place that make us rejoice or cry? Why? What does it really mean when we say, "We are at War" ?
I wonder if either of the potential presidents of France have an inner spiritual life that they are aware of. How do they apply it to their search for power? What is this power they seek? Are they so void of depth as to seek meaning in position and in fact therefore remain completely powerless?
How do you define yourself and your inner self? What are the secrets you carry that no one sees, that define you?
How does one give birth to ones true self?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Follow Up

As I haven't been here for such a long time I doubt anyone is reading. However yesterday I spoke about him and now I will speak about her.
She is Sego. Not Sarko but Sego. Sego has just finished her spot on TV. I found what I was looking for to some degree near the end. The guy asking the questions, in fact there were two of them, asked her about her strengths and how she would prepare to face Sarko on Wednesday. Her response was completely natural, completely right and she smiled amused at such a silly question. Her responses were basically to do with asking the interviewer what he thought she had been doing for the campaign? What he thought she had done here tonight in front of him and his co-host and in front of Millions. Why in Gods Name would she be practicing in front of someone who was pretending to be Sarko? I mean Really.

Ségolène wants change and lots of it. She wants the women who work at the check out to get a pay rise every year and that the equivalent of Wall Mart doesn't get richer while paying the same wages for years.
She wants investment in youth that will in time cut the cost of unemployment.
She wants responsible Unions and Responsible Owners. Dialog before striking rather than striking to get dialog.
She wants people it seems to grow up and stop taking hand outs for nothing. She wants business to be not given huge amounts of grants when they are already rich.
She wants banks to stop charging ridiculous sums of money for the slightest infractions. ( that would get my vote if I had one. )

When pressed about Taxes she said she wouldn't raise them but Sarko said he was raising VAT. The interviewer quickly interrupted and stated that it was to be an experimental tax. Quick as a flash she turned on him without taking a breath, 'when have you ever paid an experimental tax ? It's either a tax or it's not'. I thought she was going to put him over her knee and spank him.

Maybe I am looking at her too much. she is an attractive person when she is relaxed. The few glimpses of her natural self that we have been permitted to see, shows she is a far more interesting person that the Stepford wife I described yesterday.
Stepford was not around today. Her clothing (and this is where women win hands down over men in politics, if they get it right) was amazing. She wore a white dress and black jacket and heels. I doubt French culture would let her away with trousers. But the bodice of the dress was reminiscent of a corset. It had sort of ribbing or outlining and while the dress was not at all tight it was definitely borrowing from the corset style. I was wondering if it was an intentional message to many men of France that your powerful to be leader can also be sexy. It was very subtle and perhaps not intended but certainly did no harm. I wonder how many French men and women dream of being dominated by a sexy powerful woman. It always seemed to be some sort of fetish the English Conservatives had but I didn't figure on the French having it too. [NO she who on my blog will remain nameless was not even close to feminine, never mind anything else].

I think Ségolène painted a new way. I think she communicated responsible socialism. She is bringing a new set of rules to change 'Rip OFF' France. I am intrigued as to how many votes she has gained tonight as I don't think she lost any, that's for sure. How she is going to impose her rules I cannot imagine.

Last night Sarko refused to answer what he thought her strong and weak points were. Tonight she answered the same questions about him. His strong point? He Knows Everything. And his weak point? He knows everything. He always has an answer for everything'

I don't comment on his style as he wore a suit and tie and as usual looks like a guy at a bar looking for a game of poker. How he managed to learn to ride a white horse for this election is beyond me.

I don't know who will win this election. I feel it's the most important in France for decades. I know I am more attracted to Ségolène's way working. I doubt it would be given a chance. I think a lot of what she said is already in vogue in other EU countries. This is France. They don't like change. They don't mind short men with power complexes. If she does win, it will be by a percent or two. If Sarkozy wins I think he will do it outright. I will keep you posted.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A Sort of Explanation.

Okay so you don't know so here goes. France is a founding member of the European Community.
I come from Ireland one of the countries that has benefited most from the EU.
France has an awkward history which it still refuses to deal with in relation to two key areas. The first being the WW2 and the second it's colonial past. Let me just say now, of course I have to generalise how else do you explain the reaction of a nation of over 50 million people. Both of these histories have left indelible marks on the French psyche. In particular in relation to the type of politics practised and of course identity.

The election last week was the first round of a two part race. Two people are elected to the second round and then 2 weeks later it is a straight run off.

There were 4 principal candidates in the first round. Jean-Marie Le Pen who is the Leader of the National Front ( so far Politically right it's unbalanced in my view). Francois Bayrou and politically ex right wing and now centrist leader. Segolene Royale from the Socialists and Nicolas Sarkozy from the center right UMP.

Sarkozy and Royale won the first round. It was expected Bayrou, who came third with 18% or 7 million people, would tell his followers to vote one way or another because of the result. Bayerou has instead challenged the finalists to a debate and refused to say how he will vote in the next round as they are both bad for France.

Royale immediately said ' Yes next Friday in front of the press' and Sarko has just said on TV basically 'What is the point?'
His view is, he in the final, and the third placed team can go home.( this is a mix of his word and my phrasing). What is the point of debating with someone who has lost?

The problems the French are facing are enormous.
Unemployment is extremely high. Immigration from former colonies is very high and many people are here illegally. The paradox is they come to work. The truth is they get it as they will do jobs the white French don't dare.

Youth unemployment in France is among the worst in western Europe, at around 20 per cent but hovering around 40 per cent on some housing projects. These are the people Sarkozy referred to as scum as they burned their neighbourhoods and their neighbours property in protest early last year. Not I might add, Rabble, no indeed the word used was Scum.

Social welfare is among the highest in Europe. Since I have been here paying taxes I have had my teeth done, and have had various visits to the doctor and got new spectacles. I am estimating I paid about 30% of the overall cost.

There are a huge number of civil servants and as to what they do I don't know. I have often been asked by those dealing with me if Ireland was a member of the EU. I even had one sympathise with me as I was a refugee from the war...............? (that's another story).


I have seen people here go sick from work for strange maladies. They are depressed, go to the doctor get free happy pills and can't work anymore. They stay on full salary until such time as the company decide to fire them. This can take years. If they get fired they get full salary for nearly a year and sometimes the cost of firing them can be prohibitive.
There are more pharmacies in Nice than Bars in Dublin but their produce unlike the bars of Dublin is heavily subsidised. It is in my opinion a hypochrondriac society.

I have seen many people in the work place who do the bare minimum, and then gripe about the boss. Ingenuity and spontaneity are not welcomed rather they are frowned on as they correct piece of paper has not been circulated. Some people spend the first half hour of they day logging what they had done the previous day. that's a half a day a week, writing up what you did for the week rather than actually doing it.

The French are ingenious no doubt, but get them together and they get bogged down in the rules and regulations and these become far more important than anything else.

When Sarkozy talks I see a man who is extremely polite yet opinionated. Intelligent and power hungry. It's not a good mix for me. He has come out with some bushisms if you will but of a very serious nature. Google him and read more than one view if you want. Basically he believes in genetic determinism and that is a thought that in my mind should be left back in WW2.


Royale wants to increase the minimum wage. It costs an American company about 3 times as much to employ a French person as it is does an American if I remember my figures from an article about Wall Mart in Newsweek or some such magazine. The problem is the French employee earns about half of what the U.S employee earns.

Are you following me yet. Sarkozy is a Blairite/Thatcherite who will impose an FFI minister. French Identity and Immigration. To teach the immigrants who and what the French are and how France works? Is this fascist or just sensible?

This is the man many will say can get the job done, can pull the number 5 World Power out of it's decades of malaise and basically give it the kick up the backside it needs.

Both of these candidates have talked about National Identity. One talks about working for France leading France and how great France is. The other talks about putting France to work, the people,the unemployed.

I see the logic of giving up all the social stuff, France cannot pay the pensions of the people in it's care. In 20 years time there may well be a geriatric revolution with zimmer frames. But in Truth this Son of an Immigrant Sarkozy scares me while the rest of France frustrates me.

I am afraid my politics is more left than right. More social than capitalist but I damn well understand commerce, and the fact that the world we live in eats, breaths, pisses, and shits profit and loss. That is the reality.

As I have already mentioned Madame Royale may be formidable politically, face to face with someone, but in front of a crowd or camera or a microphone she dissappears into a stilting stone face stepford wife. Sarkozy is like Rumplestillskin in the corner rubbing his hands. He knows only two well she cannot spin all that straw into gold. While he will most likely sell the straw, kill the farm animals, knock down the house and build a supermarket, if you allow the analogy to go so far.
What will the future bring?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The French Elections

I am back. I cannot help it. Firstly apologies to those who posted comments and they were never displayed. I missed the whole thing about the new blogger being away for so long. Yes the elections happened today. If anyone is reading and anyone cares, I gaurantee that the next president of the Republic of France will be Mr Sarkozy. This is the man who said that sex abusers are what they are because of a genetic inheritance. This is the man who wants to establish and committee to define what it means to be French. So if you are Magrebian or non French you can forget ever getting to make a great life here. The new France will in no uncertain terms let you know your faults and be sure that you remember that you are not from here, while you are still paying your taxes.
Royale the left wing opposition, is an elegant woman who cannot speak in public. She cannot smile that she has been elected to the second round. The manner in which she halting delivered her speech of joy tonight was frightening. It was ineptitude on a major scale.
We still do not know what she wants to do as President. It took her about 3 pauses in one phrase to tell us how delighted she was, that France had changed it's political habits with the greatest voter turn out in decades. She should have been jumping for joy but she was calm, staid, silent even for the first 20 seconds. In air time 20 seconds is a long time. The lights went out and she wasn't perturbed neither could she think of something witty to say. What is it with these people who advise her. The speech was slow and stilting and did more to convince people she is incapable on a world stage that anything else. I am sure somewhere she has some good notions, but she doesn't portray it. In the end the French goverment policy of the future will come down to who gets their message across first and who does it best. Madame Royale, you were second tonight and will be for the forseeable future. For which now, I fear greatly.

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