Sunday, April 10, 2005

R.I.P. John Paul II

First of all I would like to convey my deepest condolences to the Christian World in general and Catholics in particular. This post is not meant to be offensive but only to foster constructive comments if possible.

We Arabs love to talk politics and world events, and nowadays you can't help escaping that, so usually in a conversation with my friends and peers of all faiths and colours whatever their interests they know me so well now that we end up with a lecture on the Middle-East from me ( yes I bore them to death :) ) , and other issues.
So to get back to the story , we were comfortably sipping our cappucinos, teas and various hot or cold drinks when I was in London last time, and the Pope was brought into the discussion. My immediate input was that the Pope and Prince Rainier of Monaco were going to die soon and probably postpone Charles-Camilla wedding and I joked (I know.. I know poor taste) that they might feel that this would be a bad omen. Little did I know how imminent was his death and how almost true my prediction would come. However, the media had recently started to cover the Pope's increasing poor health ( more than usual and in addition to his Parkinsonism etc..) and his subsequent hospitalisation started to surface last month. Then following his brief appearances whereby he obviously looked unwell, that's when I realised he was probably dying. The confirmation of this came when the speakers from the Vatican started giving statements about his health which were not really enlightening. For me this meant he was dead and they were just ordering the house before informing the world. The Vatican is a very powerful organisation, but that is not the subject of this post.
Back in February when I read this piece of news , about the death of the last witness at Fatima it occured to me that she was the last one to protect the Pope's life on this earth. Kind of a thread, don't ask me why (metaphysical bullshit you may call it), that's what I felt then, because her visions of the Virgin Mary simulatneously with the two other children family members in 1917 allegedly being prophetic in nature and the third secret of Fatima was purported to refer to the Pope's assasinatin attempt in 1981. So when she died, the thread was broken.

Though we have been taught not to speak ill of the death, it would be unfair to say that Pope John Paull II was perfect, he was human after all and humans make mistake despite his mea culpas, the following criticsims are addressed at him, especially that of destroying thousands of lives to AIDS because of his views re. condoms being a sin.

Honestly I think Pope John Paul II had a lot of good ideas and made many excellent moves throughout his papacy especially his efforts to bridge religious divides, and apologies on several occasions. He was definetely charismatic, and his travels to the Middle-East and the land of the Bible will be remembered by all of us; check the tributes to the Pope here : "From God we come and to him we return. Even though I am a Muslim .." .
The Arab bloggers have also NOT been silent here are some links : The Damascene Blog, Speaker's Corner from whom I learned that there a total of seven popes from Syria (hat tip Dina) , Long nights of a lost knight , the Egyptian Eye (in French), Schlonkom Bakazay, and a long list of others , but you can follow the links on the these various Arab blogs and they would lead you not only to Iraqi blogs ( I know they are extremely popular), but also, to Tunisian, Moroccan, Sudanese, Syrian, Yemeni and lots more.
My favourite on the subject of todays post -which if you remember is the late John Paul II, is on a very interesting blog - discovered by chance whilst browsing MaGdee's blog ( I have plenty of free time on my hands it seems ;) ). Mohamed of From Cairo with Love, has given a space to Twosret , a dedicated commentator on many Arab/Egyptian blogs ( yes you want her on your side as Magdee once said), to voice her opinion and advice on Arab PR handling ( thanks for a brave article to both of them) . I won't tell you more go read it yourself!

In conclusion the Arab media has covered the Pontiff's funeral extensively even here in Libya where the only Chritians population consists of foreign guests and visitors. Whatever John Paul's legacy is, it was impossible not to shed a tear watching all those pilgrims in Rome during the past week to finally reach his resting abode at St. Peter's Crypt .


AlanK said...

Well I dont see how that post could be offensive, seemed perfectly ok to me

Yes it is a shame he has died hopefully next pope will be just as good

Well maybe will end up with female pope but that is unlikely but did happen once in middle ages was fun to see how they found out, try link below

Highlander said...

Thanks Alan for the link I had heard about Pope Joan some years back through my readings but I had never found a concrete reference to it ... good link :)