mercredi 30 décembre 2015



Most people in the west are now aware of the Yogic Breathing, Pranayama, which is used for relaxation as well as treatment for some of the ailments. It forms a fundamental part of the Yogic Breathing practice.
The first person to teach me the fundamentals of Yogic Breathing was Vandana Yadav, who had worked as a Flight Attendant for Singapore Airlines and who suffered for years with Asthma. On leaving Singapore airlines and taking up Yoga as a full time practitioner she was able to throw away her nebulizers and bronchodilators.
That story came to my mind when I was told that Yves Berthou, one of the leading proponents of the Breton traditional instrument, Bombarde, had suffered from Asthma as a young man and once he took up playing Bombarde on arrival in Brittany from Lille where he had been born, the Asthma did disappear as he had to train his breathing to play this rather difficult double reed wind instrument.

In medical school they had taught us that professional trumpet players do develop Emphysema which is ballooning of the saccules that exchange air in the lung as they loose their elasticity. There is some controversy to this, first it was thought it was blowing against the pressure and then it was thought that it was due to the contaminants in the air that caused the inflammation. The generally accepted wisdom now is that wind/brass instruments do not cause Emphysema. It is curious that it had been observed in 1874 but the myth persisted over the next 130 years!
Annual reports on diseases of the chest, Volume 1
By Horace Dobell and it was written in .......1875.

After a small gauge had been inserted into the mouth at one of its angles various wind instruments were tried trained performers only being used for the purposes of experiment and the pressure exerted being only just sufficient for the production of an average orchestral tone The greatest difference between the highest and lowest note was found in the clarionet these requiring fifteen and eight inches of pressure respectively It was noted that the force required was in general small not exceeding or indeed attaining the pressure of a fit of sneezing or of coughing and it was therefore concluded that wind instruments are very unlikely to injure the lungs or to produce the emphysema erroneously attributed to them. London Med Eec Oct 7 1874
There is no doubt that Pranayama can cure or alleviate asthma and related conditions.
Int J Yoga. 2009 Jan-Jun; 2(1): 22–25.
doi:  10.4103/0973-6131.53838
PMCID: PMC3017963
The effect of various breathing exercises (pranayama) in patients with bronchial asthma of mild to moderate severity
Tarun Saxena and Manjari Saxena
Deep breathing (deep inspiration and deep expiration): subjects sit in sukhasana and perform deep inspiration and expiration through both nostrils.
Sasankasana breathing: subjects sit in vajrasana with their hands back, holding the right wrist with the left arm, with inhalation the person bends backward and with exhalation bends forward touching his/her forehead to the ground.
Anuloma viloma: common breathing practice, in which subjects breathe through alternate nostrils while sitting in sukhasana.
Bhramari chanting: sitting in sukhasana subjects inhale through both nostrils and while exhaling produce sound of female humming bee.
Omkara (modified): commonly used for meditation, but not included in regular breathing exercises, is an important exhalation exercise. Changes to this exercise, keeping in mind the asthmatic expiratory difficulty with air trapping, were made so as to strengthen expiration. Patients were advised to sit in sukhasana and to inhale deeply and then while exhaling produce Omkara with maximum force and to continue until further exhalation is not possible.
During conventional Omkara, Omkara is pronounced as ooooo…mmm, but patients were advised to practice OOOOOOOOO…MMM (high pitch/forceful) with prolonged exhalation.

First three breathing practices were to normalize the breathing, while Bhramari and Omkara are expiratory exercises.

Who is Yves Berthou and what is the instrument he plays?
Yves Berthou is a well-known Breton traditional musician who just celebrated his 50 years of playing the Bombard. He is a familiar figure at the various Fest Noz, the traditional Breton music and dance get together in the many scattered, isolated villages of Brittany. He has also represented France as its cultural representative in various international musical encounters including China, Scotland, Lebanon and Algeria.
(photo from archives showing a breton talabarder playing the Bombard)
The bombard (Breton: talabard, ar vombard, French: bombarde) is a contemporary conical-bore double-reed instrument widely used to play traditional Breton music. The bombard is a woodwind instrument, and a member of the shawm family. Like most shawms, it has a broad and very powerful sound, vaguely resembling a trumpet.
Bombards in their most traditional setting are accompanied by a bagpipe called a biniou kozh ("ancient bagpipe"), which plays an octave above the bombard. The bombard calls, and the biniou responds. The bombard requires so much lip pressure and breath support that a talabarder can rarely play a sustained melody line. The biniou plays the melody continuously, while the bombard takes breaks, establishing the call-and-response pattern. Prior to World War I, a given pair of Soners would typically cover all of the weddings, funerals, and other social occasions within a given territory, which would be jealously guarded from other performers. This duet of bombard and pipes, also occasionally accompanied by a drummer in past centuries, has been practiced for at least 500 years in Brittany in an unbroken tradition and must be considered the heart and soul of this instrument's place in Breton culture. (From Wikipedia)
From my limited understanding and watching the bombard being played by large number of people over the course of hours, there seems to be a larger expiratory effort, much as seen in Pranayama.
Scientific studies do show that instruments that require greater respiratory efforts, such as the double reed instruments, have beneficial effects on the health of the player (such as lower rates of Sleep Apnoea)
Keeping the scientific facts away, it is so wonderful to be immersed in the ambience of Fest Noz still practiced in Brittany after centuries, the repeated coupled instruments or voices of the players and the trance atmosphere. So both the player and the listener benefits. It is relaxing for all. I also noticed that the bombard players were on stage only for three songs at a time, and most of the couples performed only once during the night
              (all night the music plays and there is breton traditional dancing, the steps varying with the region of Brittany from where the music came from)

The idea to write this blog came to me, after meeting Yves Berthou at a Fest Noz in Poullaouen deep in the heart of Brittany.
My informant who had known him for over 50 years told me that Yves had suffered from Asthma as an adolescent and it disappeared when he took up Bombard on discovering his ancestral music from Brittany.
He was also intrigued by the similar sounds in the countries he had visited. Since we now know that the ancient people of the European continent, among whom Bretons can be counted, originated in the Middle East perhaps even further east.
(a sacred double reed instrument from South India)
This has piqued my interest in the history of the Breton people and the peopling of the European continent. Certainly there has been a southern and northern movement of people in or around 10 000 BCE, originating in the Middle East taking the southern route across the continent to the British Isles, the northern routes taking in the middle European and northern European countries.

dimanche 20 décembre 2015


The diplomatic relationship between Cuba and USA are getting better by the day and the majority of the Cubans are happy with this outcome. This thaw also has created a new generation of entrepreneurs and alleviates the obsession for the American Dream. In fact a TSA agent friend of mine in MIami tells me of the owner of 20 odd beauty salons in Havana who makes fortnightly visits to Miami to do his shopping.
Things will change and rather than emphasizing on words like free election, oppression in Cuba we also have to talk about the Injustice directly and indirectly to the migrants to the USA by the preferential treatment of the illegal Cuban migrants (who pay a lot of money to get here, this human trafficking is engineered in Miami, USA and not in Cuba). Also it is unfair that similarly economically "oppressed" illegal migrants such as those from Central America or the Caribbean do not get similar handouts. (If you are an American please check out the bounty dolled out by your government to these illegal Cuban migrants! parents of both Rubio and Cruz were economic migrants from Cuba, not "political refugees"! who arrived here long before Fidel came to power)
So why not take a minute away from the 1600 doctors who betrayed their medical missions in Latin America, mainly in Venezuela (where there are 25 000 cuban doctors), talk about the 69 000 Cuban medical professionals serving in 69 countries around the world, some of which many people have never heard of : Tuvalu, Solomon Island, TimorLeste, Bhutan..
Also there are already 14500 Cuban doctors in Brasil, do you hear anyone deserting their post there? What about the 300 Cuban professionals who staff the Cuban Hospital in Doha, Qatar? Do they leave their mission posts and apply for asylum?
The injustice is the wet foot/dry foot law and also the Cuban Medical Doctors Bill (signed by none other than George W Bush).  Already Cuba receives a large number of immigration slots for this continent. If you allow the same privilege to Jamaicans and Haitians, they too will tell of the "oppression", "lack of freedom" etc.
Which country (Cuba is a poor country and not a rich country) educates 20 000 medical doctors from the poor countries and the largest number of indigenous people studying Medicine in the world is in Cuba: all on scholarship and they go back to their countries to serve their people. Why doesn't Wall street Journal or New York Times interview the Ticuna Indian doctor who has graduated from Cuba and now plies the part of Amazon providing health care to his people who have always lived there, until now neglected by successive Brazilian governments, till the Cuban doctors arrived to provide immunizations, maternal care.
3 per cent of the population who has betrayed their humanitarian mission ( I would not want any of those looking after me or my friends) is given prominence, and the 97 per cent toiling for the welfare of the humanity from Bangui to Bolivia are not even mentioned. 
Ask anyone in Easter Island, the next time you are there, what has the Cuban Government done for them? They will tell you about decreased infant mortality among other miracles and also point out the eight Rapa Nui graduates of Cuban medical schools!
Please dont judge Cuba and its Medical System harshly by the doctors and dentists who betray their humanitarian mission to live their american dream!
In the article published on 20 Dec 2015 in New York Time, the divine punishment for these people who betrayed their humanitarian mission is given: they told the story of the doctor who lives in Paterson NJ dreaming about his island and his family, working at a minimum wage job in a strip mall.
I am sure the quality of his life was much better, whether he was on a mission in Venezuela or in his village in Cuba, even though he may not have had Nike Shoes!

jeudi 17 décembre 2015


The greatest victory of the accord of 17 dec 2014 between Obama and Castro, USA and Cuba is that Americans have flocked to the country in their thousands and seen the reality and not fallen for the unrelenting propaganda of the Miami Cubans and their press peons about harsh conditions, political oppression etc.
My american friends who have visited the island have uniformly fallen in love with the Island.
More great news, USA and Cuba announced today that up to 100 flights daily might be authorized!
Throughout the country, even in smaller towns, an area or streets have been designated for WI FI access. Along the Rampa in Havana it is not unusual to see a thousand people accessing the Internet with phones, tablets or laptops! There are apps to be downloaded such as IMO with which the Cubans can videotalk to their loved ones abroad, anywhere in the world!
The entrepreneurial spirit of the Cubans is something to marvel at. Twenty somethings like those above, own this patisserie, where under air conditioned comfort one can indulge in all sorts of cafe and cakes and salads!
Cakes and Coffee at La Arca de Noe at La Rampa and D , you can check them out at Tripadvisor!
The body oriented culture of Cuba is so wonderful to watch. These students as can be seen are fit as fiddles, no overweight or obesity among them! Their unashamed embrace of the physical pleasures is something some of the richer countries could follow!
The young and the restless gather to exchange notes about 
technology, Internet, websites, ways to download music and videos (a flourishing market for pirated tech exists)

With such innovation and enthusiasm, along with the fundamentals of a society that is egalitarian and helpful to one another, I have no fear for the future of Cuba..
It is as bright as a Cuban  Day....

lundi 14 décembre 2015


Little Mr  D whom I met for the first time, is the son of Mitexi, my niece in the UmonHon Tradition. Olympia, the capital of the State of Washington is not a place for a family encounter of this sort, but that is where I could meet this Buffalo Clan member! Time was too short, so we briefly reminisced about other times in the UmonHon reservation as well as the time she went to Cambodia as a budding Occupational therapist to help the Cambodian Diabetes Association.

When I met his grandmother at the Indian village of Walthill, she reminded me that while the Buffalo Clan is his heritage from the UmonHon tribe, his father is a Yurok, belonging to the Eagle Clan, to which he would belong!


Some criminals are switching from cocaine trafficking to prescription-drug fraud because the risk-adjusted rewards are higher: the money is still good, the work safer and the penalties lighter. Medicare gumshoes in Florida regularly find stockpiles of weapons when making arrests. The gangs are often bound by ethnic ties: Russians in New York, Cubans in Miami, Nigerians in Houston and so on.
I remember reading this in 2014, Miami becoming a capital of "legal" defrauding of the Government if such an anomaly existed.
I was at the Blue House among the UmonHon, reading the issue of JAMA Internal Medicine which had arrived (Dec 2015 volume 175  number 12, pages 1955-1959

Being an Anthropologist, news items with cultural overlays hold interest to me. The article I am reading is titled
Physicians and Insider trading
What interested me was not whether or not Insider trading happened among Doctors , that would like asking how many of the Professors speaking at International Diabetes Federation congresses have received large amounts of money to promote drugs. We know it happens. We don't pay any attention to the talks but at times eat the delicious food provided and sneak away!
It is only natural for an anthropologist to be aware of a persons culture, nationality, origin and education in a country such as USA where there is a very large percentage of immigrant population.
What struck me was that most of these insider trading and some worth millions were done by doctors from India or of Indian origin.
People in India like to boast how well their emigrants to USA have done but they never talk about the similar number of people indicted for fraud of one sort or another.
An average reader may not make a connection between India and these insider trading (they are good at software arent they?) but an anthropologist would, by looking at their name and by googling where thy were educated.
Cubans are a very innovative people and some of these innovations have crossed the line of legality when they arrive in the USA. The innovative spirit is what makes them thrive, most of them legally as is the case of Indian migrants, but sometimes this instinct is overcome by greed. 
From Bloomberg News
Health care has become America’s sweet spot for insider traders like Skowron. Among researchers, physicians, government officials and corporate executives, the lure of easy money in health-care insider trading has become epidemic. Since 2008, about 400 people were sued by regulators or charged with insider trading; of those, at least 94 passed or received tips involving pharmaceutical, biotechnology or other health-care stocks.
So something shifts these doctors, almost all of them immigrants, almost all of them in private practice, to stray into the realm of the third world mentality, Let me see if I can get away with it.
Neither India nor Cuba is to be blamed but the frailty of these human beings who saw an opportunity which was not quite legal. There was a connection which was little elaborated. while most of the immigrants tend to be Democrats in their political leanings, many of these indicted were Republicans, including one who raised millions of dollars for both brothers Bush!  Something to think about... all these nebulous connections.
It is the very same republicans who are avowing to keep the immigrants like those contributed millions to their reelections away from the American Shore!
Greed is your nationality here, not the colour of your skin, your singsong accent or the language of Cervantes that you speak..
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcoming the first of the 25000 syrian refugees flown at his Governments expense to Canada.
Think of the humanitarian gulf between him and similarly aged American Cubans vying for Presidency of the United States!
May Allah save the ordinary people from them..

jeudi 10 décembre 2015


There is a shortage of Primary Care Providers so the burden has been shared with not so well prepared Doctor’s Assistant and Nurse Practitioners. Unfortunately both of these para professionals, they are called mid-level for a reason, are modelled after the broken metaphor of a dominant male biomedical model of Disease care.
Biomedicine has deviated so far away from the social aspects of the suffering of the patients that these mid-level professionals have become much like car mechanics. Attending to the problem, but with the added prejudices of objectification and depersonalization as if the body is a machine and that no one actually lives in it.
I had one such experience today at a hospital and ER clinic catering for a poor community of American Indians in a remote part of USA.
Mr. E had come to see me, I have known him for a while. He has type 2 Diabetes but his life is complicated by the fact that he is at the end of a failed surgery for his back and is in constant pain and in fear of a second surgery. He had gone to the dentist the day before and had one of his molars pulled out, adding to his pain and discomfort.
When I saw him this morning, his Blood sugar was elevated and clinically I could determine that he was a little dehydrated. I sent him to the ER attached to the clinic where I consult, requesting that he be given one litre of fluids with some insulin.
When the drive through (temporary) mid-level saw him, he began accusing the patient of not taking his insulin and began victimizing him.
This poor man, in his sixties had gone to get some relief but was being abused by someone who had no knowledge of his social circumstances and the medical history of what was taking place except the fact that he had high blood sugar.
He looks at the paper, the end product but does not have the intelligence to look at what has made that blood sugar high. It was a very unpleasant experience for the patient who does not wish to see the drive through temporary mid-level provider again.
They are very bad copies of the bio medically oriented medical doctors
It reminded me of what that wonderful poet of the beat generation of Americans had written
You’re just a copy
Of all the candy bars
I've ever eaten.
Richard Brautigan
This is yet another form of colonialism, continuing from an earlier sort, but with the same dire consequences.

My Meskwaki teacher had taught me
Each patient must be treated with respect, regardless of age and how they are dressed. If you respect them and love them a little you will never go wrong
This has been my motto during all these years of working with Indians of USA
Let them leave the consulting rooms happier than they came in and we must do everything to meet that objective.

“I learned a long time ago that I can't control the challenges the creator sends my way, but I can control the way I think about them and deal with them” 
― Wilma Mankiller, Ex-Chief of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma 

Lessons for Health Care Providers
Try to have a relationship with the patient. Learn a little bit about him.
As Dalai Lama has said: if you want to make another person happy, be compassionate.
To be truly compassionate, you need to walk in their moccasins, you must feel something for what they are going through, you must cultivate empathy.
Empathy is respectful and soothing

I am so fortunate to work with MS, who is probably the best Diabetes Nurse Educator in the world, with compassion towards all and assertion of how to achieve a better health status for them.

dimanche 6 décembre 2015


For a person who was not fortunate enough to spend a lot of time with those related by blood to me, I have been extraordinarily grateful for the many members of my family all over the world: mainly in the USA CUBA and among the INDIANS of USA..
I have two sisters, one lives in Miami, an English lady, brought up in Jamaica, married to a Jamaican of Syrian/Cuban ancestry.
The other sister is an Omaha, an Indian tribe located in Nebraska, USA. Her grandmother was one of the first Omaha to be educated in the American system and had written a book on the life of the Indian during her time, (I have a copy of this book)
In Cuba friendships are so strong that it is altogether in another level. So I coined the term Sister Friend, that is more than a friend and much like a sister but not able to share the geography. 
In the USA, I can count on two wonderful caring nurses, both of whom work with Indians, as my sister friends. DBSG works with Yakama Indians and MS works with HoCank Indians.
I try my best to be with Dar at least once a year and in the past we had shared a nice medical humanitarian trip to Cambodia with a stop over in Malaysia.
When I told her that I would be in Vancouver and that I would like to see her, she managed to get a four day weekend and promised to pick me up at the Seattle International Airport. I did not know where we were going, she just told me that we are going to the wild coast of the Washington State, an area that I had never visited. 
She had made all the arrangements, in a small town called Westport, where she had spent her childhood summer holidays. She also introduced me to a pair of innovative artistic humanistic level headed couples who had retreated from the competitive and destructive nature of the American workplace.
I did not mind the rain, the winds that lash at this coast, but the evergreens stood as guardians of this earth, we had enough to eat, we could buy coffee and wine and there was always something to talk about.

I explained to her Lea's Law of Mindfulness
My sisters, my close friends in Cuba (LL AA MM BF CG AL JP YC and my Cuban mother as well as my colleagues, esp RMLG), my sister friends are always in my consciousness, they are not memories.
Memories can be forgotten but if a person is present in your consciousness, they don't disappear, and you don't long for them, but look forward to the next reunion.
I wont say goodbye to my sister friend D, but wish to express my gratitude for this weekend of humility and learning, to know that wild coasts are not dangerous if you approach them properly, and will Hasta Luego  See You Later  Ate Logo A bientot


Westport, Washington: A report from what used to be the Salmon Capital of the World

Going towards the Pacific coast, skirting the Puget Sound, once you pass an indistinct town of Aberdeen, the atmosphere and the evergreen trees remind you that you are in for a time travel treat. You are headed towards Grays Harbour Area, discovered by a certain Capt. Gray in the early 1700s. Of course Indians had always lived here.
Səʔ notsʔ Tí.
Our tribe was formed in 1866 incorporating members of Lower Chehalis, Shoalwater Bay and Chinookan people. As a small but strong tribe, we strive to keep our language, culture and economic health active and viable. While very connected to our past, Shoalwater Bay tribal members work to expand our influence and increase awareness of our tribal culture while improving our health and way of life.
This part of Willapa Bay has sustained our ancestors since the beginning. It continues to sustain our people and enables us to reach out to the greater community. Throughout this area, visitors, travelers and residents receive the benefit of the vision, infrastructure and development directed and managed by the Shoalwater Bay Tribe.
You’re Welcome. Hiyu maśi (many thanks). (From the tribe’s website)

If you look at the map, you can see why this sense of exhilarated isolation sets in. If you had taken the north road, you would have ended up in the modern, all facilities available, no comfort spared, community of Ocean Shores.
But you have left Aberdeen and its non-descript façade and driven south, into a sparseness, which has cultivated the men who live here, given them strength, sturdy fisherman, people who made this region their home, windswept and tsunami prone, giving them an unique character. The people who live here, who have always lived here or moved here in recent years, rejecting the comfort levels of the capitalist coercion, are uniformly friendly.
As a foreigner, but a person with a fondness for USA, I can say this: I was charmed by the Americana of the city, which has remained unchanged from its 1950s architecture, with the kinds of businesses which are simple and straightforward that honest people do, to pass time and to say hello to others but not with the intention of accumulating wealth, which may not be a possibility in this sparsely populated region. It used to be called the Salmon Capital of the World, that is long gone, but since the 1960s it seems that they have become experts at Crab (it can’t be crab fishing or crab catching, there must an English word for it, crab pots are lowered down to the sea and the crabs enticed into it for their last supper, crab fishing I am told if you go on a boat, crabbing if you do it manually on the beach?)
The town is neither prosperous nor poor, there is a tranquility about it. One thing for sure, it is not pretentious, as defined by its people who are not pretentious.
I had been crisscrossing the continents in the month prior, so my good sister friend wanted me to enjoy the tranquility of this lovely village. Because of the currents the temperature is about 5 degrees higher and the wind and the spumes are bearable under coats and jackets.

More importantly, I had the pleasure of meeting some genuine people. They are trying to leave as little carbon foot print as possible on this earth. They are young people who had left the hectic life of the cities and wanted to live in harmony with nature and build a community of likeminded people, while indulging in their artistic sides.
For me, in a way, in this little village of an Americana that had not been paved upon by concrete, these people were also reminiscent of the times of American Innocence and adventure and at the same time, the American hospitality and generosity of time and efforts and solidarity with the neighbours and friends and visitors. I wish them well and they seemed to be in balance in mind and body. Only when you are not balanced in the mind that you are afraid of the Other, fear of the future and seek security in goods and things known to you.

For me this visit to Westport, Grayland, North Cove, Tokeland (and the Indian reservation of Shoalwater Bay) has had the effect of reinforcing my eternal optimistic attitude about human beings and their good nature and that we can accept each other, love each other, respect each other and allow us our own space and time, while sharing what you have, including the happiness generated by living in such an ambience.

vendredi 4 décembre 2015


I am writing this in a hotel room in Westport in the State of Washington in the USA. I can hear the ocean in the distance and i can see it through the hotel window.
Yesterday I was at the Intenational Conference on Diabetes, and had made a slew of new friends.. and had the satisfaction that our philosophy in the remote corners of Nebraska with HoCank and Omaha Indian nations had resonated with the indigenous people asking for change in the management of their own health.
I met the Panamanian delegate who said, you are so cuban that is why you are so different from your friend DAG. I said, he chose the capitalist route and has big house in Paitilla in Panama City and I took the socialist route to help people in various parts of the world, but I have to tell you, I am very happy and have a diverse life.
Last week, I had given a talk to a large group of enthusiastic Cuban doctors on a topic of medical anthropological interest which was well received.
The week before traveling in the chilly weather in a clinic bus to remote parts of Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. A week of work with the Omaha Indian friends. Nowhere did I feel stressed, everyone treated me well, most of the work I did had nothing to do with the western medicine, but mostly applied forms of medical anthropology.
Since all of us are looking at what makes the health of our patients better, our own individual welfare and income takes a back seat. In the poor community of UmonHon Indians, the enthusiastic nurse was able to arrange a few to have continuous glucose monitoring and pump therapy for the 7 who need them. It is a luxury not even the rich white americans can afford because we do not have to commercialize something as good as continuous glucose monitoring.
I am looking forward to complete relaxation over this weekend, in this very isolated spot in Olympic Peninsula. A good sister friend is with me and we are planning various humanitarian programmes in the years to come.
Few more days with the Indians, eating well and being fed well, and it is time to take the Qatar Airways flight, in an indirect fashion, to Europe and the village by the sea in Brittany..
You need only a few friends, and a thousand acquaintances will not do..

mardi 17 novembre 2015


I am touched by the solidarity Solidarite shown by people all around the world for France and its people and also for Jewish People at this very difficult time.
I am in a remote part of South Dakota, conducting a health project for the adolescents of the Lakota tribe. I was touched that so many people came up to me, voicing concern, for my little family in Bruxelles. They remember my connection with Paris, when I used to live there.
Letters have poured in from my dearest friends in Cuba, each more eloquent than the other, condemning this inhuman act against the innocent French and Other people on French Soil. I am also very pleased with the solidarity shown to the French all around the world. 
This has united the world against an EVIL. After the mourning we will have time to reflect about the roots of this problem. Diversity of cultures while inclusion, like that seen in the USA is a good example to follow. I condemn the announcement of an Australian Muslim Party, which is an example of division rather than being diverse. We are different and equal and it takes hard work, like the Chinese in Malaysia, to attain social upward movement and economic prosperity. It does not matter at all whether the Malaysian Chinese are Christian, Animist or Taoist or Buddhist. But their desire to integrate into the country of their birth, rather than following hate preachers from another culture (Salafists from Saudi Arabia) would not bring prosperity to individuals or society as a whole.
This rule is applicable to Australia as well. However conservative American Politicians on the right are, America gives an opportunity to any one and every one and Muslims cannot disrespect that opportunity by trying to be different and divisive, in their manners and dress that sets them apart.

What sort of world are we preparing for our children?
Please watch the video by Manuel Valls, the French PM who talked after the massacre of Journalists (many of them were Jewish) as well as the Jewish shoppers at a Kosher Supermarket in Paris in January 2015.

Possibly The Greatest Denunciation of Anti-Semitism Ever

As Dennis Praeger argued in his eloquent presentation at the Oxford University, the enemy of Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Iraq is NOT ISRAEL but their own people guided by a blind faith and belief in the glory of gory deaths.

samedi 14 novembre 2015


First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.

Friedrich Gustav Emil Martin Niemöller (14 January 1892 – 6 March 1984) was a Protestant pastor and social activist

mardi 27 octobre 2015



A member of the UW faculty since 1986, Cauce became interim president in March 2015, having previously served as provost and executive vice president, and the UW Board of Regents selected her to become the UW’s 33rd president at a special meeting Oct. 13, 2015.
Throughout her career, Cauce has championed access to higher education, including through the Husky Promise, which provides full tuition to eligible Washington students who otherwise could not attend college. As part of her strong belief in ensuring access to higher education for all, just one month into her role as interim president she engaged students in an honest discussion about race and equity, launching an effort to create a more just and diverse community.

The UW also views innovation as an imperative, and as part of that in June 2015 Cauce announced the launch of the Global Innovation Exchange. A partnership between the UW and Tsinghua University, with foundational support from Microsoft, GIX will educate the next generation of innovators through a project-based, globally focused curriculum available nowhere else.
Raised in Miami after emigrating with her family from Cuba, Cauce earned degrees in English and psychology from the University of Miami and a Ph.D. in psychology, with a concentration in child clinical and community psychology, from Yale University.
During the course of her career at the UW, Cauce has been appointed to various leadership positions, including director of the UW Honors Program, chair of American Ethnic Studies, chair of Psychology, executive vice provost and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. In 2011 Cauce was named provost and executive vice president, responsible for overseeing the education, research and service missions of the university’s schools, colleges and other academic units.
For her teaching, scholarship and advocacy, Cauce has received numerous awards, including the Dalmas Taylor Distinguished Contribution Award, the Luis Fernando Esteban Public Service Award, the James M. Jones Lifetime Achievement Award of the American Psychological Association, the Grace Hopper Exemplary Leadership Award and the Distinguished Contribution Award from the Society for Community Research and Action. In 1999 she was awarded the Distinguished Teaching Award, the highest honor the University of Washington gives to faculty members for their work with students in and outside the classroom.

Where Rubio stands

  • Immigration: Used to be pro-citizenship but now takes a harder line
  • Iran: Will undo nuclear deal "on day one"
  • Pro-life: Right to life "trumps virtually any other right"
  • Healthcare: Repeal Obama's signature law that extends insurance to millions
  • Climate change: No evidence that humans responsible
  • China: Promises to "get tough" about human rights
  • Gun laws: Violence is due to mental illness

The former brings GLORY to the University of Miami, the latter just INFAMY.
Any intelligent person can see the difference.. A Cuban American is not the same as an American Cuban

lundi 26 octobre 2015

The Good Polish Doctor who saved thousands of Jews and Non Jews .. via False Typhus tests

I was so touched by this article that I have decided to put the entire article without editorializing.
Brave doctor, who lived by a cyanide tablet by his side, so that he could take his life if he was caught by Gestapo, was warned by a German soldier patient that Germans planned to kill him, so he was able to escape.
Polish or German, there are good people in this world with good conscience. I am happy for all the Jews and non-Jews this good doctor and his associate saved!G

The Epidemic That Saved Lives

Typhus is a bacterial-borne disease which is transmitted by flea, tick, and mite bites. It can be fatal if untreated but, thankfully, in almost all cases antibiotics are effective. And by today's standards, it's rare; an understanding of the disease has led us to control pest populations better while emphasizing personal hygiene, limiting the ability for the bacteria to spread. But go back to World War II and that wasn't the case. Typhus wasn't as treatable and less sanitary conditions led to more epidemics. To keep the disease from spreading throughout military units, Nazi Germany policy required that soldiers avoid those afflicted.

And because of this, thousands of Jewish lives were able to be saved -- with the help of a little medical misdirection.

The German typhus-prevention protocols were, as one would expect from such a regime, draconian when it came to Jews who had the disease --  Jewish patients were executed and their homes burned. But non-Jews were treated somewhat humanely -- they were quarantined until such time that the disease passed. And when it came to typhus control, pragmatism triumphed. If an area had a large enough population of non-Jews with typhus, the Germans would quarantine the entire community, even if there was a significant Jewish population in the area. 

It's that latter fact that Eugene Lazowski, a Polish doctor (pictured above), exploited. The test for typhus was pretty simple. If the person had the disease, his or her blood would have antibodies which the immune system produced to fight off the infection, even though that battle was often a losing one. And as it turned out, those antibodies did not just react with the typhus-causing bacteria. They also reacted with a strain of the Proteus bacteria called OX-19, which can be rendered harmless to people. To test for typhus, a sample of a person's blood was mixed with a strain of Proteus OX-19, according to Atlas Obscura. If the mixture became cloudy, the patient had typhus antibodies and, therefore, typhus.  

That's where Lazowski came in. Lazowski served in the resistance for much of World War II and provided medical services in his village, Rozwadów. He collected blood samples from people in the area -- Jews and non-Jews, Poles and Germans -- and sent them to the Germans for review. Lazowski realized that these blood samples could be used to protect thousands of Jews from concentration camps. If the Germans detected typhus among the non-Jews, Lazowski surmised, the Nazis would quarantine the area and, as a result, leave the Jews there alone. The only problem: to do that, you actually had to spread typhus.

Until Lazowski found a work-around. 

It turns out that by injecting people with the dead Proteus OX-19 bacteria strain, one could fool the test. The body would produce antibodies similar to the ones caused by a typhus infection, and therefore result in a positive test when the person's blood was tested -- despite the fact that the person wasn't ill. And injecting people with Proteus OX-19 was easier than one would thing, at least for Lazowski. Because Lazowski was a doctor in the area, many laborers who passed through Rozwadów sought treatment from him. He injected them with the harmless Proteus strain and eventually, the Germans drew an inescapable conclusion: Rozwadów was a hotbed for typhus (even though it wasn't). The area was off-limits for Nazi operatives, which meant that the Jews in the area were relatively safe. 

Lazowski was able to "infect" enough people in and around a dozen different Jewish ghettos to save the lives of an estimated 8,000 people, according to a publication by the American Medical Association. He may have been able to save more but the Germans ultimately grew wise to his scheme, and he had to flee Rozwadów. He made his way to Warsaw and then, after the war, moved to the United States. He passed away in 2006.

mardi 20 octobre 2015


History repeats itself
From Trudeau to Trudeau
One calculates time with changes in environment that influences ones thinking and changes its direction.
40 years ago Pierre Trudeau led the Liberal Party to victory in Canada
43 years later his son Justin Pierre Trudeau has done the same, to an astounding victory.

People talk about another time soon after the war, when the world had Nehru, Adenauer, Nasser, Kenyatta, Nkrumah; those bright stars took their grave their ideologies and inspiration. And of course not to forget that Giant of a Leader, Lee Kuan Yew...
Now we are left wanting for someone of that stature to come back, to enlighten people or satisfy the hunger for truth among the enlightened people. Look what is happening in Malaysia; while its neighbor has reached the Developed country status, the PM Najib is mired in corruption charges... of close to a billion dollars… welcome to the club of Mugabe of Zimbabwe and Obiang of Guinea Ecuatorial! Look at the Republican contenders for the President of USA! Where do these people live? Another planet?
We definitely need more Merkels and less Sarkozys. Hope Justin Trudeau brings honour to Canada and cleans its reputation from years of Conservative rule. There is no more Nelson Mandela, but we do have Zuma!
Everyone loved Mujica of Uruguay, Lula of Brazil... While there were many detractors Chavez was immensely popular and Fidel remains unique for his special contributions to humanity in face of such opposition from outside his country.
Perhaps the lack of dynamic and humanistic leaders that we flock to a humanist figure like the Pope Francisco, who has projected gentleness to the world.

Perhaps Justin Pierre Trudeau would follow those footsteps and march to the drummer to bring prosperity not only to Canada but also to the rest of the world he encounters.  Good Luck

vendredi 16 octobre 2015



When you are with Indigenous people, you begin to understand intuitively, myth, history, symbolism. Claude Levi-Strauss recognized this 80 years ago when he worked with the Indians in Brazil.
When I was introduced to Yogic Philosophy by my good friend MC in KL, I was amazed at the similarity of the philosophy of Yoga Sutra of Patanjali and the oral traditions of American Indians.
Later when I got to know the Buddhist traditions in Myanmar, once again the similarities stood out rather than the differences.
Here is a sentence from Swami Sivananda:

Worry has caused new deadlier  disease like blood-pressure, heart-trouble, nervous breakdown, etc.  Fear checks the flow of blood, and even poisons the blood.  Laughter and cheerfulness increase the circulation of blood.  They are blood-tonics.
-- Sri Swami Sivananda
and I follow this up with words by Lame Deer, a Lakota Indian

"Laughter - that is something very sacred, especially for us Indians."
-- John (Fire) Lame Deer, ROSEBUD LAKOTA
Here is the commentary on that:

Laughter is mental, laughter is emotional, laughter is physical, and laughter is spiritual. Laughter helps us find balance. If we get too angry, laughter will turn that emotion in a balanced direction. If we have a mental picture of someone who is too strong, laughter will help ease the tension. If the body is stressed, laughter will release natural relaxants into our muscles and our nervous system. Laughter often changes our attitude. We need to lighten up and laugh more.  ( American Indian Elder Wisdom )
Nobody would argue now that the tools and behaviour and compartimiento of yours that brings you happiness would also lead to Health. Of course, the cynical logic of the western mind ( Oh Descartes?) would question the qualitative nature of these statements.
Sooner or Later Science catches up.
Elizabeth Blackburn, an Australian Scientist working in the USA won Nobel Prize in Medicine for her work with Telomeres
Now we know that stress would shorten telomerre length, how to avoid the shortening ?
Laughter of course.
Back to the Indians!
Among the Native Indians there is a concept which I would call SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, it is your part in the welfare of the Universe that includes your family and tribe and animals and birds and trees.. in short your environment. 
The Jewish equivalent of it would be TIKKUN OLAM, healing of the UNIVERSE , in fact the world OLAM, which often appears in Jewish prayers has a more elaborate meaning in Hebrew, rather than WORLD as it is commonly translated.
Hebrew words used for space are also used for time. The Hebrew word qedem means "east" but is also the same word for the "past." The Hebrew word olam literally means "beyond the horizon." When looking off in the far distance it is difficult to make out any details and what is beyond that horizon cannot be seen. This concept is the olam. The word olam is also used for time for the distant past or the distant future as a time that is difficult to know or perceive. This word is frequently translated as "eternity" meaning a continual span of time that never ends. In the Hebrew mind it is simply what is at or beyond the horizon, a very distant time. A common phrase in the Hebrew is "l'olam va'ed" and is usually translated as "forever and ever," but in the Hebrew it means "to the distant horizon and again" meaning "a very distant time and even further."

For me, the Social Responsibility of the Native Indians (which includes Relationship, Mitakuye Oyasin, We are all related) and the concept of Tikkun Olam resonate well.