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Friday, April 14, 2006


Holy Week 1815 - Then and Now

In his novel Holy Week, Louis Aragon narrated fateful days in the history of France. In the introduction,translator Haakon Chevalier wrote: "Holy Week in the year 1815. March 19th to 25th. Seven days. Easter week, that year, occurring just at the point when winter turns into spring. . . .

Holy Week 2006 is coming to an end. As I went past the local Catholic church on my run yesterday evening the faithful were driving in to attend Maundy Thursday service. It is an uneasy time for people in many parts of the word. Violence raging in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine. Here in America there are many families grieving for soldiers who have lost their lives; others live in constant anxiety over those who are serving in war zones. There is a shadow of fear about what might happen if an accord cannot be reached with Iran about its nuclear program. As usual, super powers are flexing their muscles and not always for a just cause. It is the ordinary people who suffer most in such strifes. How is the world going to be a year hence---a place in which people live without fear or full of turmoil as it is now ?

It has been a tradition for me to join a group of friends for a long hike on Easter Sunday. After that we return to JHL's place in Palo Alto for lunch. For us in the San Francisco Bay area, it is an unusual spring. The forecast is for rain on Sunday. We shall probably have to forego the pleasure of the walk. There will be talk about family members who are absent,about friends,and the state of the world. All of us will think about peace just like millions of others who will attend Easter service in a place of worship.
Holy Week ©1961 BY G. P. Putnam's Sons and Hamish Hamilton Ltd. Originally published in France under the title La Semaine Sainte. ©1958 by Librairie Gallimard. Translated by Haakon Chevalier

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