Sunday, October 19, 2008

Beatroot at the Vatican with Walesa and the Pope


If New York is the city that never sleeps then Rome is the city that never shuts up talking. Ever. (photo - Pope Benedict XVI...at the cinema?)

Rome is a city wired up to the eyeballs on amphetamine-strength coffee. It’s probably why Italians talk so much.

I was in a taxi yesterday with a driver who was in the middle of a long monologue that covered such diverse topics as: why the Church murdered Bruno; the egotistical nature of the modern day Italian; and the disrespect and delinquency of his 14 year old son. While he talked his eyes were not often on the road and where he was going but on me in the back seat. His arms followed the intricate patterns of his stories, waving around all over the place. At one point he was driving the car with his left elbow only - I am not joking - as he debated, with himself, the pros and cons of the, latest, Burlusconi government.

Thursday morning I went to a special mass at the Basilica overlooking St Peter’s Square in honour of the 30 year anniversary of Karol Wojtyla becoming JP II. There were thousands of people in the huge church, about one in five of the pilgrim-tourists were from Poland, many wearing Solidarnosc scarves or t-shirts.

After the mass I went for a stroll, agog at Rome’s teeming traffic. Small cars - the Smart is a particular favourite at the moment - whizzed in and out of the lines of scooters and motorbikes. Horns honked and Italians shouted and waved their arms at each other.

Small cars are essential in Rome as the parking of these vehicles is …creative and inventive. Any tiny space not colonised already by one of these vehicles is backed into, with varying degrees of success. Many cars show signs of bangs and prangs, dents riddling bodywork as a testimony to past parking attempts gone wrong.

Just as parking is a mysterious Italian art so is crossing the road. There are traffic lights and stuff but they are treated as optional extras by both drivers and pedestrians. People wait at the side of the road for a moment and then suddenly dive into the middle of a stream of traffic. Some cars and bikes then skid to a stop, some swerve to avoid the person who is now in the middle of the road. It took me a while to pluck up the courage to try this, but once you take the plunge it seems to work. As you stroll - and Italians stroll everywhere, they never simply walk - through the traffic you hear the babble from within vehicles, the sound of horns and the scrapping of metal-on-metal as yet another parking stunt doesn’t quite make it.

Testimony

I was in Rome for the premiere of the film version of the memoirs of Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, Testimony, recounting his 39 years serving John Paul II. The film itself is not all that great although there is a lot of good archival material I never saw before. We also get the revelation - if that is the right work in the circumstances - that JP II survived not one but two assassination attempts. Not just a mad Turk tried to have a go at him - with the help of the Kremlin, or not: who know? - but also a mad Portuguese priest stuck a knife in him, in 1982, on the anniversary of the first assassination attempt. They covered the incident up in the hope that trying to kill the Pope would not become a fashionable thing to do for the world’s loons.

But the premiere itself - in a theatre slap bang in the middle of the Vatican - was something I will never forget. Six thousand people from all over the world sat down to watch the movie in the company of Lech Walesa, Jolanta Kwasniewska, and…Pope Benedict!! I never watched a film with a pope before, just a few seats down the isle.

The photo above I took as he made a little speech after the film. He was very moved by what he saw, obviously. The movie does have a very sad, although predictable ending, and someone told me they saw Pope Benny crying at the end.

Afterwards, people were milling around outside the theatre with the Swiss Guard looking on in their fancy dress garb. One photographer saw former first lady Jolanta Kwasniewska chatting away to the woman she took over from, former first lady Danuta Walesa. When the photographer asked if he could take a picture of them together, Jolanta started to pose, while Danuta - probably under strict orders from her husband - refused and quickly moved away. Relations between the ex-Solidarity leader and ex-communist Aleksander Kwasniewski may have warmed a little since the 1990s, but Walesa still does not want it to be seen that both families are best of buddies. That’s one miracle that JP II never got around to making and won’t be used in the evidence for his inevitable canonization.

Later I went for another stroll in Rome and after 20 minutes got completely lost. I quite like being lost in cities new to me. Soon, however, I wandered into an area where a succession of African guys seemed delighted to see me. They gave me high-fives and complicated handshakes and were very keen to sell me…something, I know not what.

So it was obviously a good time to get out of there. But how to get back to the Vatican? I stopped a nice looking old lady to ask the way. Understanding no Italian I just planned to follow the direction she was pointing in. Unfortunately, being an Italian, as she described the shortcut back to the Basilica her arms waved around all over the place. If I followed the directions of both hands I would be still be wandering around Rome in ever decreasing circles. So I set off in the direction she was facing, as she talked and talked…she’s probably still giving me directions even now.

37 comments:

beakerkin said...

Beatroot

At least you apparently comported yourself with respect and did not attempt to lecture the Pope about Catholicism or redecorate the Vatican.

Anonymous said...

May be redecorate the Vatican with a photo of his friend Simon the antifascist murderer.

Sooner than you expect you will pay for what you wrote.

Anonymous said...
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jannowak57 said...

What was Jolanta Kwasniewska doing there, was the pathetic communist whore looking for forgiveness from the Pope? Lets not forget this bitch had access to the special stores for the privileged comrades while decent Poles sat at home with little heat in the winter and only meagre rations for their children.

Recent claims to fame:

She testified before a Parliamentary Investigation Committee about her ties to PKN Orlen. Kwasniewska never released the list of the donors to her Foundation. While opening the foundation and getting the first donations, she used her husband's political influence

She was also questioned by the committee about her relations with a Polish businessmen living in Chicago, Edward Mazur, who was accused of killing the chief of Polish police General Marek Papala. She was seen with him in a photo while visiting Chicago.

beakerkin said...

Anon

I understand your anger over the terrible things Mol did. You are 100%
right to be angry with laws that ignored public safety and a process that failed to catch a fake claim.

I also understand your anger at Beatroot. He is an arrogant and obnoxious twerp who is not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed. He will duck serious issues and points
and has no back bone.

That being said one should not threaten Beatroot or anyone else.
Physical violence is never called for and is illegal. We do not want to become like Chavez and trample the rights of others.

The folks at the Vatican would not
likely know who Mol was. Catholic organizations to their credit treat
people who suffer from AIDS as well
as send war orphans from Sudan to the USA.

beatroot said...

wahackodork
At least you apparently comported yourself with respect and did not attempt to lecture the Pope about Catholicism or redecorate the Vatican.

Well, there you are wrong. I went up to him and said: "Hey, Benny...you got a funny surname - ratzinger. Sounds like something they sell in KFC. I'll have a ratzinger with fries, please. And what about your policy frpom the Second Vatican Council about the Schemata on ecumenism (Unitatis Redintegratio), the Eastern Rite churches (Orientalium Ecclesiarum), and the Dogmatic Constitution of the Church (Lumen Gentium....eh. Eh?"

beatroot said...

Jan - don’t know why Jola was there. They got sent invitations. Maybe it was a career move? Gets you in Viva!. Good for TVN Style ratings…?

ge'ez said...

"She was seen with him in a photo while visiting Chicago."

And she was seen with in a photo with Barbara Bush, too.

Ever hear of John Wayne Gacy? Is everybody who ever had his or her picture taken with him guilty of his crimes?

And besides, you post on the blog of a well-known Trotskyite Stalinist! And, uh, so does Sneakersnit.

jannowak57 said...

Some portions of the Catholic Church are dirty and Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz was not about to help clean it up. Historians who say that 10 to 15 percent of the church’s priests in Poland served as SB informants. Including 39 senior clerics.

Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz and his friends actually wanted the old SB records burned so the truth couldn’t come to light.
Fortunately people are smart enough to know 85% of the clergy bravely refused to cooperate with the communists and priests like Rev. Tadeusz Isakowicz-Zaleski saved the churches position in Polish society. The hierarchy of the church mishandled the situation with a sloppy attempt at a cover up.

Anonymous said...

Yes sucker I 'm in Poland.

You don't know me but you are an easy target.
Let's see if face to face you are so brave.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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beakerkin said...

Beatroot

Obviously an elitist Salonista should spend more time in a KFC. There is nothing on the menu that comes close to the name of the Pope. Your comment shows that Salonista types talk about working people but have no clue about how how they live.

You should have taken the opportunity to learn from the Pope about humility. He would have also
let you know liberation theology is
apostasy.

Geez

Are you now calling Beatroot a Trotskyite?

Anonymous said...
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beatroot said...

You don't know me but you are an easy target.
Let's see if face to face you are so brave.


Brave? What would someone who posts pathetic anonymous gibberish on web sites and makes threats know about being brave. The fact that you try this kind of thing from a position of "anonymous" shows you are a coward by definition. Gives us your address and we will be round this evening,if you like.

But you won;t will you, because you are a pathetic arsehole. Now go away becuase I am going to delete all the rubbish you put on here. I pity people like you.

beatroot said...

Beak-o-whacko
Obviously an elitist Salonista should spend more time in a KFC. There is nothing on the menu that comes close to the name of the Pope.

Well, in warsaw KFC there is a Zinger Burger. maybe they don;t have such things in the mental asylum you frequent. Hospital food must be very dull.

Alos there is a well-known urban myth story about a rat being served to someone in KFC...

So put zinger and rat together - what do ya get?

I hope you are not in the intellgence core of the US armed forces. Actually, you probably are and this explains the current state of the CIA....

beatroot said...
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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Give US your address?

Why US?
Are you afraid to come alone?
But you said I was not in Poland.
Are you going to fly to other country to visit me?
Or you admit you were wrong?

Don't worry we will meet WHEN I want.
I know your identity but you have no clues about me.
Since the begining of this story I wanted to see the end of MOL.
The nigger is dead.
And you will be next.

beatroot said...

No...stick around a little longer because the statcounter.com software I have gives IP adress, ISP, host name...but it is a little tricky isolating each visit (I get so many of them!)...so stay on line a little longer will ya. And once I get your details nailed down I am going to inform the people that give you access to the internet that you are abusing the freedoms that the internet brings us and that you have been laming (admitedly pathetic) threats - which are against the law.

I promise you I am going to do this becayse to keep the internet free of government control we need to get rid of shit like you.

So stick around for a about half an hour will ya? Or even better, don;t come back for an hour and then log on again. It makes getting the IP much easier.

ge'ez said...

Anon is a complete and total wus and my guess is that he now runs away with his tail between his legs.

beakerkin said...

Beatroot

You need to spend more time in KFC.
It seem that the good folks at KFC offer a decent product people desire.Rats can be found in any establishment that serves food. The difference is at the Beatroot salon also has plenty of rats as members.

You seem to be an expert on asylums.You are the definitive ass in the asylum.

Anon

Beatroot is a jerk and says some stupid things but you should never
threaten him. Violence is illegal
amoral and never called for.

Please stop threatening Beatroot. It is totally uncalled for and wrong.

What Mol did was evil. It was not evil because of his race, but due to his actions. His actions would
be just as evil if he were White.
Beatroot is not Simon Mol.

beatroot said...

The difference is at the Beatroot salon also has plenty of rats as members.

titter, titter...

Geez, I mean it. If this little fucker comes back again I am reporting him. Enough is enough. If the guy wants trouble then he is going to get it.

beatroot said...

And I didnt mean you, FreakleNoChic'. I think you are harmlessly nuts as a cuckoo clock with Tourettes Syndrome.

ge'ez said...

Anon is waaaaaaay too much of a coward to come back now.

Even the Beak has called upon Anon the Wus to stop his pathetically puerile but nonetheless offensive and criminal threats. Yay Beak!

beatroot said...

I am going to talk to Google Polska Monday about something else on another internet project. But someone told me that Google - owners of this blog - are very keen to get rid of this thing from the blogs. So reporting this kind of stuff direct to google might make them realise that it is in their interests for THEM then to contact service provider etc.

It's not nice for my kind of readers to have to suffer this kind of vile offensive, childish nonsence. And I apologise for this.

So I am going to talk to the Google Polska guy and suggest that they be more active in the area of cleaning up the blogosphere...before governments come along and do it for them. Which would not be a good idea.

An anti-troll campaign in Poland! This is my new crusade!!!!

Beatroot goes to war with the Trolls!

beakerkin said...

Beatroot

I am sorry you had to endure a fraction of what my community endured for more than two years. John Brown/LWB spammed an entire blog community, invaded people's privacy, threatened people's children and maliciously accused people of criminal acts.

After two years of this abuse I asked his friend Renegade Eye to kindly tell him to stop. Ren laughed at the situation despite several people telling him identical stories.

Even now a peer has stopped commenting on Ren's blogs because
of criminal threats made by friends
of Ren's against her children. The
situation is not funny and it is criminal. It is wrong when it is done to you, but it is also wrong when done to others.

You might find that the very worst
offenders are familiar and not quite the people you presume.

jannowak57 said...

Wow!

This is intense, correct me if I’m wrong but I just don’t sense the Love.

Also beatroot don’t respond to anon’s idiocy just delete the posts and it’s best no one validate his existence by responding or commenting on his nonsense. This is your blog participating here is not exactly a constitutional right; everyone is here at your pleasure. Just eliminate/delete anything you deem inappropriate.

Once he can no longer see his comments and the reactions to them he’ll be gone.

beatroot said...

Jan, you are correct in implying that service providers should not have to act like policemen. And I am usually tolerant, or even dismissive of crazy comments. This is a blog and blogs attract some nutters.

But a recent bunch of comments has overstepped the mark. I am not going to have this shit on my blog. And if the only way I can get rid of it is to make the service providers and the owners of the blog - google - to take their share of the attempt to rid this kind of crap from what we are trying to do here, then that is what I am going to do.

jannowak57 said...

Your going to find that service providers (and google) are not eager to jump into this with both feet due to the issue of resources and the shear magnitude of the problem. Parallel to this problem is the more common situation of the “cyber bully” usually involving young people harassing each other with text messages, emails etc however no easy solutions exist. I am surprised that you cannot block a specific IP address and deal with the problem immediately yourself or is this not possible with google.

As in the old west every small town had it’s sheriff, therefore some online interactions need a moderator to keep order with the common sanction being removal from the discussion group when a person goes out of bounds. As you are the owner of the blog, you assume that role as you see fit.

If we rely on government and private industry to regulate what is acceptable on the Internet then I think in the long term we head down a slippery slope to censorship. Having said that what has transpired here is already covered in criminal law in most jurisdictions; a person is not free to utter a threat. It is also in violation of google’s content policy for blogging. There seems to be a mentality that feels the Internet is exempt from the laws of the land.

I think google’s intent was to have the owner of the blog conform to their policy of appropriate content, which they actually define to some extent but for the most part hope that the owner of the blog will deal with unacceptable comments left by the general public.

beatroot said...

I know someone in Google here in Poland. Won;t be a problem.

beakerkin said...

Beatroot

I hope you are right and you do get redress. However, as Jan stated do not count on it.

Apologies in advance for boring history, but one needs to place this in perspective.

My community was plagued for two years by a mad man named John Brown. Brown placed racial epithets
such as calling a Native American
"Sambo the Native American Killer or Mullah Beakerkin Joooish Nazi and so forth".

Those who refused to place these
comments on their blog were placed
in a Klanwatch section on his blog
that nobody read except Renegade Eye. Ren commented on the Klanwatch
bit a few times. The Klan does not
take Jewish members, but this was lost on the clueless Ren.

Brown attempted to spam blogs into
submission with the same post hundreds of time. We adopted a new
technique called the troll abortion
in a blog tribute to a Rush Limbaugh oldie called the caller abortion.

Brown invaded my privacy and called
me a pedophile. While the merits of slandering a pen name are high accusing a person by name with no evidence of a crime is slander. Brown created a cyber fake of my blog called Mullah Beak DHS Pedophile. Only Renegade Eye ever was dumb enough to seriously think
I was the author of that blog.The comments by Brown included threats to Children and sexually inappropriate comments to women.

My community endured two years of
this and we were told by Google to get lost.

In a way I am glad that you have briefly walked in my shoes. The type of threats you endured are old news to those who have conservative
or Jewish blogs, especially those that support Israel.

Nobody should have to endure criminal threats, but google will probably not lift a finger.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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beatroot said...

OK, you asked for it.

Anonymous said...

test

ge'ez said...

Beak, I didn't know you are a Muslim!

Watch out, because of your name you'll next be called un- or even anti-American. Then a socialist!