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Blue Star 1, July 1 2015

Blue Star 1, July 1 2015

On July 1, 2015, my girlfriend and I took the boat from Mytilene (Lesbos, Greece) to Athens. That day, most travelers on the Blue Star 1 were not the usual tourists doing the twelve-hour journey at this time of the year. They were Syrians (perhaps also Afghans and Somalis), mostly men, going to Athens on a transit visa. From there they would try to reach Northern European countries.

The day before, we had seen long caravans of men, veiled women and children walking along the roads of Lesbos. Small boats coming from the shore of Turkey had dropped them off in the north of Lesbos, in small villages like Eftalou, where chances to get caught by the Greek navy are remote. The price the smugglers charge for this short trip, we later learnt, is about $1,000. The migrants were all heading to Mytilene, Lesbos capital, where a refugees camp with a capacity of 400 people is totally overwhelmed.

In my experience, the poor and the destitute often tend to be the nicest people (after them come the Greeks). First, we started a conversation with two women and an adorable 7-year old little girl who could not fully bend one of her arms, which had been crushed under stones when her house was shelled. Later, we met two thirty-year-old Syrian men, whom we will call X and Y. The deck was crowded, and they insisted on finding us chairs and offering us some of the almonds that made their dinner for the day. X and Y are well-educated civil engineers, who had finished their degree and were working in the suburb of Damascus, until it became impossible to go on: They had to do a five-year military service and fight all the foes of the Assad regime. They also have no sympathy whatsoever for Daesh and its version of Islam. Y has two little girls, who are still in Damascus, and whose pictures he keeps on his cell phone. X’s wife is pregnant. For the two men, staying in Syria was not an option, and they have the support of their family in their journey.

The next morning we did not see X and Y among the crowd landing in Athens. We hope they made it to Germany or Denmark, where they want to work and settle.

The sad thing in all this is that Europe quietly let Greece cope with these fluxes of migrants coming from Asia and Africa, adding to the aggravation of EU austerity policy inflicted upon the country. In the Financial Times, George Soros called for an integrated migration and refugees policy in the European Union. So far, he is unfortunately screaming in the desert.

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In November 2014, I contacted my ex-wife to ask her to tell me where Chloé, my youngest daughter, was planning to study next year. Chloé is in her senior year at Brearley, and I do not know anything about her plans for College. I had not asked ex for my oldest daughter on time (before she turned 18) and I should have known better. My ex-wife has never ventured any information about the girls, about education, health, religion or anything, although she is obliged by our divorce contract to “inform and consult.”

At first, ex argued my request was impinging on Chloé’s privacy when she will no longer be a minor.  I insisted, stating that when Chloé will be an adult, she will take care of her privacy herself. Upon my insistence, she announced to me that Chloé would answer to me herself. I received this email [CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE]:

email1

 

 

 

I smelled an obvious rat: the name change – Chloé Jones instead of Chloé Lacour- the “friendly” greetings, the mention of my blog, which truly disturbs ex and ex only. This email looked exactly like the one ex would like my daughter to write to me: a statement of total indifference to what we had, and denying what we may possibly have in the future. I did not buy it.

I am tired of abiding by my side of the contract (the only side that New York State family laws acknowledges unfortunately: paying child support and unreimbursed medical expenses) and not seeing my daughters, let alone knowing nothing about them. I also have been a teenager too, and as a teenager, I broke off with my parents (God bless their souls) as a teenager would do, with the seeming rationality of passion. I did not sense it in Chloe Jones’ answer.  If a break were to happen, so be it. At least, I wanted this break to be between Chloé Lacour and her dad, and make sure that it was not, again, a fake break engineered by ex. So was my answer [CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE]:

email 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I then got the following answer from “Chloe Private”, which confirmed my doubts[CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE]:

email 3

 

 

 

 

 

Oops, I will not stick to the name Chloé Jones, which I picked for no plausible reason. It happened to be that of a porn star, but, mind you, I am fully aware of your obligations as a non-custodial father according to New York State family laws, which, as my “biological father,” you need to comply to.

Who ever thought millennials were trouble makers?

I believe I have not corresponded to my daughter Chloé, and I bet there are 99.99% chances that ex impersonated her. That’s why I am posting these emails; They do document a singular case in the annals of parental alienation.

(And by the way, as another proof of my doubts, there is nothing to respect with French taught at Brearley, if what you get from it after several years of French is what is reflected in this “Chloe Private”s email).

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Last Sunday November 9, I was at the demonstration in support of the families of the 43 student teachers rom the rural school of Ayotzinapa who disappeared in Iguala, a city located in the State of Guerrero, Mexico. The horrifying slaughter of these 43 students by the drug cartel “Guerreros Unidos” acting on behalf of the mayor of Iguala on September 26 have prompted protests that show no sign of relenting so far in Mexico. Demonstrations have taken place in Europe, and in several cities in the US.

Miguel Angel Hernandez Martinez

Miguel Ángel Hernández Martînez

Last Sunday, the organizers of the demonstration asked volunteers to draw on a large white piece of paper the face of one of the 43 from their picture. Mine was that of Miguel Ángel Hernández Martínez.  We were also given the bio of our model written by the renowned writer and journalist Elena Poniatowska. We had to write this bio on another sheet of white paper. This exercise was most meaningful as, while drawing and writing, we came to be acquainted with the person we had to draw and to describe with Poniatowska’s words. Here are those for Miguel Ángel:

Miguel Ángel Hernández Martínez, age 27, “his nickname is “Botita” (little boot) because his older brother, who also studies at the College, is called “El Bota” (boot) so he automatically got called “Botita” although he isn’t little, he’s of medium height and fat, never messes around, is always friendly, wholesome, never annoying: he doesn’t make rude jokes, he’s friendly and likes to help out, always looking out for people, a boy who is very supportive of everyone, in class he explains things to the teacher and gives a hand…”

While the parents of the disappeared don’t even have the remains of their sons to start mourning, and the Mexican judicial system, in the voice of the Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam, is “tired”of answering questions, President Peña Nieto was representing Mexico at the G20 summit.  I for one, have no category where to put this posting. The closest is “Miscarriage of Justice,” but for justice to be miscarried, there has to be a judicial system which at least tries to carry justice.

 

 

 

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Hélène et Thomas sur le Brooklyn Bridge

Hélène et Thomas sur le Brooklyn Bridge

This September 10 2014 was another anniversary of my last supervised visitation with you girls. This year, I will not be lashing out at Manhattan Family Court or at Comprehensive Family Services.  Instead, I am going to reintroduce you to my goddaughter, Hélène.

Hélène, the daughter of my sister Marie and one of your five French first cousins, was in New York from April 24 to May 1st of this year. She wrote a card to each of you to tell you she wanted to see you. She did not receive any answer from you, perhaps because you were never handed her cards. In case, let me reintroduce you to her.

She came to New York with her fiancé, Thomas. They made this trip to New York to celebrate Thomas’ mum birthday. Hélène is a judge and Thomas a bass at Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra . We had a really nice time together and would have liked to see you.

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Good Bye, Mr. Williams

I am shocked by Robin Williams’ death.I stupidly believed that if there was somebody equipped to handle depression, that was him.

I loved the roles he played in his movies: a father who stands for fatherhood in Mrs Doubtfire (which by the way, is translated as Papá de por vida  (Father for Life) in Spain, and Papá por siempre (Forever a Father) in Latin America), a shrink who is a father figure in Good Will Hunting.That’s my problem with Robin Williams: he was an excellent actor, an actor who made you believe he is the fellow you met in his movies.

And the little I know about his personal life does not help me either: through divorce,Robin Williams did not loose his sense of humor and his class.

Anyway, I am going to stop second guessing him. Thanks and rest in peace.

 

 

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Back when I was still seeing my girls, who were very little at the time, one of my aspirations as a father was to be an understanding one later

Vanity Fair, January 2014

Vanity Fair, January 2014

on, as they would grow up and become teens; by understanding, I mean understanding with boyfriends or else. I did not exactly see myself as their confidant, but as somebody they would trust in case of storms on the love front of their lives. My mom had been quite a patient ear to me on those matters, and my dad was exemplary, at least with my little sister, when she was a teen; the type that would pick up  her contraceptive devices at the pharmacy, no questions asked. It showed quite a remarkable ability to adjust to new mores and times, given the way he had been brought up.

Anyway, as much as I would love to, I have a sense I won’t hear about my girls’ love life anytime soon. There is at least one thing I can do: use this blog to warn them and others about a deadly contraceptive device, NuvaRing, sold by Merck and Co.  I just read  Marie Brenner’s article in the January 2014 issue of Vanity Fair, “Danger in the Ring,” and I was horrified.

Merck’s NuvaRing victims have been adding up like flies.  Brenner’s piece – a must-read- investigates why in the world this product is still on the market. Among the reasons:  Merck’s greed and the way the pharmaceutical industry does business, where deaths and the lawsuits of victims are part of the CDB (Cost of Doing Business); a faulty regulatory  system, where regulators move in and out of the industry they are supposed to regulate.  And let say that if the FDA were not so dramatically understaffed, NuvaRing might not still be killing women.

One thing is clear: Stay away from NuvaRing and third- and -fourth- generation hormonal contraceptives.

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Joyeux anniversaire Camille!

19 ans     Je t’embrasse. Dad

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