Fly, fly…

Early morning under the African sky. The sun is already peaking over the palm trees behind the military airport. I tie the laces on my second-hand army ranger boots for the third time. What time is it? Seven thirty. What a ghastly hour. I have a slight hangover. I really shouldn’t have gone to the…

The Valley

Let me tell you about a place, unique, so unique, a place where Man was born, where rivers hide under the earth, their path only marked by the rows of acacias that run on the ground, a place lost between the clouds, so white, so white, and the sky, so blue, so blue, that you…

A carrot by the railroad

My grandfather was a railroad man. Blue collar to a fault. I never saw him without his blue heavy duty cotton jacket and his cap. Well, never? Not quite. Sometimes, when he visited us in Paris or in the magic house in Normandy, he wore a black suit with vest and tie. A starched white…

Revolting

In 1973 the Supreme Court of the United States of America in its Roe vs. Wade decision ruled that the Constitution protected the right of a pregnant woman to choose an abortion. 49 years later, the “same” Supreme Court overturned that decision, thus taking away every individual woman’s choice and handing it over to each…

War and peace, a family account, cont’d

Previously on “War and peace”, from my great-grandfather Élie Martin to my great-uncle Philippe Onraët, an account of the family members who went to war, from the Chinese-French war of the 19th century to WWI… This post will deal with WWII onwards. (All images: family archives) 1939, Rwanda-Urundi, East Africa, my uncle Gérard Leclerc was…

War and peace, a family account

Elie Martin (1843-1920), my great-grandfather on my father’s side. A graduate of the École Navale (French Naval Academy), he joined the service in 1862. Family lore says he fought – and defeated – the Black flags pirates in the Bay of Halong in Indochina, during the Chinese-French war (1881-1885). His Biography at the École Navale…

Svoboda. Liberté. Freedom

“Passengers waiting for a train to Poland in Lviv station (Ukraine), on the third day of the attack launched by Russian president Vladimir Putin. February 26.” L’Express. I normally only publish my own material. But since I’m a bit far from Ukraine, and propaganda is going on strong, I thought I would gather a few…

F.R.E.E.D.O.M.

F is for Fighting R is for Resistance E is for Enlightenment E is for Entitlement D is for Don’t give up O is for Overcome… (We shall…) M is for My life, My choices. I am a child of the 50’s, raised in the 60’s and 70’s. Born in India (Pakistan) after the Partition.…

1940, the war lost

It’s a small booklet, bound in faded black cloth. A time-yellowed label bears a name written with a dip pen: Martin Cyril. My father’s name. Surname first as was and still is customary in France. It’s my father’s flight log in 1939-1940 at the beginning of WWII. My father, very dapper in his freshly cut…

“Over” the volcano

March ’91. We’d relocated to Mexico a year before. I worked at an Ad agency, and had decided to “brush up” my scant German. (No relationship whatsoever). So I took classes at the Goethe Institüt. During breaks we talked between classmates. I told about my climb of Mont-Blanc in ’89. As it turned out, Manuel…