Sunday, March 24, 2013

Politics – March 2013 - Happy Holidays

Support is sought to facilitate the work of the Middle East Study Group. Information at

I also welcome promoting the two-state solution. See

The art of genius is when one says or does the simplest thing, which makes you wonder: How come I did not think about this first?

~Raphael Cohen-Almagor

Reflections on February 2013 Newsletter
Post-Elections in Israel
Prospects for Peace
Obama’s Jerusalem Visit
Visitor to Hull
8 March – International Women Day
After Chavez? More Chavism by Dr Alan Roth
Exchange with Editor of an American Journal
My Visit to Israel
My New Article
New Books
Movie of the Month
Monthly Poems
Light Side

Reflections on February 2013 Newsletter

I thank all who reflected on my obituaries and shared with me sentiments and thoughts. Many related to my obituary of Dworkin. For instance, Dr Yoav Tenenbaum wrote: “I liked in particular your comments about Dworkin: Well-written, clearly argued and, above all, fascinating!”  Yoav noted: “Incidentally, you may know that Dworkin argued that Israel could not be both a democratic and Jewish state, and was widely criticized for that”.

DM wrote: A good discussion of the numbers who died in the Holocaust may be found in Michael Shermer and Alex Grobman’s book Denying History: Who Says the Holocaust Never Happened and Why Do They Say it? See

Post-Elections in Israel

I was asked to explain the political situation in Israel. As explained, PM Netanyahu aspired to comprise a coalition that would include the ultra-religious parties and Yesh Atid. This, however, proved rather difficult. He explored the possible options. Here is an analysis of how things have unfolded:

Likud has 31 seats.
With Tzipi Livni “Hatnuah” (6) he has 37.

Shas – 11 and Yahadut Hatorah – 7 would have given him 55 seats. This was not enough. PM Netanyahu needed at least a majority of Knesset seats, 61, although he as a seasoned politician knows full well that 61 is far from ideal as then this fragile coalition is most likely to collapse prematurely and would most probably not survive for four years. Ideally, PM Netanyahu needs 67 seats to have a stable coalition.

The Arab parties and Meretz – the Human Rights Party – declared that they won’t go with him. They together have 17 seats. Yesh Atid – 19 and Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home-New National Religious Party) – 12 established an alliance between them. Lapid, Yesh Atid leader, clarified that a) he is happy to join the government but only with Jewish Home, and b) the ultra-religious parties are not part of it.

PM Netanyahu explored the possibilities to go with his darling companions. He needed to find the remaining seats somewhere else. Where could he find them? He was left with two options: Labour – 15 seats, and Kadima – 2. Kadima he wanted to leave for the last move as otherwise Mofaz would blackmail him, demanding ministerial seats. Shelly Yechimovitz expressed no desire to join PM Netanyahu’s coalition. Thus he examined whether he could lure some Labour members, who dislike Ms. Yechimovitz (there is no shortage of those), to break from Labour and join him, either as an independent new faction or as part of the Likud. Apparently this attempt did not go very far.

PM Netanyahu slowly realized that he was stuck with Yesh Atid if he wanted to continue serving in office.  He was forced to enter into negotiations with Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett, leader of Jewish Home. He also welcomed Kadima and thus his coalition would be solid: 68-members strong.

Yesh Atid insisted on a compact government of 18 ministers. Indeed, as a political scientist and as a political activist in Israeli politics I can testify that there is no need for a government of 30 ministers plus a dozen deputy ministers. It is a significant waste of public money. A government of 18 ministers and 3 or 4 deputy ministers in the complex ministries – Finance, Defence, Education and Health, is more than enough. I used to meet ministers without portfolios who filled their diaries meeting with ambassadors as they did not know what to do with their free time so at least they wanted to establish relations and receive invitations to go abroad.

Yesh Atid wanted to recognize same-sex marriage and to provide public transportation on Shabbat. This is not going to happen.

Yair Lapid was appointed Minister of Finance. He vowed to wage a "daily war" for the middle class as finance minister. Rabbi Shai Piron, Yesh Atid no. 2, will be Education Minister. What a relief to see Gideon Saar out of this important office. Enough damage has been done with him calling the shots. Meir Cohen and Yael Garman will be Welfare Minister and Health Minister, respectively. I am especially happy for Garman who is a very capable woman who can introduce changes. Former head of the SHABAK, Ya'akov Peri, will be Science Minister and Ofer Shelach, a former military reporter, will be Deputy Defense Minister. I do not expect them to do much. At least, I hope, they won’t do harm.
The agreement between Likud Beytenu and Yesh Atid included several clauses by which the government will promote legislation that will adjust the electoral system in the future. Among the changes to be promoted were raising the election threshold to four percent and minimizing the number of ministers that can serve in a government to 18, with four deputy ministers. Both motions are sensible steps in the right direction which I support wholeheartedly.
Also according to the agreement, new legislation on haredi enlistment will be brought to the Knesset within 45 days of the new government being sworn in. I hope careful thinking will be invested. I do not think it is sensible to force the Haredi to enlist. They should have two options: serving in the IDF if they wish, or do a national service for the same period of time, 3 years, where communities need help and support: hospitals, nursing homes, fire brigades, community police, Red Magen David, social work etc.
Under agreements reached, Jewish Home will have ministerial portfolios to cover the five government offices of Religious Affairs; Pensioner Affairs; Housing; Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs, and Economy and Trade. The party will also have deputy ministers in the Religious Affairs and Education Ministries. Chairman Naftali Bennett will chair the Ministerial Committee on the Cost of Living, Centralization of Wealth and Encouragement of Competition. The party will chair the Knesset Finance Committee and head the joint committee on equal burden of service, which is trying to increase haredi-religious participation in military and national volunteer service.
Tzipi Livni will serve as Justice Minister in the new government and Hatnua's Amir Peretz will receive the Environment portfolio.
Politics requires compromises. Yesh Atid wanted 18 ministers. This government has 22, including Netanyahu. There are no new Likud ministers. They were simply moved around by the architect Netanyahu. The person who profited most from these musical chairs is Yaalon who was appointed Minister of Defence, a great position for him to show the Palestinians strength, the value of stringent principles, and minimal (if at all) compromises. I am sure his popularity within the Likud ranks will rise. Likud members embrace the hawks and oust the moderates.

Prospects for Peace

Remain grim. PM Netanyahu simply does not understand that peace is the key to Israel’s survival. He thinks it is enough that Israel remains strong, and we will continue to prevail. PM Netanyahu fails to understand that as long as the Palestinians feel miserable and frustrated, Israel is doomed to face repeated cycles of violence.

On PM Netanyahu’s right is his dear political partner, Avigdor Lieberman. His sympathy for the Palestinian plight is similar to the lion’s sympathy to its prey.

Moshe Bugi Yaalon is an uncompromising hawk who believes that almost everything can be resolved with force. The rest can be resolved with more force.
Naftali Bennett has very similar views. The Palestinian Arabs of Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem might as well relinquish their hopes for a sovereign state. The Green Line, which demarcates the occupied territories from Israel proper, “has no meaning,” he says, and only a freier, a sucker, would think otherwise. As one of his slick campaign ads says, “There are certain things that most of us understand will never happen: ‘The Sopranos’ are not coming back for another season . . . and there will never be a peace plan with the Palestinians.” If Bennett becomes Prime Minister someday—and his ambition is as plump and glaring as a harvest moon—he intends to annex most of the West Bank and let Arab cities like Ramallah, Nablus, and Jenin be “self-governing” but “under Israeli security.”
“I will do everything in my power to make sure they never get a state,” he says of the Palestinians. No more negotiations, “no more illusions.” 

If you wish to read more gems:

In this government, the moderate views are those of Tzipi Livni and Yair Lapid. They constitute a small minority in a very extreme right-wing government. They will make noises, table initiatives, make statements, but all will come to nothing. They will be a negligible factor.

When Lapid formed his alliance with Bennett, he made it clear that peace is not his agenda. He wants to make changes in Israeli society. If at all, peace with the Palestinians will come after addressing some serious problems: the economy, housing, state and religion.

Also, his platform makes it abundantly clear that he has little understanding of what is required to achieve peace. Yesh Atid is for a two-state solution, keeping the major clusters of settlements in Israeli sovereignty, and against the establishment of new settlements. At the same time, Yesh Atid is for continuing the already ongoing building of settlements, and against dividing Jerusalem. Lapid does not recognize the inherent contradiction in this platform. I am in favour of vegetarian lions and pink elephants. They are cuter. This is not going to happen.

Obama’s Jerusalem Visit
President Obama is coming to Israel and two of its neighbors to confer with American partners about problems and challenges in the region. These challenges include Iran, Syria and the need to get Israel and the Palestinians back to the negotiating table. Obama is scheduled to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank and the King of Jordan.

Obama is said to bring an “urgent” peacemaking agenda to Israel on his upcoming visit, reassuring us that he is not coming with conditions or demands but rather to consult and confer.
Obama often states that Israel is a close ally of the USA, and that a special bond connects the two countries. There is a slight discrepancy between these declarations and the fact that Obama did not visit Israel during his first presidency. I assume that many people in his close circle and many more among his donors expected him to visit the Promised Land a long time ago.
I also suspect that his new Secretary of State, like many others who held this desired post in the past, would like to have a go at bringing peace to the Middle East. Like his predecessor, John Kerry has good intentions and noble motivations to end the bloody conflict. Obama appreciates the well-meaning Secretary and is willing to give Kerry some support in pushing the peace wagon forward.
But if he meets a stubborn “no thank you” approach in Jerusalem, I suspect Obama will lower expectations and efforts in this sphere. Wise people have better things to do than to knock their sensible heads against obstinate walls. Obama, who is a person with a developed sense of history, would like to leave some legacy behind him. He will pick other targets where his chances to make a positive change are more welcomed.

Visitor to Hull

I was happy to welcome Richard (Dick) Moon to the University of Hull to deliver the Annual Law and Politics Lecture. I have known Dick since inviting him to the Yitzhak Rabin conference in Haifa in 1997. He contributed to the book I edited after the conference, Liberal Democracy and the Limits of Tolerance: Essays in Honor and Memory of Yitzhak Rabin (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000).

Richard is a Professor in the Faculty of Law, University of Windsor.  He is the author of The Constitutional Protection of Freedom of Expression (University of Toronto Press, 2000), editor of Law and Religious Pluralism in Canada (UBC Press, 2008) and a contributing editor to Canadian Constitutional Law (4th ed) (Emond Montgomery Press, 2010).

Richard was the President of the Canadian Law and Society Association from 2003-2005 and is the author of the Report to the Canadian Human Rights Commission Concerning Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Regulation of Hate Speech on the Internet (October 2008). At Hull he spoke about recent hate speech cases in Canada and elsewhere and the significant disagreement in the community about whether or to what extent the restriction of hate speech can be reconciled with the public commitment to freedom of expression. It was a thoughtful lecture in a very successful event. And for me it was good as ever to meet Dick and to exchange ideas and personal information. I hope to see him again before long.

8 March – International Women Day

I wonder whether we'll see the day when there will be International Men's Day, presuming that all the other 364  days are women days

After Chavez? More Chavism
By Dr Alan Roth

Venezuela is the oldest democracy in Latin America and has the world’s largest oil reserves. Even with such accolades it hardly ever featured in world media until the past 14 years when the late President Chavez put the country of 28m on everyone’s radar screen with his populist “Bolivarian Revolution”.  What happens to Venezuela next?

The post-Chavez regime now under the leadership of its anointed successor Vice President Nicolas Maduro is planning to stay the course and continue Chavez’ personal agenda of transforming Venezuela to “21st Century Socialism”. With absolute control of the national oil company PDVSA, of Congress, of the Supreme Court, of the Central Bank and of most local governments, no surprise political changes are envisioned, domestically or abroad.

A default election is scheduled for 14 April where Maduro will be formally elected as the new President for a six-year term. Chavez changed the Constitution to allow previously prohibited re-election so just as he did not lose any elections in 14 years as incumbent, it is difficult to see how that may change with his successors in power. Furthermore, it has been reported that Maduro has already a good relationship with the anointed successor of the Castros in Cuba, Miguel Diaz-Canel, thus extending the existing links between the two governments for the forseable future. There have been rumours that Maduro’s untested leadership may be challenged from within the Chavism ranks. While this may well surface in due course, such internal shifts are unlikely to result in the overall Chavista regime losing power.

In its recently published “Rule of Law Index Report”, the World Justice Project ( ranked Venezuela last in Latinamerica and one of the weakest worldwide. Of 185 countries in the current World Bank/International Finance Corporation list of “Ease of Doing Business”, Venezuela ranks 180 internationally thus reducing foreign investment to a trickle. There are severe problems with personal safety and criminality, particularly in Caracas. Inflation is running at nearly 40% annually. Foreign currency exchange controls  have resulted in the black market for the Venezuelan Bolivar trading at 400% the oficial rate. This has created in an enormous distortion in the economy, particularly challenging manufacturers which require imported raw materials and leading to shortages of many basic consumers products. Some remedial economic measures are therefore expected quickly under Maduro.

There is an urgent need to raise the standard of living for the country’s underpriviledged majority, as is the case for other strong economies in the region such as Mexico and Brazil. A significant part of Chavism’s loftier goals has been oriented to improve education, health,  infrastructure and economic opportunity for the country’s poor.  While gigantic reserves of crude remain under Venezuelan soil, the country will always have the potential to quickly recuperate its way back to a vibrant, leading market economy in the international stage. But as it now stands Venezuela is likely to continue living under Chavism for years to come.

Exchange with Editor of an American Journal

I have submitted my article, First Do No Harm: Euthanasia and Terminal Sedation in Belgium to The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics.
After a week I received this email from the Editor:

Dear Raphael,

Thank you for your submission to JLME. This weekend I was able to read your article, and also shared it with a colleague. While we both enjoyed the article, we did not feel it was quite right for JLME. My reader in particular felt it might be better suited for in one that focused more specifically on European medical law. Regardless, as a peer-reviewed journal, I am afraid I must decline the opportunity to publish your piece.

Again, thank you for your submission to JLME. Please know I wish you all the best in your publishing endeavors.


Ted Hutchinson

To which I replied:

Dear Dr Hutchinson

Thank you for an ultra-quick refereeing process.

You message saddens me because it shows how insular and parochial your journal has become. You judge articles not by their merit but because they relate to other countries, in this case Belgium. It is staggering to know that you think your readers are not interested in anything that is not American, and that you think the US has nothing to learn from other countries.

This article, like all my other articles, will be published. I hope some of your enlightened readers who have the intellectual curiosity to learn about other countries will still be able to read it, albeit in some other journal.

Three pieces of my scholarship were published previously with your journal. The more recent article of the three was “Why the Netherlands?”, published in Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, Vol. 30, No. 1 (2002). I assume that this could not have happened today.

Kind regards


My Visit to Israel

In the second half of May I am invited to participate in two conferences in Jerusalem. I very much look forward to return to my home country. I’d be happy to see friends and colleagues.

My New Article

"Religious, Hateful and Racist Speech in Israel", Shofar, Vol. 31, No. 2 (Winter 2013), pp. 97-115.

This essay is a study in politics and law. The first section of the paper explains Israel’s vulnerability as a Jewish, multicultural democracy in a hostile region, with significant schisms that divide the nation. Given Israel’s tenuous conditions, this paper is set to observe how Israel has coped with destabilizing expressions that aim to increase the rifts in society and to promote hatred against the other, whoever the other might be. This essay is largely concerned with Israel’s policy on hate speech and racial expressions as they have come into expression by religious authorities, and in that sense this study supplements similar studies conducted in the past. Those expressions have stemmed from the ideologically motivated religious authorities against two groups of people: those who aimed to give away parts of Israel’s territory, and Palestinian Arabs.

The paper presents the State Attorney's stance regarding extreme statements made in the context of the disengagement from Gaza. Following that presentation, the paper continues by addressing the issue of religious incitement by Jewish and Moslem sages. What is suggested about fighting bigotry emanating from Jewish religious teaching is true also for hatred emanating from Islam. The argument is made that the State cannot sit idly by while senior officials incite racism and undermine the State’s democratic values. Such officials should be discharged of all responsibilities. The State ought to weigh the costs of allowing hate speech, as well as the risks involved, and balance these against the costs and risks to democracy and free speech associated with censorship. Israel needs to protect its citizens, both Jewish and non-Jewish, as well as to protect itself as a Jewish democracy. In doing so, Israel should not unnecessarily infringe on free expression or create discriminatory situations. It is not a small feat to achieve both. A balance needs to be struck between competing social interests. Freedom of expression is important as is the protection of vulnerable minorities.

The article is available on my Website:

New Books

David Held, Models of Democracy (Cambridge: Polity, 2010).

This is the third edition of a very successful book about democracy and its different models.

Held maps different models of democracy, from the Athenian to the present liberal democracy. In chapters 2 and 3 he explains basic concepts, such as Republicanism, elective government, sovereignty, representation, and the general will. In chapter 3, Held also analyzes the emergence of the present liberal democracy.

Chapter 4 is about direct democracy as opposed to representative democracy. One would expect this chapter to be related to the Athenian model but this is not the case. Held speaks about the Marxist/socialist and communist variants of democracy. No comparison is made between these models and the classical model.

Part II of the book consists of five chapters (5-9) relating to variants of democracy from the 20th century: elitism, pluralism, legal democracy, participatory democracy. Then there is a curious, short chapter (8) about the emerging democracies in Eastern Europe which raises many issues and leaves many questions unanswered. This chapter does not do justice to the complexity of the issues, and does not really shed ample light on the transformation, democratization, similarities and differences between the countries in Eastern Europe. It is the weakest chapter in the book.

Chapter 9 is about deliberative democracy. One would expect a comparative analysis between this model and the pluralist model. What Held offers is a succinct discussion (pp. 252-255) on value pluralism and democracy that only starts the analysis but is far from completing it.

The last part of the book consists of two chapters (10 and 11). It is titled What should democracy mean today? And it discusses democratic autonomy, democratic legitimacy and it returns to the question of sovereignty. Here Held posits the cosmopolitan model of democracy in which a global parliament connects regions, nations and localities.

This book is very interesting. It provides food for thought as well as ample criticisms. Held’s dissections of democracy and the models he offers show just how complicated the concept of democracy, and the extent that it opens for interpretation. With so many models, the reader might become confused, especially when the differences and similarities between the different models are not explained carefully, or at all. Held has many thoughts but he attempted too much. With so many trees, it is difficult to see the forest. The book would be better served if Held were to offer a few models, explain them thoroughly, and compare them comprehensively.

I thank Polity Press for a copy of this book.

Erica Meijers (ed.), Populism in Europe (The Green European Foundation, 2012).

This book examines the rise of right-wing populism in Europe. The contributors are thinkers on right-wing populism such as “Red Danny”, Dick Pels and Robert Misk. The quality of the chapters varies, and the book has more political and journalistic flavors to it than academic.
To gain an insight into the book's chapters and what the authors discuss and propose you can download the introduction to the book for free,

                   Table of contents

  • Introduction (Erica Meijers)
  • The Temptation to Over-Simplify: Why Populism Poses a Danger to Europe (Daniel Cohn-Bendit & Edouard Gaudot)
  • The New National Individualism: Populism is Here to Stay (Dick Pels)
  • Adversaries or Competitors: The Rise of Green and Radical Right-wing Populist Parties (Sarah L. de Lange, Wouter van der Brug & Inger Baller) 
  • European Dreams, Nationalist Ambitions: Internationalism in Populist Movements (Oyvind Strommen)
  • The Quality and Future of Democracy: Two Decades of Free Elections in Central Europe (Sona Szomolanyi)
  • Lifting the Veil: Populists and Women's Rights (Olga Pietruchova)
  • Populist Realism: Vox Populi and the Postpolitical (Merijn Oudenampsen)
  • The Spiral of Noise and Attention Seeking: Right-wing Populism and the Media (Robert Misk)
  • Imagination in Power: The Social-political Conditions of Italian Media Populism (Marco Jacquemet)
  • The Politics of Fear and Belonging: The Socio-Economic Breeding Ground of Populism (Barbara Hoheneder)
  • Freedom and Security in the Twenty-first Century: Green Alternatives (Dirk Holemans)

I thank Leonore Gewessler for sending me a copy of this book.


This period of the year, when Pesach is approaching, reminds me of my aunt Clara. For many years, as I grew up, all my family from my mother’s side used to gather at aunt Clara and uncle Moshe's house in Tel Baruch. We celebrated the Seder and spent the following day of Pesach in Clara and Moshe’s garden. It was a family day, full of joy and kids, good smells of Clara’s excellent cooking of all the Bulgarian delicatessen she knew to prepare. In the afternoon, we all went to play in the then only green playing ground of Tel Baruch. I used to count the days till Pesach. Those two days were among my favourite days of the year.

I wish you all Happy Pesach with your loved ones, celebrating Jewish tradition, cherishing freedom, and spending quality time with family and friends.

Movie of the Month

I Am Slave (2010) **** in Rafi's  Scale

This moving drama is unfortunately based on a true story. It is about modern slavery. It is about the love of a father to his daughter. It is a story about human (human?) brutality, survival, hope and salvation.

Malia is a princess in a tribe. She is the only daughter and thus the apple of her parents’ eye. When she was a twelve-year-old, Malia was abducted by Arab militia and sold into slavery in Khartoum, Sudan. From morning till dawn she had to clean the house and obey any order her merciless master uttered. Her father embarked on a tireless search after her. After six years, Malia saw him on the street. She ran to him but was stopped before she could reach his arms. As punishment and to prevent any further attempts to seek freedom, she was flown to London. Her passport was taken from her and she worked as a slave and obeyed all her new master wanted. She was told her father will be killed if she tells the authorities. She believes her vicious master, until someone opened her eyes, conveying to her the brute truth that she is nobody, she is a slave, she is worth nothing. Why should someone make an effort to kill nothing’s father? Malia escapes to freedom.

Wunmi Mosaku plays the main character. Her performance is most tragic, and most touching. Isaach De Bankole as her father Bah encapsulates what parenthood is all about. Yigal Naor plays the role of the person who opened her eyes to the brute truth of her situation, and Hiam Abbas is excellent as one of her cruel masters.

The film touched my heart and brought me to tears a few times. I find it hard to bear that slavery is still part of this world. I find myself ashamed that humans can do such a thing, to exploit others as means to an end, with no compassion whatsoever, no feelings, no humanity. I identified with the father. I could not imagine such a thing happening to my daughter. I would have been destroyed.

The film reports that at present there are some 5,000 slaves in London alone, and there are tens of thousands of African slaves in the world.

The western world should not tolerate such exploitation. We know better. We can do better. We can and should stop this.

This is the best film I have seen this year.

Monthly Poems

A Calendar of Sonnets: March

Month which the warring ancients strangely styled
The month of war,--as if in their fierce ways
Were any month of peace!--in thy rough days
I find no war in Nature, though the wild
Winds clash and clang, and broken boughs are piled
As feet of writhing trees. The violets raise
Their heads without affright, without amaze,
And sleep through all the din, as sleeps a child.
And he who watches well may well discern
Sweet expectation in each living thing.
Like pregnant mother the sweet earth doth yearn;
In secret joy makes ready for the spring;
And hidden, sacred, in her breast doth bear
Annunciation lilies for the year.

Helen Hunt Jackson

The following poem is dedicated to my son Roei who does not believe in socks. As far as socks are concerned, Roei believes in divide and rule, and in separate but equal, knowing that as his parents believe in socks equality, socks that become lonely have little use and thus he can walk barefoot. The socks war of attrition continues to linger at the Cohen-Almagor family with one clear winner and many lonely socks. We always wonder about the place where socks go.

The Place Where Socks Go

There's a place where socks go
when the washing is done
and the driers have dried
and the spinners have spun
and it's past eight o'clock
and there's no one about
and the launderette's locked
then the odd socks come out.

There is hosiery here
of each pattern and hue
some plain, striped or spotted,
some black, red or blue”
some worn only once,
some so old they have formed
to exactly the shape
of the foot they once warmed

some were brought back from Sock Shops
in airports in France,
some were hideous presents
from matronly aunts
but in all their variety
one thing is shared:
to the place where socks go
they will not go pre-paired.

Then the odd socks remaining
are placed in the chest
(They must turn up sometime
now where was that vest...?)
and new socks come at Christmas
and birthdays bring more
and the old lie, alone,
at the back of the drawer.

And maybe, one evening
when memory is low,
they too slip away
to the place where socks go
and in silent reunion,
each one with its pair,
they join in the dance
with the other things there

the letters unanswered,
the calls not returned,
the promises broken,
the lessons not learned,
the lost afternoons,
the appointments unmade,
the best of intentions,
the debts never paid,

and the friends not kept up
and the others let down
in the ragbag of conscience
they waltz sadly round,
beyond the respite
of the washing machine,
no amount of detergent
can now get them clean

till that day when all laundry
is washed white as snow,
and everyone's tumbled
and soft soap must go,
when nothing is hidden
but all is revealed
and socks shall be holy
and souls shall be healed.

Godfrey Rust

Light Side

In the middle of a flight, a woman suddenly shouts: “Is there a doctor on the plane?”

A man approaches her and says: “I am a doctor. How can I help?”

“May I introduce my daughter to you?”


A man approaches a very attractive lady with big breasts in the supermarket.

“May I talk to you for a while?” he asks.

“What for?”

“I lost my wife but the moment I begin to speak with a woman with large breasts, she appears from nowhere”.

Peace and love.

Yours as ever,


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