"OF GODS AND MEN"

By William Markiewicz

I recently saw the poignant French movie, "Of Gods and Men" about the martyrdom of French Trappist monks in Algeria, 1996. Grandiose, powerful religious accents in the monastery located in the Atlas Mountains. Their fraternal relationship with the local population. Discussion at a high level among very convincing monks on the subject, "Should they save themselves or should they stay until the end?" The most important argument for leaving was: "Martyrdom is not a part of our principle duties" and the argument to stay: "Here is my home, my family - you -- my calling. Nothing attaches me to the past." One local woman, witnessing the debate, said, "we are like birds and you are the branch that holds us. Without you, all of us, sooner or later, will leave." The monks remained until their death. From one side, the religion of jihadists that supports itself with terror and from the other side, limitless love of the Trappists for their vocation and the local population. Perhaps, the most moving moment was the visit of the monk from France who brought wonderful things, like French cheese, one or two bottles of wine, medications for the monk/doctor who cared for the local people, hostias Those monks supported themselves through products of their own labour. The evening they gathered for the feast, the visiting monk put music on the player and it was not a religious composition but the wonderful "Swan Lake" of this sinner Tchaikowsky! The reaction was as expected; monks, but also humans and some of them, "wonderful mortals."

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