Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Guy Gilbert

A Book Review

Posted on October 25, 2008 (Written in July 22, 2004)

In this book, the author Guy Gilbert describes succinctly and directly about the streets, the violence, the police, the court trials, the prisons, the families that welcome some of these guys… 

It is a testimony of a French priest who lived in the 19th district of Paris. It is a district renowned for its high density of young delinquents, starting at age ten.

Almost 40% of that wretched youth is of North African descents: Algerians and Moroccans kids abandoned by their parents to the streets.

In certain quarters of Paris adolescents walk in bands. The band is actually the real family for its members:

Even after marriage, the visits of a member have priorities over family’s prerequisites. They help each others and take care of the worst case members. They wear tattoos of the children of the downcasts.

Each gang has its breathing domain that other gangs do not trespass. They refuse to talk about their folks to strangers.

It takes time to open up enough, even for a friend of theirs, to talk about their folks.

Their parents are generally traditional: 

They ask for formal, sophisticated and religious ceremonies, marriages and for baptizing their children. It is a way to seek values and roots in formal ceremonies.

A few replies of these delinquents may shed a better idea of their family’s problems.

One gang member found between two trash cans characterized the situation as:

“At least these trash cans don’t shout and know how to shut up”.

Six half brothers from six different fathers relentlessly compared their genes to discover a common denominators in their characteristics.

Living quarters with no widows, or windows facing walls, are good incentives for taking to the streets.

Alcoholic parents with a pattern of uninteresting jobs, long work hours, several hours spent for transport to work,,,, do not leave much time to care for kids. 

Kids stay late at night around clubs, pubs and drinking places until their parents are soundly asleep: 

They try to skip the regular physical violence and verbal abuses and hurts.

Kids would vanish for months, come in, and open the refrigerator,take a coca cola can and leave; no questions asked.

Guy Gilbert, the priest, lives in a room in the same locality of one gang. Guy rides a motorcycle, a Honda 500, and wears the black leather dresses of the gangs.

He is assisted by three salaried persons who manage a permanent center.

Only full time and salaried educators can succeed in this time consuming task:

Once a gang member receives a genuine listening ear, then he invariably becomes a monster hoarder of time for any assistant. 

Guy was ordained in Algeria during the Algerian revolution in 1965. He took care of a 12 years old who was forced by his parents to eat the leftovers of their dog and from the same dish.

It took a whole year for the kid to start talking and communicating.

A Priest Amidst “Les Loubards” (Continue 2, July 22, 2004) 

How a few of these welcoming families changed for the better after adopting a member, how they had to relocate so that they could welcome the visits of the gang’s members, the vacations of these groups of delinquents, around 130 boys and 20 girls,

The kind of work they prefer and how he goes about to helping them find jobs,the professional educators, the deaths of some of these guys, and the approaches he had to take in order to be accepted by the gangs as one of them.

Guy spent at first a lot of time in metros, the place of choice for the gathering of the guys.

He patiently studied their slang, their behaviors, their attitudes and movements. 

These gangs have the instincts of the savages:  they appreciate brute force,

They have sharp feelings about how they are perceived and they can’t read or write.

Their vocabulary is restricted to about 400 words at most.

Guy had to physically fight a leader of a gang to be inducted as one of theirs. He received many blows from newcomers and outside gang leaders.

Guy refused to take contributions after Sunday Masses from the parishioners because the guys sensed that the money was not meant for their cause.

He would ask the parishioners to drop by the permanent center for any monetary contributions.

Once people start befriending the gang members and listening to them, hardly any misdemeanors occur in the cooperating neighborhood.

Getting together to send letters and postcards to the imprisoned guys is a major task.  

Letters relieve the loneliness of the prisoners and strengthen the links of solidarity and loyalty among the gang members.

Prisoners would refer other lonelier prisoners to receive postcards.

Selecting committees for welcoming the discharged prisoners was taken seriously.

Fancy dinners with plenty of booze were meant for the released prisoner to regain a taste for life.

Vacations in winters and summers are joyously welcomed.

Trips to Morocco, the snow or at the provinces are expected; as long it is outside Paris.

The gang members hop in the old van and truck and off they go.

Most of them never saw the snow:

“When you see this glorious nature, your outlook to life changes somehow” said a guy.

In the Provence, they remodeled and rebuilt an old house on a farm.

A leader of the gang made it a habit to kick doors open; and he was disappointed to find no doors in the house. By the end of the three month-vacation, he installed doors.

He then warned the priest never to allow any member to kick his man-made doors.

Wells were cleaned from three generations of waste.

Windows were refurbished and a new roof installed.

Book reviews:  Of controversial manuscripts? Posted in 2008

Many of the books that I have reviewed were written prior to 2008, before I discovered wordpress.com, and they might be categorized as controversial.  

It is not my job to fall into that trap of judging what is fine to read.  I simply reviews,  summarizes, and add my comments of what I have read that express deep feeling and personal reflections.  

I always give my “expert” opinions anyway:  It is your right to express your opinion.

There are books that I had to publish several posts on particular chapters, simply because topics are interesting and need further development.

1) “Life after Life” by Dr. Raymond Moody, (written in June 7, 2004)

2) “A Priest among “Les Loubards”” by Guy Gilbert, (written in July 22, 2004)

3) “We the Living” by Ayn Rand, (written in July, 24, 2004)

4) “Prophesies of End of Timeby Paco Rabanne, (November 15, 2004)

5) “Alexander the Great”, (November 20, 2004)

6) “The Lexus and the Olive Tree” by Thomas Friedman (July 28, 2006)

7) “Season of Migration to the North” by Tayeb Saleh, (August 10, 2006)

8) “The Princes of the Crazy Years” by Gilbert Gilleminault and Philippe Bernert.

9) “Carlos Ghosn: Citoyen du Monde” by Philippe Ries, (Septembre 27, 2006)

10) “Abbo”by Nabil Al Milhem, (November 23, 2006)

11) “Human Types; Essence and the Enneagram” by Suzan Zannos, (December 6, 2006)

12) “One hundred fallacies on the Middle East (ME)” by Fred Haliday, (March 2, 2007)

13) “Origins” by Amin Maaluf, February 15, 2007

14) “Imagined Masculinity” edited by Mai Ghoussoub and Emma Sinclair-Webb

15) “Post-modernism: the Arabs in a video snapshot” by Mai Ghoussoub,( March 4, 2007)

16) “The Joke” by Milan Kundera, (March 22, 2007)

17) “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury, March 28, 2007

18)  “Biography” of In3am Ra3d, April 7, 2007

19)  “Al-Walid Bin Talal”, April 4, 2007

20) “The Gardens of Light” by Amin Maaluf, April 19, 2007

21) “Two old women” by Velma Wallis, May 1, 2007

22) “I heard the owl call my name” by Margaret Craven, May 3, 2007

23) “A woman of independent means” by Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey, May 6, 2007

24) “The Gospel according to Pilate” by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt, May 9, 2007

25) “Les innovations du XXI siecle qui vont changer notre vie” by Eric de Riedmatten.

26) “Tuesdays with Morrie” by Mitch Albom, July 3, 2007

27) “Liban: le salut par la culture” by Phares Zoghbi, August 19, 2007

28) “Finding Joy” by Charlote Davis Kasl, August 22, 2007

29) “Tadjoura” by Jean Francois Deniau, Septembre 6, 2007

30) “How to dance forever” by Daniel Nagrin, September 8, 2007

31.  “The Second sex” by Simone de Beauvoir, (September 21, 2007)

32.  “A short history of nearly everything” by Bill Bryson, (September 25, 2007)

33.  “The God of mirrors” by Robert Reilly, (October 1st, 2007)

34.  “The tipping point” by Malcom Gladwell, (October 9, 2007)

35.  “The social structure of Lebanon: democracy or servitude?” by Safia Saadeh

October 15, 2007

36. “Fallaci interviews Fallaci and Apocalypse”, by Oriana Falaci (November 8, 2007)

37. “Aicha la bien-aime du Prophet” by Genevieve Chauvel (November 19, 2007)

38.  “Tess of the D’Uberville” Thomas Hardy, (December 19, 2007)

39. “Le livre des saviors” edited by Constantin von Barloewen (December 22, 2007)

40.  Gandhi’s non-violent resistance guidelines (February 21, 2008)

41. “The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown (March 12, 2008)

42. “La reine de Palmyre” by Denise Brahimi (March 26, 2007)

43. “Culture et resistance” by Edward W. Said (April 18, 2008)

44. “L’Avorton de Dieu; une vie de Saint Paul” by Alain Decaux (April 23, 2008)

45.  “Down and out in Paris and London” by George Orwell (July 14, 2008)

46. “Why the Arab World is not free?” by Moustapha Safouan (July 21, 2008)

47.  “Igino Giordani” by Jean-Marie Wallet and Tommaso Sorgi (August 5, 2008)

48.  “Building a durable World” in “Science et Vie” magazine special issue of June 2008 (August 10, 2008)


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