Daily Update: Thursday, July 13th, 2017


Today is the Optional Memorial of Saint Henry, King (died 1024). Today is also the birthday of my daughter’s friend Ashley (1988).

Born in 972 at Albach, Hildesheim, Bavaria, Germany, today’s Saint was the son of Gisella of Burgundy and Henry II the Quarrelsome, Duke of Bavaria. Educated at the cathedral school in Hildesheim by bishop Wolfgang of Regensburg, he became Duke of Bavaria himself in 995 upon his father’s death, which ended Henry’s thoughts of becoming a priest. He ascended to the throne of Germany as King Henry II in 1002, and was crowned King of Pavia, Italy on May 15th, 1004. He married Cunigunde of Luxembourg (later a Saint in her own right), but was never a father; some sources claim the two lived celibately, but there is no evidence either way. Henry’s brother rebelled against his power, and Henry was forced to defeat him on the battlefield, but later forgave him, and the two reconciled. Henry was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 1014 by Pope Benedict VIII; he was the last of the Saxon dynasty of emperors. He founded schools, quelled rebellions, protected the frontiers, worked to establish a stable peace in Europe, and reformed the Church while respecting its independence. He fostered missions, and established Bamberg, Germany as a center for missions to Slavic countries. Started the construction of the cathedral at Basel, Switzerland; it took nearly 400 years to complete. Both Henry and Saint Cunigunde were prayerful people, and generous to the poor. Following his wife’s death, he considered becoming a monk, but the abbot of Saint-Vanne at Verdun, France refused his application, and told him to keep his place in the world where he could do much good for people and the advancement of God’s kingdom. He is the Patron Saint of kings, of childless people, and of people rejected by religious orders. And today is the birthday of my daughter’s friend Ashley (1988).

Last night I continued reading Kiss My Asterisk: A Feisty Guide to Punctuation and Grammar by Jenny Baranick via Kindle on my tablet, and I continued reading Hemingway Didn’t Say That: The Truth Behind Familiar Quotations by Garson O’Toole via Kindle on my tablet.

I woke up at 9:30 am, and did my Book Devotional Reading. I then read the Thursday papers. I next printed out on heavy stock the cards of various kinds that I keep in my hat and wallet. I then did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the Seventh Day of my Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Richard and I left the house at 1:30 pm, and ate Chinese for lunch at Peking. We then went to Wal-Mart, where Richard purchased my salad supplies. We arrived home at 2;30 pm, and I laminated my cards for my hat and wallet and stowed them in my hat and wallet. I then ironed my Casino pants, apron, and shirts, and made my lunch salads for Saturday and Sunday. Richard went to bed at 4:00 pm, and I watched Jeopardy! at 4:30 pm. And now, when I finish this Daily Update, I will join Richard in bed.

Tomorrow is the Memorial of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, Virgin (died 1680) (it would also be the Optional Memorial of Saint Camillus de Lellis, Priest (died 1614), but in America his feast has been moved to July 18th), and is also Bastille Day, which celebrates the storming of the Bastille Prison in Paris in 1789 (commonly held to be the beginning of the French Revolution) and the first Fête de la Fédération, a celebration to commemorate the first anniversary of the Storming of the Bastille and the unity of the French Nation during the French Revolution, in 1790. Richard and I will return to the casino for the start of our work week, and on my breaks I will continue reading Sycamore Row by John Grisham via Kindle on my tablet. In the afternoon I will catch up on some stuff on the computer.

Our Parting Quote on this Thursday afternoon is from Liu Xiaobo, Chinese literary critic, writer, human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Born in 1955 in Changchun, Jilin, in 1982 (as in common in Eastern naming conventions, his family name was Liu, and his personal name was Xiaobo), he graduated with a BA in literature from Jilin University before being admitted as a research student at the Department of Chinese Literature at Beijing Normal University, where he received an MA in literature in 1984 and started teaching as a lecturer thereafter. That year, he married Tao Li, with whom he had a son named Liu Tao in 1985. In 1986 Liu started his doctoral study program and published his literary critiques in various magazines. He became well known as a “dark horse” for his radical opinions and sharp comments on the official doctrines and establishments. This shocked both literary and ideological circles, and his influence on Chinese intellectuals was dubbed “Liu Xiaobo Shock” or “Liu Xiaobo Phenomenon” In 1987 his first book, Criticism of the Choice: Dialogues with Li Zehou, was published and became a bestseller in non-fiction. It comprehensively criticised the Chinese tradition of Confucianism and posed a frank challenge to Li Zehou, a rising ideological star who had a strong influence on young intellectuals in China at the time. In June 1988 Liu received a PhD in literature. His doctoral thesis, Aesthetic and Human Freedom, passed the examination unanimously and was published as his second book. In the same year he became a lecturer at the same department. He soon became a visiting scholar at several universities, including Columbia University, the University of Oslo, and the University of Hawaii. During the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, Liu was in the United States but decided to return to China to join the movement. He was later named as one of the “four junzis (righteous men) of Tiananmen Square” for persuading students to leave the square and thus saving hundreds of lives in the ensuing massacre. That year saw also the publication of his third book, The Fog of Metaphysics, a comprehensive review on Western philosophies. Soon, all of his works were banned. He was imprisoned for the first time from 1989 to 1991; after his release, he was divorced and eventually his ex-wife and son immigrated to the United States. He resumed his writing, mostly on human rights and political issues though he was not been allowed to publish in Mainland China. In 1992, in Taiwan, he published his first book after his imprisonment, The Monologues of a Doomsday’s Survivor, a controversial memoir with his confessions and political criticism on the popular movement in 1989. In January 1993 Liu was invited to visit Australia and the United States for the interviews in the documentary film Gate of Heavenly Peace. Although many of his friends suggested that he take refuge abroad, Liu returned to China in May 1993 and continued his freelance writing. He was the president of Minzhu Zhongguo (Democratic China) magazine since the mid-1990s. On May 18th, 1995, the police took Liu into custody for launching a petition campaign on the eve of the sixth anniversary of the June 4th massacre calling on the government to reassess the event and to initiate political reform. He was held under residential surveillance in the suburbs of Beijing for nine months. He was released in February 1996 but arrested again on October 8th for an October Tenth Declaration, co-authored by him and another prominent dissident Wang Xizhe, mainly on the Taiwan issue that advocated a peaceful reunification in order to oppose the Chinese Communist Party’s forceful threats towards the island. He was ordered to serve three years of re-education through labor “for disturbing public order” for that statement. In 1996 at the labor camp, Liu married Liu Xia. Because she was the only person from the outside who could visit him in prison, she was called his “most important link to the outside world.” After his release on October 9th, 1999, Liu Xiaobo resumed his freelance writing. However, it was reported that the government built a sentry station next to his home and his phone calls and internet connections were tapped. In 2000, Liu published in Taiwan the book A Nation That Lies to Conscience, a book of political criticism. Also published in Hong Kong was Selection of Poems, a collection of poems as correspondences between him and his wife during his imprisonment; it was co-authored by Liu and his wife. In 2003, when he started to write a Human Rights Report of China at home, Liu’s computer, letters and documents were confiscated by the government. He served as the President of the Independent Chinese PEN Center, from 2003 to 2007.  In 2004 Reporters Without Borders awarded him the Fondation de France Prize as a defender of press freedom. On December 8th, 2008, Liu was detained due to his participation with the Charter 08 manifesto (a manifesto released to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It was written in the style of the Czechoslovak Charter 77, calling for more freedom of expression, human rights, more democratic elections, for privatizing state enterprises and land and for economic liberalism.) He was formally arrested on June 23rd, 2009 on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power”. He was tried on the same charges on December 23rd, 2009, and sentenced to eleven years’ imprisonment and two years’ deprivation of political rights on December 25th, 2009. During his fourth prison term, Liu was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize for “his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.” He was the first Chinese citizen to be awarded a Nobel Prize of any kind while residing in China, and the third person to have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize while in prison or detention, after Germany’s Carl von Ossietzky (1935) and Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi (1991). Liu was also the second person to have been denied the right to have a representative collect the Nobel Prize for him, the first being the 1935 winner, German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky, who died in a Nazi concentration camp. On June 26th, 2017, he was granted medical parole after being diagnosed with terminal liver cancer (died 2017): “I hope that I will be the last victim in China’s long record of treating words as crimes. Free expression is the base of human rights, the root of human nature and the mother of truth. To kill free speech is to insult human rights, to stifle human nature and to suppress truth.”

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