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Newsletter. Issue 07. March 29, 2014

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Commentary

The statements, opinions, or views in the articles may not necessarily reflect that of the Goan Voice Canada.

 
Fait accompli....Comments on the Ukraine Crisis
By: Roland Francis roland.francis at ymail.com | Posted on GoaNet | Wed Mar 19 2014

The world was beginning to tire of it's only superpower acting like a spoilt child and stepping into other people's crap even when not wanted. Singlehandedly it belittled the United Nations and trivialized it's purpose. With the help of it's client state Britain under Blair and now with the backing of Canada whose beacon under Trudeau up to Chretien once guided peace among quarrelling nations and whose respect is now in tatters under Uncle Sam's client Prime Minister Harper, it has made nonsense of the sovereignty of nations.

In my lifetime and that of my father before me, the word America was a shining beacon for prosperity and democracy. The hungry and the deprived could count on it for sustenance at every turn. No longer. It is a country now bankrupt of morals and money overflowing only with the technology of arms and the weird determination to quell the desires of those who they once helped and now kill.

The American people should be happy that there is a Putin to resist them where for a long time there was nobody. Russia was a true friend to India when India sorely needed one. India would not have had the chance to prosper as it does today if America's once solid backing of Pakistan was not equally solidly countered by the Big Bear. While America talked of abiding interests not abiding friendships, the Russian people took the Indians and clasped them to their bosoms.

While acting like hypocrites on the Crimea issue, America thinks the world has forgotten Cuba. For the world to become a better place America included, Russia must regain its former power and influence and Putin is the man to accomplish it.

By abstaining on the Crimea vote, India repays a small marker to its steadfast friend. And for this little moment, to hell with the Yankees and their money which can be pumped out of India as easily as it was pumped in.
 
Stairway to heaven
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/Stairway-to-heaven/articleshow/32324030.cms
Andrew Pereira,TNN | Mar 20, 2014,

 
Panaji: In most ancient civilizations, people built their places of worship-their connection to God-on hilltops and mountain peaks. Away from the conundrums of the world, the peace, beauty and isolation was a step closer to the creator.

Four centuries ago, a group of native Goan priests-who defied convention that priesthood was reserved for the white Europeans-set up their own congregation on Old Goa's wooded hill, Monte de Boa Vista (mount with a good view).

The Goans had embraced their new faith, and it intermingled with their identity to form a bedrock resulting in this oratory-the Congregation of the Oratorians of Goa. Run by native priests, it produced stalwarts of the Catholic faith like Padre Jose Vaz (Fr Joseph Vaz), who took the message of the Gospel of Christ to Ceylon (present day Sri Lanka).

The Goan priest, who was beatified by Pope John Paul II, is today referred to as Blessed Joseph Vaz, and the Vatican is currently studying miracles attributed to his intercession as part of the process to recognize him a saint.

Cut to present day, the oratory and its little chapel lie in ruins. The Archdiocese of Goa and Daman has decided to put the place to adaptive re-use, says Fr Valeriano Vaz, financial administrator of the archdiocese.

Around 18 months ago, the church hired the services of Arsenio and Arsenio, a firm which previously helped in the restoration of heritage sites-Se Cathedral, Basilica de Bom Jesus, St Monica church and St John of God convent. A team of experts comprising architects Ketak Nachinolkar, Tulio de Souza, and engineers, the late Sylvester de Souza, Arsenio de Souza and Ashish Keni, was set up.

The team was given the task to not only restore the crumbling heritage structure, but create new infrastructure that would match the features of building work carried out four hundred years ago. "We don't even use cement," explains Xander Mata, supervisor at the site. "We use a special mixture of mud that was used in construction then. It has four elements: sand, mud, limestone and water. This mud takes longer to cure, is strong, durable and can last several hundreds of years," he explains.

Work on the site known as the Cruz dos Milagres (Miraculous Cross) is being taken up in four phases. The first phase is the restoration of the chapel and priest's residence, the second phase is the construction of a new wing with rooms for pilgrims, a refectory and kitchen, the third phase is a grand quadrangle and restoration of an old wing, which will house self-contained rooms for pilgrims, and the fourth phase will be the restoration of ruins that will have dormitories and a residence for nuns, a dining area, residence for all staffers and multipurpose halls.

"We want to put this place to adaptive re-use," says Vaz. "The Cruz dos Milagres will house a Spiritual Renewal Centre. Our main hall will accommodate 500 persons. We plan on having a total of 150 rooms, of which, 120 will be self-contained," he says.

"Retreats will be held in Konkani and English. But, if people from other states living in Goa wish to have a retreat in their language, it can be arranged. We will also have full-timers here, part-timers, lay persons, religious congregations, resource persons from Goa and outside. Not just retreats, but the place will host study programmes, Bible seminars, etc. Participants will be charged a minimal fee for lodging and boarding," Vaz elaborates.

The cost of three phases of the project is Rs 20 crore, while the final phase will cost Rs 5 crore. "We have managed to raise Rs 13 crore," says Fr Conceicao D'Silva, coordinator, fund-raising, and the parish priest at Taleigao. "Every parish in Goa has been contributing. We have also raised funds through individuals. The biggest contribution has come from the Goan community in Goa, and some from the diaspora," he adds. "If all goes well, we hope to inaugurate the place by November," says Vaz. D'Silva has appealed to Goans to donate towards the cause.

The Miraculous Cross & its prophecy

Old Goa was a vibrant, much sought-after city four centuries ago, and its praises have been sung by European travellers who recorded the lavish lives lived by the city's inhabitants, calling the place 'Goa Dourada' (Golden Goa). The city even had its own 'camara' (municipality).

The people also began to live a life immoral, of decadence and excess. The destruction of the city was foretold through three events; they were sort of a warning to the people to change their lives or face the consequences. The second of these three events took place at the site called Cruz dos Milagres (Miraculous Cross).

A cross was erected upon a rock here by a priest from Se Cathedral, Fr Manoel Rodrigues. The cross was made by simple shepherd boys and since it resembled a big tree, it could even be seen by the people living on the island of Divar.

On February 22, 1619, objects that looked like red flags were seen in the sky by people below. That night, rays of light were also seen near the cross. On the morning of February 22, 1619, a military doctor, Pedro Pacheco, and his servant were on a stroll when they thought they saw a human body hanging from the cross. Others around him also noticed it. Pacheco rushed uphill, towards the cross, but when he reached there, he found nothing. He embraced the cross and noticed that his hands began to emanate a particular fragrance. When he descended downhill, he looked back again and noticed the human figure upon the cross. On reaching home, he narrated the story and soon a crowd of over 300 people gathered at the foot of the hill, and saw a human figure upon the cross.

The bishop set up an inquiry committee comprising theologians, medical practitioners and lawyers. The panel submitted a report on May 7, 1619, and the bishop released a statement that the sighting was indeed an apparition. Another committee was then set up to ascertain whose apparition it was on the cross. The panel submitted that it was Jesus Christ. Repeated miracles at the cross led to the construction of a new church dedicated to the miraculous cross. On May 3, 1843, the miraculous cross was shifted to Se Cathedral.

(As told by Fr Eremito Rebelo, rector at the shrine of Blessed Joseph Vaz, Sancoale)

History in the making

In 1682, some native diocesan priests came together as a community and occupied the abandoned oratory. "The first indigenous religious congregation was called the Congregation of the Oratorians in Goa. A young Jose Vaz was ordained priest in 1676. He joined the oratory on September 25, 1685. Vaz was among the first Goan missionaries to leave for the shores of Ceylon (present day Sri Lanka)," says Fr Eremito Rebelo, rector at the shrine of Blessed Joseph Vaz, Sancoale. The rest, they say, is history.
 
Quo Vadis Goa?
http://www.navhindtimes.in/panorama/quo-vadis-goa
Published on: February 15, 2014 - 23:18 | By Prabhakar Sinari


Goa, the auspicious land of Gods, the revered region blessed with abundant nature is under severe threat; and the threat is such that it can completely wipe out the identity of the place, making it look like a totally alien locality.

And blindly allowing such a man-made disaster to happen is not only an insult to the sacrifices made by countless people for liberating Goa, Daman and Diu from the shackles of the colonial bondage, but also destroying a unique part of India by permitting a major change in its demographics.

Goans have been traveling for long - since past few centuries - in search of better educational and career options, which became more evident during the Portuguese colonial rule. This migration, however, was limited to Portugal and some of its colonies like Mozambique, Angola, Cabo Verde, and Macau. Few years after the Liberation of Goa, to be precise during the 1970s and 1980s, Goans, especially members of the Catholic community, turned to the Middle East for enhanced job prospects. And then, by the end of the 20th Century, the US was the preferred destination for the young generations of the state for advance education and jobs.

The migration was in control, until a few years back. The scenario, however, substantially changed, and today Goans are moving out in ever increasing numbers to Europe, using the provision of either natural Portuguese citizenship for people born in Goa before Liberation of the region, or that of Schengen Visa, which can be procured from the Portuguese Consulate in Goa. The latter allows entry to most European countries. And this situation has arisen out of the faulty employment policy of successive governments in Goa, which in turn has resulted in the arrival of large immigrant population here.

There is no need for an astrologer to predict the demography of the future population of Goa if this development is allowed to continue. In fact, this development raises a pertinent question in the minds of all surviving freedom fighters, including me: “Is this the Goa for which we had made so many sacrifices?” At this point of time, I recall a Portuguese proverb popular in the olden days, “Goa ninguem conquistara, mas por se mesmo acabara,” meaning ‘no one will conquer Goa but it will end by itself’. Is the curse now becoming a reality? Our elders, intellectuals and administrators will have to think seriously about this aspect.

Looking at liberated Goa 52 years after the Portuguese left our shores, I can say that freedom of Goa has benefited politicians, various lobbies like mining lobby, and probably non Goans, who have immigrated here. The sons of the soil are the ones who have been left high and dry. It is therefore no wonder that they have chosen to leave Goa, most of them permanently. So are we facing the danger of becoming a minority in our own land? We should not wait to find the answer, but try to arrest this emigration as witnessed in Goa.

Today, Goan people are moving to European countries, mostly to UK, France and Germany, making use of the Portuguese Consulate in Goa. Interestingly, most of such people don’t even visit Portugal, thus using that country as a gateway to other European countries. I know of a lady from the Goan Saraswat community who recently immigrated to Germany with both her sons with the purpose of opening doors to higher education for her sons. She will probably stay there permanently. And then there are places like Dona Paula, Agassaim, Shirdona, Calangute and most villages in the Salcete taluka such as Benaulim, which have a sizeable population – misguided or otherwise – either locking up their houses or renting them out and moving to European countries. Surprisingly, these people accept any job, even menial ones in these countries, which they refuse to do here. It is another matter that in Europe they are rewarded very handsomely by way of their salaries.

Here I remember an incident from Daman, which became a Union Territory along with Goa and Diu after their liberation. I had been posted there as a senior police officer and was amused to see the celebrations when one local youth got a job as a peon. It was so difficult then for a youth from Daman to get a job. The situation in Daman is the same even today, and like Goa, most of its inhabitants have locked their houses or sold them, only to use the money for migrating to European countries.

During my tenure as IPS officer, I was also posted in the North-East of our country. There I witnessed that many of the states of the region fiercely guarded the interest of locals. In fact, it is ensured that no policy goes against inhabitants of these states. And then, even if technical expertise is not available in these states, and someone with the same is hired from outside, there is immediate public hue and cry over the same. On one occasion, another senior IPS officer, who was posted in Mizoram, tried to get admission for his son in the local medical college and had to leave the state along with his son after the local population opposed the admission tooth and nail, by way of an agitation.

It is also weird to see the Portuguese continuing with their legislation, which recognises all people born in Goa before the Liberation as its citizens. In fact, the central government had asked the Portuguese Embassy in India to provide information about Indians, including Goans, who hold a Portuguese passport; however, Portugal refused to part with this information stating that it is a sovereign nation and cannot be forced to do so.

The winds of change are blowing fast over Goa and blowing away Goans themselves. In fact, the Lusofonia Games 2014, held recently in Goa, witnessed groups of Portuguese bards arriving in Goa to sing praises of Portugal in the form of Fados and other forms of singing. Their inclination was clearly anti-government, anti-Goan and anti-Indian. And this was done while our government was basking in the glory of successful organisation of the particular sports event. These groups didn’t preach Indian values but sang in honor of Portugal. And worst of all, the team from our country was termed ‘Goa-India team’ instead of Indian team. Ironically, the Lusofonia Games, in whose organisation Portugal takes much pride, is an event held in Portuguese speaking countries; however, neither do Goans speak Portuguese, nor is Goa a country.

Coming back to the main issue of emigration, the effects of the same are now clearly visible with most shops in the Goan markets being sub-let to people from outside Goa. The same holds true for shops around Goan towns and cities. It is sad to see outsiders dominating the Goan market, just as our own Goans are satisfied with rents they receive for hiring out their shops. Furthermore, if we travel anywhere in Goa by public buses, it is very rare that we will hear conversation in Konkani among traveling co-passengers. Most of times, it is Kannada or Hindi that one will get to hear, which explains the prevailing scenario.

And looking at the way things are being allowed here, Goa is on the verge of losing its identity. One would really be surprised if a Goan is allowed to construct a kiosk in Karnataka. Do we oppose a person from the neighboring state from constructing a kiosk here? Hardly!

Fortunately, most of the problems, even critical ones, have solutions. And this problem too has some! Getting a Special Status for Goa could be one of the major solutions. States like Jammu and Kashmir, and Himachal Pradesh, and then some more in the North-East have this privilege, albeit for different reasons. Special Status can instill confidence in Goans, at least in some of them, who have migrated to other countries, that they would get priority on all counts, including full guarantee for jobs in government as well as private sector here. It will also provide protection to their land and property, and further ban sale of land to outsiders. However, the most important thing, which the Special Status can do, is provide amnesty to those Goans who have left Goa on Portuguese passport and welcome them back to Goa.

Goa has already lost on many counts. The time is fast ticking. However, we can still amend errors, at least to a certain extent. The political will and public determination can achieve this nearly impossible goal. The question is however, are we really inclined to do it?

(Prabhakar Sinari is a senior freedom fighter, and the former officer of the Indian Police Service)

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