Walk with me through the Garden of Peace!

A serene moment in Vietnam. © Charles Thibo
A serene moment in Vietnam. © Charles Thibo

Today is the third day of official mourning in France. The attacks in Paris initially left me speechless. As a journalist I have covered terrorism for many years. I travelled across Afghanistan, Africa and South East Asia to understand how the world fights Al Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiya. At some point, I decided to quit that dangerous game. Now, terrorism has caught up with me. The train to Paris takes barely two hours. The Islamic State has struck in the heart of Europe, the City of Light. I would not have thought this group of fanatics able to mount simultaneous attacks of such violence in Europe.

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Storms and tempests made in Russia

Thunderstorms fascinated me since my childhood. © Charles Thibo
Thunderstorms fascinated me since my childhood. © Charles Thibo

Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night, it says in the Psalms, but Tchaikovsky can teach you fear! One of the pieces that have been published only after his tragic death is called “The Storm” (Op. posth. 76). The opening is dark and violent – it could well feature in a horror movie. It is being balanced soon by a reassuring tune, but the darkness doesn’t go away. Then the reassuring melody, played by the strings and the flutes, takes over again, but not for long, the darkness comes back, like waves rolling over the countryside with violent showers and short breaks between them. You can almost hear the rain splash against the window panes. Very, very dramatic! Tchaikovsky wrote here a lovely symphonic poem, but wait, actually he wrote two! Continue reading!