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Good morning students, school board members,
superintendent and district staff.
First, I would like to thank all of you, from teachers to
friends and family, for being in attendance this morning. You
have all had a profound impact on the development of the
students that will be graduating today, and I feel it is safe to say
that I speak on behalf of the whole graduating Class of 2015, in
thanking you for all of your efforts that you have invested in us
to this day.
When I first sat down to write this speech, tons of thoughts
were flowing through my mind. Am I going to reminisce about
memories of great importance to me? How about speaking of
significant events for the entire school? What is the message I
should try to convey? Will I pass out or just be at a loss for
words, because to be honest, I did not think I had it in me to do
this. But the most important goal I strove for was to create a
speech that was truly different. Not that bored people to sleep or
followed the traditional “your journey ends here, but a new one
begins” format, but instead offered excitement and new insight
into this monumental day. However, it is more so about your
accomplishments and the best way for me to craft inspiration
and motivation in you all.
Today is no small feat. It perhaps is the most significant
and life altering achievement most of you can claim to this day.
Never hesitate to recognize how proud each and every person
here today is for you to complete such a long and difficult task.
Having worked for over thirteen years just for this moment, it is
hard to ignore the determination, perseverance, patience, hardwork
and even sacrifice that embodies itself the attitudes of
every graduate. The innumerable amount of opportunities your
diploma enables you to attain is without doubt, and I encourage
all of you to pursue what is most dear to you. Pursue that in
which you feel you can make a difference.
Looking at you, the Class of 2015, I realize that after today,
I may no longer see many of you. That is a painful thought. On
the other hand, I am also filled with anticipation, because I have
no doubt in my mind that every single one of you sitting before
me has the potential to succeed and make a difference in life. Of
course, not every one of us can be rich, famous, and powerful,
but often times it is the people who just offer words of advice
and encouragement that make the world a better place. It is
human nature to reflect the mood of others in your own actions,
so positive words and actions could have an overwhelming
impact on the moods and quality of life of others. The
future looks bright.
Throughout my years in high school, not only have I gained
knowledge of the subjects I have studied, but I have learned
many other lessons as well. At times I know some of you
questioned the need to attend class, but gaining intelligence is
not the only purpose of it. School has helped to build priceless
social skills, as well as, instilled a value to succeed. I don’t
know about you, but when I see others performing well, I take it
as a challenge to try my best as well. Having the correct mindset
makes all of the difference. If you believe you can achieve
anything, and don’t allow others to tell you differently, what you
are capable of achieving is genuinely amazing.
I would like to conclude my speech with a quote from
Robert Frost. “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the
road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” I
encourage you, the Class of 2015, to not only follow the
opportunities available to you, but to follow your heart and
pursue a cause of particular importance to you. Instead of
following the path of past generations and graduating classes, I
challenge you all to make your own path. The risks are always
present, but the battle always makes the win so much sweeter.
For me, it is neither about the money nor the notoriety of a
position, but instead whether I can make a difference and love
what I do.
Thanks again to all the families, friends, teachers, and any
others I have missed, for your contributions. They are greatly
Congratulations again, Class of 2010, and I wish you all the
best of luck. I know you’ll do your best. I’ll miss you all.
To find yourself first learn about yourself." Finding the real you is an enlightening experience. You become self-sufficient and do things for yourself, for once. It's a hard feeling to put into words, but when you don't know who you are, it's hard to ignore. Finding yourself is not easy, but it's worth it. If you say it for yourself, as "I'm going to find myself", you mean you're going to remove yourself from your current situation, head off in a new direction (either physically or socially or emotionally), and see if you can discover who you really are, what you want out of life, who you want to become. You're making a major change in your life situation. If you tell this to someone, as "Go find yourself!" as a command, then you're telling them to "get lost", go away leave me alone. There were many frightening moments, many moments I didn’t think I would make it. I made mistake after mistake, which catapulted me in the exact direction I was meant to go. I don’t regret any of it, because all of the wrong choices led me to the right. There's nothing worse than finding yourself in a situation, a very demanding piece of work, and knowing that you're not a true ally to the person who's in charge of all that. When you make the finding yourself--even if you're the last person on Earth to see the light--you'll never forget it.
In the late 1960's, uncle' Pope Paul VI, priests, nuns and seminarians, particularly in Latin America, Africa and the MAHARLIKA, began teaching socialism, known as the 'Liberation Theology'. Because of close diplomatic ties between the Vatican and Communist Russia from 1917 to 1979, the Communists succeeded in attracting sympathizers and followers from among the Roman clergy and hierarchy. In 1962, Pope John XXIII, through French Cardinal Eugene Tisserant, signed the "Vatican-Moscow Agreement" stipulating, among other things, that the Roman Catholic Church would not denounce the errors of Communism. In Italy, a Roman Catholic country, communism was legalized.
The Vatican, heavily infiltrated by Masons and Communists, spread its new theology that was a blend of Marxism and Christianity. The generous funding from the "SINDONA--MARCINKLIS—CALVI—P2 LODGE" partnership encouraged subversive catholic movements to disrupt and destabilize the governments in countries where the Vatican had abundance of "blind followers." in the Third World countries, the rich and the government often oppress the poor who constitute the larger portion of the populace. Class struggle ensues, oftentimes, both classes using violence.
Countless seminarians, nuns and priests left the security of their convents and gave teach-ins, distributed subversive materials, marched on the streets, rallied and demonstrated in front of government offices and many, tragically, went to the mountains and joined the militant armed struggle. Some of them were killed during encounters with government forces.
All this idealism and sacrifice by "sincere and dedicated" people was inspired by the Roman Catholic Church seemingly to bring justice and relief to the SUFFERING POOR of the Maharlika, putting all the blame on the government. What unwitting pawns to a FOREIGN POWER, the VATICAN CHURCH, still obsessed • in playing the oldest game in the world called DOMINATION!
"Financial grants, often through religious organizations, sympathetic with left wing insurrections, meant the involvement, even if tangently, of the Vatican Bank whose financial bulk derives from deposits of religious organizations. Hence Catholic priests, being involved in actual armed insurrections in Latin America, the Philippines and Poland would automatically have spelled the potential traffic of clandestine sales of arms and, therefore, the involvement of shady banking concerns such as the mysterious 'shell' companies of the 10R, and as a result, indirectly of the Vatican itself." 1
If the Vatican indeed shed tears over the sufferings of the Filipino people, they were nothing but crocodile tears. As boldly exposed throughout this book, it was the ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH that for 500 years perpetrated injustice, oppression and exploitation on the Filipino people. It LORDED OVER them with unequalled banditry and thievery. It coveted their wealth, trampled their dignity and messed up their future.
Is it any wonder, then, that those countries .that for centuries were "evangelized," colonized and ravaged like young maidens by the Roman Catholic Spain and Portugal, have dramatically evolved into unjust societies and poverty stricken nations?
After the tractors and chainsaws of greedy and irresponsible loggers have gone through virgin forests,. what do we see? Eroded mountains, swollen rivers and flooded valleys! When the TWO SWORDS OF POPE BONIFACE VIII were brought here by the Spanish conquistadors, they "raped" the spiritual, cultural and psychological identity of the people in the Maharlika Islands for 500 years. The ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH left to the Filipinos nothing but a desolate economy, a desolate society, a desolate system of worship, a desolate self-image and a desolate spirit.
As a Third World country today, the Filipinos were transformed by this Church to the wretched status of beggars, knocking at the doors of affluent nations for measly morsels of food, used clothes (sold as `ukay-ukay') and other amenities. Thanks, but no thanks, to the Roman Catholic Church with its 'Liberation Theology'.
The Roman Catholic Church's preaching on the Liberation Theology was supposed to redeem downtrodden Filipinos from poverty and oppression caused by the 'unjust and oppressive Marcos dictatorship and his monies'. The ills of this country during the Marcos regime were not all caused by him. He merely inherited those same ills that were "inflicted by the Roman Catholic Church during the 333 years of lease to Spain for so much 'pound of flesh' by Pope Leo X. And even when this country‘ celebrated its 100 years of independence from Spain (the LESSEE), Filipinos are still dependent on the Vatican (the LESSOR) as evidenced by the manipulation of the country by the Roman Catholic Church's leftist indoctrination in the 70's and 80's. The Liberation Theology gospel spread fast, far and wide among the multitude of BLIND FOLLOWERES, THE ROMANO CATOLICO SARADO that still comprise the majority of the Filipinos today.
If the Roman Catholic Church really meant what it taught in its Liberation Theology, this is what it should have done. Instead of just making the suffering poor aware of their miserable conditions (they called this "conscientization") and organizing them to put pressure on the rich ('class struggle') to distribute its wealth, this new theology should have first acknowledged, confessed and apologized that it was this Roman Catholic Church that put them in this pitiful condition in the first place. Say "mea culpa"! Second, it should have rehabilitated the psychologically damaged Filipinos much like a traumatized child before a psychiatrist. The offender (Roman Catholic Church) should have rehabilitated the victim (Filipino people) by promising to make amends. Third, this church, as an example to the rich, should have dug from its overflowing treasure chests and distributed its enormous surplus wealth to the poor, thereby empowering them to start a new and dignified life. This should have been true restitution by the Roman Catholic Church after its 500 years of plunder and exploitation of the Maharlika.
THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN A TRUE AND SINCERE LIBERATION THEOLOGY. It is liberating to the Roman Catholic Church that confesses its sins and makes amends for them. It is liberating as well to the poor, victimized Filipinos who will benefit from the honesty of that church.
Instead, what the Roman Catholic Church does today is to give a small share from its overflowing coffers to help the poor and drumbeat the rich to give to its charitable programs. A perfect example in Manila is seen everyday on television. A plea is heard showing street children and scavengers in the garbage dumps and asking generous souls to give to CARITAS. This program belongs to the billionaire Archdiocese of Manila and the announcer belongs to one of the super, super rich religious Roman Catholic congregations in the world.
Liberation Theology achieved its goal to topple the Marcos dictatorship, perceived as the root cause of the miseries of the Filipino people. But now after twenty years, the condition of the "oppressed poor" in the Maharlika has not changed. Instead, it has worsened by a millionfold. And the Roman Catholic Church until now is still mouthing its Liberation Theology refrain: "preferential option for the poor" and "solidarity with the poor." Until now a lot of Filipinos brainwashed with this Liberation Theology are on the mountains fighting and running for their survival, kill or be killed.
The Modern Vatican Covets The Maharlika
In the early 1930's, Europe was in a depression and Germany was financially bankrupt. An unknown party leader promised the German people that he could create jobs and boost its economy. The Germans dared him and put him in power. His name is Adolph Hitler. In June 1933, the Vatican and Hitler, a Roman Catholic, signed a concordat for mutual protection and enhancement. Shortly after that, Hitler was loaded with money. He built a massive army and manufactured weapons for war. Then Hitler took Poland. Before 1918, there was no Poland. That land was part of Germany and used as a buffer zone to separate Germany from Russia. But when Hitler reclaimed it, England declared war on Germany. Throughout the Spanish occupation of the Maharlika„ members of the Tagean/Tallano clan have been visiting Europe since some of their relatives were English and Austrian. From 1866 to 1898, Prince -Julian 'Macleod Tallano had also been frequenting the Vatican. In 1934 under Pope Pius XII, the Vatican negotiated with a member of the Filipino Royal Family, the Christian Tallano clan in the Maharlika. An agreement was reached that 640,000 metric tons of the Tallano gold would be lent to the Pope. This was part of that gold accumulated by the Southeast Asian Srivijayan/Madjapahit Empire during its glorious reign of 900 years. In 1939, two members of the Tallano family and a Roman Catholic priest, Fr. Jose Antonio Diaz, brought the gold from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, to the Vatican.2 After doing this, Fr. Diaz went back to the Maharlika and resided in Cabanatuan City. After World War II, he facilitated the safe return of the 640,000 metric tons of gold from the Vatican to the Maharlika. Manuel Acuna Roxas (a relative of the Acuna/Tageanfrallano clan), then a congressman and Bishop Enrique Sobrepena, Sr, in the presence of Atty. Lorenzo Tanada received the gold in Manila.
A lease agreement was made between the Tallano clan and the Maharlika government. A total of 617,500 metric tons of gold was deposited in the newly installed Central Bank of the Maharlika to comply with its requirement for GOLD RESERVE. Under the terms of the contract, the Central Bank became the HOLDER of that gold. That lease agreement will expire in the year 2005.3 Having gained the trust and confidence of Fr. Diaz, the Tallano clan made him the main negotiator and trustee of their gold. Fr. Diaz, in turn, hired the services of Atty. Ferdinand E. Marcos, then a highly recommended brilliant young lawyer having attained notoriety when he successfully defended himself in the "Naiundasan Case" in 1939. The Tallano clan paid commission to Fr. Diaz and Atty. Marcos in gold, 30% from the principal of 640,000 metric tons.4
In 1949, the two richest men in the world were Fr. Jose Antonio Diaz and Atty. Ferdinand E. Marcos. Between the two of them they legitimately earned and owned 192,000 metric tons of gold.
Ferdinand Marcos withdrew their share of the gold from the Central Bank and minted it "RP-CD." Sometime later, Fr. Diaz and Marcos brought their gold to Switzerland, in the Swiss Bank Corporation in Zurich. The remaining 400,000 metric tons of 1 Tallano gold is in the third floor basement of the Central Bank Minting Plant in East Ave., Quezon City. There are 950,000 metric tons of gold (declared missing in the International court of Justice) picked up by Yamashita from its European ally, Hitler. Another 250,000 tons of the Japanese loot around Southeast Asia are both now in the Maharlika. This country then became the holder of 1.6 million metric tons of gold bars. Some of the Yamashita gold buried in the Maharlika has been found. But the bulk of it is still buried to this day. And even now, thousands are secretly digging for it, including Japanese treasure hunters.
The World Street Journal in its November 15, 1985 issue wrote that two thirds of all the gold in the world is in the Maharlika. One third is divided among the rest of the countries in the world. Very few Filipinos know this.
When Marcos took over the government in 1965, the Maharlika had a foreign debt of US$13.5 billion. In 1986, when the Americans forcibly brought Marcos to Hawaii, President Aquino inherited a foreign debt of US$24 billion. But, of these, US$7 billion was incurred by the private sector. At his ouster, Marcos left US$2.5 billion in the Central Bank reserve. This means that Pres. Marcos during his 20 years of absolute rule only incurred a measly US$1 billion foreign debt to build up this nation with its fast growing population and numerous infrastructure projects.
How did President Marcos manage this government financially? Aside from the annual national budget of P35 billion financed by the national treasury, he had all this gold at his disposal for building the infrastructure projects that today stand unequaled to all the four succeeding presidents. Today, this country has a foreign debt of around US$75 billion. From 1986 to 2000, the government under three presidents incurred a debt of US$51 billion on top of its original US$24 billion — in just 14 years!
In the 1997 Philippine Yearbook (National Statistics Office) a Summary of Government Expenditures from 1966 to 1997 was made. From 1965-1986 (20 years) President Marcos spent P486, 273 Billion From 1986-1991 (6 years) President Aquino spent P1, 077,895 Trillion. From 1992-1997 (6 years) President Ramos spent P2, 237,907 Trillion.
Between May 14 to June 5, 2003, a nationwide survey report conducted and administered by Asia Pacific Periscope put out this question: "Among our Presidents, who do you think had done most for the country?" The results were: Marcos 41%, Magsaysay 15%, Aquino 6%, Ramos 6%, Estrada 4%, Arroyo 2%, Quezon 0.3%, Quirino 0.3% and 22% could not give any name. Margin of error was +1- 2.7%.
When Fr. Jose Antonio Diaz, alias Severino Sta. Romana, died in 1974 all that 30% commission in gold became the legendary "MARCOS GOLD." After providing for his family in Marcos' Letter of Instruction, the whole wealth derived from this was supposed to be given to the FILIPINO PEOPLE. This was the "MARCOS WEALTH" that some politicians and churchmen kept on saying was the "ILL-GOTTEN" Marcos wealth that until today is in "Marcos secret accounts."
On April 9, 1973 Marcos said: "My earthly goods have been placed in the custody and for the disposition of the Marcos Foundation dedicated to the welfare of the Filipino people."
The Demolition Campaign
In the 70's and 80's, "blood money" from the Roman Catholic Church, channeled into the Maharlika via the Vatican Bank and another foreign power, fueled the flames of dissension in the countryside and on the streets of Manila. A concerted church and foreign civil destabilization and demolition campaign was waged against Marcos. All that gold in the hands of one man like Marcos was a threat to those who have been used for so long with so much' money and power. Marcos became too powerful and would not tow the line of the two established power in the world, the VATICAN and the TRILATERAL COMMISSION (U.S.A.—GERMANY--JAPAN). But Marcos was no lap dog (lute') to any foreign power.
In 1966, during President Marcos' First State Visit to the U.S.A., he renegotiated the Military Bases Agreement (MBA) of March 14, 1947. He refused to compromise the nation's sovereignty and territorial integrity and successfully negotiated the reduction of the Military Base Agreement lease, which was supposed to end in 2046 to just 25 more years — ending in 1991, instead of 2046. This made the USA angry.
When the USA recognized Maharlika sovereignty over the military bases on January 7, 1979, President Marcos called it "the final liberation of the Philippines." Most significantly, the U.S. Ambassador Richard W. Murphy in • his letter to the Maharlika Minister for Foreign Affairs, Carlos P. Romulo, dated January 7, 1979 said: "Only the Philippine flag shall be flown singly at the Bases. The United States flag together with the Philippine flag that shall at all times occupy the place of honor, may be displayed within buildings anti other indoor sites on United States facilities and in front of headquarters of the United States Commanders and upon coordination with the Philippine Base Commanders for appropriate outdoor ceremonies such as military honors and parades on the facilities."
In his grand plan, Marcos wanted to re-establish the former grandeur of the Maharlika and the whole region of Southeast Asia, the former Malayan Empire. In June 1983, Marcos appeared before the First World leaders in Toronto. He announced his plan to boost the economy of the Southeast Asian region by creating the ASIAN DOLLAR. This would be backed up by the 400,000 metric tons of gold in the Central Bank of the Maharlika and the other gold he scattered around the region. He would also add to this his own Personal 192,000 metric tons in Switzerland.
his Asian Dollar, backed up by the "two thirds of all the gold in the World" that was in the Maharlika, would have made the Maharlika money more valuable and stronger than the American dollar. This was his vision to raise Southeast Asia to be at par with the rest of the First World countries. The very next day James Baker, the head of the C.I.A., replaced Henry Kissinger as Secretary of State.
Subsequently, an intensified demolition job on Marcos and the destruction of his party were ingeniously planned and carried out. Two months later, on August 21, 1983 Senator Ninoy Aquino was assassinated at the Manila International Airport. The blame was placed on Marcos.
To this day the assassination of Ninoy Aquino has not yet been solved. It has to be kept this way because solving it would open a Pandora's box and reveal skeletons in the closet of many prominent people very close to Ninoy Aquino who are still enjoying the high esteem of the public today.
The Coup De Grace: EDSA Revolution
A year and a half later, on December 26, 1984, the "CORY CONSTITUTION" was formulated. This was the first coup d'etat ever planned in the modern history of the Maharlika. The document was entitled: DECLARATION OF UNITY. It says: "WHEREAS it has become the imperative &Ay for all who oppose the Marcos regime to join forces to restore the freedom and sovereignty of the Filipino people and thereafter to reconstruct the national economy and improve the quality of life of all Filipinos, starting with the poor, the voiceless and the oppressed, and WHEREAS we believe that the foregoing objectives can best be attained by implementing the following values, principles and convictions which we all share.'
There are eight points in the Cory Constitution. Point 6 says: "Belief in a Pluralistic Society. The new leadership will respect and protect freedom of expression and the right to disseminate all philosophies and non-violent programs. It trusts the capacity of the people to choose freely what is best for the nation, and will honor the choice of the people even if it differs from theirs. The Communist Party of the Philippines will be legalized. In order to remove obstacles to national unity, the new leadership will take steps, immediately upon assumption of office, to address all legitimate grievances of all who have resorted to armed struggle."
Point 8.1 says: The new leadership commits itself to eliminate the social cancer of graft and corruption, public or private..." Point 8.3 says: "...(Marcos') Ill-gotten wealth, , property and assets shall be confiscated..."
In conclusion, the CORY CONSTITUTION says. 'Therefore, we sign these presents to solemnly affirm our commitment to the foregoing values. principles and convictions and to signify our resolve to exhaust all means to unify all parties, organizations and fortes in opposition to the Marcos regime." Signed in Quezon City by: 1. Agapito "Butz" Aquino, 2. Jose W. Diokno, 3. Teofisto Guingona, 4. Eva Estrada Kalaw, 5. Salvador H. Laurel, 6. Raul S. Manglapus, 7. Ramon Mitra, Jr.. 8. Ambrosio Padilla, 9. Aquilino Pimentel, Jr., 10. Rafael Sales, 11. Jovito Salonga. Signed by the conveyor group are: 1. Corazon C. Aquino, 2. Jaime V. Ongpin, 3. Lorenzo M. Tanada.
U.S. Senator Paul Laxalt, in his article that appeared in the U.S. magazine Policy Review (1986) entitled "My Conversations with Ferdinand Marcos", said: "It appears from what I read in the papers that she (Cory Aquino) made a serious strategic mistake in releasing the
fairy tale stHigh above the city, on a tall column, stood the statue of the Happy Prince. He was gilded all over with thin leaves of fine gold, for eyes he had two bright sapphires, and a large red ruby glowed on his sword-hilt.
He was very much admired indeed.'He is as beautiful as a weathercock,' remarked one of the Town Councillors who wished to gain a reputation for having artistic taste; 'only not quite so useful,' he added, fearing lest people should think him unpractical, which he really was not.
'Why can't you be like the Happy Prince?' asked a sensible mother of her little boy who was crying for the moon. 'The Happy Prince never dreams of crying for anything.'
'I am glad there is some one in the world who is quite happy', muttered a disappointed man as he gazed at the wonderful statue.
'He looks just like an angel,' said the Charity Children as they came out of the cathedral in their bright scarlet cloaks, and their clean white pinafores.
'How do you know?' said the Mathematical Master, 'you have never seen one.'
'Ah! but we have, in our dreams,' answered the children; and the Mathematical Master frowned and looked very severe, for he did not approve of children dreaming.
One night there flew over the city a little Swallow. His friends had gone away to Egypt six weeks before, but he had stayed behind, for he was in love with the most beautiful Reed. He had met her early in the spring as he was flying down the river after a big yellow moth, and had been so attracted by her slender waist that he had stopped to talk to her.
'Shall I love you said the Swallow', who liked to come to the point at once, and the Reed made him a low bow. So he flew round and round her, touching the water with his wings, and making silver ripples. This was his courtship, and it lasted all through the summer.
'It is a ridiculous attachment,' twittered the other Swallows, 'she has no money, and far too many relations;' and indeed the river was quite full of Reeds. Then, when the autumn came, they all flew away.
After they had gone he felt lonely, and began to tire of his lady-love. 'She has no conversation,' he said, 'and I am afraid that she is a coquette, for she is always flirting with the wind.' And certainly, whenever the wind blew, the Reed made the most graceful curtsies. I admit that she is domestic,' he continued, 'but I love travelling, and my wife, consequently, should love travelling also.'
'Will you come away with me?' he said finally to her; but the Reed shook her head, she was so attached to her home.
'You have been trifling with me,' he cried, 'I am off to the Pyramids. Good-bye!' and he flew away.
All day long he flew, and at night-time he arrived at the city. 'Where shall I put up?' he said 'I hope the town has made preparations.'
Then he saw the statue on the tall column. 'I will put up there,' he cried; 'it is a fine position with plenty of fresh air.' So he alighted just between the feet of the Happy Prince.
'I have a golden bedroom,' he said softly to himself as he looked round, and he prepared to go to sleep; but just as he was putting his head under his wing, a large drop of water fell on him.'What a curious thing!' he cried, 'there is not a single cloud in the sky, the stars are quite clear and bright, and yet it is raining. The climate in the north of Europe is really dreadful. The Reed used to like the rain, but that was merely her selfishness.'
Then another drop fell.
'What is the use of a statue if it cannot keep the rain off?' he said; 'I must look for a good chimney-pot,' and he determined to fly away.
But before he had opened his wings, a third drop fell, and he looked up, and saw - Ah! what did he see?
The eyes of the Happy Prince were filled with tears, and tears were running down his golden cheeks. His face was so beautiful in the moonlight that the little Swallow was filled with pity.
'Who are you?' he said.
'I am the Happy Prince.'
'Why are you weeping then?' asked the Swallow; 'you have quite drenched me.'
'When I was alive and had a human heart,' answered the statue, 'I did not know what tears were, for I lived in the Palace of Sans-Souci where sorrow is not allowed to enter. In the daytime I played with my companions in the garden, and in the evening I led the dance in the Great Hall. Round the garden ran a very lofty wall, but I never cared to ask what lay beyond it, everything about me was so beautiful. My courtiers called me the Happy Prince, and happy indeed I was, if pleasure be happiness. So I lived, and so I died. And now that I am dead they have set me up here so high that I can see all the ugliness and all the misery of my city, and though my heart is made of lead yet I cannot choose but weep.'
'What, is he not solid gold?' said the Swallow to himself. He was too polite to make any personal remarks out loud.
'Far away,' continued the statue in a low musical voice,'far away in a little street there is a poor house. One of the windows is open, and through it I can see a woman seated at a table. Her face is thin and worn, and she has coarse, red hands, all pricked by the needle, for she is a seamstress. She is embroidering passion-fowers on a satin gown for the loveliest of the Queen's maids-of-honour to wear at the next Court-ball. In a bed in the corner of the room her little boy is lying ill. He has a fever, and is asking for oranges. His mother has nothing to give him but river water, so he is crying. Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow, will you not bring her the ruby out of my sword-hilt? My feet are fastened to this pedestal and I cannot move.'
'I am waited for in Egypt,' said the Swallow. 'My friends are flying up and down the Nile, and talking to the large lotus flowers. Soon they will go to sleep in the tomb of the great King. The King is there himself in his painted coffin. He is wrapped in yellow linen, and embalmed with spices. Round his neck is a chain of pale green jade, and his hands are like withered leaves.'
'Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow,' said the Prince,'will you not stay with me for one night, and be my messenger? The boy is so thirsty, and the mother so sad.
'I don't think I like boys,' answered the Swallow. 'Last summer, when I was staying on the river, there were two rude boys, the miller's sons, who were always throwing stones at me. They never hit me, of course; we swallows fly far too well for that, and besides, I come of a family famous for its agility; but still, it was a mark of disrespect.'
But the Happy Prince looked so sad that the little Swallow was sorry. 'It is very cold here,' he said 'but I will stay with you for one night, and be your messenger.'
'Thank you, little Swallow,' said the Prince.
So the Swallow picked out the great ruby from the Prince's sword, and flew away with it in his beak over the roofs of the town.
He passed by the cathedral tower, where the white marble angels were sculptured. He passed by the palace and heard the sound of dancing. A beautiful girl came out on the balcony with her lover. 'How wonderful the stars are,' he said to her,'and how wonderful is the power of love!' 'I hope my dress will be ready in time for the State-ball,' she answered; 'I have ordered passion-flowers to be embroidered on it; but the seamstresses are so lazy.'
He passed over the river, and saw the lanterns hanging to the masts of the ships. He passed over the Ghetto, and saw the old Jews bargaining with each other, and weighing out money in copper scales. At last he came to the poor house and looked in. The boy was tossing feverishly on his bed, and the mother had fallen asleep, she was so tired. In he hopped, and laid the great ruby on the table beside the woman's thimble. Then he flew gently round the bed, fanning the boy's forehead with his wings. 'How cool I feel,' said the boy, 'I must be getting better;' and he sank into a delicious slumber.
Then the Swallow flew back to the Happy Prince, and told him what he had done. 'It is curious,' he remarked, 'but I feel quite warm now, although it is so cold.'
'That is because you have done a good action,' said the Prince. And the little Swallow began to think, and then he fell asleep. Thinking always made him sleepy.
When day broke he flew down to the river and had a bath.
'What a remarkable phenomenon,' said the Professor of Omithology as he was passing over the bridge. 'A swallow in winter!' And he wrote a long letter about it to the local newspaper. Every one quoted it, it was full of so many words that they could not understand.
'To-night I go to Egypt,' said the Swallow, and he was in high spirits at the prospect. He visited all the public monuments, and sat a long time on top of the church steeple. Wherever he went the Sparrows chirruped, and said to each other, 'What a distinguished stranger!' so he enjoyed himself very much.
When the moon rose he flew back to the Happy Prince. 'Have you any commissions for Egypt?' he cried; 'I am just starting.'
'Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow,' said the Prince, 'will you not stay with me one night longer?'
'I am waited for in Egypt,' answered the Swallow. To-morrow my friends will fly up to the Second Cataract. The river-horse couches there among the bulrushes, and on a great granite throne sits the God Memnon. All night long he watches the stars, and when the morning star shines he utters one cry of joy, and then he is silent. At noon the yellow lions come down to the water's edge to drink. They have eyes like green beryls, and their roar is louder than the roar of the cataract.'
'Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow,' said the Prince,'far away across the city I see a young man in a garret. He is leaning over a desk covered with papers, and in a tumbler by his side there is a bunch of withered violets. His hair is brown and crisp, and his lips are red as a pomegranate, and he has large and dreamy eyes. He is trying to finish a play for the Director of the Theatre, but he is too cold to write any more. There is no fire in the grate, and hunger has made him faint.'
'I will wait with you one night longer,' said the Swallow, who really had a good heart. 'Shall I take him another ruby?'
'Alas! I have no ruby now,' said the Prince; 'my eyes are all that I have left. They are made of rare sapphires, which were brought out of India a thousand years ago. Pluck out one of them and take it to him. He will sell it to the jeweller, and buy food and firewood, and finish his play.'
'Dear Prince,' said the Swallow,'I cannot do that;' and he began to weep.
'Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow,' said the Prince, 'do as I command you.'
So the Swallow plucked out the Prince's eye, and flew away to the student's garret. It was easy enough to get in, as there was a hole in the roof. Through this he darted, and came into the room. The young man had his head buried in his hands, so he did not hear the flutter of the bird's wings, and when he looked up he found the beautiful sapphire lying on the withered violets.
'I am beginning to be appreciated,' he cried; 'this is from some great admirer. Now I can finish my play,' and he looked quite happy.
The next day the Swallow flew down to the harbour. He sat on the mast of a large vessel and watched the sailors hauling big chests out of the hold with ropes. 'Heave a-hoy!' they shouted as each chest came up. 'I am going to Egypt!' cried the Swallow, but nobody minded, and when the moon rose he flew back to the Happy Prince.
'I am come to bid you good-bye,' he cried.
'Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow,' said the Prince,'will you not stay with me one night longer?'
'It is winter,' answered the Swallow, and the chill snow will soon be here. In Egypt the sun is warm on the green palm-trees, and the crocodiles lie in the mud and look lazily about them. My companions are building a nest in the Temple of Baalbec, and the pink and white doves are watching them, and cooing to each other. Dear Prince, I must leave you, but I will never forget you, and next spring I will bring you back two beautiful jewels in place of those you have given away. The ruby shall be redder than a red rose, and the sapphire shall be as blue as the great sea.
'In the square below,' said the Happy Prince, 'there stands a little match-girl. She has let her matches fall in the gutter, and they are all spoiled. Her father will beat her if she does not bring home some money, and she is crying. She has no shoes or stockings, and her little head is bare. Pluck out my other eye, and give it to her, and her father will not beat her.
'I will stay with you one night longer,' said the Swallow,'but I cannot pluck out your eye. You would be quite blind then.'
'Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow,' said the Prince, 'do as I command you.'
So he plucked out the Prince's other eye, and darted down with it. He swooped past the match-girl, and slipped the jewel into the palm of her hand. 'What a lovely bit of glass,' cried the little girl; and she ran home, laughing.
Then the Swallow came back to the Prince. 'You are blind now,' he said, 'so I will stay with you always.'
'No, little Swallow,' said the poor Prince, 'you must go away to Egypt.'
'I will stay with you always,' said the Swallow, and he slept at the Prince's feet.
All the next day he sat on the Prince's shoulder, and told him stories of what he had seen in strange lands. He told him of the red ibises, who stand in long rows on the banks of the Nile, and catch gold fish in their beaks; of the Sphinx, who is as old as the world itself, and lives in the desert, and knows everything; of the merchants, who walk slowly by the side of their camels, and carry amber beads in their hands; of the King of the Mountains of the Moon, who is as black as ebony, and worships a large crystal; of the great green snake that sleeps in a palm-tree, and has twenty priests to feed it with honey-cakes; and of the pygmies who sail over a big lake on large flat leaves, and are always at war with the butterflies.
'Dear little Swallow,' said the Prince, 'you tell me of marvellous things, but more marvellous than anything is the suffering of men and of women. There is no Mystery so great as Misery. Fly over my city, little Swallow, and tell me what you see there.'
So the Swallow flew over the great city, and saw the rich making merry in their beautiful houses, while the beggars were sitting at the gates. He flew into dark lanes, and saw the white faces of starving children looking out listlessly at the black streets. Under the archway of a bridge two little boys were lying in one another's arms to try and keep themselves warm. 'How hungry we are' they said. 'You must not lie here,' shouted the Watchman, and they wandered out into the rain.
Then he flew back and told the Prince what he had seen.
'I am covered with fine gold,' said the Prince, 'you must take it off, leaf by leaf, and give it to my poor; the living always think that gold can make them happy.'
Leaf after leaf of the fine gold the Swallow picked off, till the Happy Prince looked quite dull and grey. Leaf after leaf of the fine gold he brought to the poor, and the children's faces grew rosier, and they laughed and played games in the street. 'We have bread nod' they cried.
Then the snow came, and after the snow came the frost. The streets looked as if they were made of silver, they were so bright and glistening; long icicles like crystal daggers hung down from the eaves of the houses, everybody went about in furs, and the little boys wore scarlet caps and skated on the ice.
The poor little Swallow grew colder and colder, but he would not leave the Prince, he loved him too well. He picked up crumbs outside the baker's door when the baker was not looking, and tried to keep himself warm by flapping his wings.
But at last he knew that he was going to die. He had just strength to fly up to the Prince's shoulder once more.'Good-bye, dear Prince!' he murmured, 'will you let me kiss your hand?'
'I am glad that you are going to Egypt at last, little Swallow,' said the Prince, 'you have stayed too long here; but you must kiss me on the lips, for I love you.'
'It is not to Egypt that I am going,' said the Swallow. I am going to the House of Death. Death is the brother of Sleep, is he not?'
And he kissed the Happy Prince on the lips, and fell down dead at his feet.
At that moment a curious crack sounded inside the statue, as if something had broken. The fact is that the leaden heart had snapped right in two. It certainly was a dreadfully hard frost.
Early the next morning the Mayor was walking in the square below in company with the Town Councillors. As they passed the column he looked up at the statue: 'Dear me! how shabby the Happy Prince looks!' he said.
'How shabby indeed!' cried the Town Councillors, who always agreed with the Mayor, and they went up to look at it.
'The ruby has fallen out of his sword, his eyes are gone, and he is golden no longer,' said the Mayor; 'in fact, he is little better than a beggar!'
'Little better than a beggar,' said the Town Councillors.
'And there is actually a dead bird at his feet,' continued the Mayor. 'We must really issue a proclamation that birds are not to be allowed to die here.' And the Town Clerk made a note of the suggestion.
So they pulled down the statue of the Happy Prince. 'As he is no longer beautiful he is no longer useful,' said the Art Professor at the University.
Then they melted the statue in a furnace, and the Mayor held a meeting of the Corporation to decide what was to be done with the metal. 'We must have another statue, of course,' he said, 'and it shall be a statue of myself.'
'Of myself,' said each of the Town Councillors, and they quarrelled. When I last heard of them they were quarrelling still.
'What a strange thing!' said the overseer of the workmen at the foundry.'This broken lead heart will not melt in the furnace. We must throw it away.' So they threw it on a dust-heap where the dead Swallow was also lying.
'Bring me the two most precious things in the city,' said God to one of His Angels; and the Angel brought Him the leaden heart and the dead bird.
'You have rightly chosen,' said God,'for in my garden of Paradise this little bird shall sing for evermore, and in my city of gold the Happy Prince shall praise me.'ories
First known selfie, taken by Robert Cornelius in 1839
Robert Cornelius, an American pioneer in photography, produced a daguerreotype of himself in 1839 which is also one of the first photographs of a person. Because the process was slow, Cornelius was able to run into the shot for a minute or more, and then replace the lens cap. He recorded on the back "The first light Picture ever taken. 1839."
Woman taking her picture in a mirror, ca. 1900
The debut of the portable Kodak Brownie box camera in 1900 led to photographic self-portraiture becoming a more widespread technique. The method was usually with the use of a mirror and stabilizing the camera either on a nearby object or on a tripod while framing via a viewfinder at the top of the box. Russian Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna at the age of 13 was one of the first teenagers to take her own picture using a mirror to send to a friend in 1914. In the letter that accompanied the photograph, she wrote, "I took this picture of myself looking at the mirror. It was very hard as my hands were trembling."
The earliest usage of the word selfie has been traced to 2002 when it first appeared in an Australian internet forum (ABC Online) on 13 September in a comment written by Nathan Hope: "Um, drunk at a mates 21st, I tripped ofer and landed lip first (with front teeth coming a very close second) on a set of steps. I had a hole about 1cm long right through my bottom lip. And sorry about the focus, it was a selfie." As with other new technologies, the protocols and etiquette for taking and disseminating selfies remains under development, with appropriate use a matter for consideration.
The term "selfie" was discussed by photographer Jim Krause in 2005, although photos anticipating some of the formal aspects of the selfie can be seen in the self-taken photographs that were particularly common on MySpace. Writer Kate Losse proposes that between 2006 and 2009 (when Facebook became more popular than MySpace), the "MySpace pic" (typically "an amateurish, flash-blinded self-portrait, often taken in front of a bathroom mirror") became an indication of bad taste for users of the newer Facebook social network. Early Facebook portraits, Losse claims in contrast, were usually well-focused and more formal, taken by others from distance. According to Losse, improvements in design—especially the front-facing camera copied by the iPhone 4 (2010) from Korean and Japanese mobile phones, mobile photo apps such as Instagram, and selfie sites such as ItisMee—led to the resurgence of selfies in the early 2010s.
Buzz Aldrin took the first EVA selfie in 1966.
Initially popular with young people, selfies gained wider popularity over time. By the end of 2012, Time magazine considered selfie one of the "top 10 buzzwords" of that year; although selfies had existed long before, it was in 2012 that the term "really hit the big time". According to a 2013 survey, two-thirds of Australian women age 18–35 take selfies—the most common purpose for which is posting on Facebook. A poll commissioned by smartphone and camera maker Samsung found that selfies make up 30% of the photos taken by people aged 18–24. By 2013, the word "selfie" had become commonplace enough to be monitored for inclusion in the online version of the Oxford English Dictionary. In November 2013, the word "selfie" was announced as being the "word of the year" by the Oxford English Dictionary, which gave the word itself an Australian origin.
Selfies have also taken beyond Earth. Selfies taken in space include those by astronauts, an image by NASA's Curiosity rover of itself on Mars, and images created by an indirect method, where a self-portrait photograph taken on Earth is displayed on a screen on a satellite, and captured by a camera.
In 2011 a crested black macaque stole a wildlife photographer's camera, and when the camera was later recovered it was found to contain hundreds of "selfies", including one of a grinning female macaque. This incident set off an unusual debate about copyright.
In October 2013, Imagist Labs released an iOS app called Selfie, which allows users to upload photos only from their front-facing smartphone camera. The app shows a feed of public photos of everyone’s selfies and from the people they follow. The app does not allow users to comment and users can only respond with selfies. The app soon gained popularity among teenagers.
In January 2014, during the Sochi Winter Olympics, a "Selfie Olympics" meme was popular on Twitter, where users took self-portraits in unusual situations. The spread of the meme took place with the usage of the hashtags #selfiegame and #selfieolympics.
In April 2014, the advertising agency iStrategyLabs produced a two-way mirror capable of automatically posting selfies to Twitter, using facial recognition software.
The popularity of selfies in social media has been astounding. Instagram has over 53 million photos tagged with the hashtag #selfie. The word "selfie" was mentioned in Facebook status updates over 368,000 times during a one week period in October 2013. During the same period on Twitter, the hashtag #selfie was used in more than 150,000 tweets.
Christina Novelli taking a selfie during a concert in Honolulu, Hawaii
San Francisco Giants fan taking a selfie in front of a bonfire during celebrations after the 2014 World Series
The appeal of selfies comes from how easy they are to create and share, and the control they give self-photographers over how they present themselves. Many selfies are intended to present a flattering image of the person, especially to friends whom the photographer expects to be supportive. However, a 2013 study of Facebook users found that posting photos of oneself correlates with lower levels of social support from and intimacy with Facebook friends (except for those marked as Close Friends). The lead author of the study suggests that "those who frequently post photographs on Facebook risk damaging real-life relationships." The photo messaging application Snapchat is also largely used to send selfies. Some users of Snapchat choose to send intentionally-unattractive selfies to their friends for comedic purposes.
Posting intentionally unattractive selfies has also become common in the early 2010s—in part for their humor value, but in some cases also to explore issues of body image or as a reaction against the perceived narcissism or over-sexualization of typical selfies.
Former South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak and footballer Ji So Yun
Many celebrities – especially sex symbols – post selfies for their followers on social media, and provocative or otherwise interesting celebrity selfies are the subject of regular press coverage. Some commentators, such as Emma Barnett of The Telegraph, have argued that sexy celebrity selfies (and sexy non-celebrity selfies) can be empowering to the selfie-takers but harmful to women in general as they promote viewing women as sex objects. Actor and avid selfie poster James Franco wrote an op-ed for The New York Times defending this frequent use of selfies on his Instagram page. Franco defends the self-portrait stating they should not be seen as an egocentric act, but instead a journalistic moment as it cultivates a "visual culture, the selfie quickly and easily shows, not tells, how you're feeling, where you are, what you're doing", much like a photojournalist image.
Franco continued to write how peoples' social lives are
more electronic, we become more adept at interpreting social media. And, as our social lives become more electronic, we become more adept at interpreting social media. A texting conversation might fall short of communicating how you are feeling, but a selfie might make everything clear in an instant. Selfies are tools of communication more than marks of vanity (but yes, they can be a little vain).
A selfie orchestrated by 86th Academy Awards host Ellen DeGeneres during the 2 March 2014 broadcast is the most retweeted image ever. DeGeneres said she wanted to homage Meryl Streep's record 18 Oscar nominations by setting a new record with her, and invited twelve other Oscar celebrities to join them, which included Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Channing Tatum, Bradley Cooper, Kevin Spacey, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyong'o, Jared Leto and Jennifer Lawrence. The resulting photo of the celebrities broke the previous retweet record within forty minutes, and was retweeted over 1.8 million times in the first hour. By the end of the ceremony it had been retweeted over 2 million times, less than 24 hours later, it had been retweeted over 2.8 million times. As of 24 June 2014, it has been retweeted 3,415,871 times. It beat the previous record, 778,801, which was held by Barack Obama, following his victory in the 2012 presidential election.
One person who loves to take selfies and is known as the "selfie queen" is Kim Kardashian. This year in 2014 she made a selfie book that consists of selfies throughout the whole year. She earned this title by taking the social media website Instagram very seriously and posting her selfies numerous times per week. She even has a set of rules that she goes by when taking the "perfect selfie."
Bill Nye takes a selfie with US President Barack Obama and Neil deGrasse Tyson at the White House
President Barack Obama made news headlines during Nelson Mandela's memorial celebration at the Johannesburg's FNB Stadium with various world leaders, as he was snapped taking a selfie and sharing smiles with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, and later with British Prime Minister David Cameron, as they gathered to pay tribute to Mandela. The decision to take the selfies was considered to be in poor taste, as British political columnist Iain Martin critiqued the behaviour as "clowning around like muppets". The photos also depict the First Lady Michelle Obama sitting next to them looking "furious and mortified". Despite the criticism, Roberto Schmidt, the photographer who captured the photos taken at the celebration, reported to the Today show it was taken at "a jovial, celebratory portion of the service".
In India, BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi posted a selfie on Twitter after voting in Gandhinagar, India. The post became a major trending item on the micro-blogging platform. In July 2014, the Swiss government is the first to take and post a picture of an entire national government (the picture was taken by one of the seven members of the government, Alain Berset).
A group selfie of tourists using a Selfie stick for a wider angle image.
In January 2014, Business Insider published a story referring to such images as "usies". A photograph of Pope Francis with visitors to the Vatican has been called an usie by The Daily Dot, and TMZ has used the term to describe a selfie taken of celebrity couple Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez.
The term "groufie" has been trademarked by Chinese phone manufacturer Huawei Technologies in China, France, Germany, Russia, and the U.S. The word was introduced during the launch of its Ascend P7 smartphone in 2014. Huawei defines the groufie as a panoramic selfie involving multiple subjects, as well as background scenery, captured using the front facing, 8-megapixel camera and panorama capabilities of its phones.
Another term for a group selfie is "wefie", originally trademarked by Samsung in the U.S. to promote the wide-angle lens of its NX series of cameras.
The world's largest group selfie included 2000 people and was taken on 23 November 2014 in Brooklyn, New York at the International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Emissaries.
In popular culture
In August 2013, The Guardian produced a film series titled Thinkfluencer exploring selfie exposure in the UK.
American dance music duo The Chainsmokers released a single #SELFIE in 2014.
In August 2014, selfie was officially accepted for use in the word game Scrabble
From September to November 2014, the American television sitcom Selfie aired on ABC, telling the story of a woman trying to achieve fame through social media.
Psychology and neuroscience
According to a study performed by Nicola Bruno and Marco Bertamini at the University of Parma, selfies by non-professional photographers show a slight bias for showing the left cheek of the selfie-taker. This is similar to what has been observed for portraits by professional painters from many different historical periods and styles, indicating that the left cheek bias may be rooted in asymmetries of brain lateralization that are well documented within cognitive neuroscience. In a second study, the same group tested if selfie takers without training in photography spontaneously adhere to widely prescribed rules of photographic composition, such as the rule of thirds. It seems that they do not, suggesting that these rules may be conventional rather than hardwired in the brain's perceptual preferences.
In April 2014, a man diagnosed with body dysmorphic disorder recounted spending ten hours a day attempting to take the "right" selfie, attempting suicide after failing to produce what he perceived to be the perfect selfie. The same month brought several scholarly publications linking excessive selfie posting with body dysmorphic disorder.
Injuries while taking photos
In July 2014, a fourteen-year-old girl in the Philippines fell to her death after losing her balance while taking a selfie of herself and a friend near the staircase landing of their school in suburban Pasig City. In August 2014, a fifteen-year-old boy was critically wounded after accidentally shooting himself while taking a selfie in which his other hand was holding a gun to his chin. In November 2014 a Polish woman vacationing in Spain fell to her death while attempting a picturesque selfie from the Puente de Triana bridge in the city of Seville.
It is the time of the Crusades during the Middle Ages - the world shaping 200-year collision between Europe and the East. A blacksmith named Balian has lost his family and nearly his faith. The religious wars raging in the far-off Holy Land seem remote to him, yet he is pulled into that immense drama. Amid the pageantry and intrigues of medieval Jerusalem he falls in love, grows into a leader, and ultimately uses all his courage and skill to defend the city against staggering odds. Destiny comes seeking Balian in the form of a great knight, Godfrey of Ibelin, a Crusader briefly home to France from fighting in the East. Revealing himself as Balian's father, Godfrey shows him the true meaning of knighthood and takes him on a journey across continents to the fabled Holy City. In Jerusalem at that moment--between the Second and Third Crusades--a fragile peace prevails, through the efforts of its enlightened Christian king, Baldwin IV, aided by his advisor Tiberias, and the military restraint of the legendary Muslim leader Saladin. But Baldwin's days are numbered, and strains of fanaticism, greed, and jealousy among the Crusaders threaten to shatter the truce. King Baldwin's vision of peace--a kingdom of heaven--is shared by a handful of knights, including Godfrey of Ibelin, who swear to uphold it with their lives and honor. As Godfrey passes his sword to his son, he also passes on that sacred oath: to protect the helpless, safeguard the peace, and work toward harmony between religions and cultures, so that a kingdom of heaven can flourish on earth. Balian takes the sword and steps into history.
- Written by Sujit R. Varma
In 1184, French village blacksmith Balian just lost his wife trough suicide grief-stricken by their child's death; the crusader lord Godfrey, baron of Ibelin, reveals himself as Balian's father and offers him a crusader life, which the youngster spontaneously rejects but after the local priest taunts him till his sword strikes fatally accepts, fleeing the French bishop's bloody justice and seeking divine forgiveness as promised to crusaders in Jerusalem. On the way, Balian is instructed the skills of war and chivalric honor code and dubbed a knight in Messina by his father, who was fatally wounded fighting off the bishop's men. After shipwreck on the Levantine coast, Balian soon proves himself a superior knight as fighter and noble idealist in the loyal service of leper king Baldwin, whose pragmatic right hand, the count of Tiberias, fails to convince Balian the ruthless knight Reynald de Chatillon and his traitorous master, candidate-heir to the throne Guy de Lusignan, must be stopped by all means before they plunge the crusader kingdom in a fatal war against the noble, militarily far superior Saracen king Saladin. When Tiberias is proven right, he leaves for Cyprus, brave Balian stays to defend besieged Jerusalem against impossible odds.
A Walk to Remember Movie Poster
A Walk to Remember (2002)
Mandy Moore as Jamie Sullivan
Shane West as Landon Carter
Daryl Hannah as Cynthia Carter
Peter Coyote as Rev. Sullivan
Lauren German as Belinda
Clayne Crawford as Dean
Based on the novel by
Drama, Family, Romance
Rated PG For Thematic Elements Language and Some Sensual Material
Watch This Movie
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| Roger Ebert
January 25, 2002 |
"A Walk to Remember" is a love story so sweet, sincere and positive that it sneaks past the defenses built up in this age of irony. It tells the story of a romance between two 18-year-olds that is summarized when the boy tells the girl's doubtful father: "Jamie has faith in me. She makes me want to be different. Better." After all of the vulgar crudities of the typical modern teenage movie, here is one that looks closely, pays attention, sees that not all teenagers are as cretinous as Hollywood portrays them.
The singer Mandy Moore, a natural beauty in both face and manner, stars as Jamie Sullivan, an outsider at school who is laughed at because she stands apart, has values, and always wears the same ratty blue sweater. Her father (Peter Coyote) is a local minister. Shane West plays Landon Carter, a senior boy who hangs with the popular crowd but is shaken when a stupid dare goes wrong and one of his friends is paralyzed in a diving accident. He dates a popular girl and joins in the laughter against Jamie. Then, as punishment for the prank, he is ordered by the principal to join the drama club: "You need to meet some new people." Jamie's in the club. He begins to notice her in a new way. He asks her to help him rehearse for a role in a play. She treats him with level honesty. She isn't one of those losers who skulks around feeling put upon; her self-esteem stands apart from the opinion of her peers. She's a smart, nice girl, a reminder that one of the pleasures of the movies is to meet good people.
The plot has revelations that I will not reveal. Enough to focus on the way Jamie's serene example makes Landon into a nicer person--encourages him to become more sincere and serious, to win her where she approaches him while he's with his old friends and says, "See you tonight," and he says, "In your dreams." When he turns up at her house, she is hurt and angry, and his excuses sound lame even to him.
The movie walks a fine line with the Peter Coyote character, whose church Landon attends. Movies have a way of stereotyping reactionary Bible-thumpers who are hostile to teen romance. There is a little of that here; Jamie is forbidden to date, for example, although there's more behind his decision than knee-jerk strictness. But when Landon goes to the Rev. Sullivan and asks him to have faith in him, the minister listens with an open mind.
Yes, the movie is corny at times. But corniness is all right at times. I forgave the movie its broad emotion because it earned it. It lays things on a little thick at the end, but by then it had paid its way. Director Adam Shankman and his writer, Karen Janszen, working from the novel by Nicholas Sparks, have an unforced trust in the material that redeems, even justifies the broad strokes. They go wrong only three times: (1) The subplot involving the paralyzed boy should have either been dealt with, or dropped; (2) It's tiresome to make the black teenager use "brother" in every sentence, as if he is not their peer but was ported in from another world; (3) As Kuleshov proved more than 80 years ago in a famous experiment, when an audience sees an impassive closeup, it supplies the necessary emotion from the context. It can be fatal for an actor to try to "act" in a closeup, and Landon's little smile at the end is a distraction at a crucial moment.
Those are small flaws in a touching movie. The performances by Moore and West are so quietly convincing we're reminded that many teenagers in movies seem to think like 30-year-old standup comics. That Jamie and Landon base their romance on values and respect will blindside some viewers of the film, especially since the first five or 10 minutes seem to be headed down a familiar teenage movie trail. "A Walk to Remember" is a small treasure.
I am burning the candle of my life
in the dark with no one to benefit
from its light,
The candle slowly melts away
soon its wick will be burned out,
and the light is gone!
If someone will only gather
the melted wax, reshape it,
give it a new wick
for another fleeting moment
my candle can once again
light the dark
be of service
one more time
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