The Inspirational Story of Prof. Alvaro (Al) Alcazar

I offer you peace. I offer you love. I offer you friendship. I see your beauty. I hear your need. I feel your feelings. My wisdom flows from the Highest Source. I salute that Source in you. Let us work together for unity and love.
— Mahatma Gandhi

Paul Klimos With Prof. Alvaro (Al) Alcazar

I have been to New Orleans. I took the ferry. I enjoyed the food. I danced on the rhythm of Bourbon Street's famous jazz. I disliked the humidity. I woke up on a false fire alarm, twice! I saw Arnold filming a scene. I mistakenly drank coloured tap water... But most importantly, I had the pleasure of meeting a reputable Professor who has inspired generations, a veteran activist who fought for social justice, a Filipino phoenix who made it alive out the darkest days of the Philippines.

Prof. Alcazar was born in 1948 in a small village on one of the 7,100 islands that make up the Philippines. Inspired by his uncle who was a priest, he received his pastoral assignment in 1968 to a slum section outside Manila called the Smokey Mountains. The community of 10,000 to 15,000 people used the city’s mountainous garbage dump as their source for food, clothes and often shelter. Alcazar taught them to boil their drinking water, to keep their children safe from sexual predators, and to defend their rights from government interference. In 1972, Alcazar began working with the Christian Social Action Movement, which was involved in maintaining the villagers’ rights from the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. 

His beliefs would nearly cost him his life. “We were put on the top of the government’s hit list, and they were out for our lives,” Alcazar said. On September 21, 1972, Marcos put the country under martial law, enabling the military to arrest Alcazar and his fellow workers without warrants. Alcazar was interrogated while a 45-caliber pistol was held to his head. “The soldiers would say, ‘Do not answer the question until I draw the question mark.’ And they would take the barrel of the pistol and draw a question mark on my forehead,” Alcazar said. By November, Alcazar had to leave his country or lose his life. 

He escaped and enrolled as an international scholarship in theology at the New Orleans Notre Dame Seminary, and had to remain a student in order to stay in the United States. In 1981, a few years after he was exiled from his native land, he took a vow of non-violence which he still re-examines every time he comes into a conflict. It became part of his identity, and since then, he never had a fight with anyone. Finally, in 1984, he was one of three people chosen out of 165 applicants for political asylum. Alcazar said he felt that God was no longer calling him to be a priest, but rather to continue his work as a married man. He met his wife, and now have two sons.

On top of that, Prof. Alcazar has been leading by example since he moved to the United States. He passionately pursued his academic path and succeeded in conveying more than a simple faculty's curriculum. His mission was, and still is to teach students how to be human. Among the many interesting lessons he gives on matters related to spirituality, social justice, leading change, managing anger, and resolving conflicts, he had caught my attention with the following stories: (i) the vow of non-violence and his sacred watch, and (ii) the story of the three monks.

Interested in knowing more about him and his inspirational stories? He should be reachable by e-mail. Besides, don't be surprised if you hear him say: "never hesitate in sending God a knee-mail!"

 

Paul M. Klimos

Source: http://www.loyolamaroon.com/108664/uncateg...

A Myth At The Lincoln Memorial

The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend
— Henri Bergson

Daniel Chester French's Statue of Abraham Lincoln (Washington D.C.)

A simple piece of advice: unless you're knowledgeable about the history of Washington D.C. and its secrets, do not make the mistake of blindly moving around without proper guidance.

During my first official visit in 2014, the U.S. Department of State had designated to me a very reliable guide who succeeded in enlightening me about some of the hidden signs and symbols engraved in the capital's monuments.

Among the many lessons I have learned, one story had caught my attention: a myth at the Lincoln Memorial...

Can you see that face carved in the back of Abraham Lincoln's head? Some say it is nothing but perspective, and others believe it is Robert E. Lee's face, looking toward his old home Arlington House across the Potomac River!

Before I leave this short interpretation to you, I urge you to not only open your eyes, but also your mind. Learn about the history of every sight you visit in this world. Nowadays, many so-called travelers tend to move around the world, merely enjoying what they "see". They forget to learn and appreciate the history, meaning and value of whatever they encounter. If you are not ready to learn about the world you browse, you would be simply touring a planet with no significance, like walking around the Louvre without knowing what's around you.

 

Paul M. Klimos

Notre Futur Président, Seven Years Ago!

On October 10, 2007, I had the teenage courage to write an innocent open letter expressing my vision, and underlining my will to see specific traits in the unknown leader who was about to guide our Nation.

Lebanon did not know who was close to presiding its Republic, until H.E. General Michel Sleiman was suddenly elected. Today, and after his mandate came to an end in May 2014, the office of the Presidency of the Republic of Lebanon remains vacant.

Who will be next? I can't tell. When? I don't know.

How do I want the next President to be? I reiterate. 

The Original Copy of Notre Futur President (In French) 

Paul M. Klimos

My Favorite Pizzeria in NYC!

Are you close to the Brooklyn Bridge? Get closer, and look for a line, a long one... Approach the little white building, and read: "No Credit Cards - No Reservations - No Slices - No Delivery". Welcome to Grimaldi's Pizzeria!

They say about themselves: "knowing coal-fired brick oven cooking is a dying art, we, at Grimaldi’s, want to ensure that future generations will be able to experience this distinctive and truly authentic pizza".

I experienced it, and it is indeed my favorite pizza in NYC!

Grimaldi's Pizzeria (NY, USA)

Grimaldi's Pizzeria (NY, USA)

For more information: Grimaldi's Pizzeria

 

Paul M. Klimos