Churchill in a red Kimono

Churchill in a red Kimono…

winston churchill red kimono michele roohani

I just can’t get this image out of my mind since I read about it so I had to make it!

Looking for Churchill in a red kimono, I found the following on the TIME archives:

“Two French officers were breakfasting quietly in a French conference room when they suddenly “beheld an astonishing sight.” The double doors burst open and “an apparition which they said resembled an angry Japanese genie, in long, flowing red silk kimono . . . girdled with a white belt . . . stood there, sparse hair on end, and said with every sign of anger: ‘Uh ay ma bain?'”(where is my bath?)

I first read about it in these wonderful books that give an insight into the minds of Churchill, Hitler and Stalin during the crucial years of 1940 and 1941.

the duel john lukacs churchill hitler micheleroohani

Another great little gem by John Lukacs is “June 1941” where he describes Hitler and Stalin’s relationship before the German invasion of Russia.

john lukacs june 1941 stalin hitler

The D Day or the 65th anniversary of the 1944 Allied invasion at Normandy is almost here (and the French government snubbed Queen Elizabeth by not inviting her to the big celebrations on June 6th). Churchill is spinning in his grave.

Between Collaboration and Resistance: French Literary Life Under Nazi Occupation poster michele roohani

In my last trip to New York, I went to this great exhibition in NY Public Library called: “Between Collaboration and Resistance: French Literary Life Under Nazi Occupation”. Reading Lukacs’ books about the same period, made the exhibition particularly interesting to me—I am a history buff and the two world wars have always fascinated me.

Between Collaboration and Resistance: French Literary Life Under Nazi Occupation aragon paulhan carte postal michele roohani

It was interesting to see my favorite poets’ letters and postcards during the Nazi occupation of France—the above postcard was sent by Louis Aragon to Paulhan’s wife on a pre-printed postcard (easier to censure!)

Nazi Occupation poeme paris paulhan michele roohani

Poems sent from prison camps and manuscripts smuggled out written on the back of wallpapers…

I loved Eluard’s poem, Liberté (freedom), illustrated by Fernand Leger:

liberte paul eluard frenand leger resistance michele roohani

65 years after the second world war, the world is not a safer place and human beings have forgotten the hard learned/earned lessons; the middle east is as volatile as always, Sri Lanka just ended a bloody civil war, Pakistan is agonizing under the threat of the Talibans, Africa is struggling with its different identities and abortion doctors are being assassinated in America…

It’s harder today to make blanket predictions about the direction history is taking—fast computing and the internet have changed the old orders that were in place since our written history began.

Here are a couple of Churchill’s quotes to finish this post:

“Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed.”
“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”
“A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”

Other things you might not have seen: 

Time, Poetry and Einstein

I am obsessed with Time; not only I have a weakness for wrist watches, I have several clocks around my house. Only when I am traveling (especially in france where Time is an elastic commodity) the passage of time becomes kind of blurred but I’ve never had any desire to go back nor forth in Time; the whole notion of a Time Machine has never appealed to me (not even to my trekkie side). Entropy rules supreme!


Aragon, one of my favorite french poets, has written his most beautiful piece about Time so have many other luminaries. “Newton, forgive me…” said Einstein who wrote his most beautiful piece about the same subject…


“Je vais te dire un grand secret Le temps c’est toi
Le temps est femme Il a
Besoin qu’on le courtise et qu’on s’asseye
A ses pieds le temps comme une robe à défaire
Le temps comme une chevelure sans fin
Un miroir que le souffle embue et désembue
Le temps c’est toi qui dors à l’aube où je m’éveille…
Louis Aragon

calvario’s time

I love this piece by Diana Calvario, my new friend at redbubble.