Russia, the last refuge?

There was a time when doors to a great nation were embossed with the following words:

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me

Has the former USSR taken over that role now? Yesterday it was Gerard Depardieu and today there is another.

Brigitte Bardot has threatened to follow Gérard Depardieu in asking for a Russian passport, in protest not at tax hikes but at the treatment of two circus elephants.

The animals, named Baby and Nepal, are owned by a touring circus and thought to be carrying tuberculosis. They were ordered to be put down by a court in Lyon, southern France, on Friday as a precautionary measure.

Who could have guessed 30-years that in the future USSR would serve this role for people other than the “dreary tribe of high-minded women and sandal-wearers and bearded fruit-juice drinkers who come flocking towards the smell of ‘progress’ like bluebottles to a dead cat”?


We lived close to Lyon for about six years, and would visit from time to time the beautiful ‘Tete d’Or park in which there was a small zoo. One of the sadest things I have seen were the poor elephants in their cage there. I don’t know if these are the same elephants, but what I saw made my heart ache. There were two elephants, and they had basically NO room. They stood on a cement pad with a deep ditch of cement all around that pad. They had no place to go… they just stood there, looking so sad, standing first on one foot and then another. If these are those same two elephants, then it would be better to put them out of their living misery… especially if they are also sick.

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