As I write the square infront of St Peter's is choc-a-bloc with people attending the funeral of the Great Pope. Further to my earlier comment on mass bursts of em0tion and empathy, I have discovered another phenomenon - webwhingers. I shall add this term to my web dictionary project . What is a webwhinger ? Let me attempt a definition:
webwhinger (n.) : internaut who abuses of his right of expression in order to constantly complain about events/phenomena that occur. Example: the blogs complaining about the blogs that mention the Pope, culminating in the statement "What's all this fuss about the Pope?" see also killjoy, non-conformist, quasi-wankellectual, misanthropist.
That's it - with newspapers at most you could expect to be sitting next to an old humbug who would mutter some incomprehensible nonsense regarding the latest content of his predilected journal. Now with blogs you could be honestly trying to discover other peoples thoughts and ideas and instead you come across an incessant whinge. Whinge whinge whinge. This blog could itself be considered a webwhinge against webwhingers. Unavoidably so.
And now to the funeral. It is the first time that a President of the USA has attended a pope's funeral. Reliable sources claim : (a) it is the first time that the President understood what a Pope is, (b) it is the first time that that a President shows mild interest in going to any country that does not produce oil in large quantities (at least not the one useful for moving heavy vehicles), or (c) it may also be possible that Dubya is convinced that this is some publicity stunt following a complex anti-drug battle against combined Colombian and Mafia warlords and believes that he is going to oversee the burial of the dope in Rome.
Thank God other countries elect respectable leaders. Like Robert Mugabe for instance. He too is at the funeral and has shaken hands with some white cardinals. Anyway, the list of official invitees is found below. It may come in useful for those trivia quizes where you are asked for the name of head of so and so State. Speaking of small countries Luxembourg is represented in full force with Grand Duke, Duchess and PM... Malta too is represented but does not figure on this list (source Sky News).
Here it is:
Albania: President Alfred Moisiu, former presidents Sali Berisha and Rexhep Meidani, Prime Minister Fatos Nano Arab League: Secretary General Amr MussaArgentina: Vice President Daniel Scioli, Foreign Minister Rafael Bielsa Armenia: Prime Minister Andranik Margaryan Austria: President Heinz Fischer, Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel Australia: Governor General Michael Jeffe Bangladesh: Food and Disaster Management Minister Chowdhury Kamal Ibne YusufBelgium: Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt Bosnia: Chairman of the state presidency, Borisav Paravac Bolivia: President Carlos Mesa, Foreign Minister Juan Ignacio Siles Bosnia: Chairman of the presidency Borislav Paravac Brazil: President Luiz Inacio Lula da SilvaBritain: Prime Minister Tony BlairBulgaria: President Georgi Parvanov Cameroon: President Paul BiyaCanada: Prime Minister Paul MartinChile: Foreign Minister Ignacio WalkerColombia: Vice President Francisco SantosCosta Rica: President Abel Pacheco, Foreign Minister Roberto TovarCroatia: President Stipe Mesic, Prime Minister Ivo SanaderCuba: National Assembly President Ricardo AlarconCyprus: President Tassos PapadopoulosCzech Republic: President Vaclav Klaus, Foreign Minister Cyril SvobodaDemocratic Republic of Congo: President Joseph Kabila, Vice President Jean-Pierre BembaDenmark: Prime Minister Anders Fogh RasmussenEcuador: President Lucio Gutierrez, Foreign Minister Patricio ZuquilandaEgypt: Culture Minister Farouk HosniEl Salvador: Foreign Minister Francisco LaineEstonia: President Arnold Ruutel Equatorial Guinea: President Teodoro Obiang Ngue European Union: Commission President Jose Manuel BarrosoFinland: Prime Minister Matti VanhanenFrance: President Jacques ChiracGermany: Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, President Horst Koehler Ghana: President John Kufu Greece: President Karolos PapouliasGuatamala: Vice President Eduardo Stein, Foreign Minister Jorge BrizHaiti: Prime Minister Gerard LatortueHonduras: President Ricardo MaduroHungary: President Ferenc Madl, Prime Minister Ferenc GyurcsanyIndia: Vice President Bhairon Singh ShekawatIndonesia: Welfare Minister Alwi Shihab, Religious Affairs Minister Maftuh Basyuni, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Minister Freddy Numberi Iran: President Mohammad KhatamiIreland: President Mary McAleese, Prime Minister Bertie AhernIsrael: President Moshe Katsav, Foreign Minister Silvan ShalomItaly: President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi Japan: Former Foreign Minister Yoriko KawaguchiKenya: Foreign Minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere, Local Government Minister Musikari Kombo Kosovo: President Ibrahim RugovaLatvia: President Vaira Vike-FreibergaLebanon: President Emile Lahoud, Prime Minister Omar Karami, Parliamentary Speaker Nabih Berri Lesotho: Foreign Minister Monyane Molelek Lithuania: President Valdas AdamkusLuxembourg: Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker Macedonia: President Branko CrvenkovskiMalaysia: Minister In Charge of the Civil Service Bernard Dompok, Minister In Charge of Religious Affairs Abdullah Mohamad Zin Mauritius: Prime Minister Paul BerengerMexico: President Vicente Fox Montenegro: President Filip VujanovicMozambique: President Armando GuebuzaNATO: Secretary General Jaap de Hoop SchefferNetherlands: Prime Minister Jan Peter BalkenendeNicaragua: President Enrique BolanoNorway: Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik Palestinian Authority: Prime Minister Ahmed QureiPanama: First Lady Vivian Fernandez de Torrijos, wife of President Martin Torrijo Pakistan: Religious Affairs Minister Mohammad Ejaz ul Haq Paraguay: Vice President Luis Castiglioni Peru: Parliament speaker Antero Flores Araoz, Foreign Minister Manuel Rodriguez, Justice Minister Eduardo Salhua Philippines: President Gloria Arroyo Poland: President Aleksander Kwasniewski, former president Lech Walesa, Prime Minister Marek Belka Portugal: President Jorge Sampaio, Foreign Minister Diogo Freitas do Amaral Romania: President Traian Basescu, Prime Minister Calin Tariceanu, former king MichaelRussia: Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov Senegal: President Abdoulaye Wad Serbia: President Boris TadicSerbia-Montenegro: President Svetozar Marovic, Foreign Minister Vuk Draskovic Seychelles: Ambassador to France and Italy Callixte d'OffaySingapore: Deputy Prime Minister Professor S JayakumarSlovenia: President Janez Drnovsek, Prime Minister Janez JansaSlovakia: President Ivan Gasparovic, Parliament Chairman Pavol HrusovskySouth Africa: Deputy President Jacob ZumaSpain: Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez ZapateroForeign Minister Miguel Angel MoratinosSri Lanka: Prime Minister Mahinda RajapakseSweden: Prime Minister Goeran PerssonSwitzerland: President Samuel SchmidSyria: President Bashar al-Assad Taiwan: President Chen Shui-bian, Foreign Minister Chen Tan-sunTurkey: Prime Minister Tayyip ErdoganUkraine: President Viktor YushchenkoUnited States: President George W. Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton Uganda: Vice President Gilbert BukenyaUnited Nations: Secretary General Kofi Annan Uruguay: First Lady Maria Auxiliadora Delgado de VasqueVenezuela: Foreign Minister Ali RodriguezZimbabwe: President Robert Mugabe
Royals and Heads Of State
Australia: Governor-General Michael JefferyBelgium: King Albert II and Queen Paola Britain: Prince Charles Jordan: King Abdullah II Lesotho: King Letsie IIILuxembourg: Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa New Zealand: Governor-General Silvia CartwrightNorway: Queen SonjaSpain: King Juan Carlos and Queen SofiaSweden: King Carl XVI Gustav and Queen Silvia
Metropolitan Kirill, Russian Orthodox Church Archbishop Christodoulos, Greek Orthodox ChurchLebanese Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah SfeirEcumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew INorwegian Bishop Finn Wagle of the Protestant state church Spiritual head of the Anglican Church, Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan WilliamsChief Rabbinate Director-General Oded VinerTurkey's Armenian Patriarch Mesrob IIRomania's Orthodox patriarch TeoctistBulgaria's Orthodox Rousse Bishop Neofit and Vidin Bishop DomitianSwedish Lutheran archbishop, KG Hammar Head of Uganda's Catholic Church, Cardinal Emmanuel Wamala Albanian religious leaders: Selim Muca of the (Sunni) Muslim community, Rrok Mirdita, the Catholic Archbishop, Haxhi Dede Reshat Bardhi of the (Shi'ite) Bektashi Muslim sect and Orthodox Archbishop Anastasios of the Orthodox community Mesrob II, the Armenian Orthodox Archbishop of Istanbul Metropolitan Kirill, the head of the Moscow Patriarchate's Foreign Church Relations Department, of the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Bartholomew I, spiritual leader of the Orthodox Church Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel Shlomo Am Catholicos Karekin II, spiritual leader of Armenia's orthodox Apostolic Church
Reliable sources also relate that each of the abovementioned will receive a special "The Pope's Funeral: I was there" t-shirt in white after the performance. Mr Mugabe is know to have expressed a preference for a black t-shirt with gold lettering. Mr Bush will have a t-shirt with a photo of the late Pope instead.
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