Romania police probe anti-semitic graffiti at Elie Wiesel home

In this Sept. 12, 2012, photo Elie Wiesel is photographed in his office in New York. (AP)
Updated 05 August 2018

Romania police probe anti-semitic graffiti at Elie Wiesel home

  • Wiesel, born in northern Romania in 1928, survived Auschwitz and devoted his life to keeping memories of the Nazi genocide of World War II from fading away

BUCHAREST: Romanian police on Saturday announced a probe into anti-semitic graffiti found on the walls of the house where Nobel Peace prize winner Elie Wiesel was born.
“An enquiry is underway to identify those responsible,” police spokeswoman Florina Metes said, adding that officers were studying footage from surveillance cameras in the northern town of Sighetu Marmatiei, hometown of Holocaust survivor Wiesel who died in New York in 2016.
The graffiti, which appeared overnight Friday, was quickly removed by local authorities.
“This grotesque act represents an attack not only on the memory of Elie Wiesel but on all the victims of the Holocaust,” said the national institute for Holocaust studies, which is named after Wiesel.
The Israeli ambassy in Romania condemned an “unprecedented anti-semitic act,” and expressed the hope that those responsible would be swiftly brought to justice.
Wiesel, born in northern Romania in 1928, survived Auschwitz and devoted his life to keeping memories of the Nazi genocide of World War II from fading away.
He settled in the United States after the war and helped challenge the widely held assumption in Romania, following decades of communist rule, that the Germans alone were responsible for the Holocaust.
In 2003 he headed a panel of experts that found that between 280,000 and 380,000 Romanian and Ukrainian Jews, as well as 11,000 Roma, perished on Romanian soil under dictator and Nazi ally Ion Antonescu. He received the received the Nobel prize in 2001.


Tradition, modernity mingle at Japanese Emperor Naruhito’s enthronement

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shouts “banzai,” meaning “long live the emperor,” during the enthronement ceremony for Emperor Naruhito at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. (AFP)
Updated 25 min 23 sec ago

Tradition, modernity mingle at Japanese Emperor Naruhito’s enthronement

  • Ritual-bound, centuries-old ceremony takes places at Imperial Palace in Tokyo
  • Heads of state and officials from Japan and 180 countries among the attendees

TOKYO: It was a ceremony similar to coronations used by monarchs worldwide, but combining the historical and the spiritual with modernity. Japan’s Emperor Naruhito formally completed his ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Oct. 22.
Purple curtains were drawn back to reveal Naruhito, 59, and Empress Masako, 55, standing before their imperial thrones as the enthronement ceremony began.
Wearing a dark orange robe, similar to that worn by his father Akihito at his own enthronement in 1990, Naruhito proclaimed his ascension from a 6.5 meter-high, canopied “Takamikura” throne.
Through the centuries-old ceremony, Naruhito declared himself Japan’s 126th emperor and vowed to “stand with the people” before roughly 2,000 guests, including heads of state and officials from Japan and more than 180 countries. Among the attendees were Japanese royal family members also wearing traditional robes.
In his congratulatory message to the emperor, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe promised that the people of Japan would “respect (his) highness the emperor as the symbol of the state and of the unity of the Japanese people.” He then stood before Naruhito’s throne, bowed and raised his hands three times, shouting “banzai,” meaning “long live the emperor.”
Saudi Arabia was represented by Minister of State Prince Turki bin Mohammed bin Fahd bin Abdul Aziz, who conveyed greetings from King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the Japanese people.Saudi Ambassador to Japan Naif bin Marzouq Al-Fahadi, and other Saudi officials, were also present.

Japan’s Princess Mako attended the enthronement ceremony. (AFP)


The enthronement ceremony is a part of a succession of rituals that began in May when Naruhito inherited the throne, after Akihito became the first emperor to abdicate in 200 years.
As Naruhito ascended the throne, boxes containing items of imperial regalia, including an imperial sword and jewel, were presented to him.
“Having previously succeeded to the Imperial Throne in accordance with the constitution of Japan and the Special Measures Law on the Imperial House Law, I now … proclaim my enthronement to those at home and abroad,” the Japan Times newspaper quoted Naruhito as declaring.
“I pledge hereby that I shall act according to the constitution and fulfill my responsibility as the symbol of the state, and of the unity of the people of Japan, while always wishing for the happiness of the people and the peace of the world, turning my thoughts to the people and standing by them.” An imperial procession that was to take place after the ceremony was postponed after Typhoon Hagibis hit Tokyo earlier this month. On Nov. 10, the emperor and empress will take part in a procession through central Tokyo to the Akasaka Imperial Residence.
To mark the enthronement, the government has granted pardons to more than half a million people found guilty of petty crimes such as traffic violations.
In an article for Arab News, Shihoko Goto, deputy director for geoeconomics at the Asia Program of the US think tank the Wilson Center, asked a question she believes will be echoed by many in Japan: “Can the country carry on its historical legacy while embracing the opportunities of the 21st century? “The new imperial couple is likely to want to further Emperor Akihito’s legacy as a conduit for reconciliation.”