Sunday, July 15, 2007

God save the court

A court of law in Timisoara has just thrown out a case against God filed by a 40-year-old Romanian citizen named Mircea Pavel. Insofar as the plaintiff himself just happens to be doing a spell of twenty years in jail for murder, an observer might conclude that Pavel is attacking God because (a) he feels that the Lord has not taken adequate care of him, and (b) he has nothing better to do with his time. Be that as it may, the Romanian court apparently examined the affair seriously before throwing it out. Pavel's lawyers gave the identity of the accused as God, residing at present in the Heavens, and represented in Romania by the Orthodox church. The divine defendant was charged with "fraud, breach of faith, corruption and bribery". In particular, the plaintiff insisted upon the fact that the accused had failed to answer his prayers. "At the time of my baptism," explained Pavel, "I drew up a formal contract with the accused whereby I would be delivered from evil. Well, for the moment, the defendant has failed to honor our contract, in spite of the fact that I have sent him numerous contributions and countless prayers." In throwing out the case, the Romanian court explained: "God is not subject to law... and, in any case, we don't have his full address."


  1. Great story, isn't it? I read about it last week in Libération.

    I must say I'm happy to see that my compatriots (I was born in Timisoara) continue the "tradition de l'absurde".

    It's much better than the plays of Eugen Ionescu.

  2. In attacking God in a law court, the guy in jail has certainly created a brilliant mixture of absurdity and futility, comparable with the finest Camus and Beckett... but I'm not sure he's in the same inimitable class as Eugen Ionescu.

    Back in 1962, shortly after my initial arrival in Paris, friends took me along to the Théâtre de la Huchette to see La cantatrice chauve and La leçon. Even though my rudimentary French didn't enable me to understand all the subtle verbal exchanges, I was marked forever by that amusing theatrical experience. Those two plays were just as crazy and cruel as Waiting for Godot, but without the anguish and sordidness. They brought existentialist meaninglessness (there's a big word!) right into the bourgeois living-room.

    In a totally different domain, another great Romanian writer who once interested me, through his work on myths, was of course Mircea Eliade.