Thursday, July 31, 2008

Malachi Ritscher: "Thou Shalt Not Kill." He Sacrificed his life for Justice, Peace, Truth and Love.

Malachi Ritscher (Mark David Ritscher; January 13, 1954 – November 3, 2006) was a musician, recording engineer, human rights activist, and anti-war protester. He came into the national spotlight through his self-immolation as a protest against the Iraq war. Ritscher's self-immolation took place on the side of the Kennedy Expressway near downtown Chicago during the morning rush hour of Friday November 3, 2006.

In the following suicide letter published on his website, he described at length his political convictions as to the Iraq War and his choice to take his own life, suggesting at one point, "if I am required to pay for your barbaric war, I choose not to live in your world."[2]

Copy of his letter/Mission Statement: "Thou Shalt Not Kill."

My actions should be self-explanatory, and since in our self-obsessed culture words seldom match the deed, writing a mission statement would seem questionable. So judge me by my actions. Maybe some will be scared enough to wake from their walking dream state - am I therefore a martyr or terrorist? I would prefer to be thought of as a 'spiritual warrior'. Our so-called leaders are the real terrorists in the world today, responsible for more deaths than Osama bin Laden.

I have had a wonderful life, both full and full of wonder. I have experienced love and the joy and heartache of raising a child. I have jumped out of an airplane, and escaped a burning building. I have spent the night in jail, and dropped acid during the sixties. I have been privileged to have met many supremely talented musicians and writers, most of whom were extremely generous and gracious. Even during the hard times, I felt charmed. Even the difficult lessons have been like blessed gifts. When I hear about our young men and women who are sent off to war in the name of God and Country, and who give up their lives for no rational cause at all, my heart is crushed. What has happened to my country? we have become worse than the imagined enemy - killing civilians and calling it 'collateral damage', torturing and trampling human rights inside and outside our own borders, violating our own Constitution whenever it seems convenient, lying and stealing right and left, more concerned with sports on television and ring-tones on cell-phones than the future of the world.... half the population is taking medication because they cannot face the daily stress of living in the richest nation in the world.

I too love God and Country, and feel called upon to serve. I can only hope my sacrifice is worth more than those brave lives thrown away when we attacked an Arab nation under the deception of 'Weapons of Mass Destruction'. Our interference completely destroyed that country, and destabilized the entire region. Everyone who pays taxes has blood on their hands.

I have had one previous opportunity to serve my country in a meaningful way - at 8:05 one morning in 2002 I passed Donald Rumsfeld on Delaware Avenue and I was acutely aware that slashing his throat would spare the lives of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of innocent people. I had a knife clenched in my hand, and there were no bodyguards visible; to my deep shame I hesitated, and the moment was past.

The violent turmoil initiated by the United States military invasion of Iraq will beget future centuries of slaughter, if the human race lasts that long. First we spit on the United Nations, then we expect them to clean up our mess. Our elected representatives are supposed to find diplomatic and benevolent solutions to these situations. Anyone can lash out and retaliate, that is not leadership or vision. Where is the wisdom and honor of the people we delegate our trust to?

To the rest of the world we are cowards - demanding Iraq to disarm, and after they comply, we attack with remote-control high-tech video-game weapons. And then lie about our reasons for invading. We the people bear complete responsibility for all that will follow, and it won't be pretty.

It is strange that most if not all of this destruction is instigated by people who claim to believe in God, or Allah. Many sane people turn away from religion, faced with the insanity of the 'true believers'. There is a lot of confusion: many people think that God is like Santa Claus, rewarding good little girls with presents and punishing bad little boys with lumps of coal; actually God functions more like the Easter Bunny, hiding surprises in plain sight. God does not choose the Lottery numbers, God does not make the weather, God does not endorse military actions by the self-righteous, God does not sit on a cloud listening to your prayers for prosperity. God does not smite anybody. If God watches the sparrow fall, you notice that it continues to drop, even to its death. Face the truth folks, God doesn't care, that's not what God is or does. If the human race drives itself to extinction, God will be there for another couple million years, 'watching' as a new species rises and falls to replace us. It is time to let go of primitive and magical beliefs, and enter the age of personal responsibility. Not telling others what is right for them, but making our own choices, and accepting consequences.

"Who would Jesus bomb?" This question is primarily addressing a Christian audience, but the same issues face the Muslims and the Jews: God's message is tolerance and love, not self-righteousness and hatred. Please consider "Thou shalt not kill" and "As ye sow, so shall ye reap". Not a lot of ambiguity there.

What is God? God is the force of life - the spark of creation. We each carry it within us, we share it with each other. Whether we are conscious of the life-force is a choice we make, every minute of every day. If you choose to ignore it, nothing will happen - you are just 'less conscious'. Maybe you are less happy (maybe not). Maybe you grow able to tap into the universal force, and increase the creativity in the universe. Love is anti-entropy. Please notice that 'conscious' and 'conscience' are related concepts.

Why God - what is the value? Whether committee consensus of a benevolent power that works through humans, or giant fungus under Oregon, the value of opening up to the concept of God is in coming to the realization that we are not alone, establishing a connection to the universe, the experience of finding completion. As individuals we may exist alone, but we are all alone together as a people. Faith is the answer to fear. Fear opposes love. To manipulate through fear is a betrayal of trust.

What does God want? No big mystery - simply that we try to help each other. We decide to make God-like decisions, rescuing falling sparrows, or putting the poor things out of their misery. Tolerance, giving, acceptance, forgiveness.

If this sounds a lot like pop psychology, that is my exact goal. Never underestimate the value of a pep-talk and a pat on the ass. That is basically all we give to our brave soldiers heading over to Iraq, and more than they receive when they return. I want to state these ideas in their simplest form, reducing all complexity, because each of us has to find our own answers anyway. Start from here...

I am amazed how many people think they know me, even people who I have never talked with. Many people will think that I should not be able to choose the time and manner of my own death. My position is that I only get one death, I want it to be a good one. Wouldn't it be better to stand for something or make a statement, rather than a fiery collision with some drunk driver? Are not smokers choosing death by lung cancer? Where is the dignity there? Are not the people the people who disregard the environment killing themselves and future generations? Here is the statement I want to make: if I am required to pay for your barbaric war, I choose not to live in your world. I refuse to finance the mass murder of innocent civilians, who did nothing to threaten our country. I will not participate in your charade - my conscience will not allow me to be a part of your crusade. There might be some who say "it's a coward's way out" - that opinion is so idiotic that it requires no response. From my point of view, I am opening a new door.

What is one more life thrown away in this sad and useless national tragedy? If one death can atone for anything, in any small way, to say to the world: I apologize for what we have done to you, I am ashamed for the mayhem and turmoil caused by my country. I was alive when John F. Kennedy instilled hope into a generation, and I was a sorry witness to the final crushing of hope by Dick Cheney's puppet, himself a pawn of the real rulers, the financial plunderers and looters who profit from every calamity; following the template of Reagan's idiocracy.

The upcoming elections are not a solution - our two party system is a failure of democracy. Our government has lost its way since our founders tried to build a structure which allowed people to practice their own beliefs, as far as it did not negatively affect others. In this regard, the separation of church and state needs to be reviewed. This is a large part of the way that the world has gone wrong, the endless defining and dividing of things, micro-sub-categorization, sectarianism. The direction we need is a process of unification, integrating all people into a world body, respecting each individual. Business and industry have more power than ever before, and individuals have less. Clearly, the function of government is to protect the individual, from hardship and disease, from zealots, from the exploitation, from monopoly, even from itself. Our leaders are not wise persons with integrity and vision - they are actors reading from teleprompters, whose highest goal is to stir up the mob. Our country slaughters Arabs, abandons New Orleaneans, and ignores the dieing environment. Our economy is a house of cards, as hollow and fragile as our reputation around the world. We as a nation face the abyss of our own design.

A coalition system which includes a Green Party would be an obvious better approach than our winner-take-all system. Direct electronic debate and balloting would be an improvement over our non-representative congress. Consider that the French people actually have a voice, because they are willing to riot when the government doesn't listen to them.

"Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up, and shake off the existing government... " - Abraham Lincoln

With regard to those few who crossed my path carrying the extreme and unnecessary weight of animosity: they seemed by their efforts to be punishing themselves. As they acted out the misery of their lives it is now difficult to feel anything other than pity for them.

Without fear I go now to God - your future is what you will choose today.

APE: Plus d'un siecle apres la Conference de Berlin, l'histoire se repete tragiquement...

L'UE précipite les APE de peur que les Etats africains changent d'avis

Hilaire Avril

source/lien de l'article:

PARIS, 30 juil (IPS) - Bruxelles est tentée de passer outre la traduction des Accords de partenariat économique (APE) intérimaires dans les 23 langues officielles de l'Union européenne (UE) de crainte de voir certains pays d'Afrique, des Caraïbes et du Pacifique (ACP) changer d'avis sur la signature des accords finaux.

Un document interne de la Commission européenne, daté du 17 juillet, vu par IPS révèle que "traduire et vérifier légalement les langues des APE intérimaires qui étaient paraphés l'an dernier est plus onéreux et fait perdre plus de temps que ce qui était prévu à l'origine.

"En vue de l'accélération de la signature de tous les accords intérimaires en 2008, nous suggérons, exceptionnellement, de nous éloigner de la façon traditionnelle d'établir des textes authentiques dans toutes les langues officielles au moment de la signature en consentant à les adopter à une étape ultérieure", ajoute le document.

Selon le document, la commission est préoccupée par le fait que la traduction des volumineux APE intérimaires dans les 23 langues officielles de l'UE causera des retards. La commission a adopté la position selon laquelle sans les APE, un régime commercial est perpétué avec les pays ACP, qui n'est pas conforme avec les règles de l'Organisation mondiale du commerce (OMC).

"La commission a estimé que si nous suivons l'approche habituelle avant la signature, le processus pourrait bien nous prendre jusqu'à Pâques de l'année 2009. De tels retards auraient des répercussions quant à la notification de l'OMC et à la sécurité légale", indique-t-il.

Mais au-delà du temps et de l'effort que nécessite la traduction de milliers de pages d'accords commerciaux dans 23 langues, il apparaît que la commission a d'autres préoccupations d'une plus grande portée.

Traduire les APE intérimaires "pourrait aussi augmenter les risques politiques que certain pays ACP changent d'avis et décident de ne pas signer les APE intérimaires", explique le document.

En réduisant le temps, les membres de l'Union européenne doivent débattre dans leurs langues nationales s'ils soutiennent les APE ou pas. La commission espère que les accords seront signés par le Conseil européen avant que les pays ACP ne soient en mesure de modifier leur position.

Le Conseil européen est composé des chefs et d'Etat et de gouvernement de l'Union européenne et du président de la Commission de l'UE.

Si le Conseil européen décide en effet de signer les APE dans leur forme actuelle, la commission serait alors capable de notifier ces accords intérimaires à l'OMC. Une fois notifiés, les APE seraient beaucoup plus durs à renégocier pour les pays ACP.

Selon Jean-Denis Crola, responsable de la campagne pour la justice économique avec Oxfam France, "depuis le premier jour, la commission a utilisé la question de conformité aux règles de l'OMC comme une excuse pour dissimuler les raisons réelles qui font qu'elle veut que les accords soient signés dès que possible.

"Ce n'est pas le vrai problème, puisque toutes les relations commerciales entre l'UE et les pays ACP ont été compatibles avec l'OMC depuis le 1er janvier. Même les pays qui n'ont pas signé des APE intérimaires sont couverts par le régime "Tout sauf les armes", affirme Crola.

"La réelle motivation derrière l'approche de la commission est la peur que certains pays puissent changer leur position et rejeter toute forme d'accord", ajoute-t-il.

Sous le prétexte de gagner du temps, la stratégie proposée est en fait de parvenir rapidement au processus d'approbation et graver sur une pierre les engagements intérimaires des pays ACP.

Pour que les Etats membres soient entièrement informés des questions sur lesquelles la commission demande leur approbation, le protocole habituel de l'Union européenne est de traduire les traités dans les langues officielles de tous les Etats membres.

Dans un communiqué de presse de 2005, la direction générale chargée de la traduction pour la commission, a reconnu que "l'échelle du régime multilingue [de l'UE] le rend unique au monde et pour certains, le travail supplémentaire qu'il crée pour ses institutions peut, à première vue, dépasser les avantages".

Cependant, la direction générale chargée de la traduction a défendu cette politique comme un préalable pour un débat démocratique.

"Il y a des raisons spéciales à cela. L'Union adopte des lois engageant directement ses citoyens et sociétés et pour une question de justice naturelle, eux et leurs tribunaux doivent avoir une version des lois qu'ils doivent observer dans une langue qu'ils peuvent comprendre", ajoute-t-elle.

Le document de la commission précise que c'est une entorse exceptionnelle au protocole, "qui a déjà été testé dans l'Accord sur le transfert des données personnelles des passagers, signé par l'UE et les Etats-Unis l'an dernier". C'est un accord concernant l'échange de données sur les passagers.

La stratégie de ce document est en opposition directe avec l'approche de Christine Taubira, une députée du parlement français, qui représente la Guyane, récemment défendue dans un rapport sur les APE, commandé par le président français Nicolas Sarkozy.

Ce rapport a offert des recommandations visant à restaurer la confiance dans un processus de négociation qui a souvent été émaillé d'accusations de mauvaise foi provenant tant de l'UE que des pays ACP.

Une de ces recommandations conseille vivement à l'UE de lever toutes les ambiguïtés linguistiques pour augmenter la clarté des APE. Elle a insisté pour dire qu'être informé dans sa langue maternelle est un principe de base du droit international.

La France, qui est actuellement à la tête de la présidence tournante de l'UE, semble être d'accord que cette recommandation était un élément essentiel dans un processus de négociation réussi et équitable.

Toutefois, comme l'a montré la récente prise de bec entre Sarkozy et le commissaire au commerce de l'UE Peter Mandelson, la position européenne sur les APE est toujours loin d'être inébranlable.

Sarkozy a accusé Mandelson de précipiter les APE qui conduiront à une réduction de la production agricole de l'UE, et pour les négociations des APE qui ont influencé le vote irlandais contre le traité de réforme de l'Union européenne. (FIN/2008)