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Author Topic:   A Sane Man
Heart--Shaped Cross
Knowflake

Posts: 7178
From: 11/6/78 11:38am Boston, MA
Registered: Aug 2004

posted March 14, 2007 01:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Heart--Shaped Cross     Edit/Delete Message
On November 3rd 2006, Chicago musician and artist Malachi Ritscher commited suicide by setting himself on fire in an attempt to promote peace. His remains were found on the side of the Kennedy Expressway in Chicago alongside a video camera (with tape inside) and a sign saying "Thou Shalt Not Kill". Ritscher also left a letter explaining his actions.

However, due to the fact that this act has apparently received extremely little coverage in the media I have decided to post a copy of his final letter here for all to read. A biography of Ritscher can be found here.

The letter reads as follows, (Its quite long, but please take the time to read the last testament of a martyr) :

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.

http://www.foolsphilosophy.com/

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MysticMelody
Moderator

Posts: 3521
From:
Registered: Dec 2005

posted March 14, 2007 02:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for MysticMelody     Edit/Delete Message
'The Gift of Truth Excels all Other Gifts' (Buddha)

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Mirandee
Knowflake

Posts: 4812
From: South of the Thumb - Taurus, Pisces, Cancer
Registered: Sep 2004

posted March 14, 2007 03:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mirandee     Edit/Delete Message
I posted this story in GU when it happened, HSC. Very sad story.

During the Viet Nam war some Buddhist monks sat themselves on fire as a protest to the war.

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BlueRoamer
Knowflake

Posts: 3944
From: Calm Blue Ocean, Calm Blue Ocean
Registered: Jun 2003

posted March 14, 2007 03:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for BlueRoamer     Edit/Delete Message
Wait, wasn't this posted last year well before Nov 3rd??

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