Thursday, September 27, 2007
A Citizen of the World
Marcel Marceau was only 84 when he passed on but he lives brightly in the memories of all who had the joy to see him perform on the world's stages. Poor words are unable to express our loss when he, above all, "spoke" to us in silent Truth.
Like the Munis of India, Marcel Marceau taught in the transcendent discipline and spiritual power of action-in-silence. He was the perenniel Renaissance Man revealing to us, in the darkened theatre, our own unity and universality. We watched him in fascination as he mimed human foibles, tragedies and comedies. He was us, all of us, in his masterly movements, expressions and motives. '
Alone on a bare stage bereft of sets and other actors, using the audience's imagination, he created a silent world of events, both mundane and catastrophic, to which each audience member could relate personally. By revealing in pantomime a fellow human, with wry, gentle humor, he magically erased our vaunted differences. That is genius. Remember that "wall" where he first appeared as a giant, then reappeared as a midget!. Michael Jackson borrowed his famous "moonwalk" from his sketch, "Walking Against the Wind." I recall especially the "Immigrant" when, boxed in, his hands desperately "felt" the enclosed cage, then discovered a tiny opening through which he squeezed in ecstatic freedom only to find himself again imprisoned in a larger cage, his bitter disappointment and anguish mirrored in that wonderful plastic face. In one of his most poignant and philosophical acts, "Youth, Maturity, Old Age, Death," he wordlessly showed the passing of an entire life in just minutes.
His presence on stage alone transformed it into a cherished place of reverence, self-revelation and love. One left the theatre somehow fulfilled, feeling better. Indeed, what else does a World Teacher do but reveal the truth? His biggest inspiration, he claimed, was another world citizen, Charlie Chaplin.
The French Government had conferred upon Marceau its highest honor, making him an "Officier de la Legion d'Honneur", and in 1978 he received the Medaille Vermeil de la Ville de Paris. In November of 1998, former President Chirac named him a Grand Officer of the Order of Merit; and he was an elected member of the Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin, the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, the Academie des beaux-arts France and the Institut de France. He held honorary doctorates from Ohio State University, Linfield College, Princeton University, and the University of Michigan, America's way of honoring his creation of a new art form, inherited from an old tradition. In 1999, the city of New York declared March 18 Marcel Marceau Day.
He accepted the honor and responsibilities of serving as Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Second World Assembly on Aging, which took place in Madrid, Spain, in April 2002.
Following the death in 1999 of Sir Yehudi Menuhin, who served our world government for many years as Coordinator of its World Cultural Commission, I had the honor and pleasure of appointing Marcel as the new Coordinator of this Commission. He expressed his delight and acceptance at a dinner we shared together during his last tour of the US.
Talking about his universal and lasting appeal, Marceau once said: "Mime, like music, knows neither borders nor nationalities."
I for one am extraordinarily grateful and blessed for having known this inimitable cosmopolitan artist personally since my own Paris days in 1948.
A true lover of humanity has departed our current scene, May his ennobling inspiration continue to guide us.
Another Anniversary & Another 9/11!
Monday, September 10, 2007
Fifty-four years ago this month, on September 4th, a new government was declared: a world government no less. Read all about it at www.worldgovernment.org/ells.html.
But that's not where it really started.
On September 11th, 1948, this writer, having renounced his U.S. nationality on May 25th, was being threatened with imprisonment by the French Government if he did not leave French territory. Once becoming stateless, I had exercised my inalienable right of political choice that very day by claiming world citizenship publicly.
Was this declaration "legitimate"?
Citizenship, by definition, must be grounded somewhere. Nations are mere fictional creations imposed on parts of the world's surface, granted, with historical backgrounds, to encompass their particular humans as "citizens." Legitimate? Their very constitutions all claim that their authority derives from the sovereign people.
Before they became "legitimate" citizens.
Was not my sovereign right to claim a citizenship grounded in world territory undeniable in legal terms as I owed no allegiance to any nation-state?
If a nation-state, however, could "legitimately" claim part of the world territory, why could not a publicly declared world citizen claim the whole parcel? Indeed, world citizenship and world territory are political and environmental corollaries.
Enter a historical anomaly.
The United Nations Charter is not a world constitution in recognition of the sovereignty of either humankind or each human as a "legitimate" member of the race despite its allusion to human rights 17 times.
It is a mere membership organization of separate and equally sovereign nation-states, indeed, the very antithesis of human rights.
But contradictorily the UN claims its own territory! Over which it then presides and even policing. This so-called "territory" is separate and distinct from that claimed by its very individual members.
It's designated as "international territory."
But what is the law "governing" this "international territory"?
It doesn't exist. Why?
Because it has no sovereign citizenship from which derives all positive law.
Now world citizenship is an ancient concept. Google the phrase and you will be amazed at how many illustrious humans in the past going back to Socrates and further to the ancient Greeks and Stoics have claimed it.
On September 11th, 1948, the General Assembly of the United Nations "expropriated" a tiny section of Paris, Place de Trocadero and Palais de Chaillot, for its exclusive use during that Fall 3 month session.
The front page of the Paris Herald Tribune revealed the French Foreign Minister, Robert Shumann publicly presenting a large key to UN Secretary-General Trygvie Lie signifying France's acquiescence to this "legitimate" relinquishment of part of France-for 3 months.
Faced with jail by French authorities if I did not leave its territory by September 11th, after declaring my intentions to the world press on the evening of September 10th, at around 8 a.m. the next morning I "exited" from France and "entered" the "international territory" of the United Nations at the Place De Trocadero, Paris.
A legitimate World Citizen now had a legitimate place to stay and survive in freedom unfettered by national laws!
I had also become a true world peacemaker as I had no "enemies." Nor further territorial claims!
This is what I wrote at 9 A.M.sitting alone at a table in the deserted restaurant opposite the Palais de Chaillot on that fateful day:
"I am in the restaurant of the U.N. headquarters. Guards have been passing back and forth giving me covert glances. Two helmeted police are standing about ten feet away, probably debating whether they should ask me for pepers...I am sure that the uniform and the official-looking typewriter have scared them off...Another man is approaching but he has turned away as have the two policemen. I seem to want to put off this meeting with the world or rather with this tiny world here until the very last minute. I realize that at ten o'clock there will be photographers and reporters here, but now I feel quite alone. Alone with a great avalanche about to break over my head...This void I am standing in is quite exciting. I sincerely feel that I can be a force toward achieving some measure of world peace..." (The World Is My Country, G.P. Putnam, 1961).
Following an impromptu press conference of several hundreds journalists plus newsreel camera trucks recording the hectic proceedings, I returned to my Olivetti typewriter:
"I have just been through the mill with photographers and now they are taking pictures of my typing here. I am now in a goldfish bowl. Everything I do will be recorded by word and picture. If I thought that the renunciation was an act drawing attention, it was merely a ripple to what I feel will happen now. I must prepare carefully. Much is at stake. Many people are watching. I perhaps symbolize a great deal to many people without hope. I must not in any way destroy that principle. But on the other hand, I must not presume too much. This is perhaps a greater danger than the other...The photographers have just left. I am being made more and more aware of the power of the press and the...Life is now taking pictures. Oh brother, history is being made today. Keep your equilibrium, Garry. Great things can happen today. And tomorrow..."
Thus a human "worldgovernment-in-microcosm" was immaculately born, as it were, that other September 11th "midwifed" by the world press! When questioned by journalists as to my new "status," assistant UN Secretary-General Konstantin E. Zinchenko of the USSR was quoted as having said, "Davis is a world baby. The U.N. Charter did not foresee being a nursemaid. States may join; diapered citizens, niet!"
In brief, the world's public was exposed virtually overnight to the self-evident fact that the space above the entire nation-state system could be (and is) already populated!
By humanity...and each one of us...at birth.
On that historic September 11th, 1948, from that tiny human seed in the middle of cosmopolitan Paris, the World Citizen population literally exploded on the world scene.
And continues to this day.
Thus, fifty-four years later, the World Government of World Citizens is daily operating through its administrative agency, the World Service Authority (www.worldservice.org) providing vital global public service to one and all.
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