January 1, 1997
Dear Mr. Annan,
I have the honor and pleasure to greet you in the name of the citizenry of the world.
As world coordinator of the World Government of World Citizens, with historic ties to the United Nations as set forth below, I find it my duty and right to point out some of the anomalies inherent in your new assignment as Secretary-General.
In your inaugural speech of December 16, 1996, to the U.N. General Assembly, you claimed to be addressing "the nations and the peoples of the world whose representatives are assembled here today...." Contrary to your statement, Mr. Secretary-General, the representatives of the "peoples of the world" are nowhere to be found in the halls of the U.N. They are instead filled only with delegates of nation-states.
On November 22, 1948, from the balcony of the Palais de Chaillot in Paris, I interrupted a session of the General Assembly. My speech began with the words, "I interrupt in the name of the people of the world not represented here." Dr. Herbert Evatt was presiding over the Assembly at that time. He looked up to the balcony railing in surprise and waved for me to continue. The U.N. security police, however, forcibly removed me as I shouted, "I pass the word to the people!" Compatriots, including Robert Sarrazac and Father Paul Monteclard, finished reading out the short declaration from different parts of the theater while Albert Camus held a press conference in a nearby cafe to distribute the text, known now as the "Oran Declaration."* (See below)
We called for "One Government for One World," for, as we concluded, "We can be served by nothing less."
This was the first and last time that direct representatives of the people of the world addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations.
On December 3, 1948, at a meeting at the Salle Pleyel, Paris, presided over by Dr. Albert Einstein and attended by 3000 Parisians plus the world press, my newly formed Conseil de Solidarite addressed three questions to the U.N.: Have you a plan to organize peace and what is it? If you do not have such a plan, do you propose to develop one? If you are as concerned as we are, have you the right to ignore the declaration of Garry Davis (The Oran Declaration of November 22)?
On December 9, 1948, at a meeting at the Velodrome d'Hiver in Paris, attended by 17,000 people, we read Dr. Evatt's reply to our request that the General Assembly set aside one day for presentation of the peoples' peace plan. In sum, the Assembly president admitted that the U.N. was not established to "make peace" since that was only possible at the discretion of the "Great Powers"; the U.N.'s purpose instead was only to "maintain it" once peace had been made, Dr. Evatt explained.
While he endorsed, in principle, the concept of a world federation, he did not explain that peace was the result of a formal social code among people, not states.
On December 10, 1948, the General Assembly proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a "common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations." We, citizens of the world, considered and still consider this document an effective U.N. response to our commitment to a peaceful world under law.
We note, however, that after 51 years of existence, the U.N. has yet to enforce one Article of its own Declaration. Indeed, the U.N.'s fundamental concept of exclusive sovereign states is directly opposed to Articles 21(3) and 28, which provide, respectively, that "the will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government" and that "everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized." The veto power of the five permanent members of the Security Council, which, ironically, was used indirectly to assure your own appointment, betrayed from the outset the democratic representation of the people of the world.
Finally, in response to public demand, on January 1, 1949, we launched the International Registry of World Citizens, which, in the next two years, registered more than 750,000 individuals from 140 countries. Many towns and cities throughout the world declared themselves "mundialized" in reaction to the threat of another and more devastating world war.
Yet in your acceptance speech, you made the extraordinary claim that "the United Nations is your instrument for peace and justice." Were you implying that the U.N. delegates, who receive daily instructions from their respective capitals, are free to "make peace" between themselves for the world's population? Either you are ignorant of a diplomat's function--which we cannot credit given your own years of diplomatic service--or you are simply conniving with the delegates to fool the general public into thinking that the U.N. can indeed make world peace.
As for the U.N. being an "instrument of justice," how can justice prevail without law? To insinuate that the lawless U.N. is an "instrument" of justice is to mock every legislative system.
Emery Reves spelled out the problem in his 1945 best-seller, Anatomy of Peace: "The San Francisco Charter is a multilateral treaty. That and nothing else.... With the possibility of atomic war facing us, we cannot risk reliance upon a method that has failed miserably hundreds of times and never succeeded once."
You then admonished the delegates to "use it; respect it; defend it." We must assume you were actually addressing the delegates' masters, the heads of the U.N.'s member-states. And these leaders certainly do use the U.N., but only to promote their own self-interests, not those of the general world public as their war record shows.
As to defending it, nation-state delegates understand full well that the U.N.'s own Charter condones war. Their "defense" of the U.N. thus amounts to implicit acceptance of the role of humanity's executioner.
We read in The New York Times of Dec. 14 that you consider it your urgent job "to sell the U.N. to skeptics." But, Mr. Annan, you are quoted in the same newspaper four days later as saying, "Alone I can do nothing." How then can you convince skeptics of the U.N.'s usefulness, when you confess your own impotence as its secretary-general?
In The New York Times interview cited above, your predecessor, Mr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, acknowledged that reform would occur within the United Nations system "only when member governments were able to agree on what they wanted." In short, the previous secretary-general confirmed--as have all his predecessors--that the member-states are still unable to decide what they want the U.N. to be or do.
But Mr. Boutros-Ghali then baldly contradicted himself by claiming that, "If one word above all is to characterize the role of the secretary-general, it is independence."
Do you, therefore, claim "independence" from the member-states, even though you have also admitted your total dependence on them?
Your dilemma is apparent to any thinking person. Given the U.N.'s admitted incapacity to govern the world community with world law, your role as the secretary-general is inherently futile.
The five permanent members of the Security Council stubbornly retain nuclear weapons. Most alarmingly, this arsenal of death is now safeguarded by the recent opinion of the International Court of Justice, which condones the use of nuclear weapons in the event a state is in danger of destruction. We may conclude that if the nation-state "system" is endangered, the entire human race becomes expendable--the final and ultimate irony of nationalism.
The world community has endured 50 years of wars, internal and external, fought by member-states. During this time, the U.N., their supposed "instrument for peace and justice," has remained impotent, having no legal means to either prevent or stop the conflicts. In telling contrast, the World Government of World Citizens meanwhile is in the process of outlawing war as an instrument of politics.
As you read this, many of your fellow Africans, including paramount chiefs, are holding meetings in Sierra Leone and Ethiopia under the aegis of the World Citizen Foundation, addressing the primal question: "How can we, as sovereign world citizens, govern our world?"
Please accept my most respectful regards and personal best wishes for a happy and peaceful 1997.
Garry Davis, World Coordinator
The Oran Declaration
- Delivered November 22, 1948, by World Citizen Garry Davis to the General Assembly of the United Nations, Palais de Chaillot, Place de Trocadero, "International Territory," Paris, France.Mr. Chairman and Delegates:
I interrupt you in the name of the people of the world not represented here. Though my words may be unheeded, our common need for world law and order can no longer be disregarded.
We, the people, want the peace which only a world government can give.
The sovereign states you represent divide us and lead us to the abyss of Total War.
I call upon you to deceive us no longer by this illusion of political authority.
I call upon you to convene forthwith a World Constituent Assembly to raise the standard around which all men [sic] can gather, the standard of true peace, of One Government for One World.
And if you fail us in this...stand aside, for a People's World Assembly will arise from our own ranks to create such a government.
We can be served by nothing less.