He wondered why I gently took it from his hands Held it with love and kissed it with respect Sir, I said there is no stone on earth not irrigated by blood Lots spilt here on Planet Earth But the Earth still lives, still breathes. Our Earth still lives.
(Kostas Hadjis, Greek song)
Mr. Putin, Mr. President,
A question that came my way recently, was which vaccine to take. My advice was, get vaccinated with what is available, new technology before old, Sputnik V ahead of some others. The Russian vaccine enters the Covid arena with a success rate in clinical trials of more than 90%. Covid now ravaging Russia was emergent as I received the prestigious Gusi Peace Prize referred to as the foremost award in Asia and the Nobel peace prize of the East, November 2020. Recipients are expected to continue working for peace.
Mr. Putin, I appeal to you today in the name of peace and on behalf of Alexei Navalny, head of Russia’s Anti-Corruption Foundation who ingested a toxic nerve agent but thankfully survived. It happened in Tomsk in August 2020 where protests have recently occurred. Angela Merkel intervened to have him receive medical treatment in Germany. In allowing Mr. Navalny to be flown to Berlin on the bequest of his wife, you Mr. Putin participated in his recovery. You, Mr. President, can now weigh in at 100% by commuting his new and counter-productive sentence, imposed by the Russian Court, on February 2, 2021. You have already nudged the world to a good start by extending START in response to American prompting.
Victims can be denied justice while the perpetrating actors fade into the woodwork or are even rewarded. Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest was a King’s sentence to death of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1170. A few years later he took on martyr status. Both were for law and order. In 1933, the human rights violations in Nazi Germany were obvious and had grown in severity. The war ended in 1945 and many of those who had miraculously, survived the death camps roamed the streets in despair with a flag of their respective country stitched to their breast. The awful and devastating struggle against fascism was not over. British soldiers were shot with bullets made in Manchester; Russian soldiers on the eastern front battled against American made equipment used by German troops; American soldiers in Normandy captured German vehicles, powered by engines produced by General Motors. During the German occupation of SEE, some citizens made huge profits by sabotage on the home front. Fascism is present today in countries that suffered from it. It can be found in man’s separation from nature and it lurks in the halls of surveillance technology and efforts to control the human mind. Crisis not only brings out heroism, but it also brings out profiteers.
Mr. President, I have no moral maxim, which Fyodor Dostoevsky says is surprisingly useful on occasions when we find little else to justify our actions. Dostoevsky was led before the firing squad but received a last-minute reprieve and sent to a Siberian labor camp. I have no hammer to pound, no sickle to swing and, no ax to grind. My base of influence is first and foremost that of a concerned global citizen and secondly, as Vice President of the Athens based World Philosophy Forum (WPF).
My perspective says the world’s population needs relief from inequality. It drives thoughts and actions of resentment and protestation. The world needs instruments of constructive discussion, effective diplomacy especially health diplomacy. States have the power to erase individuality and culture, to victimize, destroy and kill perceived irritants. Currently, many individuals designated dangerous are incarcerated having been sucked out of society by the state. They also have the power to right wrongs and provide pathways to clemency. I cannot believe that the protesters on Russian streets are hooligans and provocateurs. The protests are not a clear cut case of people being against Vladimir Putin or for Alexei Navalny. It is more a case of a proud people wanting a stake in its future, even in the face of the excessive police force. Mr. Putin about half of those protesting and/or detained are first-time protesters. The Russian people, like others, feel off balance wondering what will happen next. They want to eat better, live better, breathe freer in a safe and healthy environment. Progress Mr. President will come from providing more for those who have too little. This means reducing poverty, halting the destruction of the environment and strengthening human rights. Turning to Vorapayev, Stalin asked, “What are the most urgent needs… People, clever people… Unfortunately - continued Stalin - we have too many officials in Moscow and too few leaders in the provinces”. It was 1945 and Lena said to the war injured colonel, “they don’t report the truth to Stalin, it’s all plans and plans but what about us human beings”. The Lena’s in 2021 Mr. President just want to live like a human being, live normally. Without improved sanitation and a better quality of life, it is quite probable that more dangerous diseases to global health may emerge. Should that happen scientific preparedness is vital, heath diplomacy necessary.
After 7 years in prison, Eskinder Nega cautioned that the journey is incomplete. The only certainty the immediate future holds is more hardship, more sacrifice, more tears, more imprisonment, exile and even death. Felix D’Herelle fled Tbilisi and the wrath of Beria. He saw the need for a new equilibrium where myths and what they engender disappear. He saw science at its best, as a way for a better future. Maxim Gorky who had high regard for America with all its faults was freed from his dungeon prison for participation in the abortive 1905 revolution. It took worldwide protest. Later, and at the time of the Russian revolution, the world responded to his appeal for help, to the USSR as a result of crop failure and famine. His death in 1936 still contains mystery; it was alleged to have been a result of poisoning. Gorky suffered from tuberculosis, Alexei Navalny not.
Good things can take time, some little. To grant me my small voice appeal requires nothing more than the stroke of your pen, which is still mightier than the sword. Mr. Putin, you have the power to convert dark tidings into silver linings and set another global example.