Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Québec, Canada January 11, 2015
Bill and Melinda Gates,
There is only one person I can think of to send this letter to. You must receive hundreds of letters every day, so I am sorry to bother you with this one. But maybe after reading it you will pardon me for the intrusion. English is not my mother tongue, so sometimes it will be difficult for me to say exactly what I want to say.
As everybody else I was shocked by what happened in Paris last week. But I think we should take a larger view of what is happening in the world today. During those same three days of the shootings in Paris where 17 persons died, 2000 persons were massacred and 16 villages destroyed in Africa. And how many in Ukraine, in Syria, Iraq, Libya this last year, and this last month? For me, what is more threatening is the new Cold War that will become hot if we continue in the same direction. We must stop the permanent confrontation of the Western World with Iran, Russia and China, and the wars since 2003. It will probably take decades to solve the Middle East problems created by the Iraq invasion. But let us not repeat the same mistake elsewhere; as it seems we are prepare to do.
If the First World War in 1914, where at least 16 million people died, a war that gave rise to the communist revolution in Russia, to Hitler in Germany, and that reorganized the world under the western « leadership », and eventually to the Second World War where more than 50 million people died, if that horrendous war of 1914 was due to the miscalculation, irresponsibility and the short-sightedness of the political leaders of the time, how can we not see that the same thing is happening today? The West’s response to the attack of September 11 2001 in New York resembles the one made by the European Powers to what happened in Sarajevo on June 28 1914. Our political leaders, it seems to me, are making the same mistakes as the political leaders of old. And bigger ones. The battle field today is not only Europe, but the whole planet Earth, and the adversaries have nuclear arms. There was no one who could stop the war in 1914, and there was no possibility of stopping the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Something is missing in the global leadership or governance of the world.
What can we do to counter the decisions of our political leaders to go to war? Remember, Mr Gates, the many demonstrations in 2002 and 2003 on all the continents asking not to invade Iraq. Nothing came out of those massive public demonstrations. I started this letter by saying that there was only one person I could think of to send this letter to. And I mean it. So here is my proposition to you: I implore you to do something, to launch the World Council for Peace, to make a simple phone call to, say, Gorbatchev, the Dalai Lama, to all the Peace Prizes, to Pope Francis, to all the responsible religious leaders of the planet, to many « sages » on every continent. And ask them to unite and speak together, in one voice, to the General Assembly of the United Nations, to the US Congress, to the House of Commons in London, in Ottawa, in Australia, to the Duma in Moscow, l’Assemblée Nationale in Paris, in Berlin, in Beijing, in Tokyo, everywhere where it counts.
No more unnecessary wars! Millions of people will follow you all. There will be Councils for Peace in every country, quietly but firmly asking their government not to participate in any unnecessary wars. And I cannot see any reasons to go to war today. Tensions and disagreements must be solved by compromise and diplomacy between civilized nations, and not by the drums of war.
Peace on Earth! The dawn of this impossible/possible dream must starts now. And Bill Gates, I think, is the man for the job. To say no to wars today, is also a very effective way to fight poverty and destruction of all kinds. The horror and futility of wars is that they do more harm than they can eradicate. To fight terrorism at home and abroad is necessary, but to start unnecessary wars, organize our own terrorism abroad that creates terrorists by the thousands is foolishness of the highest order. We must remember Eisenhower’s address to the nation when he left office: the greatest danger to our democracy and to a peaceful world order is the industrial-military complex existing in our mist, said he. In matters of Peace and Wars in our times and age, it is a necessity to prepare a peaceful world and to work, to fight for it peacefully. Peace or Catastrophe that is the question. It is the task of a realist to dream of another world; it is a necessity. Organized crime and criminality of all sorts will be with us for centuries to come, but governments should not be criminals themselves in engaging in futile and unlawful wars, in torture and in lies.
« A dream you dream alone is but a dream, a dream we dream together is reality » (John Lennon)
“We have it in our power to begin the world over again.” (Thomas Paine)
“Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.” (H.G. Wells)
“The problems of the world cannot be solved by sceptics and cynics whose horizons are limited by the most evident realities. We need men and women who can dream of things that never existed.” John Keats